Late Night Savior –
More Than A Monster
by Dave Schwartz
After managing to garner over 7.5 million
streams worldwide independently, Utah based hard rock band Late
Night Savior was opening eyes in the record industry. With two
albums already under their belt, the band was ready to step into the
national spotlight. Late Night Savior recently signed with new
label, Rock Shop Records. Their first release is the single,
“Monster.” With an upcoming record in the works, it’s time to
step onto the national stage.
I spoke to vocalist Brandon Johnson about
“Monster” and their upcoming record.
DB: Thanks for calling in today
Brandon. Let’s get started. Congratulations on the new
single, “Monster.” I’m interested in hearing all about the
song. What can you share with me?
BJ: Well, the song is kind of funny to
me because I never intended it to be a Late Night Savior song.
I wrote it for another band that I was in. It’s about how mad
I was at Late Night Savior. Because I had joined the other
band, everyone in this band threatened to quit and thought I was
leaving. It hurt so much that I wrote this song as a get back
at you kind of thing. So, there’s no better way to heal that
moment that we went through than to have this band play the song and
let them put their own inputs on it.
DB: That makes complete sense.
Obviously, the entire band suffered that moment.
BJ: Yeah, it wasn’t a very great time
but we worked through it. And the song turned out super great.
We’re so happy with the way the song ended up. And of course,
everybody in the band knows the story so there’s no hard feelings
about it. So that’s a big relief! (laughts)
DB: I can imagine that it was very
important that the band understood what the song was about.
That would be a little hard to deal with years later. (laughs) You
travelled to Vancouver, Canada to hit the studio with
singer/songwriter/producer/The Veer Union front man, Crispin Earl to
work on a new record and of course “Monster.” Please talk a
little bit about how Crispin Earl influenced this project.
BJ: We have worked with other
producers in the past. On our last album, “Into the Aftermath”
(2017), was really the first time we had worked with a producer.
It was a tough pill to swallow, to give your art to somebody and
basically let them have their way with it. Working with
Crispin was so easy. We never once felt like he was trying to
force anything on us. It was so relaxed and the product that
we came out with is so much better than what we thought it would be.
So, I can’t say enough good things about working with Crispin and
the whole team really. They hit it out of the park for us.
And like I said, going up there and meeting some of the nicest guys
we’ve ever met, it was a real pleasure working with them.
DB: So Vancouver, that portion of the
equation was just his location?
BJ: Yeah, that’s where they are at.
That’s where they have their studio. But we definitely enjoyed
the vacation. (laughs)
DB: That can be an expensive vacation.
I really enjoy your first single, “Monster.” I really like the
way the music turned out. It’s dynamic, new and fresh – it’s
BJ: Thanks. Comparing that to
the original rough track and working with Crispin on it, I couldn’t
be happier the way it turned out. We’ve had a super-great
response everywhere we’ve taken it.
DB: So, you’re going to release your
third album in 2021. What can you tell me about the record
BJ: “Monster” is definitely the
heaviest track on the record. We’ve got some good ballads
coming in and the record has just a good modern feel to it.
And that’s not usually the way I have written in the past. It
took a little bit for me to learn how to write modern rock the way
that it’s supposed to be. There are 10 tracks on the record
and I don’t know what else to say other than I’m so excited to hear
it and have others hear it. We’ve got some really good rock
ballads on it and some songs that hit really hard. And in true
fashion, it’s all really emotional. So, listening to it and
during the recording process, there were some tears shed. I
hope that kind of comes through on the record.
DB: That’s interesting to hear.
I love that the passion often does ring through on a song. It
adds honesty to the music. I mean, when a person hears some
tears were shed they sometimes think the subject is tragic – but it
isn’t always. That passion often makes the difference in the
BJ: Absolutely. There is one
song that’s on the record called “Charlotte’s Song.” It’s a
song that I wrote for my daughter. It’s about trying to
explain about not being there and how much I care for her. And
she actually did a video call with me in the studio right before I
recorded her song. So, once I told her that I loved her and
got off the phone, it was immediately me singing her song about how
much I miss her. It really tugged at the heartstrings.
And listening back on it, you can hear it in my voice. There
is a lot of honesty in the song.
DB: It’s a beautiful thing. So, it’s
been a few years since your first release. In 2016 you put out
“Among the Forgotten.” Can you contrast that record with this
BJ: “Among the Forgotten” was written
over so many years and about so many different things that were
happening in life. You know, people that we lost and my whole
situation with my father. That record was just a whole mess of
life. And we did take it in and do it just so raw because we
had such a raw feeling for it. I don’t know how to say that
I’m so happy for it being so raw because this new record or even our
second record sounds nothing like the first. The main thing
between our older albums and this new one is that that modern sound
really comes through. There is still every emotion tied to
those notes and the progression that we created throughout the three
albums – I don’t know, there’s still a story. There is a story
that we’re finishing up with this record.
DB: That is just so good to hear.
I like your comment regarding the rawness of the music. As
you’re more aware than I, it’s easy to get into a studio and, with
the best of intension, create something that just loses the essence
of the song.
BJ: Right. And we never want to
do that. We just want to carry that emotion through because
one of the best things that we’ve seen throughout the shows that
we’ve done and throughout the records is fans approaching us and
saying that a song hit them in a really deliberate way. They
may think that it means something very different than the reason we
wrote it. We don’t try to dive very deep into song meanings.
I want others to try and figure out their own meanings. So,
it’s always a very successful thing to carry that rawness and
emotion throughout all of the music.
DB: I have an unusual question for
you. Mention music and fans imagine many different locations –
NYC, Los Angeles... Utah is on the list but it’s never right
at the top. Is it challenging to be a band from Utah?
BJ: So far for us, no. And I
will say that Salt Lake City especially has a very rich music scene.
It’s not really built on the basis of, at least from what I’ve seen,
it’s not built on the basis of competition. Bands aren’t there
only trying to better other bands. There’s no real fighting.
There is occasional drama but whatever. For us, it’s been
mostly supportive from all sides of the local scene. And
that’s really helped us push our music onto the national scene and
eventually international. It’s super supportive around here.
I understand why it can get tough in places like Los Angeles –
there’s just so much competition but that’s not here.
DB: Yeah, that makes sense. The
music industry has been really shaken by the pandemic. It’s
been tough on bands and on the business side of things. So,
given the timing of Covid and this big pause that we’re
experiencing, do you find that it worked for you or against your
ambitions as a band?
BJ: I would say that it really helped
us in a way. We were killing ourselves trying to perform as
much as possible. Out every weekend and during the week and
doing the tours, the whole thing. So, taking that time off to
really sit back and reconnect with our families helped us so much
personally. It helped our band succeed because we have more
passion. And obviously, fans of music have been sitting home
listening to new music so our release of “Monster” couldn’t have
come at a better time. I feel like people are really looking
for new music.
I want to thank Brandon for sharing a moment
with DaBelly. Make sure you check out all of their social