It's a Friday night and it seems like every teen girl in the Tri-State area is lined up outside of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. But they aren't here to snap their fingers and bang their bongos to some slam poetry—they're here to see Nat and Alex Wolff, former stars of Nickelodeon's hit show, The Naked Brothers Band, perform.
The teens clutch their beloved Nat and Alex photos as they gab and try to outdo each other's concert stories. One girl, no older than 17, recalls her first concert: All Time Low. This same girl would later ask her friends, "Do you know the reference of my Instagram username? It's a Nirvana song."
At this point, anyone over the age of 21 would reevaluate why they're currently waiting around with a bunch of fangirls. But it all makes sense again once the brothers hit the stage. They've got such an electric energy that could make a fan out of anyone, which explains why one fan was thisclose to being sent to the emergency room after she freaked out about not making the meet and greet.
Luckily for us, we got the chance to not only meet Nat and Alex, but speak to the brothers about other weird fan moments, their new music (namely the singles "Cities" and "It's Just Love," out today), and their upcoming acting ventures.
Interview by Debbie Encalada (@DebbieOE)
Do you ever get used to the crying girls and all the screaming of “I love you" and "I want to take you home"?
Alex: No, it’s so cool.
Nat: No, it’s so exciting, especially [the fans] singing back up lyrics to things we’ve written. We spend all this time writing lyrics in our rooms late at night and to hear it sung back to us is a really amazing feeling.
You guys have a lot of energy when you’re performing. Where do you get that from?
Alex: Going out there and seeing the people really care about what you’re doing. We practiced a lot of for the shows. We practiced without anyone saying anything when the songs are over. To hear people scream during the songs, or to even know the lyrics, is exhilarating and cool. Every time it’s a surprise. I’m so used to the silence.
What are some of your earliest memories of performing?
Nat: My dad’s a jazz musician and I was like two or three. In the middle of his concert, I ran up on stage and grabbed a piece of percussion. Everybody started clapping and I had a big smile. I obviously don’t remember but my parents told me.
Alex: I was a pole dancer at a very young age and that’s where I got my stage presence from.
What’s your songwriting process like?
Alex: I think it varies on each song. We usually write separately, by ourselves, and then the other—Nat or me—will tweak the other’s songs, add a harmony or something.
Nat: Yeah, a lot of the time we don’t write in the same room. I can’t think of a song where we did write in the same room.
What would be your dream collaboration?
Nat and Alex: [Simultaneously.] Paul McCartney!
Nat: We’re the biggest Beatles fans in the world.
Where do you see your music going?
Alex: I have no idea. I don’t even know what’s gonna happen next week. It’s really weird. We wouldn’t have expected this. This show was really packed and really intense. It’s way bigger than any show we’ve played in the past year. So I think it comes in waves. Plus, we’ve been doing a lot of movies. I had two movies come out this year. Nat just has a shit ton of movies coming out. So, career-wise, I have no idea.
Nat: Career-wise it’s all been really random. Musically, our songwriting has gotten more focused. We used to write all over the place. We don’t want an album where every song sounds the same, but we want to have our own style.
What’s been your weirdest fan experience?
Alex: I went to this dance when I was nine or 10, and it was right when the Naked Brothers Band aired. I went to my friend’s public school and my friend, joking around, told all these people who I was and that I was on the show and then word got out. Then there was a huge crowd and girls started ripping at my hair. It didn’t seem like they were fans; they just wanted to see me. All the teachers came down and it was scary. It actually wasn’t fun. I was young and I didn’t understand it. But you gotta feel the hair. I don’t blame ‘em. [Laughs.]
Since you both act and sing, do they ever cross each other?
Alex: Yeah. Almost every movie we’ve done has a song of ours in it. I had a movie called Hairbrained that came out earlier that I have a song in, called “Losing You to the Crowd.” Then I did another called A Birder’s Guide to Everything that had our song called “It’s Just Love” in it. Nat has a song in Stuck in Love called "I Won't Love You Any Less."
Nat: Also "Rock Star" is in Palo Alto, which is coming out soon. One of Alex’s songs plays on the headphones in The Fault in Our Stars.
We spend all this time writing lyrics in our rooms late at night and to hear it sung back to us is a really amazing feeling. —Nat Wolff
How did you approach being cast as Isaac in The Fault In Our Stars? With beloved books, fans get really precious about casting.
Nat: I didn’t care that much about what people thought about the casting. I mean, I don’t worry about it too much because I can’t control it, but I did get a lot of tweets like, "Why aren’t you blonde?" Then finally John Green came out and said, "I don’t care if he isn’t blonde." I had some guy come up to me and go, "You’re the guy who’s playing Isaac, right?" And I’m like, "Yeah." So he responds ,"Don’t fuck it up! He’s my favorite character." It was intense.
How’d you prepare for Isaac’s role?
Nat: I met with a real guy who’s blind, who had actually been broken up with when he was 19, when he lost his sight. He helped me out a lot technically and also emotionally. I also met with some cancer patients. I was really nervous about going because I didn’t want them to feel like I was using them. Two minutes in, we were talking about movies and music, just like I would talk to anyone else.
For the role, it was just hard balancing both. It’s a really upsetting thing going blind and getting broken up with. It's hard to balance the comedy. I had to find the comedy in the darkness, but also not to make fun of it.
You’re going to star in Paper Towns now. Are you worried you’re going to be typecast in the YA sphere?
Nat: The lucky thing is that Palo Alto is coming out and it’s a huge difference. I’m also doing a movie with Mickey Rourke, who’s one of my favorite actors. I’ve gotten to play a bunch of different characters. The thing that makes me different is that when I don’t have a job acting, I spend all my time doing music. I’ve always had a creative outlet.
Where do you see yourself five years from now acting-wise?
Alex: I wrote, directed, and acted in a bunch of shorts. Hopefully I’ll be writing, directing, and acting.
Nat: And I just want to get cast in his movies. He makes me audition.
Alex: Yeah, I make him pole dance.