Tacos. They truly bring the world together. Case in point. When Jordan Meredith met Louis Johnson at a Taco Tuesday soiree a few years back it would mark the beginning of a musical partnership that has culminated in The Saint John's wonderful new album, Dead Of Night.
The duo, who originally hail from Florida, somewhat recently relocated to Nashville TN (after a long stint in NYC), and their newest album sounds like the perfect combination of the two. The album falls in the realm of what you could call Southern-friend, folk-rock. But songs like "Testifier" and "Lost The Feeling" are punched up with syrupy, sun-streaked, pop production. "We wanted the opportunity to rock," Jordan recently explained during the band's stop at Baeble. "Let's bring in a full band, let's make it bump!"
While the album definitely "bumps", the band's new NEXT session strips things down to the bare essentials, revealing the chemistry The Saint Johns' share. Throughout performances of "Blood Red Fever", "Keeping The Night", and "Testifier", their voices are locked in beautifully lilting harmonies, as they sway back and forth in unison. No, the two are not romantically connectedthey're happily married/engaged to other people. Thanks for asking. But their musical connection is unbreakable. "What makes The Saint Johns the Saint Johns is the fact that it has both of our voices in it," explained Jordan. "If I went out and tried to perform a Saint Johns' song on my own, it would be a nightmare", joked Louis. Luckily, we don't have to worry about that. Thank god for Tacos.
Baeble Music and we are here with The Saint Johns. - You both said that you would never write alone. Do you think there is like a benefit to being a duo like that? project, it wouldn't make sense if he just wrote the song and I just sing on it. I think that what makes The Saint Johns The Saint Johns is the fact that it has both of our voices in it. if it's something that we're going to put on the record or we're writing, we're always going to be in that process together and I think that is what makes it one of our songs. - Yeah. - If I went out and tried to perform a Saint Johns song on my own, it would be a nightmare. I would never go to like an open mic and be like, "Oh, can you play one of your songs?" I'd be like, "Nah, I'd rather not unless J's here. " So, that's kind of a cool thing. It's also... - Thanks. - Yeah. - Would you...are more willing to go solo? - Yeah, totally. - Oh, brutal. I love the way this fell apart Taking away off my heart There's nothing to fear or cry about There's nothing left here to figure out I want to let you know I'm already letting go Why are you close enough to taste Blood red fever gone you wasted I want to let you know I'm already letting go. I'm already letting you go. I'm already letting you go ooh. Thought you could get away with it Your tongue was never innocent And now there's nothing to fear Or to cry about oh There's nothing left here for you now I want to let you know I'm already letting go. Why are you close enough to taste Blood red fever gone you wasted I want to let you know I'm already letting you go I'm already letting you go I'm already letting you go. There's nothing to fear or cry about There's nothing left here There's nothing left here Why are you close enough to taste Blood red fever gone you wasted I want to let you know Why are you close enough to taste Blood red fever gone you wasted I want to let you know I'm already letting you go. I'm already letting you go I'm already letting you go. - Blood Red Fever is an interesting one because it's definitely about a relationship like falling apart, would definitely suggest cheating, infidelity and neither of us are experiencing that in our relationship. - It might not have been happening at the moment but we've all gone through something like that. I think there's something really beautiful about like the message though. It's kind of like you kind of deserve better, like you're done. - Yeah, there's definitely like a message of like confidence, almost like letting you go. - Right. - Peace out. - It's beautiful though. - Thanks. Keeping the night only for you Oh I'll be holding my heart Hold it for you. Won't you tell me That I'm the only one? Won't you tell me I am Hold me And even if the world falls down We're safe enough And even if the stars burn out We can let the stars burn out. Keeping your eyes Only on me Oh you are The air that I breathe And I keep breathing Ooh won't you tell me That I'm the only one? Won't you tell me I am Hold me And even if the world falls down We're safe enough And even if the stars burn out We can let the stars burn We're the only one now, Only one now And the only one now Don't let me down. And hold me And even if the world falls down We're safe enough And even if the stars burn out Hold me And even if the world falls down We're safe enough And even if the stars burn out We can let the stars burn out - How does the music scene in Nashville differ from New York? - It just seems like everybody has a hand in everybody else's thing and everybody wants to see you succeed and we want to see all of our Nashville friends succeed all the new comers that are moving to Nashville, we're pumped that they're there - I can't really say enough how much we love Nashville and just the people that we've fallen in love with. Guess I'm going to be the one To call you out. You're holding the smoking gun That shot me down Now you're aiming for my heart Does anybody see this? Come on, baby Can I get a witness? You don't have to play You don't have to tease I like what I see Right in front of me, front of me You don't have to dance You don't have to preach I know your song It's a part of me, part of me I can testify all the ways you move But I'm a testifier Let me testify you Testifier, I'm a testify you Baby, I don't buy the lines You toss around But you keep catching me every time You throw one out. Now we are running out of time, I'm starting to get restless Come on, baby Let me be your witness You don't have to play You don't have to tease I like what I see Right in front of me, front of me You don't have to dance Don't have to preach I know your song It's a part of me, part of me I can justify all the ways you move But I'm a testifier Let me testify you Testifier, I'm a testify you Oooh, ooohh I'm a testifier Let me testify you Oooohh I'm a testifier Oooh I can justify the way you move I'm a testifier, come on You don't have to play. You don't have to tease I like what I see Right in front of me, front of me Don't have to dance Don't have to preach I know your song It's a part of me, part of me I can justify all the ways you move But I'm a testifier Let me testify you Testifier I'm a testify you Testifier I'm a testify you. - We wrote Testifier with our good friend Trent. It's definitely one of those rocking songs that we're talking about how we really wanted to just like bring it and make a song and punch you in the face and I think it does. And we have so much fun performing it. - We have to play it last every night because it's like so much bigger than all the other songs. So it's like even if it weren't a single, it's just kind of one of those things where we're like, "This is the end, like this is the end of our set for sure. " I'd be surprised if we wrote another one that trumped it but who knows? Maybe. - This got like a nice bit of attitude. It's a bit fun. - Before this album, you put out an EP called Open Water. How does this new album differ from the EP? - When we released Open Water, that was the first time we had ever toured. We love touring off of those songs and what we realized touring off of that record is that we really wanted the opportunity to kind of like rock. With this new record, we definitely really like felt like a full band like let's make it bump, you know, so. - I just want to go bump. - That's new for me. - I have my own or like this record bump.
Jordan Meredith and Louis Johnson of The Saint Johns have the ingredient every special duo needs: chemistry.?Theirs is the kind of relationship where neither finishes a sentence because the other already gets it in just a few words. Its the kind of relationship that starts at a friends Taco Tuesday party in St. Augustine, Florida, in 2008. And its a relationship everyone assumes is romantic. But this meet-cute has an unusual ending it doesnt end in marriage, but a beautiful partnership nevertheless that has yielded The Saint Johns debut album Dead of Night.
I met Jordan at a party and she happened to have a guitar, Johnson said. All of our friends were either hooking up or drunk or sleeping and we just stayed up playing shitty covers of Jack Johnson songs until our ears were bleeding. We were definitely impressed by each other. Not long after, Meredith landed a gig at a local bar and invited Johnson to help fill a few long sets. Seven years later as they prepare to release their major-label debut, Meredith and Johnson believe theyve put in their 10,000 hours and have arrived at something pretty special.
I think weve always understood that we create music together that we would never be able to create on our own, Meredith said. We have this sort of weird yin-and-yang thing.
They moved to New York to make it big We ended up just being broke. Johnson said ?but nevertheless used the time to write and play together every day. They moved to Nashville?to regroup and The Saint Johns named for the river that flows through the heart of their native Florida began to truly come into focus. They played shows anywhere and everywhere?relentlessly some good, some bad, some empty and released a well-received EP, Open Water, that got the duo immediate support from the critics and the industry and helped land its first television appearance, Late Show with David Letterman.
That EP captured the sweet Americana soul of the bands early sound. Recorded with a full band, Dead of Night is something more more mature, more confident, more ambitious. The album, which comes out in early 2016 on Kemosabe Records, producer Dr. Lukes partnership with Sony Music, began with demo recordings Johnson made. The two took them to David Kahne, a Grammy Award-winning producer and record label executive whos worked with Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, The Strokes, Lana Del Rey, Fishbone and many others.
His process is just insane, Johnson said. David knows what he wants all the time. So he overhauled a lot of what we had and it all ended up with the same feel, but elevated.
So much bigger, Meredith echoed.
I guess I was always afraid to put big kick drums in there and really have the groove be at?he forefront. Johnson continued. But David is so good at making sure the grooves are?right, that they push through and punch you in the face. Thats something he brought to the record so beautifully that I dont think we would ever have gotten there on our own.
A group of songs began to stand out in the studio. The deeply personal Shadowplay will be the first song to radio, an unofficial release that captures the duos close harmony and exposed feelings in a way that reminds you of Lows measured sense of drama. Meredith and Johnson wrote the song with friend Jake Etheridge, a Nashville singer-songwriter with a large following in Europe.
I had a lyric and a melody started and the boys were kind of making fun of me because it was so emotional, Meredith said. But the further we got into it and the more the song developed, I realized how therapeutic the song was for me. Shadowplay talks about pulling a loved one out of darkness, out of depression. I think it was what I needed to hear at that time in my life.
The track was the first overwhelmingly successful co-write outside the core duo and encouraged them to do many more. We tried to add Jake to our band, but hes basically a pop star in Holland, so thats never going to happen, Meredith said.
So they turned to Vince Schumerman for assistance on first single Lost the Feeling a song, like most of their co-writes, that was written in the bands dining room. The running-through-the-night vibe of the song is the duos nod to Fleetwood Mac and their shared love for Rumours.
Its a grooving song about heartbreak, Meredith said. We have a hard time not writing depressing songs. It was nice to have someone to pull us out of our dark corner. Although, lyrically the song is still depressing.
Another dining-room diamond is Dead of Night, the albums title track, written with Merediths husband, JT Daly. Its a '90s rocker with telecaster in your face: It sounds happy until you listen to the lyrics and find out that its a desperate plea from one person to another, Johnson said.
I think the theme we found running through the album is the really beautiful juxtaposition between dark and light, so that title just seemed so fitting for the album, Meredith said. The song itself can speak for the entire album in a way. Its a special song.