Best of What's Next: The Daylights

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Hometown: Los Angeles
For fans of: Coldplay, The Killers, Doves
Members: Ran Jackson (guitar/vocals/keyboard), Ricky Jackson (bass/vocals), Svend Lerche (drums)

In late 2010, one man’s girlfriend moved across the country to attend graduate school. He was a wreck, so he asked his roommates to help him write her a viral love letter—a song and video with the aim of spreading organically through Twitter and social networks until she discovered it herself. Lucky for him, those roommates were the Los Angeles-based rock band The Daylights.

Today, one of those roommates, Ricky Jackson, is watching for cops. His brother Ran is sitting comfortably in their L.A. home, but Ricky is in the car, conferenced into our call on a rainy Friday afternoon, a ticket-able offense on the streets of California. “If I see a cop I’m gonna hang up and call you back, cause I’m driving,” he muses. “I’m gonna be the renegade today.” Within 15 minutes the line goes dead at least twice.

The brothers, along with drummer Svend Lerche, make up the rock band The Daylights, who’s self-titled debut was released in the second half of last year. More interesting than when though is how. After recording a collection of songs, they ditched their label, hooked up with their dream producer, UK legend Youth, packed up and headed to London. The flurry that followed resulted in their self-titled debut, an oft-delicate, sometimes-raucous 15 tracks. Gentle ballads, like the yearning “Weapons” and “Terra Firma” are met by the upbeat, indie-rock constructions of “The Last Time” and “Digital_Kiss.” When recording, the trio draws inspiration for its melodic rock from both books and movies. They have an unspoken rule to always start on something new, keeping ideas fresh at every rehearsal. “We’re massive Steinbeck fans,” Ran says, but they’re not even sure how it affects the music. “It just keeps your mind stimulated—keeps the cogs turning.”

This debut was quite different though than the viral letter-song. Where the album saw a legendary producer overseeing a tightly orchestrated creation in an expensive studio, The Daylights’ favor to their roommate, the infectiously catchy and “awww”-inducing “I Hope This Gets To You,” was recorded in their home studio in an afternoon. “We hit send on the track right as we were walking out the door for our tour.” Ricky says. “We knew it was good, but we had no idea that a million people would see it.” Originally reluctant to even consider it one of their own, the song now sits as one of their biggest hits and favorite songs to play live. Even further, the process may well influence the band’s next step. They would love to record a sophomore effort by the end of the year, but ultimately it will be about what feels natural. “We want to work fast and record reactively,” Ricky says. “We know what we want.”

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