Pop duo Ian Axel and Chad King of A Great Big World took home a Grammy Award last year for their breakout single “Say Something” with Christina Aguilera. This year, they’re embarking on a headlining tour — entitled “Kaleidoscope,” after a track from their November sophomore release, “When the Morning Comes,” from Epic Records — bringing the New York University alumni to 26 major markets including Boston (March 6) and Philadelphia (March 8).
What made you name the tour after the song “Kaleidoscope”?
Chad King:A lot of people know “Say Something,” and it’s a dark, emotional song, but the rest of our music is light and colorful and positive and has youthful energy. The feeling the world “Kaleidoscope” gives you is what we want people to feel when they’re at our shows.
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Which cities are you most excited to hit up?
Ian Axel: I’m excited about Salt Lake City. It’s my birthday and we’ve had some really great shows there in the past. There’s no other city quite like it.
CK: Philly is a big one for me, especially because it’s at World Cafe Live. This venue — they did it right, because acoustics in the room and where you perform are really perfect.
IA: It feels like people who go there, they go there because it’s known as more of a listening room, where people go to really listen to music.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
IA: We have to make up a new one. We used to put up our hands together and sing a barbershop quartet.
CK: Maybe we’ll do a “Kaleidoscope”-themed barbershop.
What do you need to have on your tour bus?
IA: I need ear plugs and my blindfold thing because I’m such a light sleeper. And I use lavender oil that helps calm me down.
You’re the second person to tell me that.
IA: I think you need to start using it. Then there’s this thing called Lumio that looks like a book but when you open it, it makes a nice warm light. It’s great when you’re in a hotel room with bad lighting and bad energy.
CK: I’m bringing a pillow and sheets of my own. Tour buses are usually nice, but it’s a lot easier to sleep on your own [sheets] in a new city than to sleep on a sheet that who knows when it’s been washed.
So are you guys still in touch with Christina Aguilera?
IA: Yeah, we talk to probably and see her every few months. We were talking about working with her again, and hopefully that'll happen. We'd love it.
You’re obviously big believers in Kickstarter afterfinancing your first EPon the site in 2012. Do you go on the site and give back to other projects still?
IA:[My friend] Nate Ashkerdid this projectwhere he was traveling the world without an airplane, by boat and car, and he documented it. We gave to that, but that was probably about six months ago.
CK: We're huge fans.
IA: I don't know how we would have done it without it. We needed money for the EP and we had money for the rent, but we needed to make the album.Chad and I both quit our day jobs and — oh my god — we raised enough money to record six songs and that's what got us signed to Epic.
And now you’re making a musical.
IA: We're planning a show soon [where] we're playing the music of this show. It’s going to be like A Great Big World Show with special guests. We're over three years into [the musical], and the goal is to play the show, and shopping it around this summer. It’s making progress, but“Hamilton” was six yearsin the makingandSting's musical took eight years. It's a process but we're so proud of it.
If you go:
March 3, 7 p.m.
Brighton Music Hall
158 Brighton Ave, Allston
March 8, 8 p.m.
World Cafe Live
3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia