Photos By: Ed Hannigan
View all of Ed’s AMP photos here.
I find it difficult to call After Midnight Project a “baby band,” as I saw them not only upstage Chevelle at the House of Blues in Anaheim, but also because I’m 100% convinced that AMP is the future of modern rock. I’d be willing to bet my left testicle that in 2-3 years, this band will be the biggest thing in rock music; bigger than the Chilli Peppers, bigger than Nickelback, hell – maybe even as big as U2.
In some ways, After Midnight Project are derivative, but they’re derivative in the same way as U2, The Deftones, or The Chilli Peppers are derivative; in that they’re styles and influences span a lot of familiar, yet respectively different and interesting genres. Part of what makes AMP’s music interesting (which is the same key factor that’s worked for The Deftones and U2 all these years) is that you never know just where they’ll take a song. Yes, they have pop sensibility (i.e., verse, chorus, verse, catchy vocal hooks, good guitar riffs, etc.) but… they’re exceptionally good at bending and meshing genres in a fashion that simply put… works. A great example is “Backlit Medley” this song begins with a balls-out hard rock riff, and flows seamlessly into a Jimmy Eat World/Postal Service-inspired soft-rock opus with slight hints of electronica and a manly vocals that seamlessly flow in and out of uber-feminine Brit-pop falsetto; it’s so seemless, you wouldn’t notice unless you were looking for it.
Then, there are songs like “Hollywood” that take the played-out Strokes-inspired sound and bend it into something completely new, or the twice-released single “Take Me Home” that merges aspects of Tool with aspects of Jimmy Eat World and Owl City.
Editor’s Note: I can wax poetically on this for hours, but my words can’t do this band justice, just buy “Let’s Build Something to Break,” or catch them at any live show, and you’ll realize exactly what I’m talking about.
I digress… The top 5 reasons why After Midnight Project is the next big thing:
Reason #1 – The front man must have made a ‘crossroads’ deal with the devil… or Motown (same thing) – Singer, Jason Evigan, is the hands-down best front man of this decade. He’s got swagger, charm, extreme stage presence, and most importantly, excellent vocal chops. Picture what it would sound like if Jim Adkins’ testicles dropped, or if Daniel Johns had stuck with hard rock, and you’ve got Jason – a singer with a vocal range of a few octaves (he hits falsetto as well as Thom Yorke) and has the tonal clarity of Mark McGrath.
Reason #2 – Pop sensibilities – After Midnight Project understand how to write good songs. Officially, they’re one album deep, but any die hard fan has a copy of their pre-major label EPs. In theory, AMP has two full records worth of material released over a span of about 4 years. On their EPs, they proved that they could write and produce major label-quality songs without the help of a big name producer or a $200,000 budget. At the core, AMP understands that it’s all about making quality songs.
Reason #3 – Mainstream, yet completely inventive and original – After Midnight Project play radio-friendly, mainstream rock… if mainstream rock had multiple drug problems. Their sound, on the surface, is safe, but bends and molds the modern rock genre, breaking it into pieces, and taking it in a completely different, yet logical direction. They adhere to the genre, while simultaneously crafting a style all their own. Answer this… Why do people like Owl City? People like Owl City because what they REALLY want is a new Postal Service record. Would Owl City be as popular if they didn’t sound like The Postal Service? No… They definitely wouldn’t. Same thing with Hinder… People like them because they sound like 3 Doors Down and Creed. My point is that all modern rock is actually “post modern rock,” meaning it’s all been done before, and there’s not much left to do with the genre that hasn’t already done. Some bands attempt to ‘try new things,’ but miss the mark (Interpol, Silversun Pickups, etc.). Not only is After Midnight Project original (no one sounds quite like them, and they don’t sound quite like anybody else), but they’re also masters of styles, able to merge several different genre-specific ideas into one in ways that have truly never been done before; what other band can successfully mix a speed metal opener with a Radiohead-styled verse?
Reason #4 – The Lenny Kravitz effect – In short, girls and guys can enjoy this band together. I wouldn’t want my girl to catch me listening to Avril Lavigne, and I wouldn’t want to catch her listening to Pantera; there’s an un-written rule: guys listen to guys music, girls listen to girl’s music. After Midnight Project, much like U2 and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, is the kind of band men and women can both listen to without shame and/or violating any un-written rules.
Reason #5 – Work ethic and values – After Midnight Project is permanently on tour. They’re willing not only to tour incessantly, but they take every opportunity to meet with their fans – Every show ends with the band signing autographs and meeting fans at their merch booth (for the sheer talent they possess, they’re an unabashedly humble and down-to-earth group of people). Since their inception, After Midnight Project have been all about their fans, and even have a special phone number for their fans to call and bug them. (P.S. They return every phone call they receive.) This type of approach, which is completely genuine, has worked for other bands in the past (Everclear, Deftones, etc.), and it works especially well for After Midnight Project, who pride themselves on their accessibility.
No disrespect to Chevelle they were great too!!!