Before You Exit Not just another band of brothers

Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - May 15, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - There will always be room for another band of brothers in the music business and Before You Exit is finding its rightful place.

Formed in 2007, Before You Exit is made up of the McDonough brothers — Connor, 20, Riley, 18, and Toby 16, of Orlando, Florida. But they are out to prove that they’re not just another band of brothers getting tween attention because they happen to be photogenic. They can actually sing, play instruments and make music — a fact that has not escaped media outfits like Seventeen, Radio Disney, Teen Vogue and MTV, which highly recommended the band to fans still looking to recover from the Jonas Brothers break-up.

Before You Exit is headed for the Philippines for a May 17 concert at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura. But it’s not the boys’ first time here. 

The eldest, Connor, talked to The STAR over the phone and he recalled their debut Manila performance last year, which formed part of a Southeast Asian tour: “Our first trip to the Philippines was last year. In fact, it was May of last year when we flew over. Then as soon as we arrived, we had like a bunch of fans at the airport, and then at the hotel. It was amazing! It was one of the favorite tours that we had ever done. We had the best fans over there. We couldn’t stop talking about (the experience). Honestly, our Philippine performance was one of the coolest things we ever got to do because, you know, leaving our country, leaving the United States, going somewhere so far away, it’s just so amazing for the band. It was a dream come true for us.”

For finding fans across oceans and time zones, Connor said that they have the Internet to thank for. The band, which is also particularly popular in South America, is harnessing the power of the social media to touch base with fans online. “It’s the coolest thing what the Internet can do really. To be able put videos on our YouTube channel and see it translate to all the way across the world, it’s incredible to see that reaction.”

The upcoming return is for the band’s ongoing Dangerous Tour in support of its newly-released single of the same title. A buoyant number, Dangerous is “about falling in love with this girl, that you really just can’t get out of the relationship and you’re stuck in it. With our music video, we really wanted to make a sarcastic version of it,” according to Connor.

With the romantic theme in Before You Exit’s pop-rock tunes hard to miss, like in the band’s other single I Like That from its recent EP album, it had to be asked what do they like in a girl. “I think, I can speak for all of us, that the most important thing would be a great personality.  Of course, things come after that. But that’s first and foremost.”

Connor stressed that while their music career is their priority at the moment, they make sure to make time for personal relationships (not necessarily romantic ones).  “It’s definitely hard to balance relationships with what we do, because you have to be in it 100 percent… So, yeah, (music is) our priority, but we make room for relationships on the side, you got to have that balance — friends, family, a person, whatever that is.”

Before You Exit members compose their own songs, and being brothers helps in the songwriting process a lot. 

“Being brothers is really cool because we live together in the same house, and it makes it really easier if you want something done. I mean you just walk through the hallway. We all live right next to each other. So, (the songwriting process is like) we just walk into like each other’s rooms, and before we know it, we are sitting around trying to brainstorm melodies and then, you get a whole song at the end of the day.”

Aware though that being siblings is not an assurance of staying power and togetherness (think Jonas Brothers!), Connor nevertheless believes there’s more upside than downside to being blood-related. “There’s positive and negative about it, of course. But the positive far outweighs the negative. There’s a lot of bands wherein you can break up and never see the guys again, but for us, because we are brothers you know, if ever there’ll be a chance we break up, we live with each other, so there’s really not much way we can break up. As brothers, I think you’ll really try to work out any problem no matter what, which makes it good.”

Before You Exit might be constantly traveling, performing and gaining more fans, but the family environment hasn’t changed though.

“My parents are really supportive of everything we do. We have incredible support from our family. But there’s no special treatment (at home). Not really no, like yeah, we’re still required to do chores at home. Usually cleaning our room and stuff!”

But to be part of the music industry has always been a big dream of theirs. “Even when we were young, we’ve always been performing and stuff. (We started) probably around five, three and four years old. My dad put up a stage in our garage, and we put on shows, little jam sessions, for our whole neighborhood. We’ve always dreamed of doing what we always do.”

These past months saw Before You Exit also sharing the stage with their idols like All Time Low, Cody Simpson, Olly Murs, The Wanted, Fifth Harmony and even the Jonas Brothers. From those encounters, Connor said they also gleaned lessons and advices, one of most constant of which is “to always give your best and never give up.”

In the next five years, Connor said that they hope to be “really growing the fanbase and our music, hopefully we come up with songs that everybody can sing along to.”

(Before You Exit’s show at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura at May 17, 7:30 p.m. is produced by MMI and Ovation Productions. Tickets are now on sale for P3,660 and P2,090. There’s also the Ultimate Exiter Package [which includes access to the Hangout Party after the show] priced at P5,230 and P3,660 available through www.smtickets.com and ticketworld.com.ph.)

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