Interview: Edmond teen pop/alternative band At Long Last playing CD release party Saturday at The Conservatory
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Edmond teenagers finding success At Long Last
Column: The local pop/alternative band, who has opened for Greyson Chance and toured with Forever the Sickest Kids, is celebrating the release of its debut album Saturday night at The Conservatory.
In January, the pop/alternative quartet opened its second show for major-label singer/songwriter/guitarist Greyson Chance, who also hails from Edmond. Over the summer, the band embarked on its first tour. In between, At Long Last released its debut album, made its first music video and had two songs featured in a movie.
And the foursome — singer/primary songwriter/guitarist Jordan Lindley, 16; lead guitarist Caden Castelli, 17; drummer Carson Hawkins, 17; and bassist Cole Verble, 16 — started their junior year at Deer Creek High School.
“This past year has just been crazy,” said Jordan in an after-school interview alongside Caden and Carson, who mercilessly raided the Oklahoma Publishing Co. vending machines. “The summer was just a huge thing because we opened (in Oklahoma City) for Allstar Weekend and then the big one was we toured. … That was the first we’d ever played out of the state.”
Saturday night, At Long Last finally will have the time to really celebrate their debut LP, “Let’s Get to the Point,” at an album release party at The Conservatory. The album came out in August just days before they headed for the New York City, Boston, Toronto and other points east to open 12 dates for Dallas-based pop-punk band Forever the Sickest Kids, who handpicked them for their tour along with Ashland High, Paradise Fears and Plug In Stereo.
“What really boosted our confidence at the beginning is the fact that Forever the Sickest Kids had listened to us and they were the reason we were on it,” Jordan said. “We just kind of went into it like ‘This is awesome but we don’t want to be taken as the kid band. We want to be serious about this.’ Yeah, we’re all younger and stuff, but they all didn’t treat us like that. They treated us like we were equals.”
They may be teenagers, but At Long Last has been around about five years, since Jordan and Carson teamed up as fifth-graders for a grade-school talent show. At the end of the sixth grade, they added Caden to the mix, and about a year later, Cole joined the lineup. Denise Castelli, Caden’s mom, took on the job as the band’s manager the first time she heard Jordan play one his original songs.
“It just kind of happened. It just kind of went together as we’re friends to like play music after school. But then it just kind of became a band really,” Jordan said. “Whenever Caden came in, we just decided, ‘Hey, we’re actually doing stuff now, and let’s keep doing it and let’s be dedicated to it.’ And that’s whenever we started like having practices and working to get shows, fans, that kind of stuff. … It wasn’t just some after-school shindig anymore.”
The frontman wrote or co-wrote with his bandmates all 10 tracks on their self-released debut. Oklahoma City writer/director Lance McDaniel used their ballads “San Francisco Dreams” and “Time Goes On” in his Chris Kattan comedy “Just Crazy Enough,” and the band partnered with up-and-coming local filmmaker Bunee Tomlinson to shoot their first music video for “San Francisco Dreams.”
The quartet deliberately worked with three different sets of producers to make the album — Jarod Evans and Chad Copelin at Blackwatch Studios in Norman; Ted Curtis and Mike Turner at Upstairs Productions in Oklahoma City; and Kevin Gates at Engaged Audio in Springfield, Mo. — which gave the quartet a chance to experiment with its sound.
“We decided that if we wanted to do a full-length, we didn’t want to stick with one producer because we wanted to explore our boundaries,” Jordan said. “We wanted to kind of see what we could do … and you can tell on the album, they put a different vibe to the songs.”
Since they are so young, the band members are eager to learn as much as they can about the craft as well as the realities of making music.
“Touring was not as luxurious as people make it out to be,” Jordan said. “Like we blew out two tires within the first four shows and we lost part of our trailer. The majority of it is trying to get comfortable in the van so you can sleep.”
“Which is impossible,” Caden added with a laugh. “(There’s) a lot of like adapting; each show there could have been something different go wrong, like you have to adapt to a sound system or something. Like there was one night we couldn’t use any of our backtracking … and that was like New York City and one of our biggest shows.”
Despite the hardships, they are now hooked on touring and more determined than ever to make At Long Last last.
“Nothing can match up to the music of a group of people who can just sync up as friends. Like that sound is greater than a group of musicians that are just put together because of their musical talent,” Carson said.
“Amen, brother,” Caden added.
At Long Last album release party
With: Tiger Lily, Wake Up Call, The Fossil Youth and Sydney Adams.
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Where: The Conservatory, 8911 N Western.