Interview: Jason Evigan of After Midnight Project
As 2009 came to close we caught up with After Midnight Project lead vocalist Jason Evigan as they wrapped up the end of a year long tour and prepared to take a much deserved break. Evigan talked to us about their plans for 2010, his food of choice for inspiring his music, as well as his thoughts on fans illegally downloading music. Evigan also reveals a private show in Anaheim this Saturday in which you can win FREE tickets to from SoCalMusicToday.com. Details at the end of the interview.
SoCalMusicToday.com: What’s going on with the band right now, what have you guys been up to?
Jason: We just had our last show with Papa Roach, last night. We did a show with Papa Roach and Shinedown, we’ve toured with them for awhile just huge, huge shows. Before that we were on tour with Chevelle and we have been touring since January (2009), we did Warped Tour, we have been on the road for a year straight, now we are going to take a couple of weeks here and start back up in January (2010). We can’t really say what the tour is going to be because it hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been 100% confirmed yet, but we are going to be on tour all year again.
SCMT: So you will be on tour as support for someone else?
Jason: Yeah and we are doing Warped Tour again this summer.
SCMT: Tell me about the album you released earlier this year?
Jason: The album is out in stores now, it’s called “Let’s Build Something To Break” and it’s doing well. The radio single called “Take Me Home” is killing it on the radio. It was in the top of the charts for the past 3 months, but now it is slowly going away, but we are going to start with our second single pretty soon.
SCMT: What is the second single going to be?
Jason: I don’t know yet. We are meeting with our label tomorrow down in New York and we will decide then. Have you heard the album yet?
SCMT: Yeah, absolutely, loved it.
Jason: What song do you think should be the next single?
SCMT: I like Backlit Medley.
Jason: I love that song too.
SCMT: So where do you get the inspiration for your lyrics, your songs are so rich and deep, how do you get inspiration and go through the song writing progress?
Jason: Every song is different. I think all my songs are through real life experiences, I just write about them. If I am down, if I am up, I am always writing stuff, always kind of capturing what is going on in my head on paper. Every song in there, rather it is a relationship breakup or with family, girlfriend, a friend, or with war, there are all sorts of things in there. The song “Scream for You” I wrote about the fans. It pretty much is a song letting the fans feel my appreciation, how everything I do, every word I scream doesn’t really mean anything until I put it on paper for you guys and I record it. Everything makes sense once I put it out in the universe and sing about it. I find inspiration in everything.
SCMT: I understand you are also a bit of a visual artist and you do some drawing and painting, how does that relate to your musical background?
Jason: It just goes in hand in hand, I have always loved drawing. I just love creating things, you know. Even if it was just models when I was little. I love to get the satisfaction of when I start something from scratch and getting that satisfaction when you see the finished product. It always comes out different then you expected at the end.
SCMT: Will we see any of your artwork on coming releases?
Jason: Everyone keeps telling me to do it, I just haven’t yet, but I think we will for sure. Being on the road I really miss painting and drawing a lot, I can’t really find time to do it. I can’t wait to get back on there. During my time off here I am going to do some painting and get back into it.
SCMT: What is your favorite track on the album?
Jason: I like criminal a lot , I think I like it because it kind of encompasses everything were about. It has all the different sides, it has a soft side, it has a really heavy side, it has a big anthem chorus. I love playing it live, that one gets me all the time.
SCMT: How would you then describe your sound to someone who has never heard or you, or has no idea what After Midnight is all about?
Jason: The simple way of putting it is, melodic-alternative hard rock with catchy choruses. I said in an interview one time it is like a couple meets in a bar, and they get in a romantic knife fight and then they go home and fall in love. It’s really aggressive; it’s really elegant and raw, and kind of lovey-dovey at the same time. It’s kind of hard to explain.
SCMT: There seems to be some similarities between your sound and Nine Inch Nails, what do you think of that?
Jason: I definitely agree with that. I love Nine Inch Nails and I think sometimes when I scream a little bit, people say I sound like Trent Reznor sometimes. Like with Smashing Pumpkins, I always loved Billy Corigan’s guitar work, so a lot of the guitars have that open chord like he does. I am definitely inspired by a lot of music growing up so you can definitely hear it in there.
SCMT: So what are some of your maybe off the wall inspirations that somebody might not think about?
Jason: Food!! I can tell you when I am recording; I always gain weight, because I love eating food. When I eat really crappy food I feel I write better songs. Whenever I have a rut I start eating and the ideas come to me. I think I put myself into a food coma and I lose touch with reality for a minute. There is that, and I get inspired by traveling the country and realizing how small I really am, that always kind of inspires me to do something great with music.
SCMT: What is the food of choice for inducing the food coma?
Jason: Any kind of Mexican food, definitely a big Mexican connoisseur. The whole band is, we will eat 15 bowls of chips before the burrito comes so we can’t event think and it is really spicy so your brain shuts off and your sweating, and then stuff comes out.
SCMT: I guess that kind of goes along with living in LA, doesn’t it?
Jason: Oh Yeah.. I love Thai food too.
SCMT: What is up with the rest of the band, most of the interviews are done with you. What is the rest of the band like?
Jason: Spencer (Bastian) one our guitar player really comes from a jazz, classical, death metal background, he is really technical. Christian (Paul Meadows) our other guitar player, with the long hair, he comes from a classic rock background, so he really has that bluesy style. Danny (Morris) our drummer really into Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, and Sunny Day Real Estate that whole scene he is really into. TJ (Armstrong) our bass player he is really into a lot of funk and stuff like that, he is an amazing bass player. Collectively we all loved grunge growing up, we love the Deftones, and Rage Against the Machine. We all loved heavy music.
SCMT: So it must be an interesting mix of music on the bus?
Jason: Yeah it definitely is, it is always cool to trade music and trade headphones and trade ipods. I will tell you one thing. I have never in my entire life stolen a song of music.
SCMT: Nice, that is always good to hear.
Jason: I can’t speak for the rest of the band, but me I never have.
SCMT: Now obviously you are strongly opposed to that?
Jason: It is not that I am opposed to it. I tell kids if you can’t afford it, then go download it, but come to our show. I feel as long as kids keep coming to our show and buying the merchandise. The only time I get mad is when I ask someone “You want to buy our CD?” and they say “ten bucks I would never pay that money for a CD.” We spent so many years, and so much time making this stuff, that is insulting. But if the kid doesn’t have money and wants to hear our music, go ahead and get it.
SCMT: What do you think about the bands who put albums out, and tell the fans to pay what they want for it, then go ahead and download it?
Jason: I think that is great. I think it is really cool. I think if they can financially do that, it is amazing. For me, the reason I have never downloaded music is because I know how much time goes into them, and I know how much has been sacrificed to make an album, and just to take that from them. For me, because I am in the music world it is only screwing myself over. For people who aren’t, it is all about the music and the songs, as long as you come out to the shows and pay to see us live, that’s cool.
SCMT: Live is a better experience anyways usually.
Jason: Yeah exactly, learn the songs and come rock out with us.
SCMT: When are you guys coming bacl to the LA area?
Jason: We actually have a big NAMM show with Hollywood Undead, and Tommy Lee on the 16th of January, at The Grove. I think we have only 200 tickets to give away, It’s a private show.
TICKET INFORMATION Jason has given 10 pairs of tickets to SoCalMusicToday.com fans. All you have to do to win a pair, is send Jason a tweet via twitter at @AMPLA and mention the article. The first 10 people to tweet him with that information are in. Be sure to tag @socalmusictoday in the tweet as well.