Interview: Superheaven [October 2014]

By James Fox

When Pennsylvanian grunge band Daylight changed their name to Superheaven earlier this year, there were mixed reactions from fans to the new title. It’s incredible how passionately music fans can react to such a thing, but undeterred, the band went ahead re-issuing their 2013 LP of riffs ‘Jar’ under the new name. Whilst they recently visited the UK for the fifth time we got down to their Kingston show and had a chat with guitarist and vocalist Taylor Madison about the whole rigmarole of the name change, signing to Side One Dummy records and what they’re looking ahead to.

How’s the tour been?

The tour has been really good, definitely the best time we’ve had in touring Europe. It’s been the best. I think it’s been the most successful for us, for lack of a better word. This is our fourth European tour and our fifth time playing the UK. We were definitely a little nervous about it because we don’t headline tours in our own country, let alone other ones, so we had pretty low expectations going in because we don’t look at ourselves as a headlining band. But it’s been really good – none of the shows have been bad by my standards. I’m pretty quick to call a lot of shows bad but the shows have been really good. Everyone in the band agrees it’s been a pretty good tour.

You were previously on Run For Cover records, and now you’ve moved to Side One Dummy since August. What was the decision for that? Were things just coming to a close for you at RFC and it was time to move on?

I think it was mostly that Side One Dummy reached out to us and then we met with them. We heard what they had to say and they had a pretty good vibe, they were very friendly, they seemed genuinely into our band. It wasn’t a disingenuous thing where they were like: “We think your band could make us a lot of money.” We’re not the sort of band who makes a lot of money for ourselves let alone any outside party. They were just like, “We’re into your band and we’d like to work with you.” We didn’t have anything tying us to Run For Cover legally. It was an easy decision to make, honestly, because we have a really good relationship with RFC and we’ve been on the label for a while and we’re very friendly with them. But we figured we’ve put a couple records out on RFC, let’s just try something different. We’ve always been a band that tries to not keep doing the same things over and over again and trying different stuff and seeing how it goes. Basically, the main thing was to try something different. It wasn’t that we were unhappy with RFC or looking to make a bunch of money, we just thought: “Let’s do this and see what happens”.

Both Side One Dummy and Run For Cover are reissuing your ‘Jar’ LP from last year, and one of the main things behind that would be you guys changing your name from Daylight to Superheaven. Would I be right in saying that Daylight wasn’t a name you were particularly crazy about anyway?

Yeah, the name change is definitely a tricky thing. We did it because we had to. As I’m sure you read it was a legal situation. I wasn’t that upset about it because I wasn’t attached to the name Daylight. I don’t think any of us were. It was just more of a thing we had to do. I don’t love the name Daylight, I don’t really love the name Superheaven. A name is just a name – I don’t focus too much on that. But people do, people definitely have opinions about it, that’s for sure. I wasn’t excited to see the name Daylight go, it wasn’t a thing where I was like “I don’t really care either way”. It’s something we had to do and we just did it I guess.

Was it difficult to think of a new name? Was it something that happened quick or was it a big deal?

It was difficult. It was frustrating because we knew going in that it’s not like you can change your name and it goes unnoticed. We knew some people were not going to get the memo, some people were going to not like the new name and some people were going to complain. I don’t think we expected people to complain to the degree we have, but it was hard to come up with a name. We all had lists and no-one could ever agree on anything. If you’ve ever named a band then it’s the hardest thing, and if you have to rename your band it’s a thousand times harder. We all had to find something we all agreed on and one thing we all wanted was that if you search it on the internet then nothing else comes up. We want it to be something that wasn’t taken by anything else because we don’t want to have to change our name again, so we played it safe in that respect. So we just wanted something that is completely its own. I think Superheaven is a strong name. It fits us and it sounds like a rock band. It’s not like someone said “Superheaven” and we were all like “Oh my God – that’s the name”. It was on the list from the beginning and that ended up being it after many many other names.

What were some of the other names?

Oh man, I don’t even fucking remember. There were so many dumb ones. I would love to show a list of the potential names we had to someone who says they hate the name Superheaven. I say it all the time – there’s so many bands and so many musical things that there are no cool band names any more. All the cool ones – like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, they are cool band names to me – they’re taken. Music has been around so long and so many bands have been popular that there is so much music that’s made that every name is taken. A cool name is a hard thing to come by.

I read a while back that you said: “I think we found our comfort zone with ‘Jar’, and now that we’re comfortable we’re trying to go just outside that.” It sounds like that you’ll be expanding in some way?

Yeah, I think that anyone who has heard all our records knows that all of them sound a little bit different to the ones before them. We don’t want to be a band that makes the same record over and over again but at the same time we made them so it’s not like it sounds like a completely different band. I think the new record will be, for lack of a better word, more on the poppy side of things. At least some of it will be more like a Pixies/Weezer kind of vibe. Like I said, we don’t want to be the kind of band that recycles our stuff and keeps making the same thing, so we try to change it up slightly and do things different on every record so it doesn’t get stale.

You’re recording in October, this month right?

Yeah, the day after we get home.

Studio 4 with Will Yip?


Standard. Right?

Yeah, I mean he’s one of our best friends and he’s local so it’s definitely cool that so many people record with him, but for us it makes so much sense because we’re right there. We feel so comfortable with him and he obviously does a really good job. There’s no reason to do something different there. We’re just comfortable doing another record with Will.

If Superheaven stopped and you were forced to play music from any other genre for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Probably some sort of singer-songwriter acoustic thing because I don’t do much of that now. I think that’s something I’d be more comfortable with and I’d get better at. I’d feel comfortable doing that as an old man, just a guitar and singing. So probably that to relax. I don’t know if you’d call it Americana or what the best term for it is. That’s not to say that’s what I’d definitely do if the band broke up, but if I had to do it for the rest of my life that’d be my pick for sure.

Lastly, what music do you think people should check out?

The band Ovlov that played the Basement shows in America. I think they got exposed to a lot of people at those shows which is good.

That they wouldn’t have normally?

Yeah. I don’t think they really have a grasp on how to be a band at this point. I think their personalities are so like “Yeah, whatever”. They’re not like trying to tour a lot and they’re along for the ride, but their band just happens to be really good and a lot of people witnessed that when they opened these shows. A loud, powerful, really well written band. They’re from Connecticut. There is a band from Atlanta called Big Jesus that’s also really good. Cloakroom obviously is great and I feel like people are really getting into them too.

Thanks Taylor. It was good talking to you.

Cool, thank you man.





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