Archive for the ‘after midnight project’ Category

5 Reasons Why After Midnight Project Is The Next Big Thing

November 5, 2009

Written By: Jim Markunas

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.

Some would call their sound marginal and/or derivative, but anyone using that label (a.) hasn’t truly heard “Let’s Build Something To Break,” and (b.) has obviously never seen this band live.

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!!!

Other AMP Articles:
Review of “Let’s Build Something To Break”
Interview With Jason Evigan

After Midnight Project- Boise Idaho Warped Tour 09

August 24, 2009

They even rock Idaho!

After Midnight Project – Let’s Build Something To Break

August 17, 2009

Label: Universal/Motown
Rating: 4 Guns

Buy On:
After Midnight Project

Written By: Jim Markunas

After Midnight Project is the band of the future, and have manged to take modern rock in a completely new direction. This is exactly how music should be – catchy, heavy without going overboard, and well-produced. Mainstream without being derivative, After Midnight Project’s “Let’s Build Something To Break is hands-down, the album of the summer. Picture a manlier version of Jimmy Eat World with a little bit of the Radiohead/Postal Service thrown in, or a less gothic AFI, and you’ve got After Midnight Project’s debut LP.

“Let’s Build Something To Break,” produced by John Feldmann (Atreyu), is standard rock on drugs, in which the modern rock formula is paid its due, but simultaneously dragged away on a tangent. The record is the perfect mix of electronica, heavy guitars, crisp vocals, with a slight dash of indie rock thrown in for good measure. Each song has its own sonic superiority with layers of samples, guitar effects, distortion, and most of all, a wall-of-guitar sound.

Although the wall of guitars hold their own with any alt-metal record, they buck the genre’s trend of overpowering the vocals. This is a good thing, as Jason’s vocals are what make After Midnight Project different from every modern rock band of the past decade. He’s similar to Jacoby of P-Roach and Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray as far as vocal range and delivery, but Jason’s actual voice can’t really be compared to any current artist; another rarity in today’s derivative rock market.

My favorite thing about “Let’s Build Something To Break,” and After Midnight Project in general is that you never know quite where they’re going to take a song. A lot of the tracks on this LP open with blazing guitars, and then gently float into a radiohead-inspired, soft-electro opus (“Backlit Medley,” “The Real Thing”) or vice-versa (“Take Me Home,” “The Becoming,” “More To Live For”). Other tracks show us that the “indie sound” of the past five years can still have balls (“Hollywood”).

Even the ballads rock. Check out “Fighting My Way” and “Gone Too Long.”

My one and only complaint about this album is that I prefer the 2007 version of “Take Me Home.” Don’t get me wrong, the 2009 version still rocks, but I have my preferences.

Check out our interview with Jason Evigan, AMP’s lead singer.

Like After Midnight Project? Check Out: Idiot Pilot, Jimmy Eat World, AFI, Sick Puppies.

After Midnight Project – The Interview

August 14, 2009

Interview By: Jim Markunas

Exploding onto the Los Angeles music scene in 2004, After Midnight Project, have attracted thousands of new fans and garnered critical acclaim for their unrelenting live shows, intense viral campaigns and continued support from rock radio stations nationwide. After 4 years of nonstop touring and continually building their fan base both online and in person, the band signed with Universal Motown in 2008 and headed into the studio with renowned producer John Feldman (Atreyu, The Used) to record what would become their debut album, “Let’s Build Something to Break.”

I’ve been a fan of AMP since 2007. In my not-so-humble opinion, I believe that this band is what music should be – catchy, heavy without going overboard, and well-produced. Mainstream without being derivative, After Midnight Project’s “Let’s Build Something To Break is an album everyone needs to have in their collection. – Click on the banners below to buy “Lets Build Something To Break” from iTunes and/or Amazon. We managed to catch up with After Midnight Project vocalist, Jason Evigan, via e-mail.

JM: The last time I saw you guys live was at your residency at The Key Club in Los Angeles back in 2007. You managed to pack the venue on a Tuesday night (a rarity for L.A.) Not to jock, but you guys were great live! How have you improved and honed your live skills since then? Have you played out a lot since getting signed to Universal/Motown?

Jason: Honestly we have been touring for two years straight!! we took some time to record the album but besides that we have been playing, playing, playing. We really take pride in our live show. So I guess you can only get better right?

JM: Tell us about your Warped Tour appearance. How are playing festivals different or better than playing clubs?

Jason: The festivals are really fun because you get to meet SO MANY FANS!!! But it really is tough on your voice and just on your mental state! I really have to watch how much I talk during the day and drink at night or Ill wake up and have to play a show at 11AM with no voice.

I like club tours because you get hotels almost every night and get to work out in the mornings and really prepare for the show every night. But I would say the Warped Tour has been the funnest summer of our lives.

JM: Prior to your signing with Universal, you guys had a great publicity and management team in place. Your Myspace had all sorts of fun features, and AMP was all over the internet. What was your promotional strategy as a band, and how did it help further your career?

Jason: Honestly, we did that all ourselves. We have a great management team that has been with us since the beginning; we grew together. We taught each other a lot and stuck it out through thick and thin. We had no PR, it was us online coming up with new ideas and ways to get kids to check us out. Any idea we had we just went for.

Our main strategy is ‘be friends with every fan and they will stay by your side and be true to you and your music.’ I can’t give away to many of our secrets. (smiles) Bottom line is: work all day every day for 4 years straight and something good will happen.

JM: One of our favorite features on your official Myspace is the the “Call Us!” box. There’s a (310) phone number for fans to call and leave you a message. You promise to call back every fan personally. Tell us a little about that. Is it difficult to keep up with all the voice mails?

Jason: It gets difficult sometimes when you’re on the road. In fact, you just reminded me I need to go and call some people back now. It’s a really great way to stay close and let everyone know what we are doing.

JM: “Take Me Home” was getting radio play on L.A.’s KROQ back in 2007, 2 years before it was re-sent to radio by Universal/Motown in June of 2009. How did that come about? Did it give your pre-major label career a boost?

Jason: Me and Patrick walked it (the song) into KROQ. We kinda B-S’d our way in. The Director loved the song and started playing it. It was kinda like in the movie “Airheads,” minus the fake machine guns.

JM: What was it like to work with John Feldmann for your debut LP? How was the recording process for “Let’s Build Something To Break” different from your past EPs?

Jason: Well first off, it was AMAZING! The process was the same in a lot of ways and very different at the same time. Our EPs, I produced with a buddy of mine, Evan Richardson, who is an amazing engineer. The cool thing about Feldmann, was he really let me run with my prodcuing skills and do what I wanted. He really helped us work out the songs, which I never experienced before.

We sat for about 2 weeks with acoustic guitars and just pulled apart the songs. When recording the drums, he was so amazing, he knew just what he wanted. I never worked with a producer who got performances out of me when recording vocals. He pulled the best out of me and really taught me a lot about myself and what was inside of me.

I produced two songs on the album “Scream For You” and “Come On Come On,” which was co-produced with Spencer Bastian; he is also so great in the studio to work with. He’s great with Protools and has awesome ideas. At the end of the process, Feldmann goes in the studio by him self and performs magic on the songs. He is phenomenal at what he does.

JM: Tell us a little bit about your up-coming release, “Let’s Build Something to Break.” What are the songs you’re most excited about and why?

Jason: “Gone Too Long” is one of my fav’s. We recorded the vocals on the beach, and it’s just magical. I also am always on the road, so I listen to it when I’m sad. It’s kind of become our ‘ballad anthem’ on the road. I really love “The Criminal” too. There are so many layers, strings, horns, bazookis acoustic guitars. It tells a story, and to me, is one of the most powerful songs on the album.

JM: From “Let’s Build Something To Break,” which songs are new that weren’t on your previously released EPs?

Jason: “Hollywood,” “The Criminal,” “Gone Too Long,” “Fighting My Way Back,” “Come On Come On,” “Scream For You,” “Backlit Medley,” “More To Live For.”

JM: Who are your musical influences?

Jason: Everything from Micheal Jackson, Cat Stevens, Postal Service, To Pantera, Rage Against the Machine, Muse and the Used

JM: What can we expect from AMP in the future?

Jason: Lots and lots of touring!!! We will keep making music we promise.

Check out AMP on Myspace