The Night Game
When the sun goes down, The Night Game happens. Under the cover of darkness and awash in neon stadium glow, the project first took the field in 2017 led by frontman, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Martin Johnson. A catchy combination of muscular guitars, new wave synths, and big screen-worthy stories seamlessly speaks to the nocturnal nature of their moniker.“The name personifies the emphasis on sports, sex, andthe undying quest for the American dream,” explains Johnson. “The lights are on. It’s primetime. There’s an element of danger. It feels like anything can happen in the moment. ” As the story goes, The Night Game first began appearing (fittingly) at secret late night shows around the Los Angeles area. Upon release in March 2017, the debut single “The Outfield”—co-produced by Francois Tetaz—quietly garnered early praise from The Fader, Billboard, and Noiseywho unabashedly proclaimed it a “future classic.”Journeyman jack-of-all-trades Dev Hynes directed its cinematic and avant garde music video, while the song amassed millions of Spotify streams upon its release. After “The Outfield” graced Spotify’s “New Music Friday” playlist, John Mayer heard the song and invited The Night Game to join him on a summer shed tour. “Usually, it’s that cliché of your people call my people, and then something happens,” Johnson laughs. “John heard the song on Spotify and reached out directly. It was refreshing to see that real music fans still exist in the industry.”Following “The Outfield,” The Night Game unveiled the follow-up single “Once In A Lifetime.” On the song, a robust beat gives way to another emboldened and enigmatic hook punctuated by Johnson’s fiery falsetto.“I was in a pretty dark and self-destructive time of my life,” he admits. “Lo and behold, in the middle of all this darkness, I got a once in a lifetime opportunity. There was this pinhole of light. I don’t know if it’s fate, divine intervention, God, or a willingness to live, but this moment changed my life for the better. It pushed me out the door.”You might’ve heard a tune or two from Johnson before The Night Game began. He fronted the mid-2000s pop band Boys Like Girls before transitioning to songwriting and production—penning and producing music for a myriad of artists across pop, rock, R&B, and urban. However, The Night Game represents him most clearly in the end with each experience leading to this moment.“I’d love for listeners to be transported into this world,” Johnson leaves off. “This is an extension of my reality and truth. If people can relate to or feel that at any level, then we’re really getting somewhere. “
Half The Animal
Chase Johnson and Nick Gross met in the third grade. Growing together from such a young age they developed the kind of friendship that turns into brotherhood. Butting heads against each other, but standing back to back against the world. They bonded over their love of music, in particular the give-no-f’s ethos of their native Southern Californian punk scene. Drawn to the spotlight from an early age, Chase fell easily into the role of frontman (didn’t hurt that he could actually sing). Nick loved to beat the crap out of things, and discovered he could do that with a modicum of coordination--hence he became the drummer. Their high school band was scooped up by a major and somehow ended up on a hit reality MTV show (with Chase unwittingly emerging as a focal point).
The whole ordeal left a bad taste in the bands’ mouth, and they said screw it. Chase moved on to pursue his passion for photography, and Nick wanted to inspire young people in a way he had never been; founding Find Your Grind - a platform that offers scholarships, curriculum and guidance to expose high school students to non-conventional life/work paths.
Last year Nick and Chase reconnected, and decided to take all they’d learned and do right by music--their true love. Savvier about the business, and elevated in their taste level (they’re no longer playing skate punk), they started Half The Animal. After getting burned by the industry at a young age, Nick and Chase decided to bet on themselves and pool all their resources to develop and launch their project independently. In a short amount of time HTA has accomplished more than most bands with record deals do over the course of multiple albums. HTA toured with Atlas Genius last fall and are going out with Smallpools in May. They’ve already been in with monster producers such as JKash (Charlie Puth, Maroon 5) and Ammo (Mike Posner, Katy Perry), and more recently have been working on a collection of songs with Captain Cuts (Walk The Moon, Iconapop) and Sam Martin (G-Eazy, Jhené Aiko).
When going in with Cuts, HTA had a vision to approach altrock from a new angle. They wanted to capture the chillwave of 2018 with modern production, unique sounds, but with a rock n roll attitude. They wanted memorable melodies that weren’t predictable, and lyrics that spoke to the dichotomy of Chase Johnson - an exuberant, fashion-forward extrovert, who struggles with a reclusive demon-plagued vulnerability.
These new songs with Captain Cuts and Sam Martin will be the cornerstone of the 2018 launch of Half The Animal. They have radio smashes in the can, but will be rolling things out slowly and building organically throughout the year. The first record they are letting us hear is “Too Late” - an uptempo driver with hints of early U2 that will be released during the Smallpools tour on May 11.