Artist You Need To Know: The Last Year

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For Baltimore’s new wave outfit, The Last Year, it’s the beginning new era. Pleasantly poppy with warm vocals and transcendent guitars, their track “Rush” will take you to a new world. Recently, we spoke to the band about their accomplishments, aspirations and how the band came to be. You can check out their single “Rush” below, as well as follow them on all things social.

How did you form?

Niki, Scott E, and BJ had been in a band for several years before disbanding and starting The Last Year. As the main songwriters in the beginning, Scott and Niki released a self-titled EP with Shanachie Entertainment. When it came time for touring, we asked Scott Griffith (aka Scotty) to join as guitar player, who we knew from the Baltimore music scene. A year and a half later, with a more developed sound and Scotty contributing to the writing, we wrapped up our 2nd release, Static Automatic and are now on the road supporting the record!

What would you like to see your group accomplish within the next three years?

I hope by that time, we’ll have at least another 2 records released. We already have enough material for the next release and we plan to get back to writing this Fall. Touring can be really demanding, but we live for it. So, I imagine we’ll still be on the road every chance we get. I hope we’ll get to make new relationships with some amazing music outlets and magazines, like Highlight! It keeps us going!

Talk to us about your writing process and environment, what are some of the factors and influences behind your instrumental and lyrical content?

A lot of the songs are born in the studio because we record everything ourselves. Someone has a basic music or melodic idea laid down and we share it and see where it goes. Niki is also a bit reclusive with her writing, so she’ll just take off sometimes and come back with a few totally finished songs. That’s how Chemical was written – alone, in a cabin in Harpers Ferry. Maybe that’s why it’s such a dark song.

If you could collaborate with any artist or group, living or dead, who would it be and why?

We just recently did a co-write with Abisha from Sick of Sarah (release date TBA)! She came to our place one night with a bottle of vodka, vented a bit, and then said “Let’s f-ing write a song.” So, we did and it’s called FU. Haha

Tell us about your day-to-day lives, discuss the role of music either as a full time job or the time it shares with your other obligations in life.

We’ve been musicians for so long and this is it. We can’t imagine doing anything else with our lives. We have our hobbies, like Scotty does interior design and builds some cool pieces. BJ is also really crafty and mechanically inclined, so he’s always working on projects (he built the human turntable we used in our Rush music video). Scott can most often be found in his studio recording, mixing, and mastering records. Niki is really into health and wellness and works out just about every day.

What has been the Highlight of your musical journey so far?

Playing in front of our fans and seeing them face to face, especially when they’re singing every line of a song. We crafted these songs from simple guitar and melody ideas and to see them really attach themselves to these songs and find a place for the music in their lives is so special. It’s why we keep pushing on through the hard times.

Describe your gear

Audix OM5 mic all the way; Alesis Micron Synth; MicroKorg; Fender Precision, Jazzmaster, Jaugar, and Strat; Mapleworks drums; Magnetone snare drums; Sabian cymbals, and Silverfox drum sticks; Pedals: Strymon Big Sky, Line 6 DL4, Electro Harmonix Pitch Fork and Boss Hyper Fuzz

Tell us what artists/bands you’re listening to at this moment in time and why they appeal to you.

Foals – the songs are great and it sounds amazing; Skating Polly – super punk rock duo (what’s not to like?); Queens of the Stone Age – so energetic and great for our long road trips; Three Trapped Tigers – electronic math rock (cuz our teachers said math was important)

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