Music Spotlight: Night Riots
LA-based rock band Night Riots released their latest album New State Of Mind last month, and we’re completely enthralled with their unique blend of pop, rock and hip hop elements. The10-track album paints an inspiriting story about moving on and having, well, a new state of mind with refreshingly optimistic jams like Colour Morning that will have you singing along, ‘goddamn what a beautiful world’. The band, composed of vocalist Travis Hawley, guitarist Nick Fotinakes, bassist Mikel Van Kranenburg, guitarist Matt DePauw + drummer Rico Rodriguez, just wrapped up their west coast tour, played the UK Reading and Leeds Festival + will be taking the stage on the East Coast this October. We caught their LA show at Lodge Room in Highland Park earlier this month + chatted with the band all about the album + their sound.
photos by Linda Wang
Asymmetric Magazine: Congrats on the release of your album! Can you tell us all about New State Of Mind?
Nick Fotinakes: Thanks so much. The album itself and the name represent being who you are and celebrating that—embracing the mindset of taking it one day at a time. Sometimes it’s good to take some time to self-reflect and shed the stuff that doesn’t matter, acknowledge what you have and just enjoy the ride.
AM: How does it compare to your previous records Love Gloom and Howl?
NF: There is always a ‘Night Riots’ vein that runs through all our work. There’s some darkness and synth moodiness always present. We wanted to experiment with this release, incorporate some modern hip hop stuff that we personally like and not be afraid to explore different paths.
AM: Are there any consistent themes you typically pursue through your music?
NF: I wouldn’t say we necessarily commit to anything consistently, but we often try to find the uplifting and light in the darkness.
AM: We’re loving your album art so much! How do you think it complements your sound?
NF: The idea behind this album was ‘bringing Night Riots into the light’. The artwork resonated with us—the surreal and colorful imagery, while still having a tinge of that Tim Burton darkness. It seemed to fit the album and music perfectly.
AM: For first time listeners, how do you like to describe your sound?
NF: Hmm I’d say its like U2, The Cure, The Strokes, and The Killers all had a baby with modern pop and hip hop.
AM: What other musicians are you currently listening to?
NF: K.Flay’s new album is dope—been listening to that. Besides that, right now mostly books on tape.
AM: We’re based in Los Angeles, too, so we love to ask: Would you say LA plays a role in your work?
NF: LA is kind of like our second home. We’ve spent a lot of time here, played a lot of our first shows in LA and recorded most of our music there. It’s where we’ve met a lot of our friends within bands and the music scene and really is the hub of creativity and entertainment. I’ve had some of my pinnacle life moments there, as well as some of my worst. It’s a beautiful but brutal place. I don’t know how this necessarily directly affects our work, but subconsciously, like surroundings often do, it probably influences us in some way.
AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self and your music?
NF: I think we put on a great live performance and is often where we win a lot of people over, but what’s weird is that I don’t think any of us consider ourselves performers. We aren’t extroverted people at all, and in fact, the idea of being on a stage is weird to us. I’d say we really thrive in our studio away from people, noise and distractions. When the rest of the world and pressures are removed, I think is when we really feel free to create.
AM: We loved your LA show! So, what can we expect to hear from you next?
NF: We just announced an East Coast leg of our tour in October. We got some fun extra stuff for the album that should be coming out soon, too, so keep an eye out.
// listen to New State Of Mind:
// Listen to more Night Riots on Spotify.