By Matt Conner
“Nothing stays the same” goes the old, familiar saying, and Capital Lights embodies that ideal as well as any. The Tulsa-based pop/rock act used to be a screamo/hardcore band, making waves in the Great Plains area with their former name afterEIGHT.
Tooth & Nail rejected the former sound, but loves the new sound with label founder Brandon Ebel “calling every other day” to sign the band. The band’s debut, This Is An Outrage, drops this month, and we recently sat down with the band during a break at Cornerstone Festival to find out more about their story.
CCM: So you guys used to be known as afterEIGHT. Can you tell me about the name change—did it make a difference in your sound?
Bryson Phillips (lead vocals): With afterEIGHT, we screamed a whole lot. It was a completely different style. It was a lot harder music with the screaming, but we changed to this band. We still kept the name afterEIGHT for a while, and so we sold our new EP as that band. We had a lot of member changes, and I moved to vocals. We got a new guitar and bass player. Now we're more poppy. It was a huge change. When we did change to Capital Lights, it was just a name change because we had already changed our sound. But we do think of afterEIGHT as the old style and Capital Lights as the new style.
CCM: So was Tooth & Nail drawn to the screaming sound or the current pop-oriented sound?
Bryson: We had sent them old songs as afterEIGHT, and they weren't into it at all. When we changed over and sent over the new stuff, that's when they signed us. We didn't like the name, and we were ready to change it. We kept it to keep some fans in our hometown of Tulsa, but they didn't like the name either. So we just decided while we were in Seattle to change it. But our current music is what they are drawn to.
CCM: How does a band decide to change the entire genre of music they play?
Bryson: [Laughs] Well, this is the music we listen to. We were doing the old stuff because of the live show. It was a lot more fun to have screaming and just go nuts. That's why we were doing the old stuff. Plus, when we switched me to vocals, I couldn't sing that old stuff. That's when we started writing stuff that was coming out more pop-like.
CCM: If Tooth & Nail didn't like the first bit...
Bryson: Yeah, I would have thought that Tooth & Nail would have liked our old stuff more because they have a lot of those types of bands. When we switched over, I sent this stuff to Aaron Sprinkle, who's a producer for them, and he loved it and asked if he could send it around. Within a couple weeks, we'd sent it to others, and we had six or seven labels looking at us. We talked with all of them and made our decision with Tooth & Nail after eight or nine months.
They were the most persistent about it. The other labels had shown interest, and a few of them flew out to see us, but they weren't as adamant. [Founder] Brandon Ebel was calling our manager every other day trying to get us to settle. And we had all been Tooth & Nail fans, so we were wanting it to work as well, but our lawyer/manager told us we had to hold out for the best deal. Luckily, it was them.
For more on Capital Lights, visit myspace.com/capitallights.