Ok, let’s be honest. This is a very poppy, melodic type of post hardcore, which is not my favorite genre, but it always had elements I liked. Tampa post-hardcore outfit NOT TONIGHT JOSEPHINE is a good example of young, dynamic rock act selling various catchy tricks including pop-punk, pop melodies and screamy, yet very melodic metalcore. I recently caught up with the band to find out how they are and caught a nice glimpse into their work and creative process.
The band has recently wrapped up their Summer tour, released a music video for ÏHateRollercoastersAnyway” and hit the studio with Taylor Larson of FROM FIRST TO LAST fame in early August to record their new album. Check out my interview with the band and listen to the “Common Gold” EP, available to stream in full.
Forming in 2008, Not Tonight Josephine have had six years in which to perfect their distinctively infectious take on the post-hardcore genre. During that time the guys have picked up an impressive number of accolades, not least of which has been sharing the stage with some of alternative rock’s most prestigious names – A Day To Remember, Underoath, Ice Nine Kills, Rise Against, New Found Glory and The Colour Morale to name a few. Aside from relentless touring, the band have found the time to build up a devoted international fan base with their powerful and impassioned EP’s. The most recent of these, 2013’s “Common Gold”, saw the band receive almost unilateral praise from fans and critics, being recorded and produced under the guidance of James Paul Wisner (Underoath, Hands Like Houses, Paramore.)
With Scott Vallina (guitar) and Danny Garry (vocals) joining just prior to the recording of “Common Gold”, an entirely new light has been shed on the band. Simultaneously grander and more raw than previous releases, “Common Gold” screams fervent honesty and is only the beginning of the next chapter for Not Tonight Josephine.
Hey buddies! What’s up in Florida? Is it already freezing down there? Haha!
Oh yeah. It’s currently a bone chilling 88 degrees outside and it feels like 104 lol. If we’re lucky his winter we might get some sweet 50 degree days as opposed to our usual year round heat haha.
Ok, guys, let’s break it down. Which bands most inspired you to start playing music in the first place?
You would get very different answers from each one of us but for me personally, NIRVANA was the first band I ever fell in love with as a kid and that turned me onto music and wanting to play guitar. I think I literally wanted to be Kurt Cobain when I was like 12 haha. Tons more followed of course but they were the first for me.
When did you fully embrace the blend of heavy and melodic?
That happened with the addition of Danny on vocals and his style and how it differed from our previous singer David. We all have always listened to heavier music so it wasn’t a difficult or unwelcome transition but with Danny’s range and abilities we were really able to push into that realm and do more stuff that we liked doing and wanted to do.
How did it happen that you decided to form NOT TONIGHT JOSEPHINE?
NTJ was formed like most bands. Just a couple friends jamming in a garage (or barn in our case haha) with similar tastes in music and wanting to just have fun and jam.
How did you come up with the band name?
The band name comes from an old saying of what you might say to your partner when you’re not in the mood haha. It stems from Napoleon Bonaparte’s letters to his wife Josephine while he was away on war campaigns and would sign “I love you, but not tonight Josephine”
When do you expect your new album to be available?
Early next year.
Did any specific events and/or people have any effect on your current creative process? Tell us more about your inspirations.
Yeah actually, obviously our producer and engineer Taylor and Ernie had a huge affect on the creative process of the new ep. Spencer Sotello’s (of PERIPHERY and FROM FIRST TO LAST) contributions vocally are insurmountable He produced the vocals and got the best material out of Danny he’s ever come up with. As far as events, there are some personal things in each of lives that are on display lyrically in the new songs. As far as inspirations for this new ep we’ve all been jamming the new Beartooth record relentlessly as well as FIT FOR A KING and THE GHOST INSIDE.
What has recording with Taylor Larson been like and what has he brought to your music?
It was a great experience. He works at an incredibly fast and efficient pace and has amazing ideas. He got exactly what we were going for sonically right away and fit right in like a glove with the rest of us when it came to working out the songs. His fingerprints are all over the ep but it’s still very much us.
Are there labels involved in the process?
Currently no. We have great management and a great booking agent who both work very hard for us and believe in us. We’ve been contacted by a few labels but have yet to sign with any unless we get an offer we can really benefit from. DIY has been very good for us so far so if it ain’t broke don’t fix it is the way we see it haha.
Some of the video teasers for the new record reveal more metallic approach. Are you hitting more metalcore’ish areas, or just playin’ with us using the strongest breakdowns and parts of your still very melodic compositions? What do you feel are the main points of difference between your previous tunes and this new upcoming record?
Ooooh I’m almost tempted to not tell you and make you wait haha. But yes you are correct the new ep is the heaviest thing we’ve ever done, but funny enough it is also the catchiest, most melodic thing we’ve ever done. “Common Gold” had some heavy moments but this one is heavy through out.
There are a lot of true old school tough guy hardcore kids, who would never name you a hardcore band, mainly because of the amount of melodic parts, clean sugary vocals and college colourful party atmosphere ;) What do you have to say to such detractors?
To each his own man. Doesn’t bother me and I don’t really care what genre anyone wants to name us or honestly what anyone thinks of us. We make music that we like and if the public digs it, awesome, if not, cool but we’re only trying to please ourselves. You can’t please everyone. I love hardcore just like I love jazz and countless other genres so I guess I sort of feel bad for anyone who thinks we’re not “hardcore” enough cause they probably only listen to hardcore and that’s a shame but that’s pretty much the only thought I give to anyone who thinks that haha. There’s nothing wrong with liking CROWN THE EMPIRE and SHAI HULUD.
You’ve recently wrapped up your lengthy summer tour called Teenage Mutant Ninja Tour. How was it? Please drop us a couple lines about the people and bands you’ve met, the cosiest venues you’ve played and the coolest moments you’ve experienced.
It was long haha. The longest tour we’ve done yet but it was AWESOME. We had a such a great time and made so many new friends and fans. I wish I had the time to name them all here. Some old and new friends in Minneapolis, Lake Villa IL, Chicago, Marietta GA, Joplin MO, New York and Rochester. Some of the great bands and friends we played with were HANDSOME MIDNIGHT, A FATHOM FAREWELL, PICKWICK COMMONS, PICTURE PERFECT SKYLINES, BOY MEETS WORLD. I know I’m forgetting some but here were so many good bands and cool people. As far as cozy venues nothing was cozier than Cesspool Castle in Joplin MO haha. One of the coolest moments of the tour for me (aside from the amazing site seeing in great cities) was the fan support and turn out at some places we had never been before and didn’t even know we had fans there like St Louis MO. It was amazing and humbling and flattering.
After seeing so many different places with the band, what’s the Florida metalcore and melodic post hardcore scene like? How does it compare to the rest of the U.S. you experienced?
Honestly I think your local scene is what you make of it. Every band in every city says “out scene here sucks” and I’m like “looks decent to me….” I think the Florida scene is great, especially Tampa where we live and Orlando as evidence by all the bands that have come out of both areas. Walk into a bar any given night in downtown St Petersburg (just outside Tampa) and you’re guaranteed to run into someone from Underoath or Anberlin or countless other band members national and local. We’ve worked hard to build a scene with other bands and that’s what you have to do I think. View your fellow bands as friends and not competition.
Are there plans to hit the road again sometime this year?
Of course haha. We leave September 27th for what will be our last tour of the year.
What about the distant lands out there. Any chance to see you in Europe sometime next year?
Oh that would be so amazing. We don’t have plans to at the moment but it’s something we would love to do and hope to soon.
With so much energy put into this band, do you have any specific aspirations for NTJ?
We all want to build as successful and long sustaining career as possible with NTJ. We intend to be around for awhile :)
Thanks so much for the chat! Best of luck, guys! Any final words for your fans and potential followers?
No prob any time. Thank you.
Yes. Thank all of you for going on this journey with us, it means the world to us and we couldn’t do anything without the support and love you’ve shown this band and all of us individually. I hope you love our upcoming ep as much as we do. We genuinely feel it’s the best thing we’ve ever done and absolutely cannot wait to share it with you all. See you on the road very soon.