Orange is the New Black’s Taylor Schilling said in an interview once, “If you’re really living it, life is complicated.” If that’s the case, the men of Night Lights are living life to the fullest. With 3/4ths of their members coming from outside of the US, they’ve encountered problems with their visas that their own Mau has said, “…might take a while to pan out,” but they’re working on it and not letting it put a damper on what they came out to California to do. They all met while attending the Berklee College of Music and after graduation decided LA was where they needed to be. They just played The Satellite this past Monday and now are here to let us in on more of their lives like their latest single, what’s to come and what traditions they’re bringing to their style.
Kendra: Do you ever think about, “What if I didn’t go to Berklee, where would my life be right now?”
Yusuke: I actually have thought of where I would be if I didn’t end up going to Berklee. Well, I think I would probably be in Japan doing the same thing, except the band wouldn’t be as diverse, and also not as technically capable on their instruments. I also think I would be a completely different person, because these guys have heavily influenced who I am today.
Kendra: Were you always aiming for a music centric school though?
Dag: I guess this is all quite different for all of us…but for me I’d say so, although it took me a while before I decided I’d actually make music my career path. I was lucky to go to a music high school, which was my first choice after middle school. Then, I actually served in the Norwegian Military and worked a year as a roofer. After that, I went to Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney, Australia, where my focuses were Music and Theology. That eventually got me thinking about pursuing music as a full-time career. I think I can say it was a good friend of mine that I met in Sydney that opened my eyes to Berklee in particular.
Kendra: You all packed up and headed west after graduation. Did it take you longer to adjust to LA or to Boston?
Yusuke: It took me much longer to adjust in Boston than in LA. When I started Berklee, I was 18 and I didn’t really know myself well at all. Coming from spending some time in Japan, it was a huge cultural and personal adjustment for sure. By the time I moved to LA, the majority of my friends were already here, and I also had my band.
Kendra: For those of you from Norway, Mexico and Japan – do you ever throw some sounds from your birthplaces into the overall pop rock sound you guys create?
Dag: Being from different places definitely helps us bring different unique musical backgrounds to the table. In terms of specific sounds, there’s actually a roar from a lion in our new single “Childish”, and I guess you can find mountain lions in Mexico, if that counts. Would love to experiment getting cool sounds with more traditional instruments though, so who knows what we’ll work into future music haha!
Kendra: Your single, “Take My Hand,” has this crisp mature pop sound. At what age did you start to start to mature musically; like when did it go from something you liked to listen to, to something you wanted to make a life out of?
Jeff: Music has been such a big passion for each of us from pretty early ages; I think we’ve all kind of always dreamed of making it our livelihood. I’d say the first big step towards pursuing music professionally was picking up an instrument. I got my first bass guitar when I was 10, and I’ve played it since day one with the intention of becoming a great musician and having an impact on the greater world of music. I never looked at it as a hobby, and I don’t think the rest of the guys have either.
Kendra: That’s the first song of many you’ll drop this year. Can you sum up what else we can expect in four words?
Jeff: More music coming soon!
Kendra: Night lights are usually used for when people are scared of the dark. With that, what’s your biggest fear?
Mau: I think this is different for everyone in the band. Man, I have a lot of those. I am scared of the dark. Less so than I was when I was younger, but still I get surges of panic going to the kitchen for water at like 2am. I used to be terrified of heights. Again, I’ve kind of grown out of it because of bungee jumping. A feat that I don’t recommend to other people that are scared of heights, but I loved the experience. Now I can handle my vertigo but still get it on certain cliffs. I can’t watch scary movies. I get really REALLY scared after those. I am scared of spiders. Not like run away scared, but I get the chills down the spine and suddenly get like Bruce Lee protective and in a fight pose. I’m a dork, I know. All that said, however, I have always been an advocate for confronting my fears and always challenging myself to be courageous. Except for the scary movies…Screw those.
Kendra: Onto something less scary, shows. Hotel Cafe was the first place you played when you landed here. Had you heard of it before booking the show?
Yusuke: I actually had been to Hotel Cafe a few times before we played there. Always loved the venue, and was excited to play. We had a good turnout for a first show, and the energy was great! Really had fun that night.
Kendra: What other shows do you guys have planned in the coming months?
Jeff: Our performance schedule is coming together for the next several months, with quite a few local LA shows and some out-of-town stuff in the works as well. We’re excited to share more about those and future shows as they get closer!
Kendra: We like to pay it forward around here. Have you met any other up and coming bands since being out in LA that you think our readers would love that you want to shout out?
Mau: Oh man! Love the pay it forward concept. Great movie too. Well, we haven’t really had a chance to play with that many other LA bands out here yet. Over the years, however, we have run into some really amazing bands that we always follow and are pumped to see progress. Among them is this girl named Taylor Swift. She’s kind of bubblegum pop, but still kind of bad a— BAAAAH, just kidding. You know who that is. But seriously, some of our favorite bands are Animal Flag, Bigfoot Wallace, and Count and King.