This is Tour Diary, where artists give us a behind-the-scenes look at life on the road.
Aidan Bissett has been on the road this month, bringing his Supernova tour across the country — crooning catchy indie-pop anthems to the avid fanbase the 20-year-old singer has accumulated swiftly in just the few short years his project has been around. Holding heartbreak and a well-constructed hook in either hand, the hype is well deserved. Bissett is quite the force to be reckoned with when it comes to contemporary indie icons, and the proof is in the sold-out rooms he’s been playing in this time around.
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But he hasn’t had to go this leg of the journey alone. Bissett has brought another of the genre’s young crown jewels along with him, Anna Shoemaker. Her soft, addicting take on alt-pop offers a perfect complement to his rougher, more tormented tracks. And surely when two 20-somethings get on a bus together to traverse the country, there’s bound to be some good stories. We sat down with Bissett and Shoemaker to talk riders, preshow jitters, crazy fan interactions, and more.
You’re packing for tour. What’s the most unexpected item you’re bringing?
AIDAN BISSETT: My Nintendo Switch. I can’t go on tour without it! We love playing Super Mario Party and Super Smash Bros. in the van. It definitely helps pass the time.
ANNA SHOEMAKER: A blanket from my bed in my apartment in Brooklyn. It’s so nice to have something from home when you sleep in a new place every night.
What’s on your rider?
BISSETT: I keep the rider pretty basic. Lots of fruits and veggies and health shots. I will say I must always have Uncrustables on my rider. Those are a necessity!
SHOEMAKER: Always tea and water, sometimes tequila!
Is onstage Aidan or Anna altar ego of your offstage self, or is it your most authentic self out there?
BISSETT: It is most definitely an alter ego for me. I love being able to play a bit of a character onstage that I wouldn’t be able to play in normal life.
SHOEMAKER: Definitely an alter ego of sorts. A lot of my songs consist of things I wish I could say out loud in my everyday life — for example, “Did you mean to put your cigarette out on my heart?” It feels so good to sing some of those lyrics. It actually probably feels better to sing them than if I were to say them to the person they’re about.
What’s your preperformance ritual?
BISSETT: First I do my hair, then I do my vocal warmup, then I get the guys together, and I turn on the Hives to hype us up and get the blood flowing. Finally, right before going onstage, the band and I put our hands together and chant the word of the day.
SHOEMAKER: I look over the setlist for the millionth time, drink a ton of water, and kind of just jump around backstage. The less overthinking I do, the better!
Favorite song to perform?
BISSETT: I love performing “People Pleaser” the most. It’s such a rock-out song that people can mosh to.
SHOEMAKER: “666” is definitely my favorite to perform right now. Something about it just feels so good onstage. I think it’s also my band’s favorite, which is fun.
Favorite song to watch each other perform?
BISSETT: I love Anna’s song “ADHD” and “666.” Both of them are incredible live.
SHOEMAKER: I’m obsessed with the unreleased song he plays, “Planet.” It’s been stuck in my head since the first time I heard it at soundcheck. It’s a cool moment, too, because with every other song everyone is screaming every single word (understandably so!), but with this one it feels like such a special moment where people are really listening.
What are you most excited for about touring together? And why do you feel like you’re well matched to tour together? Sound-wise, personality-wise…
BISSETT: I can’t wait to see Anna perform. I know her music is going to sound so cool live. I also think our bands will get along really well, so I’m excited to hang out with everyone together.
I think sonically we match super well for touring. I think Anna’s sound really complements mine, and vice versa. When it comes to personality, we both are very similar in so many ways, so it made it an easy choice.
SHOEMAKER: To me, it just seems like we both really love what we do. It probably sounds corny, but I think we both just love writing and performing — which I know may seem obvious — but I think there are a lot of people who are in it for the things that come along with being an artist and not the art itself. It feels like Aidan and I both really care about our songs a lot.
What’s one thing we’d be surprised to know about you?
BISSETT: I have a severe allergy to walnuts and pecans. Pathetic I know. [Laughs.]
SHOEMAKER: If I wasn’t a musician, I would want to be living on a farm somewhere riding horses every day. Also, I know every word to “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj.
What’s on the preshow playlist?
BISSETT: We’ve got everything from the Hives to Lorde. Anything to get the heart rate up and moving. It’s so important to come onstage with energy, and preshow songs really help with that.
SHOEMAKER: Honestly, it’s everything and anything, from Porches to Kim Petras. Last night it was Suki Waterhouse! I love her.
Craziest or most shocking fan interaction?
BISSETT: I once was at Disneyland, and as I was walking off a ride, a fan in the distance screamed at the top of their lungs. I thought someone got hurt, but it turned out she was just screaming at me. She shouted, “Are you Aidan Bissett!?” and after she realized I was, she ran over with her friend, and we got to take a couple pictures. I was flattered.
SHOEMAKER: The other night someone asked me to draw something on her arm to get tattooed. I literally cannot draw for the life of me.
What was your first concert?
BISSETT: My first concert was a local music festival in Florida called 97x Next Big Thing. It had a bunch of alternative artists like Young The Giant, Panic! At The Disco, and Rainbow Kitten Surprise, to name a few.
SHOEMAKER: I saw the Backstreet Boys when I was maybe 5 or 6, but the first concert I really remember was Ashlee Simpson, and to this day that was the best night of my life. I cried!
Top three moments of the tour thus far?
- Walking onstage to a sold-out crowd the first night. It still hasn’t set in that this is my first headline tour.
- Waffle House breakfasts
- Watching Anna really embrace the stage. She’s killing it.
- Getting to play this set with my band for the first time. We had never played together before this tour!
- Someone throwing a 6 Uno card onstage during “666”
- Aidan wearing a pink cowboy hat onstage in Dallas