Los Angeles – Templeton, California band Night Riots is a five-piece outfit, which includes Travis Hawley (vocals), Nick Fotinakes (guitar), Matt DePauw (guitar), Mikel Van Kranenburg (bass), and Rico Rodriguez (drums). Their brand new second EP, Howl, from Sumerian Records is a supercharged record that combines the sounds of 80s and modern rock into one electrifying experience. After I reviewed their latest album, I was able to check in with the lead singer (Travis) before the band heads into a slew of California dates to promote their new material.
Sean Kayden: How did Night Riots actually unite?
Travis Hawley: We all went to middle school together and played completely different instruments than we do now. We started revolving around each other through mutual social circles and at some point picked up velocity and collided. In the collision we switched instruments and became what we are today.
With the new EP, Howl, you had the financial backing of indie label, Sumerian Records. How did the recording process differ from your self-released EP, Young Lore?
Sumerian actually came in as the EP was coming to completion. We had a vision for the rollout of the record and were moving forward on our own. Sumerian came on board like a whirlwind and really helped to realize our vision and provided us with a platform to present our music to a much larger audience.
What separates the overall vibe of Howl from your previously released material?
I feel that creatively we have gone through a sort of metamorphosis and are emerging as our own unique entity. We have always had an idea of what we are but this is the first release that has come out as an honest portrayal of what we are as a creative unit.
Which musical era from the past decades would you say has had the most influence on your music?
We are a suicide drink of influences. We grew up listening to punk, slipped into classic rock and into post-punk new wave and more recently have landed in the land of modern pop, alternative and hip-hop. It has been an engaging ride and I think that we draw little bits from too many influences.
What has been your favorite venue to play?
I had this question recently and realized that our band is progressing because at one point this was the easiest question. In the past six months we have had the opportunity to play some incredible venues all over the United States. I would say that the best venues we have played are The Troubadour in Hollywood, SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, Bottom of the Hill or The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco or Sunshine Ballroom in Albuquerque.
You guys have received some highly praiseworthy accolades from publications such as Rolling Stone and MTV, does that have any effect on your continuing creative process?
Sadly it does not. We try and keep our head out of the reviews and accolades and focus on our creativity. Creativity is too difficult of a roller coaster to ride once you allow your ego to get involved.
Would you consider your music a way of life or is life a way of music for you guys?
Our music is a way of life.
What is the band’s direction for 2015?
We will be touring for a large portion of the year and then writing, writing, writing.
Howl was released on January 20 via Sumerian Records. Check out Night Riots’ Facebook for more information about their upcoming west coast dates.
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