Sometimes we’d accidentally
make our own sound effects. Like what?
What would that look like? I don’t know, you know,
you do something stupid like you say it out loud,
like “boing-oing-oing,” “James, James, you can’t say boing,
we’re gonna add that in post.” I’m like, “Right, my bad.” This week, I’m sitting down
with Big Time Rush star, James Maslow, on Throw back with Nickelodeon. I’m your host Anthony Padilla,
and it is a big time rush to have James Maslow
here from Big Time Rush. My pleasure. I liked it, yes.
First time I’ve heard that, too. – Of course.
– Very creative. James, are you ready to throw back? I am ecstatic to throw back, let’s go. Did you grow up wanting to entertain? Was it always just something
that was just within your blood? 100%, I think that’s actually
a great way to put it. ‘Cause I first started singing
when I was six years old. Didn’t know what it meant.
I was playing sports. My mom threw me into the
San Diego Children’s Choir. I actually hated it for
the first couple of weeks. – The choir?
– Yeah, ’cause it wasn’t my thing. Like I sang in the shower. Six years old, I’m like,
“Oh, this isn’t cool.” But you know there’s
something about two weeks into singing with the San
Diego Children’s Choir where I went, “Wait a second. “It’s actually kinda cool.”
Like I’m getting better at this random little thing that I have,
skill maybe, and then fell in love with it
and just kept going from there, and then it was the eighth grade I decided to jump into a
performing arts school. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I was majoring in musical theater, so I was acting,
and singing, and dancing, but I did know that I wanted to entertain,
so that was the catalyst, and I’ve been entertaining hopefully
at least a little bit ever since. What was your earliest audition memory? Did you start auditioning
when you were really young? Pretty young.
I mean I guess at school, technically. Seventh grade was my
first audition ever, yeah. What was it for, do you remember? I have no idea what.
I remember I had to have a monologue. I had to sing something. – What’s a mom log?
– Monologue? – Oh, I thought you said– That’s just me mumbling
as I’m saying monologue A mom log is specific to your mother. It’s a monologue about your mom. Could be sad, could be happy. I feel like I’m going down
a dark path right now. – Let’s move on from this.
– A little bit of both. And what was your audition
for Big Time Rush like? That was nuts. ‘Cause it was both acting and singing? – And dancing.
– And dancing? How was that? They also, it was two years.
I don’t think people realize this. It was two years. -You auditioned for two years?
– Straight up. – What?
– Four screen tests. We actually shot an entire pilot with a different actor than Kendall. Another actor playing Kendall’s character. Completely different set. And then they recast again. Third screen test, and
then a fourth screen test. It was nuts and I thought at some point
they weren’t gonna make the show. Right, yeah.
I would’ve assumed that. At that point we had cast Kendall, it was all four of us and
the chemistry was there. We had awesome actors,
awesome singers, decent dancers. [laughing] Then they pulled the
trigger and it was crazy. Once it started, it went quick. I mean that was the beginning of the rest of your career. Did you even know it then? No, and everybody kept saying like
“Yo, your life’s gonna change.” Oh, everyone was telling you? But how are you supposed
to understand that? At that time I was borrowing gas money just to drive up from San Diego
to be able to make the audition. And then I’d crash on my godmother’s couch
and hope there’s a callback the next day, and if there wasn’t,
I’d start driving back. Every time I drove back to San Diego,
I’d get a call halfway like, “Hey we need you back here”,
and I’d turn around. Every time.
That became my trick, actually. It became if I want to get a callback, leave Los Angeles. Shout out to my god mom Laura. Thanks for letting me crash on your couch
for a couple years there. When you booked BTR though, did you have any idea that
your life was just gonna change and pivot in a completely
different direction? I remember the moment I got the call. And what was that like? So I was driving,
I had an old Mustang convertible. It was the first car I bought myself. It was literally from years of saving up
in the San Diego Children’s Choir, and San Diego Opera, and
all these performances. I scraped together enough
money to have that car. And at the time my best friend, Brit,
was sitting passenger with me. And I’m driving down, actually I was
in L.A. driving down– – Were you driving back to San Diego?
– I think I was driving back to San Diego! – That was the key, bro.
– That’s when the good news happens. – That was the key.
– Yeah. And I’m driving back, I’m going down
Highland like going to get on the freeway or something.
And I remember getting the call like “Alright, so uh, we’re doing this”.
And I was like, “What?” And it was hard for me
to comprehend after two years. I had to pull the car over.
Like “We’re doing what?” Were you like “what is happening?” We’re doing another screen test? They’re like “No, we’re
gonna do the show.” What do you mean by that?
Like I remember pulling over and then just freaking
out with my boy Brit. Just being like “Holy”
and just losing our minds. So that was the first time
it felt really exciting. First time it felt like, yeah,
my life was gonna change. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing at that time
when you got that call, what do you think that would be? I just think in general,
if I could go back and tell myself something
that I’m still learning to this day, but I’m getting a lot better about it is you know, I’ll always be professional, I’ll always show up early
and know my lines on set, on tour I’ll always be well-rehearsed. But you have to enjoy it. And it took me a while because I was so nervous about screwing
up, you know what I mean? I was so– So you were treating it more like work
’cause you were like stressed about it? Of course, man.
And it’s taken me a long time to realize you’ll actually be better as an artist if you really find a way to have fun. It doesn’t mean don’t care,
but it is a fine line. – Enjoy the process.
– Yeah. And that’s what I’m able to do now.
I think the first couple years of it was just like I want to make
sure everything’s perfect. Art’s never going to be perfect. Have fun, goof off a little bit. Yeah, do you look back at that time and you’re like, I missed out by not
just enjoying it all, the whole process? Luckily, it was actually Scott Fellows,
bringing back the creator of the show, that pulled me aside at
some point first season and kind of gave me a similar version
of that advice too. So I think I was able to figure it out
pretty quickly, luckily. But yeah I’ve always been pretty, I don’t know, just growing
up, I was actually growing up in performing arts schools and theater. You gotta do eight shows a week, you gotta hit your mark and
no retakes, should I say. So growing up, that was
the best training in the world but– – So you were ready for it.
– I was ready for it, yeah. But I’ve learned to enjoy the
process more, I should say. That’s good, man.
Yeah, you seem happy. As a TV band, was it hard to convince
critics that you were a “real band?” You know, at the beginning
that was a concern, for sure. We were worried, are people going to
think we’re manufactured ’cause we didn’t create
the name necessarily, even though we were a part of all that. I think that kind of solved itself
over a short period of time because we really did
write most of the music. Yeah and it was actually good music! It wasn’t just like,
“Oh it’s good for a TV show.” Well even the TV show, man.
We shot single camera. We were on set Monday for 12 hours, ’til Friday sometimes for 28 hours,
like we’d go into Fraturday. – That’s like 60, 70 hours.
– Yeah, it’s nuts, man. ‘Cause we shoot in single
camera like Entourage. Nothing against multi-cam shows,
but this wasn’t a multi-cam show. We were on location in Malibu filming. We were up in Big Bear filming. We put so much work
into every little aspect that I think it really showed
and critics appreciated it. Especially when they saw us live.
It’s very clear that we were singing live, we were dancing live,
we were doing it all. So we just made a point to prove
ourselves and I think we did. You and your character
are both named James, right? How much do you think fans
were able to differentiate between the character James
and you, the real person James? I mean most of the fans got it.
Everybody’s first name was the same as their real first name in the show. But you know, when we were
doing the slapstick comedy or goofing around and James Diamond
is combing his hair and being vain, that was the character. The only time it was confusing
is when we had really young fans and then they’d go on tour. I feel like the older fans,
when they came to see us as a band, they liked the band more.
They’re just there to see the band. And so they knew it was
us and they were psyched. But sometimes you get like
an adorable six-year-old come up and go “Hi, James Diamond”. And when they’re that young and that cute,
you just go, “How are you?” You jump into character, you know? Man, it was fun. They’re like “How was it fighting crime?” and you’re like “It was great”. “It was so awesome”
you know what I mean, “It was the coolest thing ever!” I was in an internet comedy
duo for like 12 plus years, and I was constantly being
compared to my friend, you know? They’d be like, “oh, he’s
this”, or you know, “he’s funny, “he’s the funny one, you’re just the”– – “He’s the handsome one!”
– Yeah, exactly. And it was constant, you know? I feel like there were
many portions of my life where I was really
jealous of a certain thing and I was like “I have to
prove myself”, or whatever. Did you ever feel that kind of pressure, that constant comparison,
like “he’s the hot one, he’s the funny one?” – Did they have their labels?
– Yeah, all the time, all the time. – Which one were you, to the fans?
– The hot one. [laughing] I should have known. On the TV show I was the vain one, so I think people even took a
little bit of the characters. Like Logan hated that he was
the nerdy one in the TV show and in real life he was
like, “don’t call me nerdy”. But you learn to just kind of embrace it
and at the end of the day who cares. – You’re like, “I’m the vain one!”
– And then I hated that. I was like, “Nope, nope,
don’t really care that much.” “Logan took 12 minutes just
to do one strand of hair”. – Eventually we just–
– You play into it. We play into it and we almost
become each other in that regard. And it was just fun.
Good fun at that point. Is there anything about the TV show
that most people might not know? So something people may not
realize is in order to play the shows as we were filming, we would actually have
hard outs on Friday, where Sony would go to Nickelodeon and go,
“Yo, if they don’t make this flight,” “to the east coast, we’re screwed.” “You have to be there.” So we came to this agreement
where we’d have a hard out, usually at about ten o’clock
to catch the 11:30 from LAX. But Paramount’s in Hollywood, LAX is an hour away, 45 minutes– So we would have police escorts show up. – What?
– No joke. Our bags would be packed,
they’d be in the SUVs. We’d be on set, like
9:45 would come around, they’d wrap us, take off makeup, run into the cars, like
running into the cars. Sirens turn on, motorcycle cops take off – and they’d rush us to the airport.
– Like, yes I am the president. It was just nuts because we’d fly,
we’d have to sleep on the plane, we’d land, play a show, drive somewhere,
play a show, sleep, do one more show the next day,
take the last flight back, and then be back on set
at six AM on Monday. And that was our lives for years. Did you ever get a break? Eventually it started to
wear us out a little bit– Yeah, that sounds draining! Like we had to take
Sundays off and we were like, “Guys, we need to take
a day here and again”. But we also loved what we were doing.
We had a ton of fun. And being on tour,
as tiring as that can be, for me it was more of a break. ‘Cause then you’re on the tour bus, you sleep during the drives
instead of flying everywhere, which is way more difficult
to do on the road. That was kind of our
break in between filming. There is a whole Facebook group dedicated to the sound
effects on Big Time Rush. Amazing, as there should be.
Good work, Facebook. What do you think about the kind of outrageous
over-the-top styled editing and sound effects that they
added to Big Time Rush? – It was great.
– Yeah. You know, it was so
derived from the Monkees. Every turn was like “boing” and you’re like whoa, like
every action had a sound effect. Or even emotion had a sound effect. Oh yeah, like I thought it
was great, it was so fun, ’cause eventually you’d kind of hear
what they were gonna do. – You knew when you were acting?
– Oh yeah. Like you knew that
you’d turn to the camera– Eventually you’d know like
what sound effect you’re gonna get if you give
’em the Blue Steel of like… Would you add things in knowing
they were gonna add sound effects for it? Sometimes we’d accidentally
make our own sound effects. What would that look like? Like you’d do something
stupid and you’re just like, you say it out loud like, “boing”. And they’re like, “James,
James you can’t say boing, “we’re gonna add that in post.”
So I’m like “right, my bad, my bad.” – Like, “boing.” Really it was so over the top
that it was just fun, you know? What’s the most bizarre fan
interaction you’ve ever had? So we’d stay in hotels.
Eventually we had to have aliases ’cause fans would figure
out where we’re staying. So we had a bunch of funny aliases. – What was your alias?
– Oh I had so many over the years. I don’t think any of
them I can say on camera. But one of these hotels in
New York, I will never forget. You had to have a key card
to get on the elevator. It was pretty secure. So these girls had to like
steal a key card, get one, or rent a room. ‘Cause I remember coming in the elevator, – going to the gym…
– How do you steal a key card? I don’t know, but I walk in
thinking I’m on a secure floor. And there’s four screaming
girls that are just phones out, cameras and all that, and I walk in,
and there’s nobody to do anything, but I also just figured, I’m like “girls, you worked hard to get here.” This ride is about, I don’t
know, 30 seconds down. As many videos and photos as you want
for the next 30 seconds. You have earned it. Let’s go. All the way down… All you can eat buffet for 30 seconds. Exactly. Hey they earned it, yeah. You rewarded that behavior though. -Does any part of you like feel–
– No, no, no. If you get through hotel
security and our security– And, made a fake keycard? If you like showed up in my room,
I mean that’s super creepy by the way, but like I feel like I owe you something. You’re encouraging such bad behavior. Everyone watching this
is gonna be like, oh– They’re gonna become
professional thieves now? – Like scaling the buildings.
– Right. So I’m gonna throw out a few names and I’d love for you to
tell me your first thoughts – when you hear some of these.
– Oh gosh, all right. We’re gonna start with some of
your Big Time Rush band mates. Carlos Penavega. He is just one of the
sweetest guys you’ll ever meet. He loved the band so much. I mean he loved singing
and dancing and acting. Like, maybe even more than everybody. Like he wanted to
rehearse after rehearsal. So I’ll always give him so
much love and so much credit for his work ethic to this day. You know, just hardworking
creative sweetheart. Kendall Schmidt. I feel like I think of just acoustic. Like right now, he actually just
texted me a song the other day. He’s doing a whole
acoustic album right now. He’s always had a band
called Heffron Drive and he’s been playing
since well before even BTR. And now he’s doing more stuff on his own. So I feel like he’s always
been more of the rocker. So he brought something
unique to the group. Oh, we were all so different, yeah. And he crushed it on that. Logan Henderson. – Logan was just a funny dude. Logan is just, him and I laughed more
than anyone else I think. Just how much I can say here. Super inappropriate sense
of humor that I relate to and I get along with. He’s just one of the
funniest actors that I know. Yeah, I don’t think would have
had as nearly as much fun, especially on tour, if
it weren’t for Logan. Stephen Kramer Glickman. We were friends from San Diego. Oh, beforehand? Yeah we’d have high holiday,
like Jewish dinners together. Like his family, my family,
and one other family for years. He was one of the people who was recast right before the second pilot,
like the final one. And I just remember looking
at the audition, like “Hey we got a really new
funny guy for Gustavo.” I’m going, “that’s Glicky, no way!” And like freaking out because
it’s just such a small world. He’s so funny and he’s got a big heart. He is Gustavo Rocque in real life. [laughing] Peta Murgatroyd. Peta is one of the most badass girls
I’ve ever met in my life. So she was my dance partner
on Dancing with the Stars, for those of you guys who don’t know,
Season 18, almost won it, check it out. Huge Dancing with the Stars star. – It was fun, it was fun. No I had so much respect for her, because she could seriously
break a toe and keep going. She’d be like, “no, I’m fine.” She’s the one teaching and showing it. Her work ethic is unmatched.
Those dancers in general, I feel like they’re just
some of the hardest working, least appreciated talent on set, man. Because they’re putting their bodies
through hell sometimes to do this stuff. And she just worked hard and
nothing would stop her, yeah. I have one more name for you:
Snoop Dogg. – Snoop
– How could you forget Snoop? Snoop is literally the
coolest dude in the world. He couldn’t have been nicer. And one quick story about Snoop that is one of the dopest compliments I think anybody could get from Snoop. We were on set on the music video, and he came up at one point
to the guys and I and went, “So, I’ve done a lot of music videos.” “Never once has my daughter
wanted to come to any of them.” “And begged me this morning to come
with Dad to work, so thank you boys.” Like he came in, just like it
was the coolest moment ever. We were like, “we’ve impressed Snoop?” – Well you made him a cool dad.
– Right? We gave Snoop brownie
points for his daughter. You’re like, “I made Snoop Dogg cool?” Like he’s the biggest, one of
the coolest icons out there. And that’s the thing,
I run in to him over the years, just like casually at
an event or whatever. And he’ll still like have, he’s got this huge security
guard literally named Tiny, he’s got his boy Keys,
who’s still my friend, like his security is like family. And they will still stop
everything they are doing just to come in and give a big hug.
Like, he’s such a family man. Coolest guy in the world. Think about it too, also respect to Snoop. Like he’s been around forever. He hasn’t gone away, like that
takes skill, that takes tenacity. – That takes a smart dude.
– He’s legendary. – Snoop, props to you brother. No, he’s legendary. Do you have any words of
advice for people out there watching right now that might
wanna get into doing acting or being in a boy band? Well, quite frankly I
think one of the most important things in this
industry is tenacity. The unwillingness to
let go of your dreams. There is something to be
said about sticking with it. And just not giving up. One of my favorite quotes is, “Success comes when
preparation meets opportunity”. And to me that means just
get better and better and better at whatever it is you want to do
every single day. So when you finally do
get that opportunity you’re the best you can possibly be.
You have the best shot, best chance. I still am in class.
I still am in acting class. I still work on playing my instruments and go to vocal training,
because I wanna get better. I feel like people assume
that you reach a level and you stop having to learn. Tiger Woods still has a coach. Does it mean Tiger Woods’
coach is as good as him? No, but Tiger wouldn’t be
Tiger without his coach, so… You always learn something
from someone else. Exactly, so if you really wanna do this, you wanna be an actor,
you wanna be a singer, whatever it might be, go to class. See if you even enjoy class. If you don’t enjoy that process, then you probably won’t
ever become good enough to actually make it on set, because most of your job is
practicing to get to the job. Once you get the job, then it’s fun. Your work is to get the job. So hopefully if you enjoy
that, then it’s gonna be easy ’cause you’ll just keep on training
and keep getting better and better. Alright James, one last question. In the pilot episode of Big Time Rush, it was your character’s biggest
motivation to be famous, do you think he found
what he was looking for? I think he found something
a whole lot better. – Yeah?
– I think he found his brothers. And he found the journey to be
what was the most exciting thing, and his family and his friends
to be the most important thing. In fact, it’s a lesson that
I always try and go back to from the show with anybody who asks me, “Hey, how do I become famous?” Being famous isn’t a job. I don’t know, it’s frustrating man,
I’d rather somebody focus on being the greatest actor you can be
and if that happens, fantastic. Be the greatest musician you can be
and if that happens, fantastic. But fame actually can
be a bit of a nuisance. Think about being Brad Pitt,
he can’t walk down the street. Yeah, for sure.
And you’ve dealt with some of that. I have, and I still do at
times in certain countries. And frankly, the kind
of anonymity I’ve had just being in LA, New York,
and working on these projects the past few years has been amazing. ‘Cause I’ve been able to
live a pretty normal life with my friends and my family. And I don’t want to give that up. So I would never encourage
somebody to be famous. Just work on your craft,
and if that comes, you’ll figure out how to deal with it, because you may not like
it as much as you think. So you disagree with your
character’s goal of “just be famous?” 100%. Very, very much so. Cool, amazing man.
Thank you so much. Thank you so much.
So great chatting with you. – Likewise.
– Thank you. And thank you so much for watching. We’ll see you next time on Throw Back. Later guys. So he was in your music video, but also the Big Time Rush
Christmas special, right? Yeah, I remember that one.
That one was fun. I think I can say this without
throwing him under the bus. Snoop shows up when
Snoop wants to show up. – It’s a pretty well-known thing.
– Right. And this is actually a
pretty big compliment too. So the first day, I think
he was about six hours late. And on set you know time is money. You don’t show up late,
like, I think it was literally hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour. When you thought about how
expensive the show was, it was crazy. So six hours people were
like, you know, that’s crazy. But he had so much fun
the first day, day two, he only showed up an hour and a half late. That’s a compliment, that’s real. That was him like getting
there early basically. The earliest he’s ever been.
Like, he wanted to be there. So massive, massive compliment
to us, it was just fun. Man, you don’t get
bigger and better than that. Thank you so much for watching.
Be sure to subscribe for more Throwback and let us know
who you’d like to see on the show next. We’ll see you next time.