Currently on their first headlining tour, prodigal band The Daylights sat down with YouPlusDallas to tell us about their music, origin, and fan affiliation.
“What a couch!” guitarist and vocalist Ran Jackson exclaims before shaking my hand and introducing himself. We’re in the green room of The Prophet Bar, where a worn, mustard yellow sofa sits against the wall, beckoning the band to have a seat for their on-camera interview. “I think we’re going to need to take a bath after we get off this couch,” he jokes. The band is relaxed and down to earth, cracking jokes with each other a few hours before they go onstage. “So what history does this room have?” Ran questions. Drummer Svend Lerche, with his dark hair and unexpectedly bright blue eyes, guesses the rainbow of colors the room may have seen before living up to its namesake. “It’s very green,” he offers, but Ran disagrees.“[It’s] more of like a green tea – matcha green tea.” I can relax a little now – it’s refreshing to know that the up-and-coming rock stars have an authentic sense of humor.
The Daylights have toured with big names such as OneRepublic and Needtobreathe. “They’re good guys,” says Svend, “good to hang. That was almost the best thing about the tour, was to hang with them.” Recently, the talented musicians earned their first headlining tour. “It kind of exceeded our expectations, actually,” Ran says of the tour that kicked off on the west coast, “everywhere we went, we were like, ‘well, we’ve never headlined that city before.’”
I ask them if they are excited to be back in Dallas, and sans hesitation, I receive a collective “yeah” coupled with the nodding of heads. “Are y’all from Dallas?” asks bassist and vocalist Ricky Jackson, his organic southern drawl showing. A state-shifter between Texas and California for my entire life, talking about where I’m from is one of the hardest conversations to have. Currently experiencing a problem similar to mine, as LA transplants on tour in their hometown of Dallas, The Daylights are the only band that can help me confront this location-based conundrum.
“I don’t think that we would claim to be from LA. We’re pretty proud Texans. Annoyingly so, I’d say. So we definitely say we’re from Dallas. As a band we’re from LA, because we met in LA, we live in LA, we formed there, we write there, we do everything there, and have a studio there, but we’re definitely Texans, and he’s definitely a Dane,” Ricky says, gesturing to Svend. “If we’re asked, ‘where are you from?’ Texas rolls right off the lips. If you say, ‘where are you guys based out of?’ it’s LA.” This doesn’t help shorten my answer any, but it does provide ample context for a pretty in-depth response.
“The thing is, we are hardcore Rangers, Mavs, and Cowboys fans.” Good thing, as it’s the perfect time to harness those particular affiliations (except for maybe the Cowboys). “[Texas has] also changed a lot since we left, it seems like the Mavericks are actually a good basketball team now, which is weird. And the Rangers are actually good.” Heck yes, ALCS champs, and heading in that direction again this season, (not to jinx them) thankyouverymuch. “I don’t know what any of those things are, so, sure,” says the Dane. “It’s pretty tough being with two Texans. They’re proud.”
Does he have to fight for his voice to be heard? “Sometimes,” says Svend. “I mean, we’re very similar and very different at the same time. I think it creates a very interesting dynamic.” I ask him what kind of sports fan he is; if you’re going to put up with two Texans, you better have some kind of affiliation. “If it’s either bat ball or tackle ball, I don’t know,” he laughs. “I just like to tease them because football to me is nothing with a ball and foot.” Point taken, but don’t tell that to Jerry. So what does Svend think of this state? “Oh I love it – I like Texas a lot.” Smart answer. “We could still actually secede,” Ran quips. “But anyway, we’re very proud to be from Texas, to answer your question!” he laughs, after a massively round about way to say where we’re all from.
The Daylights possess the sort of sound that belongs onstage at American Airlines Center, rivaling acts such as Kings of Leon and Rihanna. When thinking of a band to compare them to, U2 continues to surface.
For now, venues such as The Prophet Bar support their sound and provide fans with a close-up concert experience. “We dig playing on a smaller stage in smaller rooms, so you can have that intimate atmosphere,” Ricky says. “It’s good to connect with our fans and be able to hang out after,” adds Ran.
The Jackson brothers stem from a musical family tree; their mother had a career as a professional drummer. “We didn’t get fed unless we sang in five-part harmony,” Ricky jokes of their childhood. With a larger-than-life sound, and the potential to ignite radios into flames, the wonderful thing about The Daylights is that on each song of their 15-track self-titled debut album – regardless of how much mainstream play they will inevitably receive from MTV – there are noticeable moments of truthfulness to themselves as a band. The instrumental tracks, “Richmond Park,” Pts I and II, leave one wondering what the hell must’ve happened there.
Their current single, “Rogue Machine,” is doing very well on the charts, but after listening to their self-titled debut album, I have to know if there are plans to release “Outsider” as the next single. “It’s funny you say that” Ran starts, “because for the longest time, everyone thought that was going to be our single, and then we wrote “Rogue Machine” and that was the favorite. I’m rooting for “Outsider” to be our new single – what do you think?” If that were to occur, it would do for them what “Breakeven” did for The Script. You know, put them on the map. Pinpoint their exact coordinates in terms of musical popularity. “Can you guarantee that?” Ricky questions, teasingly. Put me down for a high five and a ‘thank you to’ on the next album’s digital booklet, if I’m accurate.
“I think our band’s favorite song, correct me if I’m wrong, is ‘Weapons,’” says Ran, and the guys go on about how radio isn’t into the ‘deeper sort of songs’, but those are the songs they love to write. “I think “Weapons,” would be a blast; I think “Digital_Kiss” would be great for alternative radio,” Ran says of deciding which song to release next. What to do? Overseas fans are already demanding The Daylights jump ship and sail across the Atlantic for a show. “I think that would help decide our next single,” they determine.
The Daylights are genuinely nice guys with the raw talent to elevate them to the next level. “We’re writing a ton, we’re touring nonstop, we’ve been recording in the studio nonstop; so for us, it’s just about continuing to create, and have a blast. I think that’s the most important ingredient,” Ran says of the band’s future. Hey, music scene – take heed – you won’t want to leave The Daylights in the dark.
Laura Stillo is the Arts & Entertainment Writer and Creative Social Media Producer for YouPlusDallas. Follow her on Twitter at @laurastillo.