- 2012 -
HAVE A BEER WITH NIGHT RIOTS
California-based Night Riots hasn’t stopped since the 2010 release of their first full-length album, Into The Roaring. And with the drop of their new EP, Young Lore, on July 30, the band plans to expand their touring demographic while continuing to write and record on the road. They’ve been dubbed “one of the top 16 unsigned bands in North America” by Rolling Stone and “one of the most critically overlooked bands of 2012” by MTV Buzzworthy. MTV has also aired the singles “Chase The Sky” and “Some Nights,” which became the fourth most viewed video on MTV.com.
Last week, we sat down with lead singer Travis Hawley to talk about brewing his own beer, the progression of the band and the creative process behind Young Lore.
Drink of Choice: Mango Lassi
Kristen from A Beer with the Band: Your drink of choice [Mango Lassi] sounds tropical, like something you should have an umbrella in.
Travis from Night Riots: I like to put umbrellas in all my drinks.
Kristen: Even if you have a shot of whiskey?
Travis: Yep, put it in there. I ask for it. I actually used to make beer for a little while, too.
Kristen: That’s an expensive process, isn’t it?
Travis: It was cheaper than the amount of beer we were drinking. I just remember living with all the guys in the band and I would make these huge batches of like 180 beers or something and I’d be gone and a week later they’d just be gone. I wouldn’t even get to try one.
Kristen: I guess with that many guys under one roof, that’s expected. Let’s talk about the music. How did Night Riots form?
Travis: Well, we all went to school together in a small little town called Templeton in California, with the exception of Rico who’s from Fresno. So, we just started playing music really early on and it has transformed over the years into something that we’ve continued to do and make a living out of.
Kristen: How long have you been together officially as a band?
Travis: Oh man. We’ve been playing together probably about two years.
Kristen: If you had to say what the band’s philosophy is, what would it be?
Travis: For us, it’s about grasping the impossible. Everything we write about and everything we do, we do it ourselves so we kind of want to prove to everyone that you can be something in a way. The scale of success is irrelevant. That’s up to yourself, when you feel successful. And we feel successful with how far we’ve come so far. I think being an artist and taking that on as your career is a daunting thing, and I think a lot of people are afraid to take risks like we do, and I feel like we represent that opportunity to do it.
Kristen: It is pretty bold to make a creative endeavor your entire life.
Travis: Yeah…it’s about convincing other people that they’re going to love it, too.
Kristen: When you started out did you have a firm idea of what you wanted to with the band?
Travis: No way. It’s been a long process. It’s been a good thing and a bad thing that we started playing together so young. We were friends before we played music. We didn’t have any ulterior motives of trying to go anywhere; we just enjoyed playing together. When it came to developing a sound and carving that out, that really started to happen this year. This year everything was put into perspective and it’s like, “Okay…we’re honing in on something.”
Kristen: You recently came out with a new EP, Young Lore, on July 30.
Travis: Also Arnold Schwarzenegger’s birthday.
Kristen: Did you send him a free copy?
Kristen: Yeah, you should.
Travis: I should and disguise it as a muscle/body-building book.
Kristen: Tell me a little bit about the album and the creative process behind it.
Travis: We’ve been writing like crazy the past six to eight months. It was an extremely creative time for us and a really outside-of-the-box time for us as well where I feel like we were working with producers and were really encouraged to go outside of our normal state. We came out with a huge amount of songs. We still have a ton of great songs sitting on the back burner right now. It’s really exciting because they’re the same band but they have a lot of dynamic. With this EP, we wanted something that takes the listener on a little bit of a journey. And not saying, “no,” for once.
Kristen: Who were you working with?
Travis: We worked with Aaron Rubin out of San Diego. He works with Angels & Airwaves. And then we worked with Eric Palmquist out of Los Angeles. He has done stuff with Wavves and Trash Talk.
Kristen: And you’re in a really great position to have those extra songs on the backburner. A lot of bands have the opposite issue. They can’t get anything out.
Travis: It feels really good.
Kristen: Are you going to keep writing and recording or are you focusing more on touring and getting the word out?
Travis: Everything. I was just recording three days ago. We have four or five songs that are tracked and pretty ready to go, and then we just have a ton that are ready to start going to production. So, we’re definitely recording and then we’re lining up a bunch of new tours for the fall. We’ll be heading out of California and going along the Pacific Northwest and Southwest route. We might also go out to New York and do some East Coast.
Kristen: You should come to Chicago.
Travis: I’ve been to Chicago. It’s a rad city, and everybody that lives in Chicago loves Chicago. We’d really like to get out there. It’s a great place for music, too. A lot of good bands come out of Chicago.
Kristen: Yeah, and there are a lot of good venues. One of our staple questions is what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Travis: First with the head, then with the heart.
Kristen: Do you feel like you use that in your daily life?
Travis: I have to all the time.
Kristen: I feel like I’m the opposite. I work the other way around. I make the snap decision and then I’m like, “Oh, shit.”
Travis: I have to remember to do it because I’m the same way. Try it one time, and see if it works.
Kristen: What’s the most un-rock-‘n’-roll thing you’ve done in the past year?
Travis: We all play board games. I think it’s called Legion of Shadow Hunters. Rico really likes that stuff a lot and was like, “Let’s play this game,” and we all played. Then we couldn’t stop. We’d just be driving to a venue and be like, “We could probably get a quick game in, right?”
Kristen: It sounds kind of dark.
Travis: It’s like Clue in a way, but everybody around the board is either a bad guy—a super villain—a hunter who kill demons, or you’re in the middle. And throughout the game you have to figure out who is who. There are actually a lot of really neat board games out there and this is all new to me. I’m used to Monopoly, Life, Clue and Sorry.
Kristen: The classics. Do you have a favorite venue that you’ve played in California? If you could play any venue in the United States what would it be?
Travis: In California, definitely SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo or The Troubador in Los Angeles. SLO Brew is in our hometown. It’s just a club but it’s got a really good feeling to it. It’s usually sold out when we play and there’s always a high amount of energy. It’s kind of the first place we ever played so it has a special place for me.
Kristen: Anything else you want to tell our readers?