Perseverance pays off for Memphis rockers Savage After Midnight
Interview with James “JT” Thomas (keys/vocals)
By Cathy Moore
Dogged perseverance and unyielding determination are qualities shared by countless bands struggling to break out from their hometown club scene and onto the arena stage. Memphis, Tennessee quintet Savage After Midnight has exhibited far more patience and dedication than most. On March 8 of this year, the band released their debut EP, “11:59” (RED Music/The Century Family), and they are hitting the road with Memphis May Fire to share their sound and style with the world.
In a rare moment of free time, James “JT” Thomas (keys/vocals) took some time to answer a few questions so we can get to know this wild and wonderful group of musicians a little better.
Tell me about the birth of Savage After Midnight. How did you all connect and create the band?
We all started out in separate projects around the Memphis area. We all met while playing on the scene, and everybody knew each other for a long time before finally coming together to create SAM.
You have been through a lot of really challenging things as a band (“obligatory name change, a studio fire, scrapped recordings from different producers, a crippling lawsuit they had nothing to do with and an 11th hour record label change”). How did you stay motivated to keep going? Was there ever a moment when you said “f*** this”?
I think there were probably a lot of “F*** this” moments during all that crap… As cheesy as it may sound, the music and what we created together is what kept us pushing forward. Everybody knew what we had and the importance of making sure it came out.
How do you think you changed or grew through all of that turmoil?
I think it forced us to grow as writers and performers, but more importantly it made us have faith in ourselves and trust our own composition and melody when it felt right.
So now you have released your debut EP “11:59”. How would you describe this EP? What should people expect?
We want everyone to have their own individual experience, and take the limits off expectations. We enjoy it more when fans come to us with their own meaning to songs and lyrics. It helps us uncover the deeper underlying meaning in these songs.
Why did you pick “10 Feet Tall” for the first single?
We wanted that anthem feel of “10 Feet Tall” to be the first song people heard from us, while pushing the lyrical concept of empowerment. We are proud of all these songs – any one of them could have been the lead off single, and we would have been fine with it.
Tell me about that moment when you first heard “10 Feet Tall” on the radio.
I don’t think we were all together when it happened. My first time was on XM Octane. That was a pretty special moment in my career. They are such an awesome station!
“Unleash” is my favorite track on the EP. Knowing your story – and hearing the lyrics – is this song really about the journey of the band?
To me the song is more about letting out that part of you that we try to bury down, your inner animal…. Everyone has a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” part of their personality to some extent; this is about letting Hyde out. ;o)
You are going to be touring throughout 2019 – what is a live Savage After Midnight show like? What can people expect when they see you on stage?
Our shows can get a little wild – we are Very high energy! You never know what to expect, we try to keep it fresh and bring great energy every night. Some nights we are so inspired by the audience, we surprise ourselves with what comes out.
Are there any cities you are most excited to go to?
We can’t wait to get out to the U.K. one of these days. We all can’t believe how much love we’re getting across the pond for our music. Boston has been great for us, they know how to rock! We want to go wherever folks want us to play – if the audience is into it, we want to play there.
You also have some songs recorded for another EP to come out in the next year or so – will you be playing any of those songs live to give us a glimpse of what is to come?
This last run we were on with Memphis May Fire, we may or may not have already tried one out live 😉 It’s a safe bet that fans will here new stuff as we get farther into the year.
What accomplishment as a band are you most proud of?
There’s a lot to be proud of, but our resilience I think is our most redeeming quality. We’ve gotten knocked down, but we keep getting back up and moving forward – stronger each time. We hope to accomplish much more in the years to come, making new memories and treasured moments.
Tell me a juicy story of how “savage” you guys get when that clock strikes midnight.
You should ask Landon about the time he got sucker punched at a show in El Paso, TX…. Or maybe we should save that story for a different interview – HA!
Savage After Midnight is:
Shi Eubank (vocals) @shi_s.a.m
Jeremiah Lipscomb (guitar) @jeremiah_s.a.m
Landon Fox (bass) @landon_s.a.m
James “JT” Thomas (keys/vocals) @jt_s.a.m
Zack Pate (drums) @zack_s.a.m
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