Brandeis musical duo Late Night Thoughts entertains crowd in Chum’s

November 17, 2017

Students crowded into Chum’s Coffeehouse to hear live music performances from Berklee School Of Music’s Soul Candy and Brandeis University’s own Late Night Thoughts, on Friday, Nov. 10. Late Night Thoughts members Brian Rauch ’19 and Michael Harlow ’19 soulfully delivered their original music and covers to a full house at Chum’s, while Soul Candy followed and lit up the coffeehouse, playing covers of rock songs in a jazz-like style. I had the opportunity to interview Late Night Thoughts regarding the duo’s musical journey at Brandeis.

Harlow and Rauch first discovered the musical chemistry they share when they met in the Starving Artists a capella group. After playing music together for a while, they decided to form a group since they both had aspirations to pursue music more intensely than just jamming. According to Harlow, “there are not that many people who are actively pursuing music at Brandeis….so it’s hard to find like-minded people like that.” Both Rauch and Harlow have been making music their entire lives, and both began taking piano lessons in first grade. Harlow, who grew up in a very musical family, began learning how to play drums in sixth grade “in active rebellion because they were the loudest and most annoying.” “My parents were like, ‘We want you to keep studying music in some way’ so I said, ‘Fine, I’ll learn the drums,’” said Harlow. Additionally, Harlow began to pick up on bass and guitar in high school. Rauch began playing guitar senior year of high school. Rauch began to write his own songs the summer after his senior year of high school.

In regards to the band’s musical influences, Rauch tries to listen and learn from every genre of music but cites John Mayer as a colossal influence on why he wanted to start getting into music after seeing John Mayer in concert the summer before his senior year of high school. Harlow enjoys fuller band music R&B, rock, soul and less electronic music because he enjoys genres of music that one could create live with drums, bass, guitar at the minimum. He cites Bruce Springsteen, Lawrence and The Grateful Dead as major influences on the band’s music.

The beginning of the performance brought some technical difficulties: The sound systems weren’t working and the guitar couldn’t be plugged in. Even though there were some technical difficulties in creating the ideal sound, the bands were still able to deliver a breathtaking performance to the audience. “The technical difficulties in the beginning do not matter,” Rauch reflected. “At the end of the day everyone is just here to listen to some music and if you can just have a guitar and a voice, that’s all you need,” he added.

Rauch and Harlow have different favorite parts of performing. The best part about performing for Harlow is being able to connect with Rauch on stage and watching him jam out to the music. Rauch pointed out,“You go on stage and you basically go into another mode of yourself and put on something that isn’t you. I am a very introverted person. What I do on stage is not something I would be doing on a daily basis in my normal life.” Rauch clarified that being able to connect with music onstage in front of people is a very rewarding feeling since there is a special connection that one has with a song when they are the artist.

Late Night Thoughts performs covers of songs from many singer-songwriter artists, such as Ed Sheeran and John Mayer. In fact, one of their favorite cover songs to perform is “In The Blood” by John Mayer. However, they have an abundance of original songs that they perform at their live shows. Rauch and Harlow agree that the three original songs that they are most proud of are “Real Talk,” “Shit Happens,” and “What Love Truly Means.” While they enjoy performing both cover songs and original songs, the feeling that they get from performing an original song is much more rewarding. “If we get a big ovation for an original song, that is the best feeling because it is something that you made yourself. If people enjoy listening to basically what we are, that feels so good,” describes Rauch. The lyrics of the songs mean so much to the members of the band, which is why they take a lot of pride in their songs’ lyrics. “When you share original music, because you put so much work into it, you are sharing a piece of yourself,” Harlow added.

Each of their original songs has an important story behind it. For example, Rauch wrote the song, “Fretta,” a long time ago about his Grandma. Rauch’s girlfriend inspires a lot of Late Night Thoughts’ music, including songs, “Diamond In The Rough” and “What Love Truly Means.” The band is currently working on a song right now called, “Already Ready,” that is supposed to convey a lot of feelings about emotional struggles.

Late Night Thoughts tries not to focus on any particular genres. The members used to believe their genre was Americana folk-pop. Now they believe that the music they make falls on two different extremes. “A lot of our music is either musically complex in that singer-songwriter kind of way with finger picking and movement up and down the guitar neck with pretty or interesting vocals or it’s very simple with more movement in the vocals. The two songs that I think epitomize that are “What Love Truly Means” and “Fretta.” “Those original songs are the polar opposite of the range of our style and in the middle are more upbeat songs that kind of get people bopping back and forth, but it really ranges from super simple music to powerful vocals,” describes Harlow. The songs capture beauty and simplicity, but simultaneously includes a higher level of complexity in the instrumentation that is difficult to label in one particular genre or range of musical style. For the members of Late Night Thoughts, the best part of being in the band is being able to create music together.

The band aspires to continue to make music professionally. Currently juniors, they already play shows around the Boston area and plan on staying in the Boston area after graduation. “It’s not going to be easy,” Rauch acknowledges. “It is going to be very hard and maybe even going to wanna quit points, but we are both really dedicated to what we are doing.” As long as they keep making amazing music, everything will come with time. Rauch explains, “My family said to find work that does not feel like work to you.” Harlow adds, “I cannot believe that this is actually considered a job.” The band is taking everything one step at a time and doing everything possible to grow their audience by playing shows and releasing more content.

Meanwhile, they are back in the studio recording an EP called “Dorm Dayz,” to be released on many different streaming services. The band also has plans to eventually get stickers and T-Shirts. We are certainly looking forward to hearing more of Late Night Thoughts’ music at Brandeis and in the band’s future after Brandeis.

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