Every band has a story. The story of Our Last Night just happens to be more dramatic than most.
The story of Our Last Night is a wild one. From being signed as pre-teens and hitting the road on tour immediately, through to frontman Trevor almost being pulled into a child-porn ring? And that's before we even talk about the label situation. It's been wild. We sat down with all of the lads in Our Last Night to talk through the history of their band that you probably don't know.
Unfiltered. Real. Honest.
Settle in for a wild ride.
SO HOW DID OUR LAST NIGHT BEGIN? WHEN DID YOU REALISE THIS WAS WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO?
Says Trevor Wentworth (Vocals): "We started in 2004. That was when we officially started Our Last Night. It was just the normal way, in our basement jamming out and seeing whatever came from that. We grew up listening to a lot of Drive-Thru Records bands, and then later on Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying as the first heavy things we heard. We just found bands through Pure Volume and MySpace and knew that we had to do the same thing as well."
SO FROM THERE YOU WERE PICKED UP BY EPITAPH. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT AND AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE?
Matthew Wentworth (Guitar): "Yeah I was 10 and Trevor was 13. We had randomly found ourselves a manager through Pure Volume. He heard one of our songs and really liked it. He had been working with a couple of other bands and had been getting major label deals for them. He just started sending our music to labels through all of the contacts that he had. Epitaph was the one that we had on the table that seemed to suit the best."
Trevor: "It was either going to be them or Solid State Records. We had much more knowledge on Epitaph because all of our favourite bands were with them. It was the deal that made the most sense. Then the deal was signed and we were heading out on the road."
IT’S VERY MUCH A TIME WHEN LABELS HAD THE MONEY TO TAKE A CHANCE OF A BAND LIKE YOURS JUST BECAUSE, WASN’T IT?
Trevor: "Yeah, back then you really had to be on a record label to really do anything."
Tim Molloy (Drums): "Yeah you’ve got to remember this was a time before Twitter. It was when you had to text by clicking four times to get one letter. It was a very different time."
Trevor: "They wanted to market us as a young band more than anything."
Matthew: "Looking back at it, you could say that we weren’t quite ready. I mean we pulled it off and we made a really cool album. Though looking at where we are now and the albums we have made now, back then we really had no clue. We were inexperienced and jumping right in."
THERE REALLY ISN’T A SYSTEM IN PLACE FOR YOUNG BANDS BEING PREPARED FOR THAT SORT OF LIFE, IT’S STILL AN ISSUE NOW IN SOME CASES.
Trevor: "It was definitely a culture shock. Though it did help us all to grow a lot faster than if we weren’t doing this."
TALK US THROUGH THE FIRST FEW YEARS OF TOURING AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE.
Trevor: "Being 13 on the road, I definitely saw more from those first few years than anyone of that age should. We were going out with some proper old school rockers. We would see things like drugs and not really believe it. Being from such a small town in New Hampshire, you don’t really see any of those things. The stuff you see is all pretty mind-blowing."
Tim: "The thing is even from the start we weren’t getting into trouble. We weren’t doing drugs. We weren’t drinking. We were doing it all for the music. If we were going to be lucky enough to do it at a professional standard, we weren’t going to fuck it up. It wasn’t even about fame. We just loved playing music."
Trevor: "Those years helped us to make more decisions about the places that we go and the people we work with and the way we do things. It helped us to be much smarter."
GOING OUT AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE COMES WITH A LEVEL VULNERABILTY.
Trevor: "Yeah, there was that one time on the first tour in Kansas."
Alex: "Yeah a guy tried to get Trevor to be part of an escort service."
Trevor: "Everybody else remembers this story much better than me. I don’t know what the fuck was going on."
Alex 'Woody' Woodrow (Bass): "We had stopped for gas and Trevor was waiting in line to get snacks or something. Then this weird guy approached him and said he works for an escort service and wondered if he wanted to take part in a shoot. Then our friends who were with us who were bigger and lot more intimidating kicked off and said ‘get the fuck out of here’. Then we went back to the van and the guy stuck his head in again saying he meant no disrespect and saying if we needed help to party he could help. Then the cops pulled in and arrested him."
Trevor: "I remember this other time when we were driving on a two lane highway and these two dudes started shouting at us ‘pull the fuck over let’s fight’ and tried to bash us off the road."
THOSE ARE THE SORT OF THINGS THAT WOULD KNOCK THE CONFIDENCE OUT OF A LOT OF BANDS.
Tim: "For every band who would spend tour partying, there were others who showed how to deal with these things properly and teach us how to be more than just a bunch of punk ass kids."
SO FROM THAT, HOW WAS IT WHEN YOU WERE KIND OF PUSHED TO THE SIDE? HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH THAT?
Matthew: "It was just a case of after the first record passed, there was much less communication. We would give them different ideas and they would shoot us down."
Alex: "I get it, it’s a business. Record labels want to do things by numbers and what works percentage wise. Though it doesn’t make about analytics, you can’t predict music. You want to be the band who does things for the first time. In that case there will be no analytics at all to compare it to. But they have a lot of money invested so they don’t want to take too many risks. Now that we do things on our own, it’s a lot more relaxed. We can try so many different things."
HOW WAS IT FOR YOU MAKING THAT DECISION TO TAKE THINGS INTO YOUR OWN HANDS AND GO INDEPENDENT? WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL FEELINGS?
Tim: "It was a weird crossroads. Jaded maybe isn’t the right word but we felt something was off. We weren’t getting any support tours. It was just us going out and playing the same venues to the same 20 kids."
Trevor: "Just doing that over and over and over."
Matthew: "There are only so many times you can do that. We started to feel like we didn’t even want to do any of this at all. So we knew that our contract was coming to an end and there was two things we could do. We could carry on or we could call it a day and say ‘that’s it’."
Alex: "You owe it to yourself to carry on though. You’ve just got to take it back to why you started doing this. You feel this fire in your belly once again."
Trevor: "We were just under the impression that we should just give it a shot. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. You definitely have to be patient as an artist and being in a band. We toured all of our albums for just over 7 years and looking back on it nothing really happened. You make a couple of changes and then you start seeing things happen."
Tim: "You know of course there were things that were very much energy and hope draining but you just work and persevere through them. You learn a ton from that and now you know how not to do something."
HOW DO YOU COPE WITH WATCHING THIS THING THAT YOU HAVE CREATED AND LOVED BE MOULDED INTO A SHAPE THAT YOU DON’T WANT IT TO BE?
Trevor: "I think it’s just the timing of everything really. Like all this happened around the time that we decided to do our first cover which was ‘Skyfall’. It was technically before our contract with Epitaph had ended but we just recorded it and put it on to our YouTube channel and it just went crazy viral. None of us were expecting it. It was more press than we had had in 7 years of doing this."
HOW DOES IT FEEL HAVING BOTH THE ORGINALS BUT ALSO THE COVERS SIDES OF THE BAND TO PLAY WITH?
Trevor: "People often ask us the question ‘how do you stop yourself from becoming a covers band?’ Honestly we don’t have a plan. We just do a cover when we want to do a cover and then work on our originals the rest of the time. If you can get your originals as close to as good as you can get your covers, you’ll do just fine."
IT’S ONLY A SMALL PART OF WHAT OUR LAST NIGHT IS, BUT YOU MUST GET A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ONLY KNOW YOU FOR THAT ONE SIDE.
Trevor: "Yeah, to a lot of people we are known as the covers band. But, do we give a shit, not really. Since we have done covers our records have sold more than ever before. To a little critical of ourselves I do wish we released a bit more original content compared to the covers. If there were one thing we could improve it would be to release more original songs."
Alex: "We get a lot of people coming up to us saying ‘I’ve never been a rock concert before but I like Ed Sheeran’. That’s pretty cool to hear but then on the other side of things from a business stand point it builds a financially stable income for us, which is something that we wouldn’t get on a label. For now, it makes things work."
HOW DOES IT FEEL KNOWING THAT THE COMMUNITY THAT YOU HAVE BUILT HAS BEEN COMPLETELY ON YOUR OWN TERMS?
Trevor: "There have been kids waiting here to meet us since 7am. I don’t even think I’m that cool. I think that the thing that works the best for our band is to do everything with our fans. Make sure that we get as much input from them as possible. I think they know that too. We have no label. We have no management. We make sure it is well know that we are the only people in this business. So if someone asks if we can cover something, we will do it. If someone asks if we can come and tour near them, we will try. We try and make it as much of a family as possible. We never charge for things like meet and greets. We have a band phone number that we have just started to give out. At the end of the day we would be nothing without the fans."
Our Last Night are forging their own path, on their own terms. And it's working for them. Check them out on Spotify below: