Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 1st 2010 12:01PM by Kaveh Akbar
After drawing the attention of Atlantic Records, Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights have been touring the United States, playing with major acts including AC-DC, Kid Rock, O.A.R and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Combining an affinity for Southern rock and blues with an exhilarating live show, the band consistently leaves audiences stunned. Tyler recently called Spinner to talk about touring, whiskey, and Justin Timberlake.
Where did your band name come from?
It's got multiple meanings, but I just think the northern lights are one of the most beautiful natural sights in this world.
How did you guys form?
We were all friends from the past. We'd played in different bands with each other, and I'd written all these songs three years ago and was going to record them, and I called up all the guys originally playing with me and they played on this album, 'Hot Trot.' That was before we started playing any shows. We recorded this album in a week.
I would describe it as blues rock 'n' roll. That'd be the best way to put it. Southern blues rock 'n' roll.
Who are some of your major influences?
We really get into R&B and old blues, bands like the Rolling Stones, James Brown, King Curtis, Screaming Jay Hawkins. We just kind of mix all those up.
You've opened for some huge acts, like AC/DC, Kid Rock and Lynryd Skynyrd. How did those opportunities come about?
With Kid Rock, we have some of the same people that work for us, since we're both signed to Atlantic. You know, he's obviously been around a lot longer and we're the new kids on the block. He got a copy of our record a long time ago and brought us on tour with him. He's been a big supporter of the band. That got us connected with Lynyrd Skynyrd; Kid Rock was on tour with them last summer. The AC/DC thing was a one-off. Their opening band that was on tour with them couldn't play this gig, and they needed someone to open for them in Texas. I guess we were recommended to them by the promoters, because they called us to book the show. You know, we definitely wouldn't turn that down for anything.
Which act would you say you were the most excited about?
Probably AC-DC. Growing up, I listened to 'Back in Black' and 'Highway to Hell' constantly. Opening for them in front of 15,000 people was such a surreal experience. I just looked around and thought, "I can't believe I'm doing this." Now we're working on some shows with ZZ Top.
Yeah. We've got a lot of great opportunities to play with some great bands.
You're set to appear on 'Jimmy Kimmel' in about a month. Are you nervous at all about your late-night debut?
I'm not really nervous yet. I don't think it'll hit me until we're pulling up to the studio. It's going to make me nervous. It's going to be the biggest audience we'll have ever played in front of. I'm sure at some point we'll be playing and I will forget about the cameras.
At Austin City Limits last year, you drew the biggest crowd ever in front of the BMI stage in the middle of a rainstorm. What do you think made that performance so special?
Our music brings people together, I think. A lot of people connect with what we're doing. It was raining and I think everyone was kind of frustrated, but we were just playing and sort of forgot about everything else. We looked out and everyone was drenched, but still dancing. It's hard to say what exactly made it so cool, but looking out and watching people in the pouring rain packing up in front of the stage going crazy was just so cool to see.
You guys were discovered a few years ago at SXSW by an Atlantic agent and signed with them soon after. Tons of bands would kill for an opportunity like that. Can you talk about what it's like to work with a major label?
It's really enabled us in a lot of ways. It's a funny thing. It's such an enigma, because some people really want to get signed to a record label and some people really don't. You have to make up your mind as an artist as far as what kind of future you want to have and make decisions based on that. They have really helped us. At this point, we don't have anything bad to say.
What should people expect from your new album, 'Pardon Me'?
I think it's our best work to date. I think we really nailed what we were going for, which was making it feel like a live band on record and not a bunch of AutoTuned computerized stuff. We played everything live. There are even songs where we recorded vocals live. We have a very dynamic sound on the album. There's big rock 'n' roll songs and a few ballads. Everything is written by us, and I think it's going to be refreshing for people who are tired of this over-saturated, computerized world we have right now in music.
What's your biggest vice?
Probably drinking. I'm a bourbon drinker. I'm a big fan of lots of different whiskeys, but especially Jack Daniels and Jameson.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
Like one I wouldn't want everyone to know about?
Well, it's probably going to be in the interview.
(Laughs) Right. Justin Timberlake. I think he's got a good voice.