Since forming in 2016 in L.A., members Daniel Seavey, Jonah Marais, Corbyn Besson, Jack Avery and Zach Heron released a slew of EPs before finally putting out their debut studio album 8 Letters in 2018. Following an eight-month hiatus in 2020, the boys came back with the album's high octane lead single "Fallin (Adrenaline)," featuring an expert drum sample from Kanye West's "Black Skinhead," which became their first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
To commemorate the release of The Good Times and The Bad Ones, the members of Why Don't We answered Billboard’s 20 questions about perfecting their music, their goals for 2021, being willing to drop everything for The Beatles, and the main takeaway from their new album.
Check out the Q&A below.
1. What’s the first piece of music that you bought for yourself, and what was the medium?
Daniel Seavey: I bought a digital download of "Beautiful Girls" by Sean Kingston.
2. What was the first concert you saw?
Seavey: I saw TobyMac live, and he did a back flip off a speaker at one point. Pretty sick.
3. What did your parents do for a living when you were a kid?
Seavey: My dad was a pastor and my mom was a stay-at-home mom.
4. Who or what made you realize you could be an artist full-time?
Seavey: I used to busk down in Portland, Oregon on the streets and stopped quite a few people... sometimes turned into small crowds. That’s when I knew. [Ed. note: Seavey is from Vancouver, Washington.]
5. What’s at the top of your professional bucket list?
Jonah Marais: To make a positive impact on as many people in the world as I possibly can.
6. How did your hometown/city shape who you are?
Marais: My hometown -- Stillwater, Minnesota -- is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s a small town but still close enough to the Twin Cities to not feel too out in the middle of nowhere. I loved living on lots of land by a lake. Growing up, I'd rather run down to the lake with my dog than play video games or watch a movie.
7. What’s the last song you listened to?
Marais: "Monte Carlo" by Remi Wolf.
8. If you could see any artist in concert, dead or alive, who would it be?
Marais: I’d see The Beatles. That would be legendary.
9. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen in the crowd of one of your sets?
Corbyn Besson: We played at San Jose State University on the 8 Letters Tour, and a drunk mom ran on stage during our third song! I was so confused in the moment and couldn’t tell if she was supposed to be there or not, but our security escorted her off pretty quickly, and we went on with the show. It was one of the funniest show moments we’ve had. She low-key had some moves, too, though.
10. What’s the weirdest or most unique venue you’ve played?
Besson: We’ve played a few pretty interesting venues in our time. In Germany on our last tour, we played inside an old World War II bunker tower that they converted into a music venue. Those walls were so thick -- you know we cranked the bass.
11. Which band would you drop everything to join if you were asked?
Besson: The Beatles! I think the guys would have the same answer, haha.
12. What’s one thing that even your most devoted fans don’t know about you?
Besson: That’s hard to say, we’re super open people! I think our fans might not know how much we stress about small details when it comes to music, merch, etc. The guys and I are perfectionists for sure. Our fans deserve the best from us!
13. If you were not a musician, what would you be?
Jack Avery: I would be trying my hardest to be in the NBA, but at 5’7” that’s not looking good for me.
14. Who do you want to collaborate with next?
Avery: Paul McCartney.
15. What are the challenges of releasing music/an album during a pandemic?
Avery: It was tough to go into a studio without feeling anxious about getting sick at first, but we were super strict about taking every possible safety precaution and following all the guidelines whenever we were recording together earlier in the year. We also had to record a lot remotely when it wasn’t safe to be in person together. There was a lot of pressure to finish it quicker, too, because we didn’t want to wait too long on releasing. Although it’s been challenging, it’s been great to think of new ways to connect with our fans as we’ve released this album, especially on social media.
16. What are the benefits/positives of releasing music/an album during a pandemic?
Avery: The positives are that there’s a lot to write about with the hard times, and it gave us more time to actually write what fit perfectly in each song.
17. What do you want fans to take away from The Good Times and The Bad Ones?
Zach Heron: I want the fans to really be able to feel our music and relate to it. These lyrics came from our hearts and I really hope the fans will recognize that. We are so proud of this music and it came truly from us.
18. Do you have a favorite track on the album?
Heron: "Grey." This song has been through a lot and it feels great to finally be able to put it into the world. The lyrics are so well written, and I relate to it so much.
19. What do you miss most about performing in front of a live audience?
Heron: I miss the feeling. I miss the adrenaline. I miss the fans. I miss the crowd screaming. I miss the crowd singing back our music and knowing every lyric. There is too many things I could say I miss. Touring is such a big part of what we do and it doesn’t feel right not touring right now. Can’t wait to get back out there.
20. What are your 2021 goals?
Heron: My goals for 2021 are to really make this me and the guys year. We are ready. Another goal of mine is to be more positive. I feel like sometimes I can get in my head and think too much and it throws me off, so my goal is to really quit that.