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Nothing can be rebuilt without first taking it apart. But sometimes the most incredible changes can happen when you are in pieces.
The members of LASTWATCH – vocalist Ashley Miller, guitarist Jon Miller, guitarist Matt Hanna, and drummer Krislyn Woolley – have all lived both sides of life and want you to know that no matter how broken you are, you can be rebuilt. Each track of the band’s debut project, Leave A Light On, has been crafted out of the pain of personal experiences, and the transformation that came after.
The band formed without ever playing a note. It took one meeting at a south Florida restaurant for Ashley and Jon to realize they had found a guitarist that shared their heart.
“We were talking and sharing stories for hours,” Ashley says. “We went out to Matt’s car and listened to a song he had written for another band, and immediately Jon and I gave each other the look – this is our guy!”
The trio didn’t waste a moment, auditioning several bassists and drummers but eventually finding talent close to home in Ashley’s sister and brother in law, while at the same time immersing themselves in writing the tracks that would become 2013’s Leave A Light On.
One particularly soul-bearing conversation led to the project’s opening track, Long For You.
“One night Matt opened up and said, you know guys, I know I should be in love with God, he has given me so many things, but I’m just not,” explains Jon. “How could I feel this way? Will you pray for me? My heart broke as I thought of how many of us have felt that way without being honest enough to say it out loud. We prayed and I went home and wrote Long For You in a couple of hours. The words just spilled out of my heart and I was in tears by the time it was finished. One line in the chorus says – if we stand divided, then I’ll (get down on my knees and) crawl to you (God) – and that is something that has remained in our hearts ever since.
The band then enlisted the help of Travis Wyrick, the Grammy-nominated producer known for his work with Ten Years, P.O.D., Pillar, Disciple, and The Letter Black.
“As we were looking for producers I started to notice that Travis had produced several of my favorite bands,” Matt explains. “I sent him two demos and he called me immediately and that was that.” The band entered the studio a couple of months later, stopping between takes to play 2012’s Atlantafest and Ichthus festivals.
“Recording Somehow was especially difficult for me,” Ashley says. “Travis is known to make singers cry, but he might have got more than he bargained for. I couldn’t hold back the tears as I told him the story behind the song, and about how through everything God has never left me, and about how I'm now stronger and more determined than ever.” The track would go on to be a fan favorite, a source of comfort for many people.
With 2013 came the release of Leave A Light On, and the band launched an aggressive three month run of touring in support of the album. Shortly after the band posted a notice that they were looking for a new drummer.
“Auditioning new members is no fun. After recording the album with Zach and Andrea, we felt like we were back to the drawing board,” says Jon. “But you have to be broken before you can be rebuilt, and God always knows what he’s doing; even when it feels like your world is falling apart.”
In a matter of days the band received a dozen responses, but it was a response from Krislyn Woolley that caught their attention.
“Every demo we watched was great but we felt like none of them fit us just right,” says Jon. “ As soon as we watched a video of Krislyn covering Underoath we knew we had found our drummer. We flew her in from L.A. immediately and by the end of our week together we asked her to join.” But there was one condition.
“The connection to LASTWATCH was immediate,” Krislyn explains. “I loved all of the songs on the album, but in particular The Countdown just resonated with me. I told the band that I would join on the condition that we would make The Countdown the first single in our radio campaign. I actually would have joined either way!”
Jon's move from guitar to bass made the lineup complete. That summer 'The Countdown' went on to become a Billboard top ten hit and the band shot a music video with producer Grant Smucker that summer, before playing to big crowds at festivals like Lifest, Collide, Kingdom Come, Promise Land, and Bash on the Farm, opening for notable acts like TFK, Project 86, Nine Lashes, Ashes Remain, and Stellar Kart. The music video for The Countdown was handpicked by VEVO to receive special promotion, and by the end of the summer the band had started to build a buzz.
The band provided support for Nine Lashes and Jason Dunn (formerly of Hawk Nelson) in the fall, and by early 2014 had completed their first headlining run. The band released 'Leave A Light On' as the second radio single and it began charting on Billboard immediately. After a successful run of high school shows in April, the band is looking forward to festival season and "The Countdown to Revolution Tour" with The Protest.
“We love festivals!” Ashley says. “It’s wonderful to see that look of shock and joy on someone’s face when they discover a new band. We love meeting people and sharing what we’ve been through. It’s hard to call them fans, because we often connect so deeply that we feel like family. Our family sticks together, and we want them to know that we are here for them no matter what they go through. Sometimes you become broken, but we see that as an opportunity to come back better than before.”
Ashley Miller - Lead Vocals
Jon Miller - Bass, Backing Vocals
Matt Hanna - Guitar
Krislyn Woolley - Drums
To order a physical copy of the debut album "Leave A Light On" please check out our official merch store on Facebook. The album is also available on iTunes, Amazon MP3, Google Play, Spotify and Xbox!