From the land down under, Tonight Alive is a band that is going to be huge this time next year. Although people may say that they are trying to rip off Paramore, Tonight Alive is still an extremely young band trying to find their sound. Their latest EP Consider This showed growth from the first EP, and since then they were signed to Sony Records and have been recording with producer Mark Trombino. Lots of information about the differences between the American and Australian scenes, the recording process, reflections on past work, and plans for 2011, including touring the US, after the jump.
You guys are recording with Mark Trombino. How's the process going?
It's been great so far, we're on the home stretch now but the whole experience has been absolutely perfect! Mark is simply a genius but more than that he's a lot of fun to be around.. We've spent almost every day together over the past two months and it's safe to say working with him has opened up a lot of doors inside and outside Tonight Alive. Our friendship and this project are things we're all going to be very sad to leave in a couple of weeks!
As a band, this is the first time in the US, correct? How different is the music scene here than it is in Australia?
Well we haven't toured in the US yet but to our understanding the scene between here and Australia is pretty different.. It's hard to explain but if anything I'd say the US scene-and especially the US pop punk scene is a lot stronger than that back home. We love Australia and the kids that come to our shows, but it's not easy to get 'off the ground' where we're from. Australia's music scene isn't big enough or populated enough to support extensive touring and venues aren't always flexible or accommodating to different age groups and genres. There are a tonne of emerging bands all fighting for the same thing but there's definitely a heightening sense of unity and DIY attitude in our local scene. It's really exciting to know even without a bunch of promotion and with a lot of venues closing down that bands are still putting on killer shows and kids are still getting out there and supporting their local scene. We can't wait to get our hands on the American market though-there are a lot of places and a lot of people we want to reach starting this year!
Are there any Australian bands not known here in the US that you think we NEED to know?
Some up and coming bands I'd highly recommend would be our friends 'Heroes for Hire' 'Sienna Skies' 'The Bride', 'The SunnySide Up' and 'Skyway'
Other bands you mightn't know like 'The Amity Affliction' are incredibly talented, definitely give these guys a listen!
You just did your first show in the US. How was the reception to the band?
It was definitely a memorable night! Chain Reaction was packed wall to wall. It was mental when I got on stage to see how much the room had filled up since the last time I'd stood in the crowd! But what blew my mind was to see-not a room full of angry kids with their arms crossed but people actually singing along and getting into it. I think that has been the most bizarre part of being overseas-that people have actually heard of us or listen to us or know the words to our songs! It was a great way to start and I never want to stop. Bring it on!
You did that show with The Wonder Years, who you also toured with in Australia. How did you get to touring with them?
Yeah we toured with The Wonder Years in September of last year and it was the most fun I've ever had on a tour! The guys were great and every single show was incredible! Their fans and their music just created the most unbelievable vibes every night, it was a total blessing to be a part of that. When they knew they were heading over here they had contacted us about playing together, and I think the plan was to put together a pop punk tour package; so we along with Skyway and Heroes for Hire toured nationally with them for 2 weeks and had a total blast! I'd relive it any day!
You released two EPs, All Shapes and Disguises and Consider This. What do you think is the biggest change from the first to the second EP?
'All Shapes and Disguises' is basically a collection of the better songs we had written in our first year as Tonight Alive. The songs on our first EP were recorded over the span of one year, so as you can imagine by the time we released it the songs were already old to us. It served us well and we can look back and still feel proud of it-but 'Consider This' being released only 5 months later was already a much better and truer representation of Tonight Alive and of us as people. The biggest difference between the EP's was how current the sound was at the time of the release.
In All Shapes and Disguises, you decided to cover Rufio's "In My Eyes", which was a curious choice of song to cover. What made you choose this song to cover and place on the album.
When we were recording songs towards 'ASAD' we all agreed a cover would be a good way to break up our songs and to share a little bit of our personal music taste; and since we all grew up listening to Rufio it only made sense to cover one of their songs! They're a band we've drawn great amounts of influence from but that's something a lot of people wouldn't know.. Not only is it wicked fun to play live, covering 'In My Eyes' helped us reach a great deal of people who probably would have never given Tonight Alive a chance if not for knowing Rufio was one of our favourite bands so we're very grateful!
Did you have to get the rights to release the song and sell it? If so, how did the band react to the cover?
Everything ran smooth on the rights and royalties side of things, infact to my understanding the boys were actually really stoked on the cover! It was a total spin out when we heard from Rufio, who would have thought!
You were recently signed to Sony Records. What is the main reason you guys decided to go major label for your first signing?
After a year of talking to labels and going through deals it was Sony that stood out amongst the bunch. Right from the beginning of our association it was perfectly clear they were the best label for Tonight Alive. We are 5 best friends and we like to keep everything close; we've always held a firm belief in building a strong team around the band and we couldn't be luckier with the people we work with at Sony! They understood our vision immediately and it was very evident that we shared the same views and goals for Tonight Alive.
Does the signing create a lot of pressure on you guys to appeal the masses, taking away some of the experimentation you guys may have been planning on putting into the music?
Not at all! And I can imagine a lot of people would find very surprising but we have complete creative control over the music and everything to do with it. We're not the type of people or band to do things we don't want to. If there's one thing we can promise it's honesty, these songs are ours and they're who we are! We're not about to write songs 'for' radio, if they get there that's great but that's not our deal! In regards to 'appealing to the masses' if anything this upcoming album is far more experimental and expressive than anything Tonight Alive has done yet! Which is super exciting because nothing in particular has been holding us back except finding ourselves.. Which I now feel we are well on the way to doing. We wrote this album over the course of a year and we absolutely grilled the songs to the bone to make sure they were perfect or atleast everything we wanted them to be. We've made sure this is something we are going to be proud of and we couldn't be more excited to finally share it!
What does 2011 have in store for the band? Touring in the US?
2011 holds a hell of a lot of touring! We will definitely be visiting the US this year and I can tell you it will be more than once!
Our album should hit shelves mid June, we couldn't be more stoked!
I would like to thank Jenna for taking time out of the recording process to answer some questions, and I am sure that Tonight Alive is going to have a huge breakout this year. They currently have two EPs, Consider This and All Shapes And Disguises up for purchase, and both of them are extremely fun releases. I am looking forward to hearing what the band has next for us. Check out the band on Myspace here.