Hollis band funds album through Indiegogo
Friday, November 1, 2013
When their record label contract was about to expire, indie rock band Our Last Night decided to take control of their future and go off on their own.
They set up an Indiegogo campaign, hoping to raise $15,000 so they could release their next album. They reached that goal in five days, thanks to their cover of Adele’s “Skyfall” that went viral, with more than a million views on YouTube. By the end of the campaign, they raised more than triple their initial goal.
Founded six years ago, Our Last Night is comprised of four friends who grew up together in Hollis: Alex Woodrow on bass guitar, Matt Wentworth on guitar and vocals, his brother Trevor Wentworth on vocals, and drummer Timothy Malloy, of Dracut, Mass.
Woodrow said he met Matt Wentworth when he was 7 years old and had just moved to the neighborhood. They both graduated from Hollis Brookline High School in 2006.
“I have two younger sisters, so they were my brothers,” he said. “Matt got a guitar, so I got a bass. We got more serious about music, and by the time I got to college, we were in a bidding war with record labels. ”
When they first signed with Epitaph, Malloy had graduated from Dracut High School and Woodrow was a 19-year-old sophomore at University of New Hampshire. Matt Wentworth was also 19, and Trevor Wentworth was only 14. To perform with the band, Trevor had tutors and took online classes to complete his GED. Woodrow majored in communications and psychology, and graduated from UNH in 2010. He also worked as a substitute teacher at HBHS.
The group had a 15-passenger Chevy Express Van that they drove full of equipment and luggage on tours. During the last three years, they have performed in Japan, Europe, Canada and throughout the United States. The band released three albums while under contract with Epitaph Records before deciding not to renew.
“We essentially grew up on Epitaph,” Woodrow said. “We were very young when we signed, but what it all comes down to is the record company is a booking agent and they make the money. It was refreshing when we came to the point where we wanted to do our own things and decided we didn’t need a marketing company. If you don’t have CD sales, YouTube and iTunes, you don’t make money. We weren’t seeing the financial gains and were right on the brink a year ago where we had to move on or start something new. We decided we believe in our music and we won’t quit till we get where we want. We made well over our goal and couldn’t be more humble or excited to be at this level.”
Woodrow said it also helps that the notion of using crowdfunding has become more acceptable for artists. With the success of their campaign, they will use some of the $46,500 they raised to invest in recording equipment.
The band writes some of their own music, but to maintain ownership of their original songs while fulfilling the last months of their contract with Epitaph, they chose to record covers of works by other artists.
“Adele turned us on to the whole covering songs thing,” Woodrow said. “After ‘Skyfall’ went viral, they recorded songs such as ‘Stay’ by Rihanna, ‘Mirrors’ by Justin Timberlake, and ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus.
“We did a summer of covers from top 40 radio and chose the songs to fit our sound,” he explained. “We have a high energy to our sound. We’ve been gaining support on social media, kids attend our shows, and we can do this relatively inexpensively ourselves at home, so we will continue to do covers. If you can do that and prove you can reach multiple genres, you will be more successful.”
Videos of their covers can be found on YouTube by searching for OurLastNightBand. To hear some of their original acoustic songs, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK4VQhY38pg for “Reason to Love,” which was filmed while on tour in Wales, and www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qq2BRnJ1fI for “Fate,” which Woodrow said was inspired by the decisions the group had to face regarding their career path.
Their new album, Oak Island, has two EPs: one heavy rock and one acoustic and will officially be released on Tuesday, Nov. 5. A special release party will be held at Bernie’s in Nashua on Saturday, Nov. 2, with special guests Lions Lions. Tickets are $13, and can be ordered through Ticketmaster. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the show begins at 6 p.m.
After that they head out for a U.S. tour, opening for the band Sleeping with Sirens. They will perform in venues like the Chicago House of Blues. The winter will find them performing in Florida, the Northeast and a month in the UK and Australia.