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Interview With Goodnight Sunrise's David Kochberg

Goodnight Sunrise is a heavy-hitting rock duo from Toronto that has been going strong for over a decade, captivating fans across the globe, tallying somewhere on nearly three hundred stages worldwide. Including opening for Bon Jovi, Big Wreck, and The Sheepdogs. Formed in 2011 by co-vocalist and keytarist Vanessa Vakharia and co-vocalist and guitarist David Kochberg, the two shared a massive love of classic rock and wanted to put their mark on the genre together. Now, Goodnight Sunrise is back with their forthcoming third full-length studio album, Against All Odds.

The forthcoming LP is their biggest, boldest, and most commanding record yet, building on everything they have learned over the last eleven years as a band. From everything in terms of production, arrangement, and songwriting. Sonically, it's heavily inspired by such bands as Foo Fighters, The Pretty Reckless and Jimmy Eat World. The band describes the album as "a salute to the rock music that inspired us, both musically and as a voice for the misfits of the world that push back against the status quo." Recently, the band's David Kochberg was gracious enough to discuss with me more about the band, their new record, and what is yet to come from the band this year.

Press shot for the Toronto rock duo Goodnight Sunrise.

Goodnight Sunrise will release their new album Against All Odds later this week on October 7th, and the band has been working hard on it for nearly three years. "I'm very excited about releasing the album we've worked on for almost three years - which in itself is hard to believe," Kochberg shares, full of excitement. Goodnight Sunrise's new album's title, Against All Odds, takes great amounts of inspiration from the overall feeling of their entire career to this point in time and the pandemic. "As we were writing these new songs and the final tracklisting came together, this was an overall feeling that seemed to run through everything. We've been a band for over ten years and have seen almost every kind of challenge and rejection an indie artist will face - or so we thought because as we started recording these new songs, a global pandemic popped up! But we persisted through that just as we had through every other challenge we've overcome - against all odds," he ascribes. Comparing their previous two albums to their new one, Goodnight Sunrise did a lot to make it stand out among the rest. "The biggest difference and smartest thing we did was not produce it ourselves," he shares. The band used to be quite the DIY band, and on both, Create/Destroy/Create (2013) and Falling Awake (2016), the duo self-produced the records, but on Against All Odds, they recruited a renowned producer. "We learned a lot being pretty DIY for our first couple albums, but producer/mixer Brian Moncarz really helped us make this new album our absolute best work yet," he continues. "Something else that really helped us record this album was the financial support from a FACTOR Canada grant -and this was our fourth time applying for that over the years and first time successfully getting it- so just like the album title implies, persistence pays off," he explains further.

Willing to entice readers with what some of these new tunes are about, Kochberg shared, "The songs cover a wide range of introspective topics and feelings we've been working through our whole lives." Additionally, the tracks work into the album's title in some form. "Belong" is about searching for meaning and belonging, "One Pill" is about coping with isolation, and "Wait For It" is about grappling with identity versus social pressures to conform. "Sometimes in life, it can feel like the odds are stacked against you, but nevertheless, you find a way to push through," he continues. On Against All Odds, as aforementioned, the duo decided to recruit a producer for this album instead of self-producing the album again. They hit up Brian Moncarz (Our Lady Peace, The Trews, Circa Survive, Moneen), and the rest is history for Vakharia and Kochberg. "We worked most closely with Brian Moncarz through recording the album, as he produced and mixed it," he states. "He is a tone wizard and really helped us lean into our rock influences and embrace heavy guitar-driven soundscapes, as well as make sure the song arrangements were dialled in and flowed dynamically." Later on, in the process, Against All Odds was then handed over to Grammy Award-winning engineer Brian Lucey (Green Day, Arctic Monkeys, Elvis Costello, Ghost) to mix the record. "Brian Lucey put the finishing touches on it to really bring out the full spectrum of sound - this is definitely an album to listen to on headphones," Kochberg reveals. Goodnight Sunrise has seen many lineup changes for the last four years, but since the conception of the band in 2011, the only constant in the band has always been Vakharia and Kochberg. So going into the recording of Against All Odds, the band was down a bassist and drummer. This was when the band had to figure out who to hire to perform these instruments on the new record. Kochberg confesses, "We hire other musicians for recordings and live shows, and Brian has worked with Our Lady Peace before, so he recommended Duncan and Jason for the album ... and we said '&#*% YES!'" Now with the heavy hitters in bassist Duncan Coutts and drummer Jason Pierce on board, the album's lineup was complete, and it put power behind the band to push their sound to new heights. "They were such a delight to work with and an absolute honour to have on our record - they laid such a powerful foundation for us to build on and helped us really elevate our sound on this new album," he asserts.

The band has had a long-standing goal since they started writing Against All Odds to capture their high-energy, direct, and raw feeling of being at one of their infamous live shows onto an entire record, and on these eight new songs, they achieve their goal. "That was a clear goal that we established way back in the fall of 2019 when we first started talking with Moncarz about working together," says Kochberg. "Brian's production style has a great balance of blending modern audio engineering tools and techniques with an old-school rock approach that resulted in an album that's very polished but also still kind of raw." Everyone has a way they consume their music, rather it's driving in the car, while drinking a cup of coffee, while on a walk, or any other way. For Against All Odds, Kochberg believes the new album will pair well with any kind of high-energy activity. "It probably pairs best with a high-energy activity like a workout or a road trip," he states. Other than any high-energy activity, he also said, "Maybe if you aggressively do household chores, like you really like to get amped up while doing the laundry or cleaning the bathroom?" and lastly, if you're having a bad day or are just a laid back person he says, "If you just had a bad day and the worlds getting you down, throw on some headphones, lie down on the couch, and lose yourself in it for half an hour - we're pretty confident you'll feel better after."

One song on the album the band is beyond psyched over for fans to hear is "The Last Time." Goodnight Sunrise has been performing it live all year for audiences, and it's been a massive hit. "It's arguably the heaviest track on the album, and there's an intensity to it that really hits hard. It's really been connecting with crowds too, so we're very excited for people to hear the album version," he admits. Recently, back in August, the band also performed "Timesick" live for the first time, and it hit with even more energy than they thought it would. "We always felt it was a special song, and the crowd started bopping when the chorus dropped! So much so that we decided to release it as a surprise extra single in early September before the full album dropped - we have a feeling it's going to stay in the live setlist for a while," he recognizes.

For the remainder of the year, the duo has some touring planned -starting with a stint of dates in Ontario- and is brewing up something special later in the year, something he would not fully disclose. "We will be touring around Ontario through the fall after the album release, and then we have something cooking for the end of the year that we are VERY excited about but not quite ready to reveal," he teases. Goodnight Sunrise currently don't have any tour dates planned out through western Canada, but they're working on it. However, Kochberg says, "Stay tuned." While they aren't making their way back this way through Canada at the moment, Kochberg shared a story with me from when they were last in Winnipeg on tour in 2019. "When we played a late show in Winnipeg on a Tuesday night, we got to sleep briefly at the hotel at 3 a.m. Just to wake up at 5 a.m. to hit the road to Thunder Bay for a show Wednesday. Only to realize en route that we had a) grossly miscalculated the drive time and b) completely forgot about the time zone change too! Needless to say, that was not a pretty drive on two hours of sleep, but we made it - and we'll be back!" Before he had to go, Kochberg had one last thing for readers to hear, "We hope you and your readers are finding your own strength to follow your own dreams in this crazy world! Keep up to date with any Goodnight Sunrise developments on our socials, and we hope to get out to rock these new tunes live in Winnipeg soon," he concludes.


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