Jack & Jack: The Exclusive Interview


Editor’s note: As we crossed the Bay Bridge into San Francisco, I noted the biplanes in the sky with beer advertisements streaming from behind. One of the ads was for Bud Light, a staple of many high school parties.

I walked towards the venue, Slim’s, and saw the throng of teens and pre-teens as they waited outside for Jack & Jack. I am no stranger to these scenes that I have witnessed for more than two years now.

I am also no stranger to some of the people in the crowd. There were three who remembered me from the beginning of my coverage as well as a parent who I had conversed with by the bar at Ace of Spades during Kian & JC’s Tour Before the Tour.

I waited outside for a few minutes chatting with these familiar faces before Jack Gilinsky and Jack Johnson (known as Jack & Jack) walked out in front of the crowd and into the venue.

Their demeanor and appearance were similar to my childhood friends in Southern California: snapbacks, chinos, T-shirts, boyish good looks. You’d never know they were natives of Nebraska.

The photographer and I were led into the green room where we would conduct the interview. As we waited, my photographer and I discussed positioning, and I informed her that I had reviewed their EP “Calibraska” last year.

When Gilinsky and Johnson entered, we shook hands. I introduced myself as Zach, and they each introduced themselves as Jack. All three of us made note of the phonetic comedy. Johnson complimented my matching scarf and beret (a personal victory), and we all sat down for the interview.


Tell me about your tour in Australia.

Johnson: Our Australia tour was great. We had three shows in Australia and one in New Zealand. It was so cool to be able to go down to that region. I’ve seen pictures of the opera house and the big [monuments] there, but we’ve never got the chance to ever go there growing up. It’s kind of a mind-trip that we have all these fans down there on the complete opposite side of the world who listen to our music. That was a really fun experience.

Gilinsky: Yeah.

Johnson: Especially being down there with the R5 boys.

Who’s R5?

Johnson: R5 is a band. They’re all siblings except for the drummer, Ellington [Ratliff]. We were co-headlining shows with them, and they were just super fun guys — fun to go out and hang out with.

Any crazy animal encounters?

Johnson: Yes. We got to hug a koala bear.

Gilinsky: It was sweet.

Johnson: Oh, my God! They are the fuzziest little creatures ever.

Gilinsky: Yeah.

Johnson: They have the cutest little tongues — I guess a lot of the ones in the wild have STDs. But luckily the one we were with has been raised by humans since birth, so he was good. All the comments on the picture I posted [on Instagram] were like, “Stay away from koalas; they have chlamydia!” And we were like, “What?”

Can you catch chlamydia from a koala?


Johnson: Probably if it scratches you or something. That’s what I hear. So watch out for wild koalas if you’re down there.



Were there any fan experiences down there that really stood out?

Johnson: We met some fans at the beach, which was fun.

Gilinsky: Yeah. Just, like, the whole time, they were cool. They were really supportive wherever we were at. They were at every hotel.

Johnson: Very chill. They wouldn’t run up and mob us. They were very respectful. The great thing about going to new countries is that it’s the first time that you’re going to meet [the fans]. In their minds it might be the last time last time you meet them, so they always show a little more passion than the typical city we go to, just because it’s such a rad place for us to be at. That’s the great thing about going to new places — the first time you go there is always the craziest. It was a great way to start off our Australian experience.

Gilinsky: Australia was awesome. And it was summer when we went down there, so we’d go to the beach and it was like 90 degrees. It was awesome.

Tell me about Europe.

Johnson: Europe was also amazing. Oh my goodness.

Gilinsky: The first European tour we did was just the quick 13-city run.


When was the first European tour?

Gilinsky: End of October.

Johnson: Yeah, we were in Europe for about 25 days, and that was just an amazing experience. We kicked it off in Amsterdam, and once again, seeing these girls who grew up speaking a different language singing our songs — that was just a mind trip back there. [English] isn’t even their first language, and the fact that they know all our lyrics just really makes you feel this type of way that you can’t really put into words. Europe was awesome because most of the cities we went to weren’t English speaking, but they all still knew our words. They sang them [as] loud, if not louder, than anywhere else.

Gilinsky: Yeah.

Johnson: I got to give a shout out to Dublin, Ireland.

Gilinsky: Dublin was insane.

Johnson: That was the craziest show by far. I don’t know what it was, but the energy that night was wild. There was something electric about that show.

Gilinsky: It was really crazy.

Johnson: But all of Europe was amazing. They were great shows, all of them.

How about your Latin American tour?

Johnson: Beautiful as well.

Gilinsky: That was probably the craziest one for me, personally, because the fans were so supportive and passionate and crazy. Everywhere we went, there were at least 100 or 200 people. It was just insane. Again, they didn’t speak the same language as us, but they still knew all of our lyrics and they still knew all of our words to all of our songs. They were insane. We can’t wait to go back. We did like 2,000-people venues, but there would be like 2,000 or 3,000 girls waiting outside the venue after the show who couldn’t get in. So we can’t wait to go back.

Johnson: It was just some wild support down there. I mean the fact that the fans were staying overnight at a hotel and were chanting all night long — I couldn’t even sleep because they were outside, chanting outside our hotel room, the entire night. It was 5 a.m., and I’m putting my pillow over my head. But then I’m like, “Wait, why am I upset over this? This is the coolest thing ever.” But yeah, South America was wild, just the most passionate fans I’ve ever seen.


Take me four years back in time and tell me where you thought you would have been four years from then.

Gilinsky: We were 15 back then.

Johnson: Yeah, we were sophomores.

Gilinsky: I was just looking forward to being 16 so I could drive — go wherever I wanted without asking my mom for a ride or having my friends come get me.

Johnson: But futuristically speaking, plans for college, just like any other typical high school kid.

Gilinsky: Even though our plans were just to go to college, because that’s just what everybody does, but personally I really wanted to be an actor since second grade. I wanted to go out to Hollywood and be in movies and stuff. But now, obviously, we’re doing music — which I’m still extremely passionate about, it’s just crazy that it actually turned out like this. It’s insane. We’re doing this, we’re selling out shows, there’s always people coming to see us. I really knew that I was never really meant to go the “cookie cutter route” and go how the system goes. You know, people go to college, then they get a job and like…

Johnson: Work their way up the ladder.

Gilinsky: Yeah, yeah. So I just knew that I wanted to do something a little bit different and I’m just shocked that it actually happened.


Johnson: Obviously, we were both 100 percent set on going to college in the forefront of our minds. But in the back of our heads, I knew that we wanted to do more than that. We had this creative energy between us, and we knew we could do something, but we were in Omaha, Nebraska – you know, the middle of the country. We didn’t know what resources we really had at the time. Even if we did want to make professional music, where do you go in Nebraska to make professional music? So it was all just kind of an afterthought, so we just focused on our friends, on school and on a social life. But the fact that it actually turned out the way it did is just mind-blowing because in way I feel blessed because right now I feel like we’re learning more of what applies to our near future life and what is long term than we would in college. I feel like we’re really getting a real-life education while going on the road: learning how to deal with all of the behind-the-scene and financial stuff, figuring out how to crunch numbers and how to do things that really apply to this avenue of work that we’re in right now. Honestly, I’m really happy with the route we’ve taken. But four years ago, we never thought this would happen.

What are some of your musical influences?

Gilinsky: Our influences? Man, there are so many great musicians out there.

Johnson: Growing up, my parents were big rock fans: AC/DC, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard. That doesn’t play much of an influence on our music, but that’s what I grew up on — along with what was just on the radio. That’s, like, all I really had access to during elementary school. Then when I started to choose music for myself, around middle school, I realized there were these websites where I could find new music. I started getting into hip-hop, especially Lil’ Wayne. He was my biggest influence, [lyrically]. It was because of how creative he was with his lines and how he would always make you think twice – like, how it would have a double or triple meeting. Eminem is also another huge influence. He’s just so good with his flows and the way he finds his pockets, and he’ll stay within the rhythm of the beat. His words were almost like a drum, if that makes sense — the way he syncopated his words. He inspired my flow and me trying to rap fast.


Gilinsky: For me, it was more, like, in person. When I saw my first band perform live in a 20,000-person arena, it was U2. I was just watching Bono, and he was just electric the whole time. He had this presence that was just insane, and that was the first time I was like, “Man, I want to perform in front of 20,000 people.” I wanted to perform in front of 100,000 people and do exactly what Bono was doing right [then]. That would be amazing. So I would say he’s probably my influence, just because that was the first person who I ever really even looked up to in that light. Also, obviously, just these cool-ass rappers like Drake. He has this sick new style and he’s just inspirational, because he’s, like, the biggest thing. And I’m just, like, “Man, I want to be the biggest thing, too.” So he’s very influential, but there are so many good ones. It’s just so hard to even name off.

What is the movie that changed your life?

Johnson: “Interstellar.”

Gilinsky: “Interstellar” is a good ass answer.

Johnson: My brain hasn’t worked quite the same after that movie. First of all, the acting — [Matthew] McConaughey just killed it in that role. It was really intense. The twists at the end just made me think in a way that I never thought before.

Gilinsky: I would have to agree because it makes you realize that nothing is impossible. And you get to go into these other realms and stuff.

Johnson: If can list one more, “The Butterfly Effect” with Ashton Kutcher.

Gilinsky: Oh, my God! That movie is insane. Those two are probably the two movies.

Johnson: And that one movie with Leo [DiCaprio].

Gilinsky: “Inception?”

Johnson: No. Not “Inception,” that’s a great one, too, though. It was the one with the island.

Gilinsky: Oh, “Shutter Island?” That movie is insane.

Johnson: That movie changed my entire view on conspiracies. What’s real? What’s fake? But yeah, those three right there.


When I asked JC Caylen and Kian Lawley, they said “Interstellar” as well.

Gilinsky: No way!

They said “Interstellar” and “The Truman Show.”

Gilinsky: “The Truman Show” is awesome!

Johnson: Yeah, they’re really good friends of ours. They think along that same line.

Gilinsky: We had deep talks with them about stuff.

Johnson: We had an hour-long talk about movies with JC and Kian in their backyard once. It was just a great talk. We were just listing off our favorite movies the entire time.

Gilinsky: Yeah, they’re cool guys.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Johnson: “Southpaw.” I’ve watched “Southpaw” six times already. It’s such a good movie.

Gilinsky: “Step Brothers.” I just love that movie so much. Or “Avatar.” I can watch “Avatar” so many times.

We’re talking about James Cameron’s “Avatar,” right?

Gilinsky: Yeah.

Let’s just establish that right now.


Jack [Johnson], if you liked “Southpaw,” you’d like “Raging Bull.”

Johnson: “Raging Bull?”

Yeah, it’s from 1980, stars Robert De Niro.

Johnson: I love De Niro.

What do you think is the greatest movie ever made?

Gilinsky: The greatest movie ever made?

Johnson: That is tough.

Gilinsky: Like what is, just, a solid movie?

Johnson: In my opinion, the greatest movie ever made would have to be — my favorite movie of all time is “Scarface.” I’m just a huge fan of mob movies.

Gilinsky: I really liked “Black Mass.”

“Scarface” is actually a remake from 1932.

Johnson: What version would you say is better?

I think the first one [“Scarface: Shame of a Nation”] is better. But they stand alone, apart from each other.

Johnson: [Mob movies] are my favorite kind of movies, those shady, criminal-mind movies. When I started watching “Scarface” and “The Godfather” and movies like that with Brando and stuff, I was like, “These movies are seriously my favorite.” “Scarface,” still to this day, is my favorite movie.

Gilinsky: I don’t even know, that’s such a hard question.

Johnson: What do most people say for this question?

The past few times I’ve asked – Kian said “Shawshank Redemption,” and JC said “Inside Out.”

Gilinsky: “Inside Out” is really good.

Johnson: I’ve never seen it.

Then you’re missing out.


Gilinsky: Oh, my God. It makes you feel every emotion. It’s crazy.

What recent movie would you recommend from the past two years?

Gilinsky: “The Wolf of Wall Street.” I would it recommend that to anyone over 18.

Johnson: I would say “Dope.” A$ap Rocky’s in it. The plot’s creative as hell — they start selling drugs online, earning bitcoin. I’m kind of into that geeky stuff. Most people probably haven’t seen it yet, so yeah.

Where do you see yourselves in 10 years?

Johnson: I honestly can’t answer that question wholeheartedly. I really don’t know where I’m going to be a year from now. Hopefully, my goal is to be winning prestigious awards, sell out stadiums. We have a long, nice career ahead of us.

Gilinsky: If we’re still touring in 10 years, that would be awesome. And, like he said, winning prestigious awards, living comfortably, being exactly where we want to be.

IMG_0047Johnson: Being happy, honestly. It all comes down to just being happy. That just means having enough to live comfortably. Also, I’m happy when I’m influencing people. So the larger my influence is, it’s only going to make me feel more responsible and happy knowing that I’ve influenced people’s lives positively. But yeah, my goal is just to have as wide of an influence as possible and being as prestigious as possible in the next 10 years. Build up the Jack & Jack name.

(Photos courtesy of Vanessa S. Nelson | vanessanelsonexpress@gmail.com)

Thrust into leadership

Originally published in the Express on Feb. 9, 2016

Student Senate president Marianna Sousa reflects on challenges old and new

Editor’s note: As I waited in South Gym 226, the student government office, for Marianna Sousa to arrive, I made note of my surroundings: white boards covering every inch of wall, all scarred with old dry-erase markers, aged love seats surrounding a large wooden table, and the smell of Cup O’ Noodles, as one student retrieved it from the microwave.

Then Marianna Sousa entered, with a smile that radiated confidence and poise. We shook hands, and she asked me how long I had attended City College. She stopped herself before she finished and said that I was the one interviewing her.

Photo by Julie Jorgensen | Online Photo Editor | juliejorgensenexpress@gmail.com

You were pretty busy last semester with everything going on.

How did you know? You’ve been doing your research.


What was the biggest challenge you faced as a result of the shooting?

When I first came into this position, I was so focused on just learning the basics: learning how to run a meeting, learning how to create relationships with the board, learning how to execute. And then boom! [The shooting] happened out of the blue. Ironically, I was literally leaving campus when all the police were [coming] to the campus.

I remember saying to myself, “Wow! What’s going on?” And after I found everything out, I was able to hit certain people up to find out that everybody on the board was safe.

It just pumped a lot of fear into people. I didn’t realize until that happened how many people suffer from PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], how many people have been in random acts of violence. It really surfaced uncertainty for students, because it gave us the opportunity to see that there are some things we need to tighten up on. There are some policies to put in place, some procedures and orders of operation that need to exist not just for the faculty and staff, but also specifically for the students. What do I do if I’m in the middle of the Quad standing next to my friend in a wheelchair with special needs and someone comes shooting? What’s the best place to go?

So we stewed in that and allowed the family to mourn, we tried to reach out, and we did the vigil and love-in day — some positive things to just allow that healing for the family. But for me, as a president, I had to really sit back and say, “I can’t just let this die down. I can’t let this simmer in fear and just evaporate into the universe and turn into whatever else fear-based actions may happen.” So I came up with the idea to create Safety Awareness & Crisis Prevention Day.

When did you find out about President Kathryn Jeffery leaving to take a new position in Santa Monica?

She told me a couple of weeks ago because it’s all about process and procedure. We found out within the last month, and it’s just been a process watching her.

It’s been a really great honor and privilege to watch how she conducts herself in every way from the very personable connecting energy that she has with people in a one-on-one sense, but also how she works with groups. She’s just a really well-balanced leader overall; she just exemplifies positive leaderships.

It’s just been great seeing her, working with her, getting the across-the-board advice and some of that good pull-you-to-the-side advice. It’s just been a real honor.

[Vice President of Student Services Michael] Poindexter has been appointed as our interim, and he’s definitely equipped for the job. He has the energy, the outreach, so I know wherever [President Jeffery is] headed to she’s going to do great things, but I also know that we have a great wealth of positive people to step into that leadership here.

Can you describe working with President Jeffery?

When I first met her, I thought, “That sister’s got her stuff together.” She’s very sharp, very well coordinated, hair’s always whipped, and that was very impressive. Her demeanor is very graceful.

A lot of the time when you’re dealing with women in leadership, there are various types of leadership. Even with me, when I came into this position, my advisers said that I had to really define what kind of leader I want to be. One thing I noticed about Dr. Jeffery is that she has a unique balance of grace, but she’s assertive in the way that she knows how to take charge and lead. That’s a very interesting way to temper leadership because sometimes when you’re too graceful, people think they can run over you. And when you’re too abrasive or too assertive, people can be put off.  She has a very unique and special balance between the two.

Working with her is easy and a learning experience. She takes away any of the jitters because she really focuses on being here to serve the students, the constituents and campus life. The way she keeps the focus there and quality in serving all the students, she’s very good at making sure we represent not just the students who look like me, not just the students who look like a certain group or certain age, but every single student on the campus. That was one of her first statements to me in our first meeting, and it was one of the strongest pieces of advice she gave me because now when I step in my role, it’s to make sure to look out for everyone, even the voiceless students.

What do you expect for this upcoming semester?

So the game plan for me after speaking to my adviser Kim Beyrer — who’s great — and some of my mentors, my game plan on coming in was to just learn the job first. I think leaders and activists, we get really excited, and sometimes we jump in and spread ourselves really thin.

So the goal for the first semester for me was to learn the role, learn my part, work with my [vice-president], Ansel Chan, who’s excellent at just being thorough and calm and consistent even when you have nerves, and you’re trying to figure out what to do. Learning to work with the different people on the board who have the wisdom and have the experience, but also trust my brand of leadership — that to me was the priority.

Now round two, spring semester, it’s about executing now that I know the job. It’s about creating the events, and it’s about actually getting in and making the connections to start to provide more for the students.

How do you expect the rest of your term to go?

I’m pretty confident. I think at this point the nervousness and some of the jitters were definitely early on in the game when you’re walking into something new, and you’ve got to navigate and establish your way, but I’m comfortable now.

At this point I can run a meeting without feeling like I’m going to miss something or skip over someone. I have a strong enough team that even when we do make mistakes, we stand corrected in grace, and we work together to work through the kinks.

I feel 100 percent more confident — I already was confident; I’m a confident young lady as it is — but there’s one thing to be confident and know that you can always stand in the space of learning, growing. I know I have a great team. I’d also like to put it out there that we need some new board members with the new semester. Some students have moved on to new positive adventures and aspirations. We’re seeking people to get heavily involved in student government and take up some senator positions. Get active in helping with the decision-making process here on campus.

Do you have any advice for incoming students and aspiring student leaders?

Join Student Senate. If you are a student, faculty member or admin that either gets into leadership, supports leadership or advocates for leadership, there is no reason why you should not be taking a trip up to SOG 226 on campus because we have roles and opportunities here.

Kian & JC: The Exclusive Interview

Courtesy of Mills Entertainment.
JC Caylen (left) and Kian Lawley (right). Courtesy of Mills Entertainment.

Editor’s note: It was July, 2014, that I was first made aware of a YouTube channel called “Our 2nd Life.”

I arrived at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco and saw the mass of pre-teens and teens sanctioned off in an alley close by the venue. A tour bus pulled in and the ground shook in tandem with the screams and shouts of the crowd as if the Pope and The Beatles had just landed on the tarmac at the same time.

Two members of the group, Kian Lawley and JC Caylen, walked out and mass hysteria ensued around me. I was never able to meet them that day and I had no idea that I would be covering the members of this now disbanded group for the next year and a half.

November, 2015, was when Lawley and Caylen made their third stop on their “Tour before the Tour” in Sacramento.

I walked into the venue with the tour manager and there they were on the stage. They introduced themselves to me as the Guacamole brothers before we all sat down for the interview.

Let’s talk about your content. Since you’ve left O2L, there’s been a clear rise in maturity with your channel’s content. How did that come to be? When did you make this decision? Did your audience just become mature enough or did you guys just decide, “You know what, we’re gonna take this chance?”

KL: It was kind of a mix of both. We wanted to take a chance, but we kinda knew that we had a certain demographic of people who watch us; and they were all probably under the age of like 16, mostly, so we wanted to build it up to a more mature audience like 16 to 21 type of people. You know what I mean?


KL: But I don’t know, it was kinda of a mix of “we’re gonna try it out” and also a mix of like we want them to mature with us.

JC: Yeah. I think the big thing is that we’re growing up and we want to stay real to ourselves and real to the fans. So we don’t want to stick at like the — I’m still 17, I’m still gonna make 17 jokes — I’m 23 and it’s time to like – I’ma have a beer I’ma do this and do that – and you know I’m gonna be myself.

You guys have both branched into “traditional media” like [Kian] you’re in a film and… [JC] were you shooting?

JC: Yeah, I was shooting for a show, a series.

So how has that entire process of trying to get your foot in the door with these old school guys been like?

KL: It’s working well. I’ve filmed two movies now and one of them hasn’t come out yet. But I don’t know, it’s fun and it’s really cool to see how they work. It’s a lot different from a YouTube video.

JC: I just recently had to go to New Mexico to film the show and the whole process of it. I mean, I wasn’t a main character, but the whole process of it was totally different from YouTube. Like, I love branching out. I love doing new things. I want to do as much as I can in this lifetime. So I mean, why not do movies? Why not do shows? I feel like, Kian and I, I feel like we can do more than YouTube and we’re gonna prove that to the world.

Have there been any influences on you two as actors, regarding the craft? Or has it just been like you want to try it or has it been just an aspiration for one of you or both?

JC: Kian has aspirations.

KL: Yeah, I have a couple of people I look up to. They’re all comedians. I’ve always wanted to try acting. I’ve always wanted to get my foot in the door like you said. I always wanted to do something so I kept auditioning, auditioning, auditioning. I have a few people that inspire me. So I kinda trace their footsteps and went in the same direction. I haven’t done a comedy yet but I hope to soon.

It was a horror movie the very first one you did?

KL: The first one I did was a horror movie.


KL: It was a way different genre.

[JC] When did this interest in acting happen for you?

JC: I was never truly into acting to be honest. Just because I thought it was so hard because ever since english class I hated memorizing poems. So I see these scripts Kian’s getting they’re fucking like 100 pages long and I’m like, “Well fuck that! I don’t wanna…” – sorry, I don’t know if I can cuss. I can’t cuss?

No, it’s fine. My audience is fairly older.

JC: Okay – so I was like, “Fuck that! I don’t feel like memorizing lines.” But then he said it was so much fun and blah, blah, blah; and I have my manager saying, “Yeah, you should try it!” and blah, blah, blah. Just recently with the channel we just started getting into scripts. I actually had to memorize it and read a script and play a character, I have all these characters on the channel. So that was fun. I was like, “Damn, this is fun.” You know? So maybe it’ll still be fun it it’s like a bigger production with like other people. So I tried it once and I loved it. That’s where my aspiration comes from. Like I tried it once and I absolutely love it. There’s been a couple of actors out there that I love, but it wasn’t like, “Ah just because he did this I want to follow in his footsteps,” you know?

Which actors, specifically? For both of you.

JC: I really love Will Smith and Shia LaBeouf. I love Steve Carrell. I can name [Kian’s] number one.

KL: Jim Carrey, Steve Carrell, Will Ferrell, Andy Samberg, Jonah Hill – it’s just all comedians. And then for drama I really like Shia LaBeouf and… who does [Tour Manager] Brent Abens look like?

JC: Ryan Gosling.

KL: Yeah! Ryan Gosling.

You guys have probably been asked this question so many fucking times. But I have to ask it. What has your experience been like from being “normal” to becoming this newer generation of celebrities? How has that experience changed your lives?

JC: So like basically before YouTube and now that we’re here on stage?

Yeah. Like how long was the transition from that point to this?

KL: It’s been a journey. It’s been a long time. It’s not something that happened overnight. We had to work for it, and I feel like it has changed my life for sure. Because before this I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I wanted to act but I didn’t want to audition. I didn’t know how to go into an audition I didn’t have any experience. So I don’t know, I was kinda at a crossroads with what I wanted to do, and YouTube gave me the opportunity use it as a platform to jump into new things like acting. For my friends it’s been singing. For other friends it’s been modeling. It’s for sure a life changing opportunity.

Yeah and quite frankly being an actor is fucking awesome. Speaking as a former actor. But moving on, would you rather work on a film or a series?

JC: That’s hard to explain because I’ve never done a film.

KL: Yeah and I’ve never done a series.

JC: So I don’t know. I mean, I would love to do a film. I’m sure it’s the same exact thing – I mean not the same exact thing. I’m sure it’s along the same lines –

Let me reword the question. Have you two compared your two experiences and seen any differences?

JC: We did talk about them a little bit but I honestly didn’t see anything so different. Rather than just like… well I guess it depends on like who your character is, how long you need to stay on set, how long the hours are, when you’re gonna film, where you need to film – cause I was in New Mexico for it – I guess just stuff like that. It all depends.


JC: And I feel like series are a little bit shorter. But I don’t know because mine was like a hundred and something pages for the script and it was 12 episodes. It felt like a big movie split into 12, you know what I’m saying?


JC: So I don’t know. Maybe it’s the same thing.

Is this a web series?

JC: We’re… well… they’re hoping that Hulu or Netflix buys it. [I] do not know where it will go if they don’t. But I think the director has a lot of confidence that they’re gonna like this stuff.

Yeah, and are you able to say what it’s about? Are you allowed to say anything?

JC: Yeah, it’s a show called “Tagged.” It’s basically about a young girl who gets murdered on Vine, actually. And she gets shot by a murderer. And these three main characters, three girls, have to find out who the killer is before someone else gets hurt or killed. So it’s like a murder-mystery type thing.

Sounds very Agatha Christie.

JC: Yeah. Very – they said it’s very like “Pretty Little Liars” but more teenage –also a little more grown up – you know what I’m saying?

Okay, cool. Kinda like “Scream Queens?”

JC: I don’t know, I’m not too familiar with “Scream Queens.”

I’m not either.


JC: I’m not familiar with “Pretty Little Liars” either. So I don’t even know, that’s what they’re comparing it to.

Your guys’ fan experience, because usually, with stars they don’t really get that close to their fans. How has this experience with your fans been like?

KL: It’s more personal, more interactive, more special, I guess. Because as an actor, you have to play a character that no one can really relate to. Like a serial killer, no one can relate to that, except crazy people. But for YouTube, you get to be yourself, you get to portray who you really are. So I feel like more people can relate to who you are and that brings you guys closer. For us it’s easier, it feels like you’re friends. It feels like they’re friends who watch your videos. It doesn’t feel like they’re fans.

JC: Cause like I mean, like in moves they portray like – I mean, I’m not talking about all the movies – but before movies you get your make-up done, you’re getting your hair done, you’re making sure your outfits on point. On YouTube, you know, you don’t really get to put make up on and you kinda have messy hair, you’re wearing what you’re wearing at the house. So you’re kinda just talking one-on-one. It’s more like you’re not looking at the camera with a perfect face and no acne. We’re normal people, too and I think that’s what the whole YouTube thing is good for. It’s about connecting.

There’s been a change in quality from your O2L days to now. Am I correct? Just as far as shooting and quality – I don’t want to say that it’s bad quality.

JC: Yeah I know.

You know what I mean?

JC: I know exactly what you mean. When we moved out [of the O2L house] we moved in together and we wanted to have better quality – when it comes to the channel — we wanted better quality, we wanted to hire a production team for some of the videos – for out skits and stuff – so we have that. Better sound, it all comes together. But you still have that personal feel because there’s no acting involved really – unless we do a skit.

I want to talk about this one particular video. It was recently when you were with Ricky Dillon. First off, can I say just how fucked up that was?

(JC laughs)

Also, tell me how did he react to that and also where did you find that scary-ass guy?

KL: The burglar was our personal trainer from the gym. He keeps saying he has no acting experience, but I don’t know how he pulled that one off. It was a great performance.

JC: It was actually improv. We told him to stop when he barged in to scare him. Once he scared Ricky that was supposed to be it. We didn’t realize he was going to bring a taser. We didn’t realize he would yell that loud and break my door. We didn’t realize that it would go that long, but we played it off and that’s what we got so we put it up.

In five minutes or less, take me through the entire process of making a video. I know that sounds impossible, but I promise you it’s not.

KL: You have to think of a video idea, then you have to go over it. I’m trying to think of like bullet points.

JC: It all depends on like what you’re filming, too. So if you’re doing a short film, you have to write a little script, write what you’re gonna say. You gotta make sure you get all of your costumes together – unless you’re doing a challenge video, it’s kinda easy – set up the camera, tripod, where you want to film. For the challenge video, if you need props, you need pies in the face, mouse traps and electric collars and make sure they’re charged and ready to go. Start the video, do the challenge or the skit, whatever it is – that’s the fun part – then you get to go through it.

KL: That’s the easy part.

JC: It’s usually the mess, you have to clean up after, there’s usually a mess or stuff you have to pick up. After you pick up all that you have to dump the footage onto the computer, import it, edit it, make it sharp, make it clean, that takes about three to four hours to edit – depending on what video it is. Then you export and upload. That’s it.

So this is the tour before the tour?

Both: Yes.

Alright, so – by the way, thanks for picking Sacramento, guys – what can we expect from the next tour? The Tour tour.

JC: The tour after the tour before the tour?


KL: I don’t want to say too much.

JC: There’s a lot of surprises. I mean, when you watch the show – I don’t know if you’re gonna see the show or not – there is a little surprise at the end that usually gets people. This is like something you would be seeing at the bigger tour, but just heightened. We want to go bigger, bigger venues, bigger stunts.

KL: I was gonna say that what you’re seeing tonight – I’m trying to put it in perspective – what you’re seeing tonight is a little taste of what you’ll see on the big tour, but the big tour is going to be on steroids. There are going to be a lot of different things that we’re going to do. This is kinda like the tour before the tour that we need to test out venue size. We’re testing out what works and what doesn’t work onstage.

JC: What do people like.

So this is like a dry run?

JC: Yeah.

KL: This is a very dry run. This is a little bit of what you’ll see, but everything else on the real tour will be bigger and better.

JC: Just trust us.

The part of the interview with my paper [the Express] is basically done. But I’m also going to write a longer article for my blog which is a movie blog. Want to talk about movies?

KL: Let’s do it! I love movies.

JC: I’m down.

Let’s start with some light questions. What is the move that changed your life?

KL: “The Truman Show.”

I love “The Truman Show.”

KL: To this day, it changed my life. Everywhere I go now and everything I see, it makes me think that like our world is in “The Truman Show” – not that I’m just one person in a globe that thinks it’s fake. I feel like everyone in the world is controlled by someone or by something. So I feel like (pointing to crew member) that guy over there, he’s doing that for a reason. Someone told someone to tell him to do that. I don’t know, “The Truman Show” did something to me, I don’t know what it is. But yeah, changed my life for sure. And it’s Jim Carey, I love him. I’ll kiss him.


JC: That’s so hard. I don’t really know. I don’t really have a movie that changed my life. I’ve had a couple of movies that kinda changed my way of thinking.

That’s basically changing your life. It changed your way of thinking.

JC: Yeah. The only one I really like and really had an impact on me was “The Blind Side” with Sandra Bullock. I think.


JC: Yeah. It’s such a good movie and it shows like compassion and the diversity. No one – well except Sandra Bullock’s character – really cared that he was a black kid and she took him in and… I just love that movie. It doesn’t break your heart but it kinda like fixes it up and tells you that there is compassion on the world. I really like that movie. That’s my very on the spot honest answer.

What is a movie you can watch over and over again? It never gets old for you.

KL: “Tangled.”

“Tangled?” I can see that. Yeah.

KL: I can watch it over and over.

Guys, I don’t judge.

JC: I’ve never seen “Tangled.” So I don’t know. But I love “Project X,” I love “I Am Legend.” I love “Disturbia” with Shia LaBeouf. I love “Cloverfield” by JJ Abrams.

What do you think is the most important movie ever made?

JC: That’s a hard one and I don’t think I even like the important ones. I like the ones that are zombies and monsters attacking cities.

Some of those are arguably important movies.

JC: I really want to say that there’s not one movie that is more important than the other. Even when it comes to like “Inside Out,” have you seen “Inside Out?”

Of course I have.

JC: It’s like those Disney movies that have like those meanings behind it. I’m not saying that not only adults get it, but the kids only see it up until they grow up and re watch it and they’re like, “Oh I loved this as a kid.” But they see that message. I feel like those movies are the most important. Like the whole meaning behind “Inside Out” is that you need both sadness and happiness to live. You can’t always be happy, sometimes you need that sadness. I think’s so important. Messages like that, and I think Disney always portrays that. “Finding Nemo…” and yeah.

Mostly Pixar.

JC: Yeah, Pixar.

Pixar will destroy people.

JC: Yeah.

Kian, did you want to answer?

KL: I can’t think of one.

We can move on.

KL: Yeah.

This next question is basically the same thing, but not really. I don’t ask “what is your favorite” because that’s a dumb question. What is the greatest movie ever made?

JC: The greatest?


KL: “The Shawshank Redemption.”

JC: I don’t know. I love “Interstellar.” It’s not my favorite movie, but… fuck, it’s so good. It’s so good, so intellectual.

If you like “Interstellar,” you would love “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

JC: Really?

It’s basically the first “Interstellar.” Of course it being made by Kubrick, it’s one of the greatest films ever made.

JC: Oh shit.

Yeah and “The Shawshank Redemption.”

JC: I’ve never seen that.

That is actually what made me become a critic. Like before than it was just all these stupid little movies that I’ve watched like “The Nutty Professor” and shit like that. But “Shawshank” really did change my life. Any recent movies that you’ve seen besides “Inside Out?”

JC: “Southpaw” is really fucking good.

KL: Yeah, “Southpaw.”

“Straight Outta Compton?”

Both: Yeah!

[Kian] you’re 20-years-old, right? You probably grew up listening those dudes then.

KL: Yeah. It’s not like I grew up with them, but I grew up listening to them for sure.

JC: My dad used to love that shit. He would always bump that in the car when I was growing up.

Alright let’s close, because we’re running out of time. Can you give some advice to an aspiring YouTuber or actor?

JC: Make like Nike and just do it.

KL: The same thing and if you’re scared or nervous, those nerves and fears you have aren’t going to go away unless you try it. You’ll always be left in the dark wondering “what if.” So just go for it and all your fears and anxieties and all that will go away if you try it. You might like it, you might hate it, but just try it and see if you like it or not.

JC: And to add, anything I’ve ever tried, from starting my channel on YouTube to doing the series to like starting rehearsals for tour, the hardest part of everything is just to start it. Just take that first step. There’s a lot of people who are like, “I want to YouTube, but I don’t know what videos to make.” My first video was a fucking a vlog with my drunk grandma. It was something that I wanted to do. So it doesn’t matter what your first is. It matters what you make of it in the long run. No one makes the greatest movie of all time during their first run.

Unless you’re Orson Welles.

JC: Yeah, unless you’re that guy. You take that first step and once you’re out of that first step, the ball rolls and you start lovin’ it. That’s it.

The companion article “Sacramento gets stuck in the web with Internet celebrities Kian Lawley, JC Caylen can be viewed here.