Band of the Month – Tonight Alive

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Source: Credits to the photographer
Source: Credits to the photographer

Tonight Alive hails from Australia and is a five-piece pop punk band which was formed in 2008. The band consists of Jenna McDougall (vocalist), Whakaio Taahi (lead guitarist), Jake Hardy (rhythm guitarist),  Cam Adler(bassist) and drummer Matt Best.

Initially Jake and Cam were in a band together during high school and mostly covered other bands’ material. Through mutual friends they met Whakaio and asked him to join the band playing keyboard and guitar. The band started getting serious and they started writing their own songs. They still needed a lead vocalist and a committed drummer to make the band complete.

At the time Jenna McDougall was doing her own thing, playing her own acoustic songs. Jenna asked Cam Adler to help her produce some of her acoustic demos. When they finished Cam mentioned to Jenna that they didn’t have a singer for their band and he gave her a demo of a song that the band had written, asking her to record vocals over it. They loved it and Jenna became part of Tonight Alive.

The first show the band played was at Hypefest in August 2008. Hype became the place where the band developed their live show and through which they gained entry into the local Sydney scene.

After the first year as a band they parted ways with their original drummer, the lineup was completed by Matty Best. Matty had to travel four hours to practice with the rest of the band, but after their first practice they knew it he would be the right fit.

The band started to establish themselves in their local music scene, finding their sound and playing songs that would go on to become the band’s first EP, All Shapes And Disguises. At that point Jenna was still at school, but the rest of the band saved up all their money and took time off work to record and practice.

The band eventually got into the studio with Dave Petrovic, who recorded the band’s first two EP’s All Shapes And Disguises and Consider This in 2010 and later went on to record their second album called “The Other Side” with him. With Dave’s help the band finally started to find their sound.

The band’s recordings started to create a buzz which lead the band to land a support slot for UK band Lost Prophets’ Australian tour, venturing out for the first time. They were soon spotted by major labels and invited to perform a showcase. Both Whakaio and Jake snapped a string during the first song and initially the band thought that their performance had gone horribly wrong , but the band signed a deal shortly after and was eager to travel overseas to record their first album. The band’s drive to succeed saw them travelling to LA to record their first full-length album “What Are You So Scared Of?” in 2011 with producer Mark Trombino.

The band had just left high school and came home from the studio every night cooking and socialising together. It was the band’s first real taste of freedom and it brought them closer together.

The band’s overall message to their fans is a postive one, they want to encourage self-worth and to not be held back by other people’s opinions.

The band’s debut album “What Are You So Scared Of?” released in Australia on the 14th October 2011. The band featured on the Punk Goes Pop 4 compilation CD, covering “Little Lion Man” by British indie rock band, Mumford & Sons, which made its appearance on the 21st of November. The record was officially released in the UK and US in October of 2012, a full year after its Australian release.

Touring in a van with no back seats across America served as a right of passage for the energetic band. The band signed to Fearless Records in November 2011. Tonight Alive returned home and embarked on several extensive and consecutive Australian tours which took its toll and drained the band’s energy. The band was exhausted by a year-long tour and Jenna had become really ill between mid 2011 and early 2012. So after Australia’s Soundwave festival the band decided to cancel all of their upcoming commitments to make sure that they would get the rest they needed.

After the band took time out to rejuvenate, the band toured Europe, Asia and North America together with artists like Yellowcard, Pierce The Veil, All Time Low and Young Guns. “Listening” served as the third official single from “What Are You So Scared Of?. The music video for “Listening”, released on YouTube on 12 October 2012 and it documented the band’s last few days on the summer-long tour in a montage music video.

They wrote material for their upcoming second album “The Other Side” as the tour progressed.

The first track (“Don’t Wish”) was written for the album “The Other Side”  in a hotel room in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2011. Every track on the band’s second studio album could be traced back during the time they were on tour.

Tonight Alive was on tour consistently between the recording of their first album in 2010 and the recording of their second album at the end of 2012. After playing the Summer of the Vans Warped Tour 2012 and touring across UK and Europe the band then supported Pierce The Veil on their tour across America. After that tour the band decided to go back home to Australia to record their second full length record. They found a big house 7 hours north of Sydney in the bush at Coffs Harbour, set up their own studio and started recording with Dave Petrovic.

Tonight Alive released a stand-alone single on the 12th of March 2013. featuring Good Charlottte’s Benji Madden. “The Other Side” released on the 13th of September 2013. The first single off the new album “The Ocean” premiered on Radio 1 on the 11th July coinciding with the announcement of the album. The next single to be released, “Lonely Girl”, came out on the 24th of July. The music video for the song premiered on the 15th August. The next track “Come Home” appeared in late September along with a music video on the band’s Vevo channel.

Tonight Alive toured the US as part of the 2013 Vans Warped Tour. They played a few shows in Australia, before touring in support of the new album and included two Rolling Stone Live Lodge acoustic shows. The band performed as part of the lineup for the Warped Tour Australia  in November 2013. They went on The Other Side tour to promote the album in Australia and later in the US. They toured with The Downtown Fiction, For the Foxes, and Echosmith during their U.S touring dates. The tour ended on 23 November. In mid-December Tonight Alive announced that they will be supporting All Time Low on their “A Love like War: UK Tour”. In late January 2014 the band announced that they would be supporting Taking Back Sunday and The Used on their co-headlining North-American tour which kicked off in March 2014.

Tonight Alive contributed their song “The Edge” for Sony and Marvel’s film The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and it appeared on the deluxe edition of the soundtrack in Australia, New Zealand, UK and Ireland.

You can view the video below:

I decided to feature Tonight Alive on the blog, because good punk rock bands are hard to find these days. I was looking for content for my blog when I happen to find some of the band’s videos on YouTube. Some of the punk rock bands are only around for short periods of time before they break up to pursue other musical aspirations. You can really see that through their music they are passionate about what they are doing. A lot of punk rock bands can sometimes be over-dramatic and Tonight Alive takes their music and genre seriously. I love the lead singer, because she has spunk and determination to succeed in a male-dominated environment.

You can follow the band on Twitter:

Follow Jenna on Twitter here:

Follow Matt Best on Twitter here:

Follow Cam Adler on Twitter here:

Follow Jake Hardy on Twitter here:

Follow Whakaio Taahi on Twitter here:

Rock Regards,

Lauren K