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
After Midnight Project - The Interview
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