You may have heard of Michigan based band Last Night Saved My Life, and if you haven’t you need to check them out. They recently released their latest single, “Ghost”, and it is one that we cannot get enough of. The song has so many different elements to it that makes each listening experience unique; the composition of the melody and the layering of the different instruments, mixed with beautiful lyrics, makes it one for the ages. Last Night Saved My Life is comprised of Wilson Shaner (vocals), Justin Burns (lead guitar), Riley Hupfer (rhythm guitar), Ryne Weber (bass), and Eric Cousins (drums). We had a great time speaking with Wilson, Justin & Riley! This was a super fun interview and we hope you enjoy it!
WCBG: Thanks so much for speaking with us, we greatly appreciate it! Can you please introduce yourselves and tell us a fun fact about you?
Wilson: Hello, I’m Wilson and I am the lead singer of the band. A fun fact about me…it’s not really a fun fact. I’m allergic to fresh fruits and vegetables, which makes it hard because I’m also a vegetarian.
Justin: Hi, I’m Justin and I play guitar. I have two fun facts, one is I have a twin brother, and the other is that the band is in Michigan and I’m in Jersey.
Riley: Hello, I am Riley and I play rhythm guitar in the band. My spirit animal is a squirrel.
WCBG: How did you pick your respective instruments and decide your role in the band?
Riley: I’ll go first. When I was 14, my parents got me a guitar for Christmas when I asked for a PlayStation. But now it’s like my favorite thing. Justin and I originally would alternate between lead and rhythm guitar on our songs and we realized it didn’t make sense, so it happened pretty naturally.
Justin: Ideally, I’d be the drummer, but they won’t let me. I would hang out with my neighbor and his older brother would play the guitar so when I went over his house, I would ditch my friend and watch his older brother play the guitar. I was super interested in it and I have a habit of being super interested and invested in something for like two weeks, so my parents didn’t want to buy me a guitar. I finally convinced them and here we are.
Wilson: If I could choose, I would play the guitar and sing but we don’t really need me to do that. I like to be more interactive when we perform so it makes more sense for me not to play the guitar. I actually started as a drummer and then I switched to guitar. I never thought I would be the singer of a band; I started singing near the end of high school and then I was later asked to be the singer for the band.
WCBG: Describe your sound for us in three words.
LNSML: Toaster Strudel Pop
WCBG: What are you currently listening to?
Justin: A lot of Four Year Strong and Silverstein, as well as Knocked Loose and Kevin Garret.
Wilson: Hot Mulligan’s new album, Between You & Me and lots of podcasts. Like Armchair Experts with Dax Shepard. Also, The Maine and their podcast as well.
Riley: The Maine, Ben Rector, and Bears Den.
WCBG: What’s the scene like in Michigan?
Wilson: It’s strong in Detroit, there are several really good venues there like in Pontiac. We got to play a Sad Summer date there last year. I would say it’s less pop-punk driven. We are super lucky to have two sides of the state with great venues and people that come out to support us. We are pretty lucky to have that.
WCBG: What is your favorite venue that you’ve performed in?
Justin: I would say the date at Sad Summer
Wilson: That was probably my favorite show, it was packed and the energy was crazy. For venues I’d have to say The Intersection in Grand Rapids.
WCBG: What is your opinion of releasing an artist’s unreleased music after they’ve passed away, should it be released or should it not?
Wilson: I think it depends on who the artist was. If it was up to me and we had unreleased songs I would want them to be released since we worked hard on them. It would be upsetting if it existed and no one was able to hear it.
Justin: I think if it was tasteful, if there was someone who knew the artist and what they liked and were able to finish it and develop it.
WCBG: This question came about because of the Little Peep songs that kind of sound like unfinished bedroom demos.
Wilson: We have some demos that I wouldn’t want released since they didn’t live up to what we thought they would be.
WCBG: If you could change one thing about the music industry, as it is today, what would it be and why?
Wilson: The politics of the scene. It’s hard to come across opportunities for tours or big festivals since it is all based on connections. I understand why, there are companies and groups that work together and support each other. I wish that it was more open to more artists that deserve to be discovered.
Riley: As a smaller band right now, there are certain areas that are hard to break in to. We try to build a following and a platform. We can’t just work hard and make good music.
Wilson: Some of it is luck. There so many bands that are really good and you don’t know about them unless you’re deep in it.
WCBG: What is your opinion of streaming services like Spotify?
Riley: I feel like a lot of people talk about this based on the previous question. I would say the lack of album sales. I find a lot of the artists I listen to through streaming and I do still purchase albums. There a pros and cons financially; it’s a great platform to be discovered.
Justin: The playlists are a plus. The curated playlists are really good for exposure.
Wilson: It makes it accessible for people to gain access to so much music. At the same time there is a lot of noise and it is hard to break through and get people to find you. We have been lucky to get on those playlists a couple of times. It’s hard since there are a couple of people curating them and if they don’t like your sound then you won’t be featured. It’s not determined by the masses. I love the algorithmic playlists like the Daily Mix. It’s almost always stuff I want to hear.
WCBG: Can you tell us how your album, Cherry, came to be?
Wilson: We found a producer, Seth Henderson (Knuckle Puck, Real Friends); we liked his sound and tone. He worked on our EP, “Outgrown” with us that came out in 2018. I love that EP, but I feel like we could have done better, maybe if we had more song options. We went in with 5 songs written and we recorded those 5 songs. If we had written a ton more than we could have recorded the best of the best. We changed the way we write for the album. In the past we would all be in the room and come up with an idea and try to write all of our parts at the same time, it became so chaotic. Now we demo the songs as we write them this way we can have the ideas down and be able to hear it back. Sometimes we change the vocals or some of the layers or other parts. For the album we have over 20 song options and we were way more prepared. We wanted it to sound fun and different but also familiar enough to draw people in. We wanted the album to be engaging to catch people’s attention. I asked Derek (DiScanio) from State Champs if he wanted to be a part of this protect. He ended up co-producing the album with Seth. He was there with us through almost the whole thing. It was about a month in Indiana.
WCBG: What is your favorite part of a song you’ve written?
Justin: ‘Undone’ would have to be my favorite. It’s the song I had the biggest contribution for. I flew home that weekend to help write and in about an hour we had the full song structure down. I think it was the fastest song we had written, and it didn’t really change much throughout the process. The tone, the lyrics and the output were exactly what I envisioned.
Riley: The ending of ‘Undone’. They let me experiment a bit with some spacey, melodic guitar stuff. I also loved writing our latest song, ‘Ghost.’
Wilson: The lyrics to ‘I Was Somebody’ were some of the most honest lyrics I had written. It’s cool to see the connection people have to that song.
WCBG: Can you tell us about your latest release, ‘Ghost.’
Wilson: It almost made Cherry.
Riley: It is one of our sadder melancholier songs. We worked with Nick Deener on it and he added some banjo to the track. It started off as an acoustic song and then we added in some cello and other fun stuff. It was a bit different for us.
WCBG: What are your goals for 2020?
LNSML: To put out a few singles and do some touring. We have some dates booked and we are hoping everything will go as planned. We also started writing again. And we are going to do some more podcasts.
Check out their podcast, Lifesavers Podcast, here.
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Check out their music here!