INTERVIEW: Painted Young Talk New EP and More

Painted Young is a alternative solo project fronted by Chris Santos. We got the chance to talk with Santos about the newest EP and more.

What inspired the name for this band?

In all honesty, the name of the band was just really random. Back in high school, there was this charity event that wanted bands to play. I got a band together and signed us up. There was a meeting for all the bands to sign up and when I went, I realized we didn’t come up with a band name. When I was asked what my band name was, I literally just said the first two words that came out of my mouth. Painted Young has stuck with me since then and it’s insane to see how much it’s grown.

How did your original lineup meet?

The original lineup of the band were all friends of mine in high school. As time went on, the lineup kept changing and the band included high school friends, coworkers at my movie theater job, and college friends. Later on, the lineup was just too inconsistent and no one really had the availability to stay in the band. Now, Painted Young is my solo project.

What is your favorite song off of the new EP?

My personal favorite song from the EP is “Needle in a Haystack” because it gets me moving while on stage. It’s also really cool to see people dancing along to that one at shows.

What song from I’m Not Gonna Wait was the hardest to write?

I think the most difficult one to write was “Want your song? Here you go.” The verses in that song have so many syllables and there’s a quick rhythm to it that I typically don’t use. It was all a matter of getting out everything that I had to say in such a limited amount of time. In the end, I was able to formulate it in a way that was best for the song.

What is your writing process like?

I pretty much wrote and recorded every instrument and part on this EP. Having all the creative control for this EP was great, as I was able to make the songs exactly how I wanted them to be.

In the creative process: what comes first, the music or the lyrics?

It really just depends on the song. I’ll always have bits and pieces of lyrics written in my notes, or I’ll have little recorded instrumental ideas in my voice memos. Every time I think of something, I just jot it down or record it in my phone. As of recently, I’ve been writing more lyrics first, then following it up with music to support it.

What is the most frustrating thing about the music business to you?

I think the most frustrating thing about it is how unpredictable in can be. You can have a set plan for what you wanna do in the next week, month, or year. Then something happens that completely changes it up. As frustrating as it can get, it can also be a huge blessing. Things could either turn out better or worse than you planned. You just have to go along with it and just hope it keeps getting better.

What do you hope fans get out of the new EP?

According to lots of people that have listened to it, this EP is very diverse. The main thing I want people to understand is that it’s okay to like different things and to have variety. I’d rather be known for my versatility than to be a one-trick pony.

What was the best concert you’ve attended?

That’s an insanely tough one. But I’d say the concert that kickstarted my passion for music was Green Day at PNC Bank Arts Center in 2010. I’d do anything to relive that entire experience.

What was it that got you into music in the first place?

When I was 8 years old, my mom convinced me to start taking guitar lessons. I really did it just to have a skill. I also took band classes from elementary school to high school. But the REAL passion for music came when I saw that Green Day concert I mentioned earlier. I think I was 15 when I saw them. That’s when I wanted to take my personal musicianship more seriously.

What musical influences helped you cultivate the sound of “Painted Young”?

Of course I’m very influenced by a lot of pop punk bands, such as Green Day, Blink-182, and All Time Low. I’ve also generally looked up to bands that (similarly to the previously mentioned bands) were bold and took musical risks, such as Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy, or My Chemical Romance. They weren’t afraid to step out of their box and they created character within their music. I can only hope to do the same with my own music.

If you could tour with any three bands, what would be your dream team lineup?

If there was a tour that featured myself, Set It Off, the All-American Rejects, and Green Day, I would be crossing off so many items on my bucket list at the same time.

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