Defy You Stars talk new music, fans, and performing live

Defy You Stars talk new music, fans, and performing live

Co-written by Shelby Pfau and Emma Buss

Deriving their band name from William Shakespeare’s classic play, “Romeo and Juliet,” Defy You Stars is a three-piece band consisting of lead singer and guitarist Nikk Banos, drummer Patrick (Patty) Milburn and bassist Nikko Evans. 2014 has been a big year for these guys They switched their lineup, played Vans Warped Tour, and finished the recording of their first album, “In The Mean Time, In Between Time,” that’s set to release in 2015. Additionally, they plan on releasing the first single off the album in the very near future. On top of all that, Defy You Stars have a headlining gig at the Marquis Theater in Denver on December 19 with Fort Collins rockers, Shatterproof. With a humble nature and willingness to answer any questions, we sat down with them in the Flatirons food court in Broomfield.

How and when did you guys meet?

Nikk: Me and Nikko, as tacky as it sounds, we went to band camp together 6 or 7 years ago. I thought he was the coolest dude ever, he was wearing black skinny jeans and a My Chemical Romance shirt. I found Patrick on Craigslist and he was in another band before so when that band fell through he ended up becoming our drummer. I posted an ad stating that I was looking to start a band. Defy You Stars was more of a solo project at the time, we became a thing during a jam session.

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What are your short term goals?

Nikko: We just recorded our first album, we all want something to happen. Go big or go home.

Nikk: We’ve worked the local scene for a while, the thing is that the best way to get big in your own state is to leave and go somewhere else because then people take you seriously. When you’re just a local band people think “oh, you’re just a local band,” so when we get out and we’re touring more, we’ll come back and that’s when we’ll have bigger, more sold out shows.

In regards to their upcoming headlining show with another well known local band, we asked,

How did you guys get into contact with Shatterproof?

Nikk: Our manager knew some people in Colorado Springs and got us in on a local “Battle of the Bands” kind of thing. I messaged them when I saw their name, just because I’m always trying to find new bands for us to play with because I don’t want to keep offering up the same show, so I got ahold of them, and I had never heard of them before, and I just told them “hey, we don’t have an album out yet, but we pull in a good amount of people and we’d really like it if you guys would like to jam out sometime,” and they ended up booking this show in Fort Collins that we drove out to, and that was pretty cool. Fort Collins is pretty out of our range just because we don’t really promote there very often. It was one of our last shows with our old bassist, so it was kind of like a transition, that period of time was kind of like us getting ready to shift into what we’re doing right now.

Social media has really helped Defy You Stars reach more people. With 2,004 followers on the band twitter account and over 4,000 likes on their facebook page, these guys get recognized at other concerts and bring in a large amount of people to their own shows.

What was your experience playing Vans Warped Tour this past August?

Nikk: We didn’t really get to enjoy it too much because by time our set was done and we were done carrying around all of our stuff, we were just like “okay, I’m just gonna sit here and watch a band from a distance,” you know? So we did that and we played our set, two of us almost passed out halfway through the set. I lost my sunglasses, which sucked, but one of the dudes from Neck Deep gave me a free pair of sunglasses. It was a really cool day, but this year I feel like all the bands were cool, but they weren’t as many big, colossal, headliner bands.

Nikko: Overall it was just a really hectic day. At that point, I didn’t even play Warped Tour. I was still just the merch guy.

Nikk: But we knew he was about to be our bassist and everything and it was all in the works.

Patrick: I have never been [to Warped Tour], so playing at my first Warped Tour was pretty crazy.

Nikko: We got there before doors opened and we got there and we were supposed to meet up with some people and they were late and it was just hectic, but I mean everything worked out and it was really cool even though I wasn’t on stage playing.

Nikk: That and when you’re playing the smaller stage they’re really strict, we only had 20 minutes so we had to cut a song last minute, and it isn’t ideal as to when you’re on Warped Tour everyday and you get to correct yourself, you know? We had to keep everything in a small area, and we played really early, so there were still people coming in the line, and it was the last day of Warped Tour too so everyone working Warped Tour was really exhausted and ready to go home, they were all kind of jaded by that point, whereas if we would have played earlier on the tour, people would have been rested and more hyped.

Nikko: It was still awesome, we were so drained. And it was great for promotion, a lot of people found out about us.

What’s your favorite thing about performing live?

Nikko: I like seeing people getting rowdy. It’s cool to see people’s reactions. I’ve been going to concerts my whole life and been involved with music. [Being] on stage it’s…

Nikk: It’s role-reversal.

Nikko: My favorite thing [about performing live] is the actual performance.

Nikk: The more the crowd gets into it, the more we get into it.

What was your most memorable fan encounter?

Nikk: When we are at [shows], we’ve had people make posters. I’ve always wanted fans to draw on their face- years ago at our second show, a fan drew N-I-K-K across her face. [And] when people appreciate each member of the band, “Hey I want to get a picture with all of you” because these guys [Nikko and Patty] are my best friends.

Nikko: It’s cool that people actually like us on social media but when you have people running up to you, it humbling really.

Nikk: Recently we played a show and maybe a half hour the show a girl who had never heard of us before [sent us] this book long message telling us “ I really liked what the song stands for.” She made the correlation between herself and the song, and seeing that we can make a connection with someone is really cool.

Nikko will play his first show with Patty and Nikk on December 19. It may be Nikko’s first headlining show, but Patty and Nikk played in August on the 2014 Warped Tour.

What are some “bucket list” things you’d like to achieve?

Nikk: Meeting fans and talking to them after shows. We love meeting people.

Patty: I want to be in a van with these two dudes [Nikk and Nikko], smelling each others sweat every single day. I want to go out and meet people. If someone asks for a picture when I’m on tour, I am going to say yes.

Nikko: Be good to your fans, that’s really important. I’m definitely going to pride myself on that. I would love to see us go on tour, which might happen. Also, for people to get really excited about our album. We’ve put a lot of work into it and we’re just really hoping people appreciate it. We want 2015 to be a really good year for us.

Nikk: I’m the big dreamer of the band. I want a bus, I want to be touring. We have lots of fans in the UK and Australia who want to see us, I want to get out to different countries and the different states.

Nikko: It’s rewarding to know that we have done most of this on our own.

Nikk: Once I leave [Colorado], I’ll appreciate it much more. It will be rewarding to leave almost selling out shows and then coming back to sold out shows. We can’t give them [the fans] new music as much as we like, so to try and compensate, we love to talk to them and be as social as possible.

To keep up with the guys and their music, be sure to check out their website, the their social media pages:
Merch site:
Facebook: like ‘Defy You Stars’
Twitter: follow @defyyoustars
Instagram: follow @defyyoustars
Snapchat: add ‘dysband’

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