Goodnight Argent | January 10, 2013 | Interviewer: Joy Jarme
HV: Please introduce yourselves and your roles in the band.
Chase: We’re Goodnight Argent, a pop rock band from Washington State. We’ve won a John Lennon Songwriting Contest, got awards from Billboard, ISC (International Songwriting Competition). We’ve had songs on MTV, Showtime, Bravo. I’m Chase Manhattan, I’m the lead vocalist. I also play some keys and do some engineering.
Shane: And songwriting.
Chase: And songwriting.
Shane: A lot of songwriting.
Shane: I’m Shane. I play the keys as well, do a little rhythm acoustic guitar, and then stage engineering during the shows.
Zac: I’m Zac, I’m the backup vocalist and drummer.
Evan: I’m Evan. I play bass. And I cannot sing.
Jeff: I play guitar and am backup vocalist too. I’m Jeff.
HV: Who are the primary songwriters?
Evan: That would have to be Chase. And… Shane.
Shane: Well, I do like 5% so Chase definitely.
Chase: Well, we have a process. When it comes to songwriting, I’m a piano player so I’ll typically sit down at the piano and start playing around, finding some chords. Once I find a melody that really hits me a certain way, I’ll take it to these guys and they do their thing.
Shane: After that, we all collaborate on it as a band. Once we have a general concept of what we want, we toss it back to Chase who’s kind of our master engineer and he applies it, puts it in, and creates the finished product.
HV: So when do the lyrics come in?
Chase: They kind of evolve near the end, after we get the melody. Lyrics are pretty important and we tend to draw the vibe of the song and put down lyrics that really enhance the rhythm and the melody.
HV: Who wrote “Devil’s Own Daughter”? The lyrics in that are very interesting.
Chase: I did. I kind of have my own hidden meaning behind it. I wanted to write a fun song, something that’s a little playful. But the meaning behind the song is actually a teenage guy talking to his girlfriend who’s come from an abusive home and she lost her mom at a young age. But I kind of wanted to tie that into more of a fun song, just trying to sneak in a little emotion if possible.
HV: Are you planning a full album release?
Chase: Wanna take that Jeff?
Jeff: We don’t want to talk over each other. At the moment we’re satisfied with releasing small portions of music just because we’re waiting to find the right label to help us with the full production of the full album, plus we’re busy traveling around and doing stuff like that.
HV: How would you describe your sound?
Evan: I’d say we’re pop rock, kind of a mix of Neon Trees meets Maroon 5. Very energetic, kind of four to the floor pop rock.
HV: I hear a bit of One Republic influence in there too.
Jeff: That’s another one we get a lot too.
HV: You did a few covers in your live set, which aren’t posted on your YouTube site. How do you choose which songs to cover?
Chase: We view and approach our YouTube covers and our live covers differently. With the YouTube covers, we take songs that we want to reverse engineer, find out how they did the production, the little things that make the songs tick, what makes them, basically, a Top 40 hit. So we take those songs and try to figure out everything they did with it and recreate it.
HV: And the live songs?
Jeff: Basically it’s stuff that first of all, we enjoy playing, and second of all, that keeps the crowd’s attention. Some songs that you do for YouTube may get a lot of attention online but might not hit very well live. So we try to really keep upbeat songs…
Zac: Kind of like that four to the floor style we’re going for.
HV: You guys recorded an EP at the Palms. What made you guys do that and how did it go?
Chase: The reason we decided to do that is, I had a chance to check out the Palms studio when I was visiting in Vegas once. It’s just a gorgeous studio and the history there is just phenomenal. Having the chance to record in the same place some of our musical idols have recorded is just something you can’t beat. Being in the same room as Usher or Michael Jackson or Justin Timberlake – it’s incredible.
HV: I bet! Who are your biggest influences?
Zac: Well when it comes to influences for the band, we try to keep a really high energy show, with that four to the floor, trying to keep everybody energetic. We’re really inspired from bands like AWOLNATION, also Paper Route. One of our biggest influences is Mutemath because we really like the way they construct their shows and how high energy their shows are. That’s what we like to base our shows off.
HV: You kicked off your High School Homecoming Tour this week. What made you decide to do a high school tour versus shows in smaller clubs?
Shane: We’ve all played with instruments or sang or done something musically since we were kids. But in high school was that defining point when instead of doing a standard day job we wanted to go into music. We had great experiences with music so we wanted to come here and recreate a musical experience for people that might be on the verge of deciding to go with a music career. Just really recreate that magical moment that we had in high school for the 50,000+ students across the west coast area.
HV: Did all of you meet in high school?
Jeff: Weirdly enough, we’re actually all from the same high school.
Shane: But the way we met was kind of different. Chase and I actually met in middle school. We started doing music at that point. Then I moved down to LA to study music. Then Chase started the group up at home. He contacted me about it. Then he met Jeff at a radio interview, right?
Jeff: Yeah. I was in a band with Evan before and Evan tears it up so I brought him along with me.
Shane: And Zac was the missing piece. He was the last piece of the puzzle. Chase found him on YouTube. [Zac] put up videos of himself on YouTube, contacted Chase about music, wanted to talk to him about what he’s been doing in the Washington area, and it just… happened. We said “let’s try a show with him.” We absolutely loved him.
HV: So, you’re all from the same high school, but Chase had to find Zac on YouTube?
Jeff: Yeah, it’s kinda weird.
Zac: It’s a big city.
Evan: In high school, I didn’t really know any of these guys.
Shane: 200 people.
Evan: Until after high school.
Zac: We’re all a year apart in graduating except Evan and I.
HV: And how long have you been together as a band?
Evan: All of us?
Jeff: Seven or eight months.
Evan: Zac’s the new kid on the block.
Zac: Only about… three / three and a half months.
HV: Cool, what’s the best show/place you’ve been to on tour?
Zac: We’re gonna have a lot of great shows on this tour, I can see that. So far, right now, I would have to say Las Vegas Academy, just because they were so pumped up. It was like I was back in high school. Big thanks go to them too because they kept the show fun.
Evan: They kicked off the tour right. 1000 kids, all high schoolers that are into music. They love music and everything about it.
Jeff: As you walk on stage, before you even touch your instrument… “AAAHHH!”
Zac: Yeah, if you hear them cheering before you even walk through the curtains, you know it’s gonna be a good show.
Shane: They knew our names. They started yelling our names before we even introduced ourselves which was amazing. Surreal.
HV: What do you miss about home when you’re on the road?
Jeff: Oh, that’s a long list.
Evan: I think I can speak for all of us when I say family. Definitely. We’re a long ways from home and the majority of us are pretty young. It’s hard being away for a long time. This is a five and half to six week tour we’re on? We’ll be gone from home a month and a half so that’s pretty hard. We miss the studio a lot too because we’re there all the time.
Chase: Oh yeah.
Evan: Because if we’re not at home, we’re in the studio.
Shane: I think we spend more time in the studio.
Evan: I know you do.
Zac: So we really don’t miss them, we’re just kidding.
HV: So that leads to my next question, where did your band name come from?
Jeff: Our studio is actually on Argent Street. A lot of times we’re there most of the night so it just kind of fell together – Goodnight, Argent.
HV: Is there anything else you want to tell our readers and/or your fans?
Evan: … go Seahawks?
Zac: Be ready – Goodnight Argent!
Chase: We just had the opportunity to start a partnership with Logitech. We’re stoked. They make amazing products and they’re hooking us up with some great stuff that’s gonna help our live performance.
Oh yeah, and we’re shooting a music video. It’s gonna be a fun one for our song, “Ignorance Is Paradise.” And we actually have a feature on it from Elvis Duran who is the #1 radio personality in the US, he’s got the #1 show in New York with Z100. So that’s gonna be a fun video.
HV: So he’s gonna be in the video?
Chase: Yeah, he’s in the video.
Shane: And the other thing about that is that we’re going to be able to to have our debut national music video on AXS TV. They are one of our sponsors. The way they get behind music really speaks to how we are as a band. They’re actually going to debut our music video, “Battlegrounds,” that we’re gonna finish shooting when we get back from tour. It’s gonna be just an epic experience for us, just completely mind-blowing.
HV: Thanks a lot for your time!