AN INTERVIEW WITH LATE NIGHT TV
It’s 10 o’clock in Charleston, drum kits and amps getting loaded back into cars untouched, underage kids chucking PBR into bushes as they rush out the back door, the PA system unplugged as the blue and red cop car lights shine through the window into what was seconds ago a stage. Shut down before they could even start their set, Late Night TV has officially been named the most hated band by the Charleston Police Department. After their 6 month formation and residency at The Embassy, Justin Moffitt (vocals, guitar), Tyler Woolfe (drums), Holden Curran (bass), Bow Smith (guitar), and Belvin Olasov (synth), have been evaders of the law and violators of the city's noise ordinance since their first show. Encompassing the restless energy and approachable intimacy of DIY, their first single “Ulysses” is poetry disguised as an ethereal pop song, making you simultaneously want to start dancing and crying. Sitting on the floor, couches shoved together to make room for the instruments, Spider man posters and a battered copy of Lolita thrown on the bookshelf, I talked to Late Night TV about Lord of The Rings, the Charleston scene, and their new EP….
WHO ARE YOU OUTSIDE OF THE BAND?
Belvin: No one
Justin: I work at a museum
Bow: He’s batman
Holden: You’re not supposed to say that.
Belvin: I’m a writer, I write short stories and novels
Holden: We work in coffee
Bow: We’re coffee boys
YOU GUYS JUST RELEASED YOUR FIRST SINGLE. TELL ME ABOUT IT! WHERE DID THE IDEA COME ABOUT?
Justin: It’s called “Ulysses” we recorded it with Corey Campbell from the band Babe Club, the song we play it differently live certainly but I really like what Corey Campbell brought to the recording. We got Jenna Desmond as the backing vocals on that and she really helped with that. It’s funny because I wanted to write a song about Ulysses S Grant the president because I really like words, I really like the word Ulysses I just like it a lot. So I tried to talk about it from that angle and I was like ‘this is stupid’ this is a song about a president and so then I looked into the old mythology stories and it’s all about essentially I used to drink a lot and it’s about my battle and the realization of ‘oh shit like I’m an alcoholic’ and that’s where it stems from. It uses the myth of Ulysses kind of as like the backbone of that.
IF YOUR SONG WAS IN A MOVIE WHAT SCENE WOULD IT PLAY IN THE BACKGROUND OF?
Tyler: Goofy movie.
THE WHOLE THING?
Tyler: It would be the part at the end where they’re going on a roadtrip and they’re about to go over the big canyon thing.
Holden: I kind of see it as a car scene
WHAT KIND OF CAR SCENE?
Bow: Matthew Mcconaughey driving a Lincoln type scene, like through the desert.
Holden: The one good answer Bow has had so far.
BIGGEST MUSICAL INSPIRATION?
Justin: For me it’s been my cousin it’s literally like this CD I don’t know the name of, David Elliott and it was so strange to me I’d really never met him but his uncle had sent it to my mom and I listened to it all the time it was just so cool that I had this cousin out in Texas that I had never really met who was making really good music that I listened to all the time and really it pains me because I lost that CD and then he lost all of the CD’s so I’ll never get to hear that again actually it’s a bummer.
Bow: None of us knew that
Holden: Yeah literally none of us knew that story
Tyler: You learn something new everyday
Justin: Kurt Vonnegut, he’s just really important for my writing
Belvin: So Neil Gaiman was one of my favorite artists as a kid and he’s still really important to me, he’s not my favorite writer now I think but in terms of being formative. His themes of mythology and stories about storytelling really stuck with me, kind of that fairytale mythical thing and his graphic novel The Sandman is probably my favorite work of fiction of all time. So everything I write is probably rooted in him.
Holden: I would probably say going off of that Raymond Carver, he’s a short story writer and it’s like very short snippets of everyday life that don’t really seem important or interesting but he’s such a good writer that you’re like really devoted to these like 20 pages about like an alcoholic or some random everyday person you’re just like ‘oh shit this person is really empathizing’ and I guess that's like what I try to write songs about.
Bow: Yeah I really like Lord of The Rings. I run a very popular meme account about Lord of The Rings.
YOU’RE CANCELED FOR THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW.
Tyler: Nature, kinetic emotion, and the internet. Just like trying to get out there, hike and stuff be in the world but also you know equally spending way too much time online wrapped up in like data and information.
Belvin: His meme account is actually really good I’m going through it right now.
ALRIGHT WE’RE GONNA DO SOME FAVORITE LATE NIGHT QUESTIONS. FAVORITE LATE NIGHT FOOD?Holden: Oh tater tots from Rec Room, absolutely.
Tyler: Ice cream, I wish I had a better answer but it’s fucking ice cream.
Belvin: The healthiest cereal in the house.
Justin: Pizza, but I’m trying to go vegan so I’m going to say left over curry.
Bow: So I probably already had pizza so I’m incredibly dehydrated and I wake up in the middle of the night and I just want a nice glass of water.
Holden: That’s not a food
Bow: It’s sustenance man
FAVORITE MUSIC TO LISTEN TO? LIKE REAL FUCKING SAD BOY HOUR SONGS.
Belvin: Sufjan Stevens Carrie and Lowell
Tyler: The Microphones “The Glow Part 2”
Justin: I’m going to rip off that probably Mt. Eerie Lost Wisdom
Holden: Mine would probably be Florist “The Birds Outside Sang”
Bow: Recently, well late at night I like the band Bedhead
JUST LATE AT NIGHT?
Bow: Well I like them all the time, but it’s also a joke cause their name is Bedhead.
Holden: If you have to explain it, it’s not a joke
BOW + HOLDEN YOU GUYS USED TO RUN THE EMBASSY BUT YOU’VE ALL PLAYED THERE AS A BAND. HOW HAS THIS SPACE IMPACTED YOU GUYS?
Justin: It meant a lot. I was really appreciative of what they did for me because I played there just acoustic solo for probably 4 or 5 times and then I brought him on and I think it really helped me as a musician exponentially just grow. Obviously, it’s even cooler that the guys behind that venue are in the band so, shouts out to The Embassy, may it rest in peace.
Bow: I think being surrounded by a lot of really great musicians kind of was you know influential and informative but it was kind of I think Late Night TV formed from that cause the shows started out as this really stripped down acoustic thing and over time they got louder and so did Late Night TV, and we just kept adding members until eventually Late Night TV fit, it continued to fit the sound that The Embassy was transitioning to.
Holden: Yeah cause the first year of shows we had there was all unplugged because I was worried about people above and below us, and then one show they played actually with Tom Angst was the first time we ever had full drums and full sound. Then every show after that was full bands and then that was also when I started in the band was shortly after that, about a year ago. But also it was pretty much since I’ve moved to Charleston I’ve been involved with hosting shows, back with Pop Up Charleston before the Embassy and I never thought I’d be playing music, ever. I didn’t know how to play an instrument until I started playing bass.
Tyler: I didn’t even know Bow knew how to play guitar
Holden: It was definitely the biggest turning point in my life I would say, was hosting shows there.
HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT FINDING YOUR OWN INDIVIDUAL STYLES + BRINGING IT TOGETHER AS A COHESIVE BAND?
Tyler: Just throw it together and no one seems to hate what we’re doing.
Justin: It was really the front woman of Japanese Breakfast and the song ‘Boyish’ she had played in another band then she brought it to her own solo project and was like I wanted to tackle it and have every aspect of it because when I brought it to the band the members like would do something and I wouldn’t exactly want that but I would be like ‘oh that’s their voice’ you know that’s how they’re doing it and as someone who brings the song to the band I’m always going in with a vision but they come from a completely different angle and it’s like ‘oh shit that’s actually really good, that’s better than what I had in mind.’ Like ‘Animal’ it was a new song we were playing tonight, it’s kind of described as like a western sprawl and it kind of like in my mind was this creepy ghostly song and then he came up with this really western feel like tumbleweeds.
Belvin: One thing that makes it easier is I think that Justin writes strong songs, the arrangements are interesting, the melodies are good, it’d be different if they were kind of blank slates that we had to fill with interesting stuff to keep people engaged, but we don’t need that because he wrote a lot of the songs for a solo act so they stand on their own, so you can kind of build around that. And also we’re a 5 piece so I think restraint helps, you don’t always need to come in with the loudest thing you can.
Bow: I also feel like even though we still have somewhat of lead parts, we’re still very rhythmic and it’s not like one of us shredding, just fucking masterbatory shredding.
Justin: Yeah it’s like are you trying to write a good song or are you just trying to show off that you’re a good musician?
Bow: You don’t have to include the fact that I said masterbatory
NOW YOU SAID IT TWICE. SINCE YOU GOT SHUT DOWN TONIGHT THOUGH, WHAT WAS YOUR SET GOING TO BE LIKE?
Tyler: The sickest set ever
Holden: We had some pyrotechnics
Bow: Have you ever seen school of rock?
Justin: We had 2 new songs we had kind of been getting gelled and so this was kind of like a shot of new songs, the last couple shows haven’t had anything new or exciting and so this one was going to be pretty cool, I was really excited for ‘Animal’ that song was going to kick ass but.
Bow: We even had tumble weeds that were going to blow in
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CHARLESTON SCENE OVERALL? WHERE DO YOU THINK IT’S HEADED?
Belvin: There’s always good opportunity for young artists who are motivated to organize a little scene, like after all the time I’ve spent around here I’ve seen so many movements come and go and rise up and it’s all about really taking the initiative to get people together, make music, make art, and get a community around that.
Bow: I think it’s really small but because of that it’s really tight knit. I think a lot of other cities have a much bigger scene but it’s like a quality vs quantity thing. It’s like small quantity but high quality and a lot of community that surrounds that.
Belvin: I think that we should be more friendly to house shows.
Bow: Yeah I’m going to stop calling the cops on us
Belvin: What I want to say is everyone please stop calling the cops on us
Bow: Hey just so you know we’re play a show the address is-
Justin: Hello 911
YOU GUYS HAVE REFERENCED A LOT OF NEW SONGS. IS THERE AN EP IN THE WORKS?
Justin: It’s called Good Mourning, but mourning as in I’m mourning death o
Bow: But also like Good Morning America like we’re mourning the death of America
WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THIS EP WHAT COMES TO MIND?
Belvin: So we’re recording right now, and in the process of recording new ideas are introduced, things are refined, things are refined live that under a microscope might be a little sketchy are hashed out. It’s a growing process and I guess it will be a more polished sound, less lo-fi then we are live.
Justin: For sure, very polished and I kind of feel like a watery spacey vibe from Corey’s production, a lot more pop based then what we play live but in a good way. It’s definitely something we’re working on, we’re trying to get a good mix between the production and the kind of lo-fi emotional way we play live.
Belvin: And I think our songs are pretty diverse. They don’t sound the same to me at all. Like we would categorize as indie rock, but underneath that umbrellas there's obviously a wide array of different styles and rhythms so we have diverse songs that are going to make it a diverse EP.
Holden: I think that’s our greatest strength, our diversity.
Bow: And the album art is going to be Nick Cage transforming into the Ghost Rider.
Justin: Actually it’s going to be a photo by Bow, if he remembers
Tyler: It’s going to be holographic, you turn it one way and it’s his normal face, the other way would be flames
Holden: That would be so expensive, our budget is like $200
Bow: I think holographic technology is so outdated it would probably be cheap now man
Justin: Well I was at The Halsey and I saw it and I was like that’s really fucking sick and then I got closer and saw it was Bow my friend
Belvin: It’s going to be a tasteful nude portrait of Bow
Bow: A selfie in the nude