Fans of bands such as Breaking Benjamin and Chevelle are sure to enjoy the solid rock and rollin’ tunes presented by the Not Tonight Josephine membership. A hard working group of guys based out of Florida, Not Tonight Josephine’s debut album entitled All On The Horizon was produced by Brett Hestla, who has worked with the likes of Creed, Dark New Day, and Framing Hanley. Here is an interview we conducted with one the NTJ’s to find out more about this driven up and coming collective we will undoubtedly be hearing a lot more of in future days…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Not Tonight Josephine, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Randy Ayers and I’m the drummer for Not Tonight Josephine. The band first began in the summer of 2008 when Jake (guitarist) and I started writing music together. The other guys were added over the next few months and we played our first show as Not Tonight Josephine in December 2008.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We’re from Tampa, FL. It’s chock full of bands of all sorts but the overall arts scene here I would say is definitely lacking. Most bar venues are dedicated to cover acts due to the tourists and relaxed, beach-going atmosphere of the area. There are not many venues that cater to original rock bands either and to play the handful of stand alone venues you already have to be able to bring out a crowd. It certainly makes it difficult to get started as a young band. We’d all been through that already, this being the second or third band for each of us, so we knew the right moves to make and had a lot of connections already. I know a lot of young musicians though that give up quickly on the area and decide to move on to other cities.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title All On The Horizon?
Basically the album title is how we feel about the band’s future right now. This is our first full length album and we have our first major tours coming up as well. It’s the idea of having all these goals and milestones for the band laid out in front of us over the next year or so. Everything we could imagine accomplishing is out there waiting and we’re heading full speed ahead toward it all. We think most people can relate to that in their own lives as well; no one should ever stop looking towards the horizon or their future.
Please select two songs from the new CD and tell me what the lyrics are about/inspired by?
“We Will Never be the Same” is sort of our band theme song right now. It talks about us going after all the dreams we have; how we won’t be held back and how the struggle and fight for those things changes us for the better. A few of the lines are “Got your future in your hands, you’ll no longer hide / And you fight and you claw your way to the front / Just to prove what you’re worth to everyone.” It’s what we are going through right now as a band; trying to show people that we are worth paying attention to.
“Why Can’t You Stay” is about having to leave behind someone you love while they beg you to stay. This song especially means a lot to me right now because my wife and I just had a son. He’ll barely be a month old when we leave for this tour. For anyone who has a job or passion that keeps them away from their friends and family often, it’s a difficult position to be in for sure.
What was it like working with Brett Hestla and what did he contribute to the overall recording process.
Brett is a great editor. He doesn’t set out to have you rewrite all your songs like some producers do; he just wants to help you polish them and make them YOUR best songs. Whether he’s pushing you to make a part better or being straightforward and telling you something sucks and it’s gotta go, his mantra is always, “You’ve got better.” He’ll keep on you with that until you’re exhausted but in the end you feel great because you know what’s recorded is your best. He’s also just a super laid back dude. I can’t imagine a less stressful recording situation. To illustrate both those aspects of working with him: I had major problems with leg cramping the week of tracking and really couldn’t execute many of the parts I wanted to play. I was getting extremely frustrated and about to just blow up when Brett just walked out of the control room and asked me what kind of beer I wanted! He had me take a break while a few of the guys ran to the store. Then, even though I still couldn’t lay down the parts I wanted, he helped me do the best with what my body was letting me play at the time.
What is a live Not Tonight Josephine show like for those of us who have yet to see you play?
Kinda hard to describe that for you since I’m on stage but I will tell you that we pride ourselves on putting on an energetic show and interacting with the crowd a lot. We’re a rock band but we’re not afraid of having catchy songs either so most of the time we hope people are singing along too.
Have you ever played in the Los Angeles area or plan to do so in the future?
We have not played LA yet. We’re making plans for a West Coast tour later this year though so hopefully we’ll be seeing LA soon.
Who is the Josephine you are referring to in Not Tonight Josephine?
I guess at the time we came up with the name it was referring to any prospective girlfriends. We were all very serious about making the band our only focus and being able to take it as far as possible so, all of us being single at the time, it was our way of saying we couldn’t be tied down or held back. Now four of the five of us are in long-term relationships with two of us married so it’s kind of taken on deeper meaning for us. The idea comes more from Napoleon’s statement about war and power being his only mistresses; the only things that could take him away from Josephine. To us, music and this band are our passions but at the same time they often take us away from most everything we love.
Who did the cover art and how much input did you have on it?
Evan Leake at Palebird Design Studio (www.palebirddesignstudio.com) did all the actual graphic design but the entire concept was ours from the start and we directed the entire layout. The idea goes along with the title; a guy looking out and seeing a girl on the horizon. It’s the unknown; the what-if’s that lay in front of all of us.
Who came up with the idea to cover All That She Wants and do you know if any of the Ace OF Base members have heard or and/or have commented on it?
It seriously was a complete accident. We had no plans to play a cover live, let alone record one. One night at rehearsal though Evan, our bassist, was screwing around with something that we all thought we could recognize but weren’t quite sure what it was. It took a minute of arguing and looking a few songs up on iTunes but when we figured out it was “All That She Wants” we just jammed on it and had fun with it. The recording is 99 percent what we played that first night; we definitely didn’t over think it. As far as any of Ace of Base hearing it we haven’t heard anything. If anyone knows how to get it to them though, go right ahead!
What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most after hearing All On The Horizon for the very first time?
The best thing we could have someone say about our music is that it means something to them. So if someone listens to the new album I guess I’d hope that there’s at least one song that they remember really connecting with them. And then I’d hope they remember to go buy the album if they were listening for free!
Any messages for people reading this who might want to check out your music?
If anything you’ve seen or heard about us intrigues you go to YouTube and look up a live video, check us out on Facebook (we interact with our fans there a lot), and definitely come see a show if we are anywhere nearby. If you do all that and like what you see and hear then please BUY OUR MUSIC! Or a t-shirt or even just a sticker. We hate having to be salesmen, but as an independent band we have to make a living to keep creating more music. If you think you need our music then we need you just as much!!
Not Tonight Josephine is David Easlick on vocals, Jake Moore on guitar, Adam Aungst on guitar, Evan Foley on bass and vocals, and Randy Ayers on drums.
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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