When it came time to record their sophomore album Wild & Free, A Rocket To the Moon decided to take a different approach and enlisted the help of several Nashville co-writers. But during an interview with Radio.com, frontman Nick Santino and guitarist Justin Richards explained that there was one writer in particular that held major influence on the band: romance writer for the masses, Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, A Walk To Remember).
One of the first tracks the band wrote for Wild & Free was “First Kiss,” a song the band is convinced would make for a great feature in a Nicholas Sparks film.
“We tried to just write about the act of a first kiss at that age in our life,” Richards said.
Santino said it’s important for A Rocket To the Moon to write relatable songs.
“As cheesy as it is, a first kiss happens to pretty much everybody,” he said. “It was the first song we wrote for the album. We kind of tucked it away for a while and wrote a bunch more songs and when it came to picking songs for the album that was one of the first ones we brought up. It’s been getting good feedback so far and I think it’s because it’s super relatable.”
“First Kiss” is a soaring ballad that describes a first date in vivid detail and isn’t a long way off from each member’s own first kiss.
“It reminds me of being in sixth grade, seventh grade and not being able to drive myself [to a date] and you get dropped off at the house,” Richards said. “Dad answers the door and you’re scared of him.”
The story rings all too true for Santino, who told us about his first kiss. We weren’t surprised Nicholas Sparks was involved.
“You go to the movies and have your first kiss during A Walk To Remember in eighth grade. That’s a true story,” he confessed. “People laugh when we say it, but that song came from influence not the music side, but from Nicholas Sparks and The Notebook, A Walk To Remember, and all his chick flick, girlie movies. It was a big influence. We finished recording that song in the studio and we actually put the movie trailer for The Notebook up and we played that song and had the movie on mute. And we were like, ‘This fits perfectly. This is how we’re going to write all our songs.’”
Wild & Free was produced by Mark Bright, who is known for his work with country acts Rascal Flatts and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery. A Rocket To the Moon expressed that it was important to be honest on its sophomore release.
“We just wrote stuff that we really like and had fun doing it and we’re hoping people really like it too,” Richards said.
“We had a lot of time to write it so we spent all of that time focusing on making every song perfect and all flow together,” Santino said. “That’s one thing about our band: we’ve always been diverse with our songs. On the last album they flow, but they’re all so different from each other. I think that’s what people want to listen to. If you listen to an album that all sounds the same you get to track six or seven and you’re like, ‘OK, I get it.’ And you change it. With us, I think it’s something new every track.”