The Goodnight is a pop rocking band originally from the wilds of Montana, who recently made their way to the City Of Angeles and its legendary music scene. Once known as Goodnight Sunrise, the collective recently self-released a dynamic EP entited Keep Control. Fans of acts such as The Maine and Mayday Parade will find their musical destiny with the wondrous compositions of The Goodnight. Here is an interview we conducted with frontman Dan Murphy to find out more about this band on the rise, their move to LA, being a DIY band, stories from the road, and many other topics. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in The Goodnight, and how long the band has been together.
Hey, I’m Dan. I sing and play guitar in The Goodnight. Jud and I have playing in bands together for over 10 years, but this project started in the beginning of 2012.
What made you decide to re-locate to Los Angeles, and what do you think of the local LA music scene?
When we lived at home in Montana, we toured the West Coast repeatedly for a few years as “Goodnight Sunrise.” We would book tours around our LA shows. We’ve always loved California, and these “showcases” at the time seemed very beneficial, so it was always a goal to move here.
Your idea of the LA music scene definitely changes once you live here and become a part of it. It’s incredibly oversaturated, and many venues only exist by making local bands sell a ridiculous amount of presale tickets. Pay to play was something we hadn’t experienced until we moved. People here seem to have shorter attention spans because there’s always something else going on. It almost seems as if the scene is more about networking and not the actual music. Regardless, we’ve still played some amazing LA shows that I won’t forget.
Where did the Sunrise go in the title of your band name?
There are quite a few reasons we changed our band name. The “Sunrise” was the unnecessary, bubbly tail end of the name that didn’t need to be there. I felt it classified us into this pop-punk genre that we no longer wanted to be a part of. On top of that, “Goodnight Sunrise” is too long and confusing to stick with the average person. We wanted something more mature and marketable without completely forgetting the years we spent touring as “Goodnight Sunrise.” We actually came up with lists of hundreds of band names, but after narrowing them down to our top three options, we scrapped them all decided to move forward as The Goodnight.
How easy or difficult was it to pretty much record and release Keep Control on your own?
It was ton of work! It was easy in a sense that we were on our own schedule, and we could release it whenever we wanted with whatever songs we wanted. When we’re recording/mixing our own songs, it’s hard to stop and say, “Ok, this song is perfect,” when we can always go back and add layers or tweak the mix. I do all the graphic design for the band, so I had my hands full with rebranding the band, shirts, CD’s, websites, videos, etc. We also did our own pre-order with this release. It almost felt like we were completely starting over – I forgot how much work was involved in putting out a new EP.
Is there any story or concept behind the Keep Control title?
It’s from a line in our song “Medicine.”
Lebanon is such an amazing song. What is the story behind the lyrics for that one?
It’s an interesting story. We were on tour with another band that picked up a hitchhiker in Grants Pass, OR who, in return, sent them off with a parting gift. Without going into detail, I’ll say it was a night/morning for nine of us to remember in a foggy, dark forest in central Oregon.
Select any two other songs by The Goodnight and what inspired the lyrics.
“Hands and Knees” is about us getting locked up in a small, Mormon town in Idaho. ”Apart” is a song about someone I was incredibly close to who unfortunately is no longer a part of my everyday life. I reflect on Murphy’s law a bit in the lyrics.
How did Tim Spier of Say No More become involved with The Goodnight?
Tim has always been one of our best friends. We toured with his band in the past and always crashed at their house when we traveled through LA. We moved to LA without a drummer, and it just made sense to start jamming with Tim. He’s brought some great, positive energy to the band.
What could one expect from a live The Goodnight show?
Expect an exciting show that sounds like the record.
Any interesting or scary stories from the road you could share?
Many are in the lyrics of these new songs, haha. We’ve had so many scary experiences – from vans and trailers blowing up, to trouble with cops, to dealing with legitimately crazy people all over the country.
Has the band had any label interest as of yet, and do you even want to be signed to a label?
Maybe if the right deal came along. Everything offered so far hasn’t made sense.
If your music was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
It would be a peanut butter and jelly donut – because it’s tasty and original. Have you ever had one? Didn’t think so… But I’m sure you’d try it!
How close is The Goodnight to recording a full length album?
We’re always sketching out new song ideas – I think we’re approaching twenty. We have two songs totally finished and recorded already. I would say a full-length in the near future is very possible.
Any final words of wisdom?
We’re looking forward to hitting the road with these new songs! Keep an eye out for tour dates, and make TheGoodnightMusic.com your new favorite website. I iz da wisdom man.
The Goodnight is made up of singer/guitarist Dan Murphy, guitarist Justin Benner, bassist Sam Smetana, and drummer Tim Spier.
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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