by CA Marshall
Well it has been a Wonderful First Season of the Starlight Music Chronicles Artist of the Month Competitions! We couldn't think of a better way to round it out with such Enigmatic, Electric and Talented Indie Artists like After The Calm who literally are our highest recorded votes of the 2015-2016 Season! This is a band who recently came off tour alongside many of their industry peers such as Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, Palaye Royale, I See Stars, Get Scared, and The White Noise and are working on their NEW EP!
Here is our Exclusive interview with the band:
SMC – Hello Boyz! Epic win for the Artist of the Month Competition! Your band has had the highest amount of votes ever in this competition! Of course, you were at a bit of an advantage since this was also the first month that we opened voting up to the public along with unlimited entries. How do you feel you will do in the Artist of the Year Competition in Late June?
Kody: We were stoked to hear we broke the record for votes, regardless of the limitations set previously. To us, that simply translated to being able to share a stepping stone in Starlight's growth! I have no idea what to expect with the AOY competition, but I will say that we have the competitive mindset fresh in our minds!
Logan: I was honestly shocked when I found out how many votes we actually had. I think this just pumps us up more for the AOY Competition.
Henry: It’s tough to say. We are the new kids on the block and have some stiff competition. We have a strong fanbase who believe in what we are doing, their voices will be heard.
David: I feel that we will be a tough competitor. We have this momentum going for us that we haven't let go. It's fresh in our fans heads and we will push hard.
SMC – So let’s go to the beginning....our readers who are just discovering ATC on our platform will want to know more about the band....can you tell us each of our names and what position in the band you are?
Kody: My name is Kody Rattler, I play the drums in the band!
Logan: My name is Logan Miracle and I'm the vocalist.
Jon: Jonathan and I play rhythm guitar.
Henry: I’m Henry and I am the bassist extraordinaire.
David: Name is David Nunez and I'm the Lead Guitarist.
SMC- What kind of musical background do you all come from?
Kody: I played in band throughout grade school, but as for the drums I'm self taught.
Logan: I got stuck having to join choir in the 5th grade cause I couldn't draw and couldn't play an instrument . I didn't even want to sing then. But after that, I did choir from then on till the end of high school.
Jon: I started by going to guitar center and buying a small amp and electric guitar at the age of 16. Since then I taught myself the last 10 years learning and playing songs I enjoy.
Henry: Learned guitar while in high school but always had a strong connection with bass and rhythm so when I had the money I bought a cheap bass and went all in. Taught myself by ear from listening to my favorite bands and started creating music with my friends.
David: I've been playing music since my middle school days. Back then I was playing clarinet in Band. Music tastes range between Incubus and Deftones.
SMC – Is there anything cool or quirky that fans would like to know about each one of you?
Kody: Whenever people ask me why I started playing the drums, I usually respond with an unexpected answer: Rock Band. I seriously bought my drum set because of Rock Band. I had always been into percussion through grade school, dabbling in guitar during high school. But yeah, Rock Band.
Logan: Fun fact- The band found me on Craigslist!
Jon: I really enjoy math and science, especially space!
Henry: I am the only father in the group. I have a 4 year old son name Henry Jr and his legal middle name is Danger. He loves the band and tells people he plays guitar in the band.
David: I would consider myself a multi-instrumentalist. I started out as the bassist of the band.
SMC – So we saw that you were on the Light In The Cave tour recently with quite a few notables such as ‘I See Stars’, ‘Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!’, Palaye Royale, `Get Scared`, and `White Noise`. How was that experience for you all?
Kody: The experience was surreal. We have been doing this for a solid two years now, playing local shows and slowly establishing relationships. When it came to the Light In The Cave Tour, K And Z Entertainment had offered us a slot on the Arizona date. Our dear friend Kenny Johnson had played an important role in getting us this offer, as he vouched for us prior to K And Z ever hearing our name. They took a risk by letting a random local band play that show, but boy did we make sure to leave our mark! We ended up breaking our personal record in ticket sales, somewhere just over 100 total. The show was sold out, which was an unbelievable first for us. Then meeting the bands themselves made everything so much more worth it. It's one thing to listen to these bands on Spotify every day, but another to be able to shake their hand and share the stage with them. Palaye Royale led us in finding Starlight, so that show was a huge stepping stone for our development!
Logan: Just the fact that we were able to set the tone for that night before the other bands was amazing. During our set we were all in our element, but after the other bands came up I was another fan in the crowd.
Jon: It was by far the best concert I have played at. All the bands put on an amazing show and just meeting and talking with them was a great experience.
Henry: (In the comic book guys voice from the Simpsons) Best experience ever. Getting that opportunity to speak with them and seeing how many fans came to that show was eye opening. Showed us that we really can reach for the stars.
David: That whole experience was eye opening. That's the first sold out show we've played. The line was so long some of our fans didn't even get in until after our set was finished. We hosted and played a free house show for our fans because of it.
SMC – So how do you feel going into an Artist of the Year event so soon after your AOM win? Do you feel you are at an advantage compared to the other Artists who have won, say, since August or September of last year?
Kody: All I can say is timing seemed to be perfect for us. To win the 12th AOM and automatically dive into the first AOY.. talk about luck. We were very stoked to hear we could enter out first competition, but then even more excited to find out that winning meant we could be in our second competition directly afterwards! We are fired up with excitement, which I imagine is an edge over winning the contest several months ago!
Logan: I think it's good for us cause now our fans will still be amped from the AOM competition and go full force into the AOY.
Jon: I feel very confident going into this competition. I know every person in the band is very motivated and hard working
Henry: Being in people's mind at the moment could be good and bad, can't leave it up to chance, have to be in the mindset that the other artist are in.
David: Yeah I feel we are somewhat at an advantage since it still fresh in people's minds but the advantage I see other bands having is time. They had time to develop their career and add a following that could be in the thousands.
SMC – So we see that there is some new music on the horizon! Can you tell us when we can expect that to release?
Kody: New music indeed! We are so blessed to have made it this far with our music. Two years of practice, and two singles later, we were finally ready to record our first EP. Recording will be done by the second week of June, from there it’s just a matter of doing the artwork, presenting the actual package and printing copies! We are about to fire up our first kickstarter page this week, which will tell us how fast we can get the EP out to everyone! Realistically, I'd say everything will be wrapped up by July!
David: Anything before the end of summer is what we are currently shooting for.
SMC – Does the band have any plans to tour in the next 6-12 months?
Kody: We set the goal to record our EP this summer, and we are doing so now. After that, we envisioned setting up a small west coast tour before 2017 to hit up the surrounding states. We're hoping the EP makes the waves required to capture the attention of those outside AZ! :D
Logan: Once the EP is released we plan to play lots of shows throughout the Valley in AZ. There are plans for a small West coast tour towards the end of the year.
Jon: Yes!! Our goal is to do a small west coast tour before this year ends.
Henry: Its always in the back of our minds. One thing at time.
David: Probably a mini west coast tour. We still need to figure out all the logistics.
SMC – What do you think is the recipe for success in the Music Industry?
Kody: The recipe is recognizing that it’s not a competition of who can play better, or who has a bigger following, but rather enjoying your music for what it meant for: self expression. You've got to appreciate everything that comes your way, good or bad. Go to local shows, support your friend's band who is also trying to achieve the same goal. Networking with one another is how this industry thrives. People remember the encounters they have with you, and they'll recite them to their friends later. Leave a positive story to tell.
Logan: Just be real. Not only to others but to yourself. This isn't a competition. Music is an art. An art form for anyone and everyone to express themselves in different ways. I think just being genuine is a major key to moving forward in this business.
Jon: Basically like everything else in life which is to work hard and do your research and never give up.
Henry: Risk and Reward. We took a risk just making music, playing shows and entering this competition. So far so good.
David: Believing in your music no matter what and finding others in the industry that do too.
SMC – We hear all the time how difficult it is for Indie Artists to tap into new fans...do you feel that’s because of Social Media?
Kody: If anything, I believe social media is a fantastic way to make new fans. It's great to meet new faces you wouldn't be able to otherwise. I’ve personally used social media to make friends in states I've never been to. These friends keep up on our day to day, so I'd say that suffices as making a new fan! ;D
Logan: I believe social networks have only broadened the reach for artist to communicate with their fans. I mean we have a few fans on our page from other states! I think it's cool how someone can spread a band to their friends who can easily you home and find that artist and become a fan themselves.
Jon: Social media is a great help in today's world. We are able to keep every notified about everything going on in the band.
Henry: I think it’s the internet in general. Bands think by posting a flyer online about a upcoming show that people will go. They lose the person to person interaction.
David - I feel it's quite the opposite. It's because of Social Media that we are connected to everyone on the planet that has an Internet connection. What I think is difficult is standing out amongst all the new artists out there. I think there is thousands of great artists that just don't know how to connect to people. There's a lot of talk out there and what people want is artists that walk the walk. Put on a great show that gets the audience involved and literally figure out things that the fan can benefit from. We always try put ourselves in our fans shoes whenever we make any decision because we actually give a s**t.
SMC – Let’s hear about some of your greatest influences in the industry and why they have helped shape ‘After The Calm’....
Kody: We've leaned our sound to other bands that we fancy such as A Day to Remember, The Story So Far, Neck Deep, etc. We all really like the writing, message, and progressions of these bands, and we tend to look into their successes. We study what these bands do while they're both on and off stage, how they proceed to handle their business. There's always more to learn.
Logan: Me personally, I am all over the board when it comes to music. I listen to different genres ranging from Pop, Rap, Metal to even Jazz.
Jon: My influences has been System of a Down, Slipknot, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus, and so many more.
Henry: Watching I See Stars and the crowd participation was influential for us. Getting off the stage and into the crowd really stuck with us.
David: Cory Spotts (Producer) and Kenny Johnson (Photographer). Cory took our music and pushed us to make it better. He's not an order taker where we ask he serves. He educates us and we are better for it. Kenny took us under his wing and helped guide us to understand there's no mountain high enough. If we have the will, we can make it happen. These lessons are invaluable and speak loud to the idea of surrounding yourself with good people.
SMC – What is the image that the band hopes to project in terms of ‘Branding’?
Kody: Honestly, we're just here to have fun with our music and make new friends along the way. If we have a crowd going wild with us, that’s all we need to go on! If there’s any branding going on, it’s just five goofy dudes from Phoenix Arizona who want to prove that nothings impossible.
Logan: I wouldn't say we're trying to make a "brand" as much as just being us. We're five crazy guys who love to play music. No matter where or to however many people, we're there to jam out and have a great time.
Jon: To show that your dreams will come true with hard work and dedication and that it is always a team effort.
David: Branding is a tricky thing because we don't want to put ourselves in a box. We have five very different people in the band. Our ages range from 21 to 31 but there is a thread that runs through all of us. We are decent human beings that love music. We show our appreciation where it is due and try to make every experience a good one. As long as we keep doing that then we are projecting an authentic us.
SMC - Can you tell us about any funny fan moments?
Kody: We played a show at the Nile Theater in Mesa Arizona a while ago, and had met this young man named Kittrell. He's from Tucson Arizona, which is a solid two hours south of Mesa. His band was supposed to open that night, but they hadn't showed. He didn't let the absence of his band stop him from playing his set though. Instead, he took his time slot and rocked out some intense guitar solos. We watched in awe as he still gave it his all. He appreciated the fact we encouraged him to keep doing what he's doing, regardless of the others bailing on the show. When we had been a few songs into our own set, Kittrell came flying on stage and danced around like it was no one’s business. He was truly there to have fun, and that he did!
Logan: I think when I was at a Circle K one night and the employee was listening to Get Scared and remembered our band from the Light In the Cave Tour.
SMC – How about fan moments that really touched the heart?
Kody: I feel the most touching fan experience I've had so far was with our friend Rosalina. She was one of the many we had met through Palaye Royale, of which she had one of the more direct responses I've seen. I introduced us, explained to her that we opened for Palaye when they came through our town, and offered her our YouTube channel. Her directness was when she told me she liked what she heard, but it wasn't enough: she wanted more. I realized at that point that she was right. It was hard to show people who we are with only two singles. Of course we had already scheduled to record the EP, but it sure fired the desire to get the new tracks recorded that much more! It was nice to see the honesty in her response.
Logan: In our music video for Cups there is a scene where one of my best friends Keenan is crowd surfing in the tiny living room we were playing in. He came right up to me and shared the microphone with me. Every time I look back at that I just smile. Cause that's a moment we'll be able to share forever.
Jon: At one of our shows a new fan that saw us for the first time came up to us after our set and asked if he could get one of my picks and have us sign it. We talked for a bit and it was so nice seeing how just 20 minutes of our time meant so much to a stranger.
Henry: I was hanging out at the bar after a show with my family and friends and lady who typically was not in our demographic came up to me. None of us knew her but she had the courage to come up and start a conversation. She brought her daughter and her friend to the show to see another band that night and she really enjoyed our set. After speaking for a bit she drew up the courage to ask for a picture with myself, I wasn't expecting that. Made my day.
SMC – In terms of the June 2016 AOM competition – you boys really shared the info on it! How do you think the social media awareness is on the part of SMC?
Kody: From a fan standpoint, it was very clear and concise. We simply said follow this link and vote here! Of course we made sure to let everyone know the purpose of the competition, but the process made it an easy request on their end.
From the SCM team's standpoint, I’d say they did a great job at promoting! The bios were easy to find, you could follow links to each artist and do your research accordingly. You guys were great at keeping everyone excited!
Logan: I think the way SMC went about gathering info for each artist was very easy but professional at the same time. Fans that like SMC but don't know any of the artist can get right to their pages from SMC.
Jon: The entire website and way this competition works is amazing. I've thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.
SMC – How do you feel your new music will be different than your previous releases?
Kody: Valor and Cups are both dating back to when we first started playing music in my bedroom. Valor happened to be the very first song we wrote, and at the time we had a slightly different line up. Cups was also covered during this time. We knew Anna Kendrick was a very popular pop culture icon, and that tons of people watched her in Pitch Perfect. Our goal in covering Cups was to both catch her attention and shoot for a slot on Punk Goes Pop, a series of cover albums ran by Fearless Records. (Neither of which has happened yet. Key word being yet. ;D)
As for the new tunes, there is much maturity in our writing process. We have gone from typical garage band to studio champions. 👍
Logan: Valor was the first song ever for us. The riffs were written even before I was in the band! And with a small lineup change in the recent past, these new songs are so different. But I wouldn't say sound wise. I think it's a greater representation of what ATC is about. The music and lyrics on this EP hit home hard for me. I poured my heart into all of these songs. And I'm hoping we can transfer that emotion to the listener. Be ready for it.
Jon: We have grown a lot in the past 2 years and everyone has gotten a lot better at writing and collaborating as a team. This new EP will really show our growth as a band.
Henry: Prior to recording our current E.P we sat with our producer and he gave us some feedback about where to go with the new music. Since then the music has been grown and really matured.
David: Our two singles currently only highlight our pop-punk side. This E.P. will surprise a lot of people. There is something for everyone on this album and we can't wait to share it with the world. I will say that two songs will showcase our growth as songwriters.
SMC – Okay, Last question: If you had to tie with any one of our Previous Artist of the Month winners, who would that be and why?
Unanimous: Malaya. It would be nice to tie with another full band that shares the same concept that we do!