Toronto rockers Goodnight Sunrise stay positive against all odds

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After releasing a string of singles through 2022 that have amassed over 150,000 total streams and over 75,000 YouTube video views, Toronto rock band Goodnight Sunrise recently released their 3rd full-length album, Against All Odds.

Produced and mixed by Brian Moncarz (Our Lady Peace, The Trews, Circa Survive, Moneen), mastered by Grammy-winner Brian Lucey (Green Day, Arctic Monkeys, Elvis Costello, Ghost), and featuring bassist Duncan Coutts and drummer Jason Pierce of Our Lady Peace, the album is the duo’s boldest, and most commanding record yet. 

But it hasn’t been an easy journey for the band, who are now over a decade into their career. Making a career in music is rarely easy. Add to the mix the fact that keytarist/singer Vanessa Vakharia and guitarist/singer David Kochberg were dealing with the end of their relationship as a couple, and it’s a miracle that Goodnight Sunrise even made it to this chapter in the band’s story. Vanessa tells us that, in the early days, they were aiming to be “Metric meets Iron Maiden.” Now though, “we’re like, we’re just gonna fucking make rock music that we wanna make. I think over the ten years, the biggest shift has been that we’ve stopped trying to be what we think is trending or what we think we’re supposed to be like. We’ve spent so long trying to deny that we just love rock music because for so long people told us, you know, if your music has a guitar solo in it, no one wants to hear it. So I feel like now, with this album, which is why it’s called Against All Odds for one of many reasons; it’s just like we’re making the music that we wanna make without feeling like we need to conform.”

Against All Odds achieves one of the band’s most longstanding goals: to capture on record the feeling of being at one of their live shows. Against All Odds is defined by hooky choruses, arena-sized drums, heavy guitars, ripping solos, soaring harmonies and gang vocals. Inspired sonically by Foo Fighters, The Pretty Reckless and Jimmy Eat World, Vakharia & Kochberg describe the album as “a salute to the rock music that inspired us, both musically and also as a voice for the misfits of the world that push back against the status quo.”

Guitarist/singer David Kochberg says about feature track Footsteps in the Dark: “Lyrically, it’s about living in the past at the expense of the present and future, so we tried to push ourselves musically to be adventurous and experimental in the studio.  It ended up sounding like if Florence + the Machine went back to 1987 to collab with U2 and brought Trent Reznor along to produce – it combines all our influences and experiences and is honestly our favourite song we’ve ever made.” 

Vanessa tells us that Against The Odds takes its title from multiple areas of their lives.

“Where do we begin The long list of odds?” she says. “I would say the number one odd is trying to be a musician period. Like literally trying to be a working musician is the biggest odd, like, but within that, there are so many, you know, being a woman in a rock music genre, just like mathematically the odds are not in our favour ever, right? Like if there’s such a small percentage of us, that’s been some a really big barrier for us in the industry. We’ve been told to our faces people don’t wanna hear women in Rock. We’ve been told they won’t play our music because their listeners don’t wanna hear women, and they can’t sell ads. Like that stuff has been said to us time and time again. So that’s kind of a bit of an obvious one. But other odds, I would say, are just trying not to lose our minds, you know, trying not to feel like we can’t be ourselves, trying to not cave to the pressure of having to conform to trends like TikTok and posting every day. And you’re worth being measured by how many likes you get.

An entire pandemic is an odd, you know. I don’t know if you know this, but me and David dated for four years in the middle of that, then broke up in the middle of it. I’m sure everyone has these in their lives, but for us, it is that feeling of like, against all odds, against so many people who kind of like didn’t believe in us and told us we weren’t gonna make it, or we weren’t what the industry wanted to hear, or we should do something different or wear something different. We’re still here, and we are putting out our best work ever, and we feel more passionate about this now than ever. I think we feel more like the world sort of needs music more than ever now, in very many circles and communities. Like, the only thing that isn’t divisive, people can have such different opinions, but at least agree that this band in front of them rocks right now. I think the world has showcased over the past few years how angry and sad and hurt people really are. Nevermind us personally, but Against All Odds is sort of like a collective feeling, like against all odds, many of us are still fighting for equity, we’re still trying to help people feel included and belong. We’re still trying to understand how other people feel, like we’re still trying to connect, even though so much has told us, like people hate each other.”

There have certainly been positive moments in the journey of the band of course. In 2019 the band submitted to Toronto’s Q107 radio station and landed an opening slot with Bon Jovi at the Scotiabank Area. And occasionally, it just takes one fan to put it all into perspective.

“We played a show on Saturday night, and I was in one of those moods being like, no one cares. And after our show, this guy just came up to us, and he said you guys were magnificent. And I was like, oh, thanks, whatever. And he said, no, listen, I want you to know you guys are the real deal. And he just was like, that’s all he said. And it was the exact thing I needed to hear, you know what I mean? Like, he was just like an old-school rocker dude. And he was like, I’m super into like rock; I used to be in a rock band. I haven’t clapped with my hands over my head since 1982. Like, you guys made me do that. And I was like, I need to hang onto that moment. You know, like it’s easy to be like, oh, that’s just one guy, or that’s just whatever, but that’s who we’re doing it for, each individual person that we can affect with our music and his positive affirmation of our music is no less important than someone else saying, Hey, no one wants to hear your guitar so low. Like, they’re both equal, or like, his is more important, you know?”

Not content with releasing their best album to date, Goodnight Sunrise recently released a new pop-punk holiday banger, “Single All The Way.”  Contrary to every popular rom-com movie or the many renditions of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” the single is an ode to the joys of being single during the holiday season. Think about it… more Christmas cookies and mulled wine just for you – no sharing required! 

“To me, Christmas is a feeling,” says Vanessa. “It’s about twinkly lights, being kind, magical moments, hot drinks and all things cozy! Christmas music is the soundtrack to some of the most magical moments of the year. It’s a glimmer of joy during a time when everything is cold and frozen. The sonic landscape for when we gather, do nice things for strangers, hug and laugh with each other. It has been a lifelong dream to write an original Christmas song, and finally, this year, I convinced David (vocals, guitar) to make my dream come true.”

After rocking over 25 music festivals worldwide this year and slaying an opening slot with Monowhales in London, Ontario last month, the band continues to tour in support of Against All Odds, which is out now.

Watch the full interview below:

Live Photo – Dan Boshart

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