Genre: Pop Punk
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Artistic Approach: Mixing pop-punk aggro with crisp production.
Serving more than satisfactory helpings of tasty hooks, instantly memorable melodies and vocal work that ranges from edgy-punk rasp to creamy lilt, five-piece Australian pop-rock group Tonight Alive has just released their first full length album entitled What Are You So Scared Of? The only thing to be feared here is playing this album non-stop for days. The band has remarkable versatility, demonstrating on their LP that, lyrically, they can handle everything from defiant self-proclamation and playful banter to vulnerable sentiment – and all with super taut instrumental work to support.
On recording: “Our producer knew what we wanted and what it would take to get us there. There were a lot of 12-hour days, but they were more than worth it.”
Tonight Alive’s members have been friends for years, lead singer Jenna McDougall relates to Performer, and the band morphed from a pop-punk cover project consisting of bassist Cam Adler and guitarist Jake Hardy. Lead guitarist/keyboardist Whakaio Taahi joined the ranks in 2007 and drummer Matt Best fell right in step, the two migrating from a shared hip-hop endeavor. With McDougall completing their unit the following year, Tonight Alive got straight to work, recording two EPs (All Shapes and Disguises, Consider This) in 2010 and another, Let It Land in 2011.
Drawing influence from bands like Thrice, Rufio and The Starting Line, Tonight Alive is a perfect example of accessible rock done right. After expressed interest by Mark Trombino (who has produced bands the likes of Blink-182, Basement Jaxx and Jimmy Eat World) the group was off to Los Angeles and into the sound lab for a full-length LP.
“Mark knew what we wanted and what it would take to get us there. There were a lot of 12-hour days, but they were more than worth it,” McDougall says, asked about the band’s experience in the States. Performer agrees; the ultra-crisp production, the snare-fill pops, warm bites of palm muting and vocal layering are very much alive.
photo by Megan Thompson