Actors want to be musicians and musicians want to be actors.
Often, the results are cringe-worthy. But the average crossover bomb is what makes it so special when the line between acting and music is breached successfully. Just take MKTO, the dynamic duo that's turning heads with hit single "Classic."
The twosome's four-letter abbreviated name stands for Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller, two best friends who met as actors and became musicians together. Kelley gained fame as Walt on Lost before being paired with Oller on Nickelodeon's short-lived Gigantic.
After a headlining tour, MKTO is now opening for Demi Lovato. Before that mega-concert hits Miami's American Airlines Arena this weekend, we chatted with Oller about combining music and acting, meeting his best friend, and making music people love.
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Crossfade: "Classic" is huge right now. The song was recorded about a year ago. During that process, did you have a feeling that would be a breakout track? Or was it just another song you were working on?
Tony Oller: We just wanted to write the catchiest songs possible and have a record with a versatile sound. We weren't really going for one style. So I think it's more or less about how people react to it. We had great success in Australia with "Thank You" and "Thank You" didn't work out here. So it is just about how people respond to songs. We think of all the songs we make as our babies. So for it to work either way, it's great. We're just happy people like the song.
You and Malcolm met as part of the cast of Nickelodeon's Gigantic. How much were you working on music before that?
The show was our introduction. We played best friends on it and became best friends off it. I think about halfway through the show, we would just find beats and record stuff on GarageBand and go home after filming a long day and still be writing music until 4 a.m. We realized how much fun it was and we decided to take it a little more seriously. We always just had such a fun time making music together. When it's not fun anymore, we will be done with it. But it's a blast!
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What's the goal for MKTO?
We just wanted to really have the most fun we can and make music that makes us happy. Music for us has always been an outlet to get our problems out in music and have people respond to it and enjoy the songs we make -- it's kind of a therapeutic thing for us, as well as them. It's just something we love to do. So regardless if we are doing world tours or whatever happens, I think we are just going to have fun and keep doing what we're doing. If we become a world-touring band, that's awesome. But if not, it's all good.
Coming from acting, music videos are probably a perfect gig.
Absolutely. It is definitely a very fun time when we get to figure out what to do for a music video and describe what scenes to do. Acting is still a passion of ours. Down the line, we would love to do a movie together. But right now, we will stick to music videos and touring and working hard.
You have been on a headlining tour and now you are opening for Demi Lovato. That's a big responsibility.
It has been pretty incredible the first couple nights. It's definitely fun and it's an amazing opportunity. Our set is only 20 minutes, so it's not as long as we normally get to play. It's about pumping up the crowd and having a good time. It's exciting to play in front of that many people. It's an awesome opportunity and we really appreciate it.
What do you want to tell someone who hasn't seen MKTO live before?
We are all about putting all of our energy out into the crowd. It amps us up as much as we amp the crowd up. Expect to scream and lose your voice.
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Demi Lovato. With Christina Perri and MKTO. Sunday, September 14. American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $29.50 to $69.50 plus fees via ticketmaster.com. Call 786-777-1000 or visit aaarena.com.
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