BY CHARLIE TAYLOR boyband is a hilarious new mockumentary web series that, as the title suggests, lampoons the boy band phenomenon. In a verite style reminiscent of The Office or This Is Spinal Tap, boyband gives the viewer a behind the scenes glimpse of the making of a pre-fab pop stars, as five wouldbe teen idols are fed into the machinery of the pop industrial complex and emerge as the hapless competition of the likes of One Direction — or, as the show’s tagline puts it, “five doofuses make the transition from garage band to boy band.” Hilarity ensues. Last week, we got Jacob Bond, who plays “Lance,” on the phone and discussed the making of a show about the making of a soon-to-be famous boy band. Off-camera, he’s more likely to crank Bon Iver than Justin Bieber.
PHAWKER: How did you get connected with this project? What drew you in and made you interested in working on this?
JACOB BOND: I am close friends with Matt Chappelle who plays “Preston.” We’ve been close friends for a while, same town and we went to school together. I go to his house a lot so I knew Colleen (Griffen – writer of boyband), Matt’s mom. When she tells the story, she says that one day a bunch of us walked into her house with Matt and she sort of had the idea pop into her head that it would be hilarious if we were a boyband. I remember her saying that to me one day in her kitchen, and I said, “Yeah, that’d be awesome, that’d be hilarious.” I wasn’t thinking that anything would come out it. A couple of months later she sent out an email that had the treatments for Season One in it. We got together one weekend and just sat in her backyard. We read the treatment, just a few of us. It sort of sprang out that and I definitely jumped at the opportunity to do it. I have never questioned it, it was a great cast and a great idea. The scripts have always been really strong and really good. There’s also a lot of room for improv and ad-libbing, which makes filming fun and a little more exciting.
PHAWKER: As you mentioned, you knew Matt before this. But the cast seems to have chemistry. Did you know the other guys before the show?
JACOB BOND: I did actually. I knew them before this. We all went to the same high school together, funnily enough. Peter Semla (“Shaun”) and Noah Eisfelder (“Yancy”), they are both a year older than the rest of us, so I didn’t know them as well. But we had all worked on the school’s annual variety show called Yamo. We all knew each other through that, but absolutely it brought us worlds closer to each other.
PHAWKER: Have you ever been a fan of boy bands?
JACOB BOND: No, I cannot say that I have. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your view I guess. My younger sister is a One Direction fan and I hope that quote makes it into the article because I would love to expose her on any level that I can. But, no I never really have. I’m into other sorts of music. I did watch some of the One Direction concert movie as some research, I guess you could call it.
PHAWKER: So if you aren’t particularly into boybands, what kind of music do you listen to?
JACOB BOND: I kind of listen to all music, except country, which I really don’t like, and jazz I guess. But mostly alternative stuff, I really like Bon Iver and The Head and the Heart. I’m very excited for Kanye West’s new album, which I just heard the other day.
PHAWKER: Let’s talk about your character, Lance, for a little bit.
JACOB BOND: He’s sort of the bad boy of the group. When Colleen was first writing it and developing the characters, she would sometimes talk about how she wanted us to play a role that we might not usually play, go out of our comfort zones for a little bit. I’ve never really played anyone like Lance, so she wanted me to do Lance. He’s the bad boy, the one that thinks he’s too cool for everything. He doesn’t want the band to be called boyband, he wants a real rock n’ roll band. I wouldn’t say he’s goth, but he’s definitely the closest thing to it in the band.
PHAWKER: Tell me about the other members of the band?
JACOB BOND: Yancy is sort of the wild card, which is what we would call him sometimes. I can’t describe Yancy, you have to watch, he’s very weird. Something is off about him, in a funny way. Shaun is the sensitive one, he’s kind of quiet and he talks about his grandma a lot. Chad is the cool one, very into fitness and talking about himself, along with all of the workouts that he does. He’s very self-absorbed. Preston, Colleen calls him the glue guy, he keeps everyone together and he’s that guy who brings snacks to all of the rehearsals. He keeps the whole group together, or attempts to keep them together.
PHAWKER: In developing your character, has it just been following the script or have you added some of your thoughts into it?
JACOB BOND: It’s definitely an open process. Colleen allows for that which is really nice. She came into the project with a pretty solid idea of what she wanted for each character. But there’s a lot of improv as well. Almost half of the first season was improvised and then all of the interviews in Season Two are improvised. There are individual interviews at the beginning of each episode and every episode of Season Two will end with a group interview with the whole band. All of those interviews are completely improvised. How we did those interviews is that each of the cast members got the interview questions a few days before we were going to shoot that part and then we would just show up on set the morning of your interview in front of the camera. They would ask the questions a couple of times and you could rattle off a couple of different answers. Colleen and the editing team would choose which one fits best. There’s also sort of a challenge to know what was going on in the story at that point. We still had guidelines but she was kind enough to leave it up to us, to bring our own ideas and some of the plot ideas. A lot of the lines, more specifically, came from the cast too.
PHAWKER: Do you prefer improv to staged comedy, like reading your lines?
JACOB BOND: Oh no, improv is my biggest fear. It’s terrifying to me and I admire people who can do. I love going to see it and I love going to see improv groups. It’s genius and one of the best talents in my opinion. But it terrifies me. Matt, David, and Noah were all in the same improv troupe and Peter is great at it too. That was the biggest challenge for me with those interviews. It’s really hard but I definitely gravitate more towards someone telling me what to say. Then I can try to say it in a funny way or something. But it was wonderful to have the challenge of full 100% improv.
PHAWKER: Well I’m with you there. How does this compare to acting you have done in the past, since you’re working on something that isn’t your forte? How does it compare to things you’ve done in the past, whether it be through school or outside acting companies?
JACOB BOND: Well just before boyband, I had done two shows in Chicago in theatres there. I had done them almost back to back so I was in that state of mind. I’ve just been doing a lot of stage before that and at school. When I’m in school, I only do stage really. I’ve been in some films, a couple of commercials, stuff like that. This is the biggest scale of production I have worked on and coming off of the streak of stage acting, it was definitely a weird shift to go back into that because the two mediums are so different. It was nice to shift to keep me on my toes.
PHAWKER: So you do sing in the show, how do you feel about that? Do you enjoy singing?
JACOB BOND: No, no I do not. I wouldn’t say I hate but I wouldn’t say I enjoy it either. It’s definitely another challenge, like improv. None of us on the show are amazing singers and that’s kind of the point. None of us are supposed to be amazing singers, we are supposed to be kind of off and bad. We got through it by joking around and laughing at how ridiculous it was. I got through it but it’s not my forte.
JACOB BOND: I’m not sure actually. I don’t know too much. We just were named as an official selection of the Los Angeles Web Series Film Festival.
PHAWKER: Yeah, congratulations on that, that’s terrific.
JACOB BOND: Thank you and we just found out about that few days ago. That’s end of March, beginning of April I think so hopefully we will all be there. The whole cast is going to try to be there for the festival and then we also had the first two episodes released, then a new one is released every Sunday. It’s a full season – 21 episodes. It’ll end around the beginning of June, I think. Hopefully we get a lot of exposure and some good press. Hopefully people like it and can enjoy it half as much as we did making it.
PHAWKER: Awesome, well my last question is unrelated, but if you could be a part of any band, now or in the past, which would you pick and why?
JACOB BOND: That’s a really good question and a really hard one. You know what, I might pick Bon Iver which is kind of a boring choice. But I’m the biggest fan ever and they are so beautiful. I’ve never seen them live but it’s composed of 15 people and a ridiculous amount of instruments crammed onto a stage. They are all doing their own thing and playing their own stuff, but it all comes together and sounds amazing. I would probably choose Bon Iver, which is the most opposite music from a boy band so maybe that means something.