Drake Bell Talks About Exciting New Projects and His New EP “Honest”
Everyone who is between the ages of 15-30 most likely grew up watching a show called Drake and Josh, which became one of the most watched shows in the history of Nickelodeon. Drake Bell, who played Drake Parker, on the show was the musician born from the show. His iconic song “Found a Way,” was the theme song for the show and helped launch his music career. Bell went onto release his first debut album titled Telegraph which included “Found a Way.” Bell later released his successful album, It’s Only Time which included a song called “Makes Me Happy,” which was used in the Drake and Josh episode of “Big Shrimp.”
Bell recently released his first independent album called Honest which has four songs on it. The music video for his first single “Honest” is now on YouTube. Bell is currently touring with two shows left in California. The Suffolk Voice writers Will Heffernan and Amanda Macolino had the chance to sit down with Bell after his Boston show to chat about his projects and music.
SV Will: Do you have a favorite song off your new EP Honest?
Drake Bell: It’s hard, I mean I really like “Rewind”, I like them all. I like “Leaves” a lot.
SV Will: You recently toured before this smaller tour where it was a full-size set compared to this current pop up tour where it’s an acoustic set, what do you like more when it comes to playing your new music, acoustic or to have all instruments?
Drake Bell: I love, I mean it’s so cool to be able to breakdown the songs. “Honest” takes on a totally different life when I play it acoustic, “Run Away” does too. You get to be more intimate with the fans, the audience and such.
SV Will: This was your first independent album, so what was the most challenging part of creating this album?
Drake Bell: Just getting everything done basically; getting the records made, getting the artwork done, getting the songs written, getting them produced, getting the studio times. I mean all of this stuff when you don’t have a label, booking the studio time, and getting the producers, and guaranteeing them this and that. Also, when you have a label behind you, your producers are like “o sure” there almost, not guaranteed, but there’s a better chance to grow wings. When you’re independent and you’re just doing it like I am it’s more like you’re running for office and you’re starting from scratch and you’re trying to get people vote for you. So, going and getting producers and other things, that’s kind of the toughest battle but getting up early and persevering, it’s having a goal in mind, about two years ago I said I wanted to get back out on the road and play as much as I can and put records out and put as much as I can out and play live as much as possible.
SV Will: What’s one thing you hope to achieve with this record this year?
Drake Bell: Hopefully broadening the audience, and turning on more people. I hope that these audiences just continue to grow and grow and grow. I hope my town halls turn into arenas.
SV Will: What’s the message behind “Honest?”
Drake Bell: The main message is basically, ‘I’m honest to you, I’m baring my soul, why can’t you be honest to me?’ Even though sometimes it’s not the outcome that you want, maybe it will end the relationship or maybe it will hurt for a little while, but if you’re honest then the outcome is most likely the right one
SV Amanda: The last album you came out with, “Ready Steady Go” but it had a throwback, rock kind of vibe and now your new album, “Honest” is very modern and pop-centric, what inspired the transition in music?
Drake Bell: Well the last record I did was just for myself you know, to be able have an opportunity to be able to work with my favorite guitar player of all time, [he’s the reason] why I started to play the guitar and discover my style is from Brian Setzer. So I got the opportunity to work with him and it was amazing, so I did a bunch of songs that I grew up loving that inspired me and my playing and my music growing up and when I was touring that and having a blast shredding on the guitar and I was feeling stifled just creatively and like song-writing wise and my fans were like, “well this is a cool album, but where’s your voice? And where are your words and stories?” so when I got back in the studio it all just started pouring out and it took on a whole new life. It started with a song, “Leaves” and when I started producing it with my buddy Steven it was sort of a catalyst for the entire sound basically and we sort of just jumped from there and then it took on a whole new life and I’m really stoked about it and it’s a whole new adventure and experience so I’m excited.
SV Amanda: My next question, you spoke to Billboard earlier this week about possibly doing a “Drake and Josh” reunion, if it ever happened hypothetically, where do you hope Drake would be?
Drake Bell: I would want to do something that’s completely out of the “Drake and Josh” world with Josh and continue on doing [something like] a “Wedding Crashers” and we do an “Old School” and be how Seth Rogen and James Franco are doing all of these different movies and different characters. If it was the “Drake and Josh” characters, Josh probably went to New York and got a great career and Drake’s still living upstairs.
SV Amanda: You were also on TRL last week, how was that? And you also said that you were doing a project with Gaten Matarazzo from “Stranger Things” is there anything you can say about that?
Drake Bell: Well we did an awesome game show together, me, Gaten and Jason Derulo and all of these other people got together. It’s this really cool show for charity, it’s Lebron James’ production company that puts it on. So we did a game show for charity.
SV Amanda: Besides producing music, you have a big YouTube presence, and you did the “WheresWalter” series and stuff like that, is producing video content for YouTube something that you’re into?
Drake Bell: I’m always into producing and creating, I don’t really focus too much on my YouTube. That’s more of when Johnny [Jonathan Goldstein who played Walter Parker on “Drake and Josh”] got free time on our hands. We kind of had this one little cell phone video turned into this entire, series of videos and into this big long universe of “Drake and Josh” where he climbs out of a wall. But I would love to do more of those but that’s if we have the time. But it’s always fun to get back with those guys.
SV Amanda: My final question is, the recent independent film you did, “American Satan” recently just went to number one in the UK, and you worked alongside Olivia Culpo, Booboo Stewart and Jonathan Bradley West from Game of Thrones so what was making the movie and working with them like?
Drake Bell: Yeah it was really cool. Malcom McDowell was the coolest man, like “Clockwork Orange” and it was so dope, Andy [Biersack] was cool too. I met him before and he was a really cool guy. Everybody was really great to work with and it was fun, getting lit up in a car and burned to death and electrocuted by a fence, And I also have a movie coming out in April, I don’t know the exact release but it’s coming out around Coachella. It’s called Cover Versions and it’s with Jerry Trainor, Debby Ryan, Austin Swift [Taylor Swift’s brother], Katie Cassidy. It’s a really fun movie about a band that is on its way to play Coachella but then some drug-fueled murder thriller, suspense, mystery. And you see everybody’s perspective and different view of the story so you kind of go through the same 30 minutes of a night, it’s the same night basically, but from four different points of views so it’s pretty interesting and you don’t know what happens until the end.
Drake Bell rocked Loretta’s Last Call fresh off of a Patriots win, so the crowd was already in the mood to have a good time and Drake Bell’s upbeat acoustic set did not disappoint. While playing a mix of covers by The Beatles and Ed Sheeran, he also played acoustic versions of songs from his new album Honest, and ended the night nostalgically with fan favorite songs from Drake and Josh including “Found a Way” and “Makes Me Happy.” Drake Bell’s independent EP Honest is out now on Spotify and iTunes and his new film Cover Versions hits theaters in April, so make sure to stay tuned!