Layout By Ed Interview By Billy
In September I met up with members of the new OCHC outfit LAST LIGHT at Paul Miners Buzzbombs Studio where they just recorded some songs for their first EP.
Hey guys, howzit going and thank you for taking time for an Interview.
Jae, would you please give us a short introduction to LAST LIGHT and who is in the band?
Jae: Absolutely, we have Joe Foster and John Coyle on guitars, John Lorey on bass, Danny Baeza on drums and yours truly on lead vocals.
Pretty cool, a lot of us know those names. You guys were involved into the early days of the OC hardcore scene. Sounds like the birth of another HC “Superband”?
Joe: Whats with this stupid name ‘Superband’ and all this stuff? There’s not that many of us left in the OC from former bands that actually meant “Committed For Life” so as many have fallen to the side, some of us kept going and will never stop. The guys I am playing with have always been in bands their whole lives and continue to want to make music. It makes the process easier to play with seasoned guys that subscribe to the same history and vision as myself. I have tried with other people many times, but could not instill the feeling these guys bring to the table.
Jae: We are flattered that you bring that up and we certainly can’t discount the truth and what significance it is to some who can acknowledge that. However, LAST LIGHT isn’t about the past. We are not a band seeking refuge in the comfort of the past, lost time, and celebrated fiction. It’s all about the here and now.
Do I get it right, you don’t count on old glories?
Jae: Yeah, you can say that. We all have our stories and histories with hardcore music. Its definitely the set foundation for this band. That’s what motivates us, that’s what is important to us, and not what we did but we do now. Our loyalty stands in the present.
Coyle: I want to focus on what we are doing now. LAST LIGHT needs to take what we have learned playing in prior bands and write really strong and meaningful music that speaks to us now. Not to discount what we have done but I have no interest in playing and touring songs that I wrote 20+ years ago. It was great at the time, THIS IS NOW!
Joe: So tired of all that. It’s natural to keep doing what you love, hopefully you get better and better at whatever your passion is and I think to date this is the best example of a perfect band for me. We are family and check in on each other everyday, we laugh and have fun, we do things together outside of music. I am very blessed to be surrounded by such a positive and awesome group of guys.
Can you tell us how started the idea to form Last Light? Didn’t most of you guys play in Blood Days too?
Jae: Sure! Me, Foster, and Lorey played in Blood Days. LAST LIGHT is what we are doing now and that’s all that matters. Personally LAST LIGHT is a more cohesive group. We show up, we bring it. This is the first band I’ve ever played in that every member gives it their all and their best. We inspire each other with or without instruments. The most positive guys I’ve ever played with. The creativity is seriously lacking limitation, it’s fucking insane. I’m very excited and grateful to be playing with these guys. My finest work so far. This shit is real.
Joe: You know, I have always been a big fan of Jae’s ever since he was singing in The Twilight Transmission. We have kept in contact for many years and he is truly one of the coolest people I know. John Lorey was my best friend in High School and Mr. Coyle is just an awesome guy, so funny and absolutely rips on guitar. Danny our drummer I found online, diamond in the rough, LOL. Danny is really the machine, he’s super positive and really fun to be around.
John: After I recorded together with Foster the “You Are One” EP in the 80’s, our paths diverged for the most part. 25 years and lots of bands later, he hit me up and Blood Days was formed. I started listening to Outspoken after Jae joined the band, so when the opportunity to play with Coyle, Jae & Danny happened, there wasn’t a decision to be made. Foster asked me in 2014 about “beginning and ending it together” this became, over the last 2 years, ultimately LAST LIGHT.
Coyle, I heard that reuniting with your previous bands for a benefit for a fallen friend, you guys realized that you are not done yet. Is that right?
Coyle: It was at the very emotional benefit for Jon Bunch. I was never really close friends with Jon but played with Reason to Believe and Sensefield many times. He was an amazing and talented person. It was inspiring the outpouring of support from the hardcore scene. I rarely look back, Jon’s passing and the memorial gave me a moment to reflect on the past and more importantly it gave us the opportunity to look forward.
Does it mean, what had dimmed over years of growing older and the responsibilities that come with it has slowly begun to turn back to its full brightness around that Memorial show?
Coyle: We get older, we go to work and we focus on stability for our families, this always involves sacrifices. It doesn’t mean you fell out of love with something it just means your responsibilities are more important than your passion. The memorial show made me realize how much I missed playing music and being involved/engaged. Also, oddly enough after being in the same scene for 25+ years it was the first time I actually met Foster, we hit it off immediately. The guy is ridiculously talented and has an understanding of melody that is unmatched. When the planets aligned and the idea of LAST LIGHT started it was really easy to dive in.
Jae: 4 months before the Jon Bunch memorial show I made some major life changes. With those changes came some of the hardest challenges of my life. I had never felt so low, empty and alone. At that time I was singing for Blood Days and working. This kept me distracted however I knew I had to stay strong and fight my way through it all. I knew I couldn’t give up and lose everything. I had to hang in there through faith that the path that got me there would eventually allow me to rise above the depression and the feeling of helplessness. Months later I’m in the best band I’ve ever been in, surrounded by supportive and motivated friends, met the most extraordinarily amazing woman and seeing my entire life in a different light. You know, the Jon Bunch Memorial allowed me to realize mortality, life and it’s temporary nature and within that life we are surrounded by unlimited opportunities to be great, to be a service to people, to experience compassion and love. We empower ourselves or disempower ourselves in life. This is the fundamental lesson I’ve learned from it all.
John: You know, benefit shows are tough because you’re there loving the bands, catching-up with missed friends, but still having a miserable time. But it was great getting riled-up again.
Could you tell us, which bands and music do you count to your influences and how would you describe LAST LIGHT’s music?
Jae: Music Influences of LAST LIGHT? Shit, I don’t think we could truly map that out precisely. I don’t think it’s the best question for the kind of answer I’m going to give you, but we reference ourselves and our influences could be interpreted objectively. We don’t write a song with another band in mind, or deliberately pay homage to another band. We know where we came from, and we will ride herd on claiming our own way.
Danny: I have a wide range of influences ranging from Motown to Metal. I think LAST LIGHT’s music is a mixture of all of our influences over the years all mixed together. We all interpret our influences our own way and bring it to rehearsal when we are putting songs together. I think LAST LIGHT has obvious roots in punk/hardcore, but we definitely add other influences we have gathered along the way before putting this band together.
John: I literally listen to every type of music, so it’s hard to say what specifically filters into LAST LIGHT through me at least. Foster, Coyle & Jae are the primary writers, and Danny and I sort of write around the edges in support of their vision. Ideally I like to contribute my own style within the context of the songs to the benefit of the whole. Of course, Brett (Rasmussen) and Paul (Miner) were/are really great getting the performance out of you, you want out of you, and really sweating the details, but not being over bearing dicks about it – it’s a fine line, and they rock it well.
Joe: We all listen to all kinds of music, the seeds are already planted from the past as far as hardcore is concerned but moving forward with open minds, I believe we sprinkle in a lot of other influences. I have always liked (Brian) Baker, Inouye and Agnew a lot so if I can expand on that in my own way, I am a happy man.
Which three words fit best to LAST LIGHT?
Jae: Three words that best fit LAST LIGHT? I’d say would be Positivity, Intention, and Distinctive.
Meeting yours at Paul Miner’s and seeing Brett Rasmussen of Ignite earlier on, I’m right in assuming you get some support of the old hardcore family?
John: Brett has been there for LAST LIGHT since before day one, and his part getting this to fruition cannot be understated. It was really great finally getting to work with him. This was my first time meeting Paul Miner and I couldn’t be happier about how the sessions played out.
Joe: Me and Brett go way back and I am so happy to have him working with us. Feels like the old days and we just see and hear music the same way. He is the ultimate professional and is producing our songs with us and also shooting our video. We have spent many many hours at his house working on music and doing a lot of pre-production and we can’t thanks him enough for all his hard work and commitment to this new band.
What plans have you next with LAST LIGHT?
Coyle: We started with no preconceived notion of what we wanted to sound like, it has all been really organic and I want to keep writing songs while the iron is hot. I am beyond proud of LAST LIGHT and cannot wait to watch both the music and our relationships grow.
Joe: We plan on releasing a 4 song EP asap. We will hopefully record by the end of the year and have it out in January of next year. We are looking forward to playing alot of shows and especially touring the US and Europe.
Jae: Foster, don’t forget that split we’re planning to release in 2016.
You are planning a split?
Jae: Yes, there are talks and plans but we still have to wait announcing the band. So far we can say we are stoked.
What are your favourite bands and records right now?
Danny: Quick top 5 I listen to a lot of are: Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, The Bronx, Dag Nasty and Descendents.
Joe: I listen to a lot of Red Hare, Blue Tip, Embrace, UC but also things like the White Buffalo and a lot of other types of music. There is also this hardcore band Tausend Löwen Unter Feinden, stop laughing about my pronunciation, they are one of our favorite bands for sure. I shouldn’t forget Once I Cry,081 and The Eulogy of the new breed.
Coyle: I still listen to a lot of the same music I listened to 20 years ago. Black Flag, Embrace, Rites Of Spring those three have been on heavy rotation forever. I am really excited to see the resurgence of new bands like Done Dying, SEARCH and World Be Free. While I think it’s cool that Gorilla Biscuits and Youth Of Today have reunited it’s more exciting to me to see new music from these guys. It was cool to hear new BLAST music, seeing them live again was unexpected and great. I also listen to a lot maybe too much Jose Gonzales the guy is pretty amazing and way too good live. Also the FREE, former Have Heart guys, demo rips.
Jae: Favorite bands and records right now? Fuck! I’m really all over the place right now. I don’t listen to 100% hardcore. I’ve listening to a lot of Cuban music, punk, and hip hop. I really like the new Dag Nasty 7″. I just recently started listening to Maynard’s band Puscifer. I saw Chris Lisk on the cover and figured it was worthy the listen. A lot of Sam Cooke lately. Early reggae and Bad Brains is always a staple. Non Servium from Spain is good. Bishops Green, Noel Gallagher, Tears of Gaia, the new Descendents record, but like I said I’m all over the place.
Thanx guys. Any last words and greetings?
Jae: Last words? Find your strength, and show your strength. Move forward and simplify your life. Stop accommodating people that are not worth your time. Make good decisions! And if you are not surrounded by people that inspire you then you are doing yourself, the people around you, and the world a great disservice. We all have something to give. Thanks for reading and we’ll see everyone soon!
Joe: Never give up, never give in. Keep doing what you love no matter what. Live with passion for something, anything. You never know when you may be the light at the end of the tunnel for someone. Love yourself and each other.
Coyle: I greatly appreciate any interest anyone has for what we are doing. We are overly passionate about LAST LIGHT and look forward to creating more music and playing live. To me hardcore is not about T-shirts or limited edition records, its about the moment and living in it. Put down your phones and stage dive everyone once and awhile. Just not during a Mean Seasons show you will get destroyed…..I learned this the hard way.
John: Everybody has my love & respect. Stay true to yourself & fight the power.
Danny: A big thank you in advance to everyone that supports us in any way. We appreciate it.