Night Moves on hotel living, song facelifts, and the new 7-inch
The guys in local funky indie rock act Night Moves aren't the types to get excited too easily. Whether it's a matter of getting signed to a Big Deal record label or simply getting confused with Skrillex over and over again (we're looking at you, Mark Ritsema), most any occasion seems to be met with a shrug or, at most, a sly grin. Not that that's a bad thing, of course; it's hard to imagine anyone in this band getting too full of themselves, and besides, who doesn't like a little mystery in their favorite, er, heartthrobs?
All the same, you can't help but imagine that Night Moves are a little bit pumped about their new 7", which features "Headlights" on the A side and "Horses" on the reverse. After all, these songs have been waiting for an official release for over a year, and even after four months on the roster of Domino Records, the Minneapolis four-piece is yet to make any physical release. But that'll all change this Friday.
Chances are, the band will sound pretty sharp when they hit stage at the release show, too. They've been on tour for the better part of the past month, including a sweep through SXSW where they played on some Minnesota-centric bills (including the City Pages day party). In fact, at the McNally Smith showcase the following night, they sounded the best they've ever done.
Ahead of this weekend's show, Gimme Noise caught up with Night Moves for a slightly unusual round-robin phone conversation with three of the band members. (Young bands are so cute, always trying to make sure everyone gets a word in...)
Gimme Noise: So this is the first physical release the band has ever put out. Is that a nice milestone for you guys?
John Pelant: Yeah, it's definitely exciting. It feels like quite an accomplishment, I guess. It's going to be real exciting when the full-length comes out. But just having this out--I know these song have been floating around on the internet, like Bandcamp and some shit like that--but it's cool because we've always wanted the vinyl. And here it is, like the first thing we have. And it sounds pretty good.
Will the songs be much different from the versions people have heard already?
Pelant: "Headlights" is new. It's been remixed and stuff. And then "Horses" is the same version we've had out for a while. But they're all going to be a bit different when the full-length comes out.
You guys did some recording when you were on the road recently, too, didn't you? What was the deal there?
Pelant: Yeah, we went out West and re-did everything, sort of. We just gave it a facelift--did some overdubs, made the drums a little better. And we recorded a couple new songs.
This is the first real tour the band has been on in its current line-up. Have you noticed yourselves tightening up a bit from doing these shows?
Mark Ritsema: Oh yeah, we're getting better each time. This is our first tour with our drummer [Jared Isabella], so that was kind of weird. Every show you go to the sound is just so different, and they're smaller venues so you never know what to expect. It's just like making things work with what you have, so that makes you tighter.
The band played at SXSW for the first time during this trip, too. Was that the first time any of you had been there? What kind of stuff did you take in?
Ritsema: Yeah, our first time. It was really cool--pretty much everything we'd heard about it. It's the craziest thing. We did have a few days off so we were like, "We're here, we need to see these bands while we're here because otherwise it's a waste." So we saw like Girls and War on Drugs, and we had the wristbands so we were able to get into stuff. Not everything we wanted to, but we tried our best [laughs].
Was it tough adjusting to the schedule down there, like playing in the early afternoon or playing multiple shows in a day?
Micky Alfano: It was nuts. I don't know how anyone can do more than two shows in a day, with the loading and unloading and parking--at least, without a driver. It can be wild, just being in a foreign town and having to do that kind of stuff.
Ritsema: We definitely had times where we had to get someone else to go get our car, and having like five minutes to plug our stuff in. And then that just kind of effects how you play, and the sound guy's in a rush...
Beyond that, how has is it been being on the road?
Ritsema: It's a good time to listen to a lot of music that we haven't listened to, because there's so much driving. Since this was our first time out, we're trying to make things right, not be too wild.
Alfano: It seems like we're staying in hotels a lot more. Like in the past, usually we would stay with people at shows, ask people in the crowd if we could crash with them, and then that would sometimes turn into a party at their house, and we we would meet a lot of people and stay up really late. Now it's like we're just really tired after a show, we go back to the hotel, watch some bad TV, and fall asleep.
So there hasn't really been much to write home about, it sounds like.
Ritsema: Well, in Houston, we played a First Avenue-type venue with a Mainroom and 7th St. Entry. Of Montreal played above us so we got to see them. And we met these guys called Oberhofer, who came through Minneapolis recently. We've been meeting cool people. Our manager booked this tour for us, whereas last time we went out and just did it ourselves, so that's made things go smoother.
I hear you made a detour through Joshua Tree, too. Paying homage to Gram Parsons, perhaps?
Ritsema: Yeah, that was part of it. It was fun. We just heard that it's beautiful there, which it was. It's just that it was really, really cold; we almost froze to death.
Speaking of Parson, you did wind up putting Flying Dorito Brothers on hiatus recently. Was that a bummer, or was it acceptable under the circumstances?
Alfano: It was kind of a bummer. But at the same time, it felt like it'd run its course. We had learned all the song that I wanted to learn. It kind of felt like, toward the end, that the shows had lost some of the wildness and spontaneous nature.
Would you say that life has changed much for you guys since you signed to Domino? It seemed like you kept a lower profile at SXSW, for instance.
Ritsema: They decided not to do a showcase [in Austin], I think, which was fine with me. The reason we went to SXSW was to get a booking agent, and then we got one. That'll help our touring. I think once we have something physically released, that's when Domino does their push for press and stuff. So after that I think things will start to happen more.
Alfano: It just feels like there's more steps to the process now. Like, we're going through more people; we have a tour agent, or booking agent or whatever, and a manager and a label, so we have to get okays from a lot of different people--which isn't bad, necessarily, because everyone is pushing for the same thing.
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