PRETTYMUCH is looking for a teacher. The new boy band comprised of five teenagers — Austin Porter, Nick Mara, Brandon Arreaga, Edwin Honoret and Zion Kuwonu — with Simon Cowell at the helm, gave their growing fan base a new music video to enjoy Friday morning (Oct. 6) to go along with their second single “Teacher.”
Coming off of their debut single titled “Would You Mind,” which they performed on MTV’s TRL reboot on Tuesday, the guys decided to reveal a different side of themselves to the world. Whereas in the “Would You Mind” video, the guys are seen in frenetic clips in a van, an alley and around the beach, for “Teacher” they strike a more simplistic tone — it’s just them, a camera and a white room.
PRETTYMUCH’s Arreaga and Honoret caught up with Billboard to dish on the evolution from “Would You Mind” to “Teacher.”
Read their interview and watch the full “Teacher” video below.
The first thing I noticed when I watched this new “Teacher” video is its stark aesthetic contrast with the “Would You Mind” video, which was so jam-packed with different scenes. Was that intentional?
Brandon: “Yeah, I think we kind of just wanted to take the attention away from all the quick transitions, the movement and take away everything except for a white wall, an open space and just let us five be the thing that drives the video.”
I saw you guys said after TRL on Tuesday that this song is about women empowerment. If you could expand on that, that would be wonderful.
Edwin: It’s just the guy not really knowing the approach or losing your game on how to pick up girls, even talk to a girl, and he’s trying to give it to the girl. Put it the girl’s hands and be like, “Hey, can you teach me the ways? Can you run the game?” A lot of guys nowadays feel like they have to run the game, but girls have the power.”
What’s the backstory on “Teacher” as a song? Did it come from a particular moment or was it more a concept?
Brandon: It didn’t really come from an exact moment. It’s about the whole concept. It’s just an easy way to be playful. It came together really fast, and so there wasn’t much story behind it.”
Why did you decide to release “Would You Mind” before “Teacher”?
Brandon: I think mainly we knew we wanted to make a unique first impression and I think “Would You Mind” being so different — you know, it has that throwback feel, it has that R&B vibe, an attention-grabber [so] people start to be a little bit curious and want to know more. Because when it comes down to “Would You Mind” and “Teacher,” I think, between the five of us, some of us liked “Teacher” more, but it was more of a fact we wanted to put “Would You Mind” out first so we could grab people. Now that we have eyeballs, we put out “Teacher” to get more eyeballs and then hopefully when we put out our next single we want to have more attention. And so, we’re just trying to build momentum as best as we can.
Sure. What is your favorite part about the “Teacher” video?
Edwin: My favorite part is just not really taking it too seriously. I feel, with this one-take thing, we kind of just wanted to show more personality and having fun. I feel like nowadays artists want to go so deep and so in-depth with their videos — you know, girls and kids, they just want to see us feeling relatable. Just hanging out. We want the fans to feel they can be a part of that environment as well. Sometimes all the production and stuff gets intimidating.
So you did it all in one take? Is that what you just said?
Brandon: I think what’s so special about it, too, is that we didn’t even know what we were going to do going into the take. Nobody told us to do anything. We just said, “Alright, we’re just gonna see what happens.” That’s kind of how we like to roll. We just want to show who we are on camera. Be goofballs.
On the day you were making the music video, did you go in with the vision that it was only going to be one take?
Brandon: It was funny. We had two ideas. We had the idea to do it in one take, and we were all kind of leaning toward that, but as a back up we had a version that we were going to be doing pieces of footage from that one take but also another day of shooting at some studio — just us goofing around and singing the song. But then, it resorted back to the whole idea that we didn’t want to take it too seriously. We wanted to just turn the camera on and let us be us. Let the camaraderie between us just show. Individuality, our playfulness, all that stuff.
Have you noticed any difference as far as fan reaction or listener reaction between “Teacher” and “Would You Mind”?
Edwin: Yeah. I feel like people [like] “Would You Mind” because you can play it and you’ll always feel like, “Wow, this is PRETTYMUCH’s first song.” It has a special place in their heart. But “Teacher,” they love how it’s still kind of modern. Like, “Would You Mind” has that retro feel, so, you know, some people they love it, but some people — they just don’t get it. They try to get it. With “Teacher,” you can’t really go wrong. Modern feel. They love how it’s playful.”
Do you have a favorite line or verse from “Teacher”?
Brandon: “And on the real tip/ Everything we do is salacious” — because it’s a vocabulary word.
Edwin: The average 15-year-old does not know what the word “salacious” means.
Brandon: I didn’t know. Edwin had to explain that one to me.
Edwin: It’s so cheesy and corny. It makes sense, but it doesn’t, and it’s just us — again — not taking ourselves too seriously. We’ll throw this out there and hope for the best.
Is there anything that you think that this video and song convey as far as where PRETTYMUCH is headed in the future?
Edwin: I feel like this video, like I said, we don’t take ourselves too seriously but we do [have high standards] and make sure everything we put out is better than the last. The fact that this was so easy yet so meaningful to us just shows that the things that we’re going to keep putting out are going to get a little more complicated but still going to be true and authentic to us.
Brandon: Yeah and I feel like also — dynamic. Something to expect in the future is the diversity from song to song, video to video, person to person. We’re going to continue to switch it up, but at the end of the day, it’s still all going to make sense because it’s all going to be PRETTYMUCH.