On the back of there Australian wide tour with Amy Meridith, Tonight Alive Vocalist Jenna caught up with us to talk about their incredible new record All Shapes And Disguises and how the road has been treating them over the past year
Hi Jenna, how are you doing today?
Excellent thanks luke.. Still recovering from our weekend in Adelaide though.. sleeping on your floor’s put me out for over a week now haha.
Can you please describe how Tonight Alive started and where you draw the majority of your influences from?
Tonight Alive started as a collaboration of friends branching out from previous music projects-it was almost like a fluke of a perfect combination really.. We draw most of our influences from older punk and pop punk bands we grew up on like Thrice, Rufio, Lagwagon, Descendents, Strung Out and New Found (to name a few). Whilst theyre not in our forte, poking your head in the tour van you’ll definitely catch us spinning metal and hardcore tunes! And personally ive got a bit of sweet spot for anything Tim Armstrong’s involved with.
Tonight Alive have recently taken part as the main support for the Amy Meredith tour which saw the band hitting all the major capital cities. What were some highlights from the shows?
It was our first main support tour, so that saw a bigger crowd and a stronger reaction. A lot of the shows were 18+ and between Tonight Alive and Amy Meredith -we didn’t have much trouble packing the venues out.. so it was definitely good to see appealing to an older audience was becoming easier.
Your debut record All Shapes and Disguises is due to hit stores on June 18th. How much pressure were you under writing and recording the album considering the large amount of attention Tonight Alive has received since the bands inception?
At the time of writing and recording the songs on All Shapes and Disguises-Tonight Alive was still new at the game.. a number of songs off the record were written up to almost 2 years ago so we weren’t feeling any pressure as to how we sounded or who we appealed to.
The pressure’s really only set in recently-with our music in a more public domain and the band under constant review and speculation-so we hope we do justice to the hype that’s been building up over the past year!
Who was responsible for producing your upcoming record and how does the artwork tie in with the lyrical themes present on the CD?
We worked with a number of engineers on the CD.. Including Greg Stace and Antonio Hanna, but most hands must go to Dave Petrovic at Electric Sun Studios who also mixed the whole CD 🙂 To be honest, the art and title don’t really coincide with the lyrics on All Shapes and Disguises, but relate more to Tonight Alive in terms of members and our roles in the band.
You could almost say the little girl represents our inner core as musicians, and the bear represents our aggressive take on the professional and business sides of writing, recording and performing. All Shapes and Disguises refers to the band in a way that-on stage and in writing we can recognize our sole purpose is to entertain and get across to our listeners, but offstage we’re still little kids-doing this out of love and respect for music.
In September Tonight Alive are one of the main supports (in addition to Heroes for Hire + Skyway) for The Wonder Years. How keen is the band feeling to be supporting such a lordly pop punk band?
When our agent sent an email telling us The Wonder Years had requested Tonight Alive as tour buddies on their trip to Australia, we were absolutely over the moon! Our application was filled out ready to send in appeal for a spot on their lineup but they beat us to it-which is such a massive compliment in so many ways! We couldn’t be more stoked to be sharing the stage with such an incredibly talented band and along with our friends Heroes for Hire and Skyway, this tour is looking up to be massive!
What was it like starting a pop punk band in an area of Sydney predominantly known for its hardcore and heavy acts like Sienna Skies ect. Is it difficult finding bills with bands that cater to your sound?
It wasn’t easy at first, we did cop a lot of comparisons and ‘stupid pop punk kid’ calls.. But it’s becoming more and more apparent that our scene was definitely ready for a new sound and a fresh batch of bands-as the heavy trend was dying down and the hardcore kids were starting to grow up.
The first show we ever played was a Hypefest in Castle Hill-headlined by Thy Art is Murder, so although that’s enough said, it started out a little sticky but it only took a year before we started playing with bands closer to our genre. Don’t get us wrong though, some nights we wish were playing in a metal line up, and we still go out to shows and check out our local metal bands.
You might’ve noticed we’ll take any chance to throw in heavy moves on stage haha and admittedly we’re looking forward to having the time to start up a hardcore side project, even if it turns out to be a joke.
The majority of the band is still quite young considering the average touring age of bands now. Does this cause any issues when hitting the road often includes 18+ venues?
When Tonight Alive started, the boys were just starting to turn 18 so they never had any problems but I was only a little far off 16, so from time to time I had to sit in stairwells and carparks rather than back or side stage. Ive never really complained though-it was cool enough just to be playing in those venues, and sometimes I got lucky enough not to be questioned or for security to misread my ID haha.
I didn’t exactly get kicks out of changing in fire escapes and doing my makeup in the reflection of dirty windows but looking back, in a weeks time-I won’t ever have to do that again-so it almost seems a little badass and maybe even something I’ll miss. Only one particular (unnamed club) really gave me a bad experience, when I was held in the van until two minutes prior to playing and then being escorted outside as soon as I stepped off the stage. I’d never kick up a stink about licensing laws but that time almost felt set up. Other than that it’s been fun having to sneak into my own shows over the past 2 years.
How much longer does MySpace have before everyone eventually pisses off to Facebook?
It seemed to be such a good passage for bands until facebook started becoming more popular, but to tell the truth I don’t think it’ll ever truly die out. Although facebook offers better service for advertising and the application for ‘inviting’ friends to ‘like’ or ‘join’ or ‘attend’ anything and everything to do with your band, it doesn’t have the same artictic/graphic or interactive nature as myspace.
I think that ultimately what people want is to connect to the band in one way or another, and what makes myspace so good is that it offers a place to listen to the music, see the band and speak to the band, which realistically facebook just cant match.
Who are some of your favourite local Australian bands to catch and who should we keep an eye out for throughout the year?
Don’t get me wrong, Australia is full of hard working bands, but to be honest since the split of The Getaway Plan and Elora Danan, no ones really turned me on lately..
Rural or capital city shows?
At the moment its been 100% capital city shows, but since we put out the preorders for All Shapes and Disguises, there’s been about 600 cd sales to rural areas, so we’re stoked to get out there throughout the rest of the year.
Worst experience on the road?
Not gona lie, for us there’s really been nothing bad about being on the road. Part of me wishes we’d had bad experiences to learn from, or made some mistakes along the way-if for nothing else than a good story to tell; but to be honest we have such a great team of people backing us and getting involved over the past year that we’ve had every opportunity to be fully focussed and avoid all kinds of pot holes along the way.
What does the band have planned for the rest of 2010 (apart from the aforementioned Wonder Years tour)?
Since recording All Shapes and Disguises over the course of June to October last year, we’ve been writing towards our next release. So besides touring, we’ll be recording and hopefully putting out another CD before the year’s through. You’ll also be able to catch us on the upcoming releases of our very first video clips J
Favourite heavy release of the last decade?
I have 3 if you don’t mind haha.. I definitely fancy The chariot and For the Fallen Dreams, but my (not even guilty) pleasure is A Day to Remember-they’re one my favourite bands and I love every single song they’ve ever released.
Any pre show rituals?
We always have a little huddle before we go on stage.. If we have a room or a car big enough-we like to have a little sing along to either an all-round favourite band like Hit the Lights or Forever the Sickest Kids or something heavy to get us syked up J
Thanks for your time, any final words or thanks you would like to share?
Thanks for reading this interview and to all the people who’ve either had faith in us at this very early stage or ripped on us because they’ve had nothing better to do J bad publicity is still publicity-so keep it coming motherfuckers.
Well said !