Q&A with NIGHT TERRORS OF 1927
Posted On 01 Oct 2015
Tag: Al Green, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, ALT 98.7, Alt Nation, Alternative, Andrew Dawson, Aretha Franklin, Arif Mardin Fellowship, Atlantic, Atlantic Records, Ben H. Allen, Blake Sennett, Bright Eyes, Capital Cities, Cayucas, CMJ Music Marathon, Coachella, Coachella 2015, Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Coachella Music Festival, Coachella2015, Country, Crysal Castles, Crystal Castles, Cut Copy, David Guetta, Depeche Mode, Don't You Want Me?, Dust & Bones, Echo Park, electronica, Elliot Smith, Empire Polo Fields, Everything’s Coming Up Roses, Fitz & the Tantrums, fun., Gererationals, Guilty Pleas, In the Lonely, Indio, Interview, Jarrod Gorbel, Kanye, Kanye West, Kasabian, Kendrick Lamar, KROQ, Lana Del Rey, Las Vegas, Life Is Beautiful, London Observer, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, music interview, Nas, Neon Gold, NIGHT TERRORS OF 1927, Outside Lands, Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, Palm Springs, Pop, Purity Ring, Rap, Rilo Kiley, Shuggie Otis, Sin City, Sirius XM, South By Southwest, Spin, Spin Magazine, SXSW, Tegan and Sara, The Elected, The Honorary Title, The Human League, The Weeknd, Thriller, Title Fight, Todos Santos, Torche, Vegas, Walk The Moon, Washed Out, When You Were Mine, Wilson Pickett
Blake Sennett and Jarrod Gorbel had no intention of being in a band together when they started writing the songs that evolved into Night Terrors of 1927. They were just trying something different.
“I think we each had let go of the idea of being anything we’d ever been before,” says Sennett, whose previous projects include Rilo Kiley and The Elected. “I had given up the band dream in a way that has been kind of reborn in me. I had put it in the ground and buried it and was like, ‘Cool, I’ll just write and produce and that’s where I’ll go.’”
“We were like two people with broken hearts that came out of bad relationships, in a way,” says Gorbel, formerly of The Honorary Title. They met through friends in 2010 and Sennett produced some of Gorbel’s solo material.
The pair traveled to Todos Santos, Mexico for an impromptu songwriting retreat, to finish some songs they’d started, and to brainstorm some new ideas.
“We had a house on the water that was all tile, with very little furniture, so everything we played sounded so magical and reverb-y, bouncing around that cool beach house. It was just us and some guitars and my iPad serving as a drum machine, and it suddenly all seemed so simple. I felt like, ‘Wow, I want to do this.’”
Back in LA, they set about building on the songs they started in Todos Santos, recording in Sennett’s Echo Park studio and beginning to flesh out their vision for their new band. They decided to call themselves Night Terrors of 1927, after a phrase Gorbel had found scrawled in his grandfather’s old journal and which had stuck with him ever since. “Everything we ever loved spills out into this band,” says Sennett, citing things as diverse as 80s goth and 90s hip-hop, plus contemporary artists from Crystal Castles to The Weeknd to Lana Del Rey.
“Pop and indie are influencing each other more than ever, which is exciting because it opens up possibilities for the kind of music you can make,” says Gorbel. “But no matter what, I’ve always loved anthems. Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi — that’s what I grew up on. Even though Night Terrors is on the darker side of that spectrum, I think the goal for me is trying to find a masculine way to express an anthem that’s dark but still accessible.”
Sennett says he thinks the strength of the duo lies in their opposite extremes. “Jarrod comes from a suburban upbringing and his parents are still together, and he loves these anthems rooted in the traditional everyman experience,” he says. “And I’m this LA child of, like, five divorces and random New Age ideas and hip-hop and weird, cut-up sounds.”
Released a couple months later, their song “Dust & Bones” earned plays on powerhouse Los Angeles radio stations KROQ and ALT 98.7, as well as Sirius XM’s influential Alt Nation.
On the strength of their songs and their dynamic live performances, Atlantic Records signed Night Terrors of 1927, releasing their debut EP, Guilty Pleas, last fall. The collection earned instant praise, including accolades from SPIN, who praised it as “darkly cathartic synth-pop,” and Neon Gold, who called the EP’s premiere single, “Dust and Bones,” “a beautifully orchestrated four and a half minutes of fatalistic bliss.”
In the months since, the duo teamed with producers Andrew Dawson (Kanye West, fun.) and Ben H. Allen (Washed Out, Walk The Moon, Cut Copy) to record the songs for their debut full-length, Everything’s Coming Up Roses. The eleven-track album, due out January 20th, features their infectious new single, “When You Were Mine (Feat. Tegan and Sara),” which was produced by Sennett.
Based in Los Angeles, Night Terrors of 1927 has spent considerable time on the road, including headline shows, sold out residencies, national tours alongside Capital Cities and fellow Atlantic recording group Fitz & The Tantrums, and performances at such gatherings as New York City’s CMJ Music Marathon, Austin’s South By Southwest (SXSW), San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, and Austin’s ACL Music Festival.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa got to catch up with Jarrod between festivals. Read more in their interview below.
Night Terrors of 1927 is the collaborative project that you guys started. For those that live under a rock, Blake was in the band Rilo Kiley and The Elected and Jarrod, you were the former frontman of The Honorary Title. For those not as familiar with you and your music, how did you get your start in music? Who or what was the catalyst for you?
I started in elementary school with piano lessons. I then graduated to the guitar in junior high and started singing in high school. The rest is history.
You released your debut album, Everything’s Coming Up Roses, earlier this year. What did you learn between other albums that you felt you wanted to infuse into this one?
Each song took on its own identity and lived independently of the others for this particular record.
What was your inspiration for your single, “When You Were Mine? “ (Which also features Tegan and Sara) How did that collaboration come about?
The song started out in a more folk song sort of framework. It then evolved in to a more 80’s inspired pop song. Something was missing from the song after I had originally cut the vocals. We brainstormed and thought turning it into a duet would be awesome. Tegan and Sara were the first voices that came to mind.
Who are your musical influences?
We have many influences from 80’s metal stuff all the way to the pop music of today. I loved artists like Elliot Smith and Bright Eyes, also loved bands like Depeche Mode and The Cure.
I am also a big fan of 60/70’s soul singers like Etta, Aretha, Otis, Wilson P., Al Green, Marvin Gaye. And currently a lot of electronic-rap type stuff.
Do you remember the first album you bought for yourself?
Michael Jackson’s Thriller
What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
The Human League “Don’t You Want Me?” I just loved singing along.
Who would your dream collaboration be with, living or dead?
I’d love to sing a song with London Grammar or Lana Del Rey.
Who is in your current playlist? Any artists, musicians or genres we might be surprised to find in there?
Kendrick Lamar, Purity Ring, Nas, Kasabian, Cayucas, Crystal Castles, The Lone Bellow, Generationals, Torche, Title Fight.
I love a lot of music, pretty heavy stuff, rap, hip-hop, pop, indie, country.
What’s on tap next for you guys? What are you most excited about in
Currently we are prepping for all the summer festivals like Life Is Beautiful in Las Vegas as well as writing new stuff. We are really looking forward to making another record.
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