Published on March 8th, 2018 | by Brittain Thompson0
Oxford’s Goodnight Light Playing Album Release Party at Proud Larry’s on Saint Patrick’s Day
Goodnight Light is Jace Hughes’ (drums & vocals) and Brian Hatch’s (bass) return to writing music together, previously under the name The Heard. The two started playing together in 2013 and released an EP under their original name. After a break up and a couple bands between then and now, they are back together and releasing a full length, self-titled album under the new name.
“It was a natural progression for us,” said Hatch. “The new material we were writing was similar but . . . evolved and stronger.”
The duo found that the old material wasn’t connecting with them anymore. With how much both had improved as musicians and grown as people, they felt rebranding the project was the best way to represent what they are trying to do now.
“When we started working on the new stuff, there was something about the new sound he was pumping out of the bass that sounded meaningful,” said Hughes. “I thought, ‘Okay I can’t just scream about girl, girl, sex, sex.’ I wanted to actually say something so I started writing more seriously, and it felt like a different band.”
They were hesitant to leave behind the old material that still represented a time in their lives, but after playing through it they knew Goodnight Light needed to stand on its own.
“There was some of that nostalgia grabbing onto me,” said Hatch. “But [playing the old songs] just wasn’t the same and we had to leave those behind.”
Goodnight Light’s debut album features four songs, but with the run-time coming in just around 30 minutes, it is by no means an EP. “Elizabeth” and “Answers and the Key” both ended up being much longer songs than either musician realized.
“We didn’t even know they were that long,” said Hughes. “We timed them out then realized we have two nine minute songs on the album and were just like, ‘Oops.’”
“It feels like a natural progression,” said Hatch. “[‘Elizabeth’], the bulk of it, we wrote in one take then just fine tuned it.”
Songwriting for Hughes and Hatch is usually a situation of writing it as they play, each relying on knowing how the other plays.
“Some songs are just completed and we’re like, ‘Cool we’ve got a song,’” said Hughes. “I always thought [finishing a song quickly] was a red flag. I never did that with other bands I’ve been in . . . but we just both want to go the same way.”
“With it just being the two of us it makes it more difficult but also easier but at the same time,” said Hatch. “There’s a lot more on our shoulders but we have a lot more leeway in the direction we can go. It wasn’t always like this, but after playing together for four or five years it’s almost like there’s a shorthand now.”
Writing was put on pause while they recorded Goodnight Light at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, Mississippi.
“We did a mini-tour down to the coast and when we got back went directly into the studio the next day,” said Hatch. “We’ve both been working our asses off in kitchens then we have this break to go record music in the studio and I experienced this moment where I felt like this is where I’m meant to be. This feels amazing.”
“When we wrote [Elizabeth] we both looked at each other and just knew,” said Hatch. “We still haven’t played that song live, but there’s always gonna be a special place in our hearts for that song. . .It’s based off someone I know and still means a lot to me.”
“That song was three years in the making,” added Hughes.
Three years for one song seems like a long time, but when you consider that their original project formed half a decade ago it just seems in theme.
Half a decade ago Hughes sang for the first time in front of an audience as one half of The Heard and he was terrified. He admits he was terrified every show after that and it wasn’t until he played with Bad Dates that Hughes began to come into his own as a vocalist.
“We were doing such off-the-wall, punk crazy shit that I just got to a point I didn’t give a f**k if anyone liked it because it makes me feel good,” said Hughes.
That sense of comfort along with his and Hatch’s talent comes through clear on Goodnight Light. The duo delivers a fresh, heavy sound from the album’s opener “Elizabeth” to the final track “I hope I See You Come.” The album releases March 17 and will be available to stream as well as in physical format.
Goodnight Light will be playing a free show at Proud Larry’s on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. Pistol Whip Francis will be playing a DJ set to open.