iHeartRadio's ALTer Ego Meets Flaunt's Witness Protection | The National, Dashboard Confessional, Walk the Moon and AJR Talk About Who They Become on Stage

by Brad Wete

Last week we hit iHeartRadio's first ever ALTer Ego concert, set in our backyard at The Forum in Inglewood. Acts like Mumford & Sons, Cage the Elephant and Beck rocked during the all-star one-night festival of sorts. But for Flaunt, the backstage are was pretty festive as well.

We dipped into our own quarters and hosted a collection of some of the evening's talent, telling them about our new Witness Protection Issue and asking who, if at all, they transform into when the touch the stage. Does Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba don a new identity? What of The National's Matt Berninger or AJR's Met boys? We asked them, along with Walk the Moon's Nicholas Petricca. Check out their responses to our inquires and, frankly, some wacky shots of the crews below.


Dashboard Confessional

When you’re about to get on stage, is there a transformative process from who you are in that moment to who you are about to be for your audience?     

Chris Carrabba: Strange, I don’t prepare a lot for the transition going from backstage to on stage. It just happens. It happens without even knowing it. That’s the draw to why I’m addicted to doing it. I get to become… I don’t know if it’s somebody else or the person I maybe really am, but can’t be most of the time. 

So who is that? 

Carrabba: That guy up there, the dude who stands in the middle, I guess. You know, I’m kind of in other scenarios; Maybe I’m a bit of a wallflower [off stage]. That’s just not who I am when I get on stage.

 


AJR 

When you’re about to get on stage, is there a transformative process from who you are in that moment to who you are about to be for your audience?  

Jack Met: Uh yeah, so when it comes to performing we really try to get into a different state of mind. I feel like my mind set is always, “If I were going to a concert what would I want to see?” And I feel like I’d want to see a musician who’s just all about the sound and is just honest and true to the art and I would want them to perform to me, not just within their own circle. So when I get up there I try to give as much energy and as much to the audience as I possibly can. 

Ryan Met: And at the same time, we want to be genuinely us. So when we write the music we try to keep it as specific and honest as possible. Also there’s a juxtaposition between the two.  I think that we’re probably really exaggerated versions of ourselves on stage. I think that we take our flaws and maybe our insecurities and we just put them out to the audience. And I think often when people meet us, we’re a little bit quieter than when they see us on stage. 

If you had to enter Witness Protection, who would you become? 

Jack Met: I feel like I just go to the other extreme, like maybe be a racecar driver or a crazy thrill seeker. I might shave my beard, too. Just get rid of everything. I could see leading the opposite life physically as well. Maybe grow the hair also.

 


THE NATIONAL 

When you’re about to get on stage, is there a transformative process from who you are in that moment to who you are about to be for your audience?  

Matt Berninger: Well you do kind of become someone else a little bit. It is such an exposed dream thing when you’re really high off the ground, there’s lots of lights on you. You can’t see much, it’s very, very surreal. I don’t think anybody’s themself up there. Maybe for some people like Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett or Prince, you know, and it’s just like, “Oh, that was meant to be.”  90% of people that I know who are performers are uncomfortable up there, so you just sort of own being uncomfortable. You know what I’m saying? So we don’t worry about looking uncomfortable up on stage. So we just kind of relax, drink a cocktail. 

So you’re not one of those guys that goes up there and is like “This is the true Matt.’ 

Matt Berninger: You’re seeing a lot of stuff that is real and I’m not faking it, and I have to make sure that stuff is real.  I close my eyes a lot of the time, pretend I’m singing to myself, you know, with my headphones on, singing to my favorite song.  Which is kind of what I am doing.

 


WALK THE MOON

When you’re about to get on stage, is there a transformative process from who you are in that moment to who you are about to be for your audience? 

Nicholas Petricca: Personally, when I really get into it, I feel like each song has its own character. I feel myself physically moving differently depending on the song and the feel of the song and the lyrics. 

Can you think of a song? And who you are during that song?

 

Nicholas: "Kamikaze" is the song that comes to mind. It’s kind of alien, being able to face the fact of who you are. So it’s just this warrior energy and it’s really strong. 

How does that manifest itself in you? 

Nicholas: I walk with more weight in my shoes.


Written by Brad Wete
Photos by Sean Behr