There is no question that the Doylestown, PA-based quartet Superheaven is still the same band as they were since being asked to no longer play under the name Daylight around this time last year. With the release to their sophomore studio effort, Ours Is Chrome, the band continues to deliver a heavy-hitting alternative rock sound that has soared them to new heights since releasing their debut full-length, Jar, in 2013. With leading singles like “I’ve Been Bored” and “Next To Nothing,” these mesmerizing tracks are guaranteed to take you on a cosmic adventure out of this world.
Just about a week before Superheaven embarked on a month-long tour across the United States alongside Diamond Youth and Rozwell Kid, I had the pleasure of speaking with guitarist and vocalist Taylor “Little Tay” Madison, and talked a lot about the writing process of Ours Is Chrome, plus the band’s progression since releasing Jar while they still played as Daylight. Tay and I also talked about the possibility of life on other planets as well as their return to this year’s Skate And Surf Festival.
First off, I just want to say as a longtime listener, congratulations on putting out Ours Is Chrome this week. How does it feel for this record to finally see the light of day?
Well, thank you for buying the record, I am glad you like it. It’s cool, I mean, on our last record, we kind of recorded it and then, I guess like, three or maybe four months later it came out. But this one, it was a little bit longer; we’re putting in the time into recording it and the time came. We recorded it in October, so it was definitely a pain in the ass to wait that long for our record to come out.
Especially with me, I tend to get sick of stuff pretty quick, so… I tired really hard not to listen to the mixes and stuff like that more than I had to just because I didn’t want to like… I didn’t want to be a thing where once the record finally came out, I was going to be like, “Dude, I’m over that,” you know what I mean?
It’s good though, I was expecting the reception to be a little different. I kind of thought more people were going to be negative toward it, but people have been pretty cool about it so far, so I am siked that it’s finally out.
It’s pretty crazy for me to think about the fact it’s been two years since you released your debut full-length, Jar—back when you still played as Daylight. Name change aside, how has the band evolved musically and personally throughout this time period; considering the huge gap in between from when you released Jar, leading up to when you started writing Ours Is Chrome?
As far as musically, we have a much better handle on kind of how we want to sound, and how we write songs together because I feel like before Jar, we were kind of just… I don’t want to say rushed into writing songs or anything—it’s not like we put no thought into it—but I think we just really know how to write songs the way that we wanted to, and I feel like we just kind of have a better idea of song structure, and how to bridge things together and kind of just work together with writing songs.
And as far as personality goes, we’re pretty much the same as we were then. I think we’re all a little bit better at dealing with each other, I guess. Not to say that we dislike each other or anything like that, but I think we’re all a little bit more comfortable with just being around each other, just because we are around each other so much.
Now, you joined forces with producer Will Yip once again to put together this record. How was the writing and recording process with Will different this time around compared to when you worked on Jar?
Yeah, definitely. Before we recorded Jar, and for some of the year leading up to it—maybe a month leading up to it—we demoed songs from Jar whenever Will had free time. So, when it came down to recording the record, we had already everything figured out for the songs and the record for the most part. So, we did everything pretty quick, we just had to figure out “sounds” and stuff like that, but the structures and the melodies and the lyrics and most of the lyrics were mostly figured out.
On this record, he’s gotten significantly busier, so we didn’t really have that much of a chance to demo anything with him, so once we went in to record with him, some stuff was kind of a little more open ended.
There were a lot of more question marks in certain spots. We had probably between 10 and 13 songs, but Will definitely helped out. He definitely [helped] with production on Jar, but he definitely had more of a hand on this record than that one. We finished writing the songs completely in the studio as opposed to Jar; everything was figured out beforehand.
Since you guys worked with Will before, I bet it was definitely more of a natural process, yes?
Yeah, I mean, he is also a really good friend of ours for like… you know, we live not too far from him. He’s our friend before he is the guy who records our record. It’s really comfortable working with him because we’re basically just hanging out with him all day. It’s not like we’re paying some guy to record, we get to record records with one of our really close friends, so it’s definitely more comfortable than it would be with anyone else.
For as long as I can remember, I know many people have thrown lot ’90s-inspired comparisons at your music. With that being said, is the thought being labeled as a “grunge” band or a “shoegaze” band something that makes you cringe at all?
Ehh… I mean, I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either, you know? There’s worse. If someone is saying it as a positive thing, like if someone likes the music, then I don’t care what they call it. But it definitely confuses me that someone would call us a “shoegaze band” or anything like that because when I think of shoegaze, I think of My Bloody Valentine, you know what I mean? I don’t think we sound like that at all.
You know, there’s worse things that people could say. I mean, when people say stuff like that we’re “Nirvana worship” or something like that, it doesn’t like, ruin my day or anything, but I mean, I wish people didn’t think that. Because when we write songs, we don’t say anything like, “Nirvana would make a song like this,” or, “We should definitely do that, or do that.” It’s never been like that for any of our records.
So, I mean that shit is kind of frustrating, but I don’t know, being compared to bands like Nirvana or Basement or Title Fight, I like all of those bands. It doesn’t hurt my feelings, and I am not offended when we are compared to those bands. We don’t really sound like those bands—I think we sound more like Basement than Title Fight—but I mean, I like all of those bands, so I certainly can’t complain about being lumped into anything with them.
I’ve noticed a few out-of-this-world themes that come into play on this record—one being your close encounter on the “I’ve Been Bored” video. Would you say that you guys are firm believers that there is, in fact, life that exists outside of this planet?
I think we’re all… at least I think we are all in agreement that we think that there is, but I don’t necessarily know if it’s… like, we’re not big conspiracy theory guys or anything like that, but I know [bassist] Joe Kane and I definitely think that all of that ancient alien stuff has some grain of truth to it.
I don’t know about [drummer] Zack Robbins or [guitarist and vocalist] Jake Clarke on this, but I think they believe in aliens, I guess. I wouldn’t say it’s a big thing like we’re super big alien fanatics. I mean, aliens are cool and I like sci-fi movies and stuff like that.
Do you think if there were life on other planets, they would dig Superheaven’s music?
Definitely not. I don’t know, I guess it depends on how they perceive sound or something like that.
Almost a month ago, you started your North American tour with Diamond Youth and Rozwell Kid. What was one thing you were looking forward to about this tour the most?
Well, the thing I am looking forward to the most is just touring. We haven’t really toured in a while. I mean, I really like both Diamond Youth and Rozwell Kid. I am excited to play with them and watch them play every night.
Just thinking about it now, you guys started off the tour by playing Skate And Surf again for the first time since 2013’s disappointing set you experienced when it was held at Six Flags. What made you want to come back?
I don’t know, the whole thing last time when we played was bullshit. I mean, we played, but only a few songs because it was pouring raining and like… I don’t know, I don’t think it should have gone on like that.
For some reason they asked us to play again. We agreed to play again, but all of us agreed that if it rains again, we’re just not going to play. So, that was our stipulation—we told our booking agent like, “Yeah, we will play, but if it rains, we’re going to leave.”
I honestly don’t blame you. I had several friends who went that year, and said it was a mess because of the poor weather.
It really was, man. It would have been one thing if there were tents or something covering everything, but there were open electrical outlets pointing straight up—that shit is dangerous. At the time, I feel like we had every right just to say, “Fuck this!” and leave.
On that note, you have the new record out, a nice little North American tour to support it, and then you return back to your home planet for a cool record release show in Philadelphia at the end of it all. What’s the rest of the summer looking like for Superheaven? Any cool plans lined up in works?
Honestly, I have no idea. We are playing the Wrecking Ball Fest in Atlanta, and other than that, I really have no idea what our plans are for the rest of the year. So, hopefully we end up doing something cool, but I really don’t know.
Superheaven will be playing at GameChangerWorld in Howell on June 16, and their record release show for Ours Is Chrome is at The Barbary in Philadelphia on June 21. Their sophomore full-length, Ours Is Chrome, is available now on SideOneDummy Records. For more information, go to superheavenband.tumblr.com.