Interview with Better Than This

Last October, we got on Zoom with Nick, Kai, and José from the Miami surf-rock band Better Than This. We discussed TikTok fame, taking inspiration from Wes Anderson and Moonrise Kingdom, and accidentally breaking venue equipment. Listen here!

We’ve noticed that even though you guys are just getting started—you only have a few songs out—but you’re streaming really well. What’s your secret?

Sarah: “Cherry Coke” has already broken a million streams.

Nick: To be honest, TikTok. We made a couple of TikToks promoting the songs and it just went off from there. We had a little bit of a following on TikTok. Posting a lot, really. We don’t have any backing or anything from like, marketing.

José: Really, Nick takes care of all the marketing and managing of the account and stuff. Props to Nick, I guess.

What are some of your non-musical influences, like movies or TV or books?

Nick: Well, for me I’d have to say Wes Anderson. He’s a big inspiration for me. Me and Kai are really into film and stuff. He’s always been someone I looked up to, even in the way I write music. “The Girl From Jupiter” is about Moonrise Kingdom, which is one of his movies. I’d say he’s one of my top role models. I just love the way he films and stuff.

What are your favorite tour snacks?

Nick: We haven’t toured at all.

Kai: Yeah, we haven’t toured.

Sarah: Well, like gas station snacks. Gas station TikTok order. That trend.

Nick: Before every show I would get a Monster and a Skittles. I would be trashed the whole show pretty much. Like my stomach.

Kai: Probably sour patch kids.

José: Probably water for me, I guess.

Nick: Water. What a guy.

Have you picked up any quarantine hobbies?

Nick: Not really, I’ve just been skating a lot.

José: Nothing, really.

Nick: We’ve just been doing the same stuff that we always do, pretty much.

What unique component does each member add to the band?

José: You can’t answer that for yourself.

Nick: Alright, José, you answer for me, Kai will answer about you, and I’ll answer about Kai.

José: With Nick, I guess it’s easy to make music with him. Like the vibes with him. It’s easier.

Nick: The vibes.

Kai: I think José brings his own type of playing that’s unorthodox compared to most guitar-based musicians. He has so many fills, and so many riffs. I don’t play guitar, but he’s really good at that.

Nick: Kai doesn’t stick to one beat on drums, which I think is really important when it comes to music. Every single beat is original. There’s a base for all the songs, but he adds his own little flairs to it.

What are some of your most embarrassing memories as a band?

Nick: I’m the one that’s been in the band longest, like I’ve done the most shows.

José: Breaking the mic.

Nick: Oh yeah. I’ve broken a mic twice at two different shows. And it was at the same venue, so they got really mad at us. Every time we played “Cherry Coke” I would get off the stage and jump into the crowd. But I dropped the mic and then it just broke. That was probably the most embarrassing, for me.

Kai: Same for me. That was the most embarrassing.

Nick: As a band, it’s just embarrassing breaking a mic.

If you could put together a band with any musicians, living or dead, who would you pick for your lineup?

Kai: Oh, that’s cool.

Nick: Kai, you answer first.

Kai: Wait, wait, wait. I need to think. Hold on.

Nick: José, you wanna go?

José: Literally just Hearse. Like the band. I pick them.

Nick: I’d say for me, probably The Garden. Like if I could make something with The Garden that would be cool. The Garden and Tyler the Creator. That would just be fire. I don’t know why.

Kai: What was the question? Make your own lineup? Uhh…Maybe, I don’t know.

Nick: This is what I think for Kai. Red Hot Chili Peppers, but he’s added to the band or something. Kai’s answer is Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Kai: Yeah, I probably would.

What were your first impressions of each other?

Nick: Oh, [me and Kai] are stepbrothers.

Kai: We hated each other for like two years though.

Nick: Yeah, we did not like each other for a while. And José I met at school. And I just thought he was a little cool guy.

Kai: José’s always been cool. We’ve always loved José.

Nick: José, what’d you think of us?

José: I don’t know, I think you guys are cool. I don’t really judge people. I liked everybody.

Nick: We just all like each other. We’re really good friends, I don’t know.

What is your prized possession?

Nick: Probably my guitar. José?

José: I’m thinking. I guess my wallet.

Kai: Probably my chain.

Nick: Oh. I got my chain on.

What have you had on repeat lately?

Kai: Bryson Tiller’s new album.

José: For me, just a lot of Kuero.

Nick: I’ve been listening to a lot of Harry Styles and The Garden. It’s a weird mix, but both of those artists a lot.

All of you guys are in high school right now, right? What are your plans after high school, and for the ones that are not in high school what are you doing right now?

Nick: Nah, I’m the only one in high school. For me, I’m probably gonna go to Orlando, go to UCF. I wanna go to film school no matter what school I go to. I just wanna be a director, so that’s what I’m gonna study.

Kai: I wanna do film school too. I’m gonna go to community college for now, then transfer somewhere later.

José: For me, I’m in the UF program of arts and stuff. I just got my real estate license, so I don’t starve.

Nick: Our own real estate agent.

What are your upcoming plans as a band?

Nick: We can’t leak that much of what we wanna do, but we wanna do a tour once shows come back. We wanna do a tour of Florida and California. That’s like our main goal.  

THE END

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