Kendall Schmidt Answers Fan Questions by Uinterview

Heffron Drive’s Kendall Schmidt and bandmate and buddy Dustin Belt are opening up about their journey as musicians within an exclusive video interview with uInterview, answering questions from winning fans on our question contest platform. Both revealed more about the role passion plays in pursuing a successful music career, the era of YouTube covers, the merits and demerits of cats (Schmidt can tolerate cats, Belt is allergic) and even the popular PokemonGo! app (Schmidt does not play, Belt “absolutely does”).

Schmidt got his break when he was cast as Kendall Knight in Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush. The band released a series of chart-toppers and experienced much success between 2009 and 2013. The singer-songwriter-producer has since moved on and is currently a member of the pop group Heffron Drive.

Responding to questions Heffron Drive fans asked via uInterview’s question contest platform, Schmidt and Belt talked what inspired them to pursue a career in music. In many ways, the musicians’ winding musical journey is one that is indicative of how the music industry has changed over time, how technology and social media sites have widened the scope of audiences artists can reach.

Kendall Schmidt & Dustin Belt Video Interview

“I’ve been singing since I was a kid, but I started playing guitar when I was 15 to learn a Taking Back Sunday song called “New American Classic”. After that I kept learning my favorite songs,” he told uInterview exclusively. “Then I started doing covers on YouTube in 2007 and that was probably the sort of beginning of that whole YouTube cover thing.”

Schmidt did covers of Bob Marley and Incubus to continue working on his craft. He lived down the block from Belt and they grew up jamming together. The duo posted the music they made together on MySpace and when Schmidt got his big break with Big Time Rush, Belt joined him for the ride.

“We had an opportunity to have a guitarist tour with us because we did a lot of acoustic stuff. So Dustin was a shoe-in. He played pretty much every show that contained a guitar and toured with us all over the world,” Schmidt reminisced.

Touring was never short of adventures and in response to a fan’s question about the greatest thing they’ve done while on tour, Dustin had said, “We went running off the side of a mountain and landed running on the beach.”

When asked what they plan to do if the music thing doesn’t work out, they responded as a duo would respond. Schmidt jokingly expressed interest in enrolling at Le Cordon Bleu to become a chef and Belt said he’d pursue a career as a sommelier.

Since then, the dynamic duo have returned to their indie roots. Schmidt told uInterview, “We did that for a long time and now we’re getting back to Heffron Drive and producing everything and distributing everything through my own label and taking a fierce, independent route.”

Both feel blessed to have had a musical journey that’s spanned their entire lives and emphasized that drive and determination go hand in hand.

“We do everything ourselves,” Belt said.

“To be honest it’s not hard to love being a traveling musician, We feel really blessed. A lot of the drive in it comes from enjoying what we’ve been given and not taken for granted,” Schmidt reflected. “It’s been quite a career for only being 25,” he added laughing.

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Q: What is the best question that anyone has ever asked you? - Ashley -

[Dustin]: So, Ashley wants to know, what is the best question that we’ve ever been asked?
[Kendall]: Recently, I had a question in an interview that was much more in depth, it was like ‘What were you like when you were a child?’ and I was like ‘Wow! I hadn’t been asked that in a long time.’ I don’t know. That question, what is the best question you’ve ever been asked? Is a pretty good question.
[Dustin]: I remember, one time, I was also offended by this question. But, this person asked me, ‘So, what are you gonna do when this music thing doesn’t work out?’ and I said, ‘Well I have no other options, this is the only thing I ever wanted as a career in my life, and it’s the only thing I’ve ever done, is entertainment.’ I have no other plan, this is plan A, plan B, plan C and I’m gonna keep going until I’m like the most successful thing that I can be.
[Kendall]: You’re gonna basically see Heffron Drive be held up there with Metallica, be held up there with U2,
[Dustin]: Rolling Stone actually named us one of the top three bands of all time and it was U2, The Beatles...
[Kendall]: Rolling Stones — well, that’s four…
[Dustin]: Okay, then we’re like top five, when they said top three they kinda lied. Then, I think we were ranked number one right?
[Kendall]: Yeah.
[Dustin]: Right, so I hope that answered your question.

Q: Do you watch The Walking Dead? Do you play Pokemon Go? Do you like cats? - Emma -

[Dustin]: So these are Emma’s questions, first one was, do I watch The Walking Dead? — no. Do I play Pokemon Go? — absolutely.
[Kendall]: You do?
[Dustin]: Yeah, I’ve got it right here. It’s on my phone. The third question was, do I like cats? No, I’m allergic.
[Kendall]: Okay, so I’ll answer Emma’s questions. I did watch The Walking Dead, for maybe one, two, or three seasons. At a certain point it just kinda slipped away from me. I’m really good about watching like one or two shows and if it’s not top two then it kinda slips away. Do I play Pokemon Go? Absolutely not. Do I like cats? Yeah, I like cats. I like every animal...and I’m not allergic so they’re alright.

Q: Who takes care of your pig, Yuma, when you are on tour? - Michelle -

[Kendall]: Well, I don’t really do much taking care of her anyway. It’s not my pig. I kinda just get to enjoy her being around or lack thereof. But, I guess my brother feeds her and she eats in the morning and in the afternoon, kinda like a dog. She’s very spoiled. You don’t ever have to worry about how well taken care of she is.
[Dustin]: She thinks she’s a dog.
[Kendall]: I mean, she gets more privilege than I think any pig in the world.

Q: How do you feel making so many people like myself, happy? - Marika -

[Kendall]: Shout out to Marika in Italy, hello. It feels great to make anybody happy, it’s sort of icing on the cake I guess. We’re having a great time ourselves and if someone loves music and finds happiness in it, then that’s like the ultimate bonus. We’re very happy to make her happy or you happy if you’re watching this. So, thank you for the opportunity.
[Dustin]: Yeah, we’re definitely not trying to make you sad.
[Kendall]: No. Unless the song is a melancholy type song where you’re supposed to think about something like heartache. But, it’s only for musical purposes, we’re not trying to make anybody actually sad.

Q: Where do you find the passion for your job? What is the best compliment you have ever been given? - Francesca -

[Kendall]: That’s a great question.
[Dustin]: Where do we find our passion for our job? Well, I think the drive and determination that we both have, that’s kind of where it comes from. They kind of go hand and hand. Because, we do everything ourselves. So, waking up every morning and knowing that nobody else is gonna do it except for us is kind of the driving force.
[Kendall]: Yeah, there’s a purpose in it you know? Honestly, like it’s not really hard to love being a traveling musician. It’s really fun and to have people that actually wanna listen to it and go to shows is; we feel actually really blessed. So, I think a lot of the drive in it comes from just enjoying what we’ve been given and not taking it for granted. That’s a compliment I guess, maybe — the best compliment we get is from someone who hasn’t ever seen a band and then sees a show and comes up and says ‘I actually really liked that, that’s fantastic!’ Hearing people who’ve never heard it before say that they love the music is always a huge compliment.
[Dustin]: And then probably the one we hear second most, is that I’m the better looking member of the band. I just wanna make that clear, so that everybody knows that I take precedent.
[Kendall]: And the first one we actually have never heard so I guess the second most it is then…

Q: Who would you most want to have sign to your label, tour, or have a duet with: Kanye West, Katy Perry, or Michael Jackson? - Meghan -

[Dustin]: I would say Kanye. I like Kanye.
[Kendall]: Yeah, Kanye would be interesting. Although, you probably just have to let him do whatever he wanted to do, which is probably exactly what you wanna do.
[Dustin]: Right. Just let him fly.
[Kendall]: But, to sing a duet with someone, Katy Perry would be really cool.
[Dustin]: Yeah, she’s my teenage dream.

Q: Are you ever going to release “Feels so good”? - Kara -

[Dustin]: I think we probably remember Kara, don’t we?
[Kendall] Yeah, for sure and are we gonna release “Feels so good”? I mean eventually, yeah. We’ve just been focusing on like new music and it’s an older song. Although, I guess if they want the song we should probably…
[Dustin]: Maybe in like 20 years when we release like that sixth album, compilation of like all the stuff that never made it, like all the c-sides, not even the b-sides, like all the secret stuff. Maybe, that’s when it’ll come out and we’ll get like some crazy feature on it at that time.
[Kendall]: Like Miley Cyrus!
[Dustin]: Yeah! Like 60 year old Miley Cyrus on it.

Q: If you weren’t singers, what would you be doing? - Clark -

[Dustin]: So to answer Clark’s question, if we were not singers, what would we be? What would we do?
[Kendall]: Well, I would go and join Le Cordon Bleu and become a chef.
[Dustin]: I was going to say that I would become a sommelier. So, maybe we could work together still.
[Kendall]: Yeah! I’ll run the kitchen and he runs the wine.
[Dustin]: Perfect.

Q: Do you believe in friendship between boys and girls? If you do, can we be friends? - Maria Giulia -

[Kendall]: I think we rely on friendship between boys and girls; yeah absolutely. Simple answer is yes, but that’s an interesting question.
[Dustin]: It is. I have many I don’t.
[Kendall]: He has many friendships with many people.

Q: What was the greatest or craziest thing you’ve ever done while touring? - Camilla -

[Kendall]: The greatest thing we’ve ever done on tour — I mean hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro.
[Dustin]: We went hang gliding over Rio one time, we went running off the side of a mountain and landed running on the beach.