By Corynne and Kayla Fernandez
Cover photo by Graham Images and Photography
Contrary to their name, Night Moves is far from a Bob Seger tribute band, and are producing cosmic folk-rock, reminiscent of influences like Neil Young and The Flaming Lips with their own added distinct style. Read below as John Pelant, lead singer and guitarist, chatted with us about their high school beginnings, dream festival line-ups, and the progress on album #3.
First off, how are you?
Doing well! Just got back from playing a festival in Appleton, WI. We had a blast, in what is apparently, “The Drunkest City In America” ???!?? Yeah, I didn’t believe it either…
The relationship between the band appears to be pretty close-knit. How did you all meet and form what is now, Night Moves?
Micky and I met in high school and kinda bonded over skateboarding. We eventually played in bands that would perform together from time to time and whatnot, so we grew closer that way. We also had a similar taste in music- Flaming Lips, The Band, George Harrison, Elliott Smith, Neil Young, which kind of turned us into even better friends. Our current live show band members are all dudes we met years later here in Minneapolis from playing out and about. I think growing up in such a formidable time as high school will inevitably bring you together as Micky and I.
You guys have been together since 2009, and put out your debut album in 2012. How would you say you’ve evolved from Colored Emotions to Pennied Days?
I think the writing has gotten stronger. I’m better at self recording these days, which is important because a lot of self recorded/demo stuff makes it into the albums. We’ve matured a bit in terms of the bands sound and presentation, although I still have a tough time taking the social media thing seriously. The multitude of tours we’ve gone on has given a fair amount of knowledge about how the live thing works for us as well as against us. There are business aspects to this band thing I would have never imagined when I started out that I think we are much more adept at these days, but who am I kidding, I’m still learning and figuring it all out.
You’ve been characterized by your 70’s-esque guitar riffs and melodic folky vocal pairing. Musically and lyrically, where do you find inspiration?
I think the band name falsely informs people of this idea that we’re a homage to Seger/70’s rock band music. That was never the intention, and it still isn’t. We just take stuff from anything we like and that moves us. The name kinda just fit the vibe at the time when we put out the 1st record. Inspiration is constantly changing. Lyrics always seem to come from a strange place. They’re inspired from a variety of experiences and they are usually the last thing to come in the song writing process. All in all, inspiration is always coming to me in ways I’d never expect. I’m still trying to figure that all out as well.
Fans interpret music in a rainbow of ways, is there anything you’d like your listeners to take away from your material?
No, I let them continue to interpret it in a myriad of ways. It’s best if you can get lost and find some element of yourself in the music.
Photo by Erin Pederson
What is a day in the life of Night Moves?
Make coffee/tea. Breakfast, which is usually these days a bagel with egg and turkey and greens. Go through the damn internet stops, shower, go to work, come home listen to music and work on new songs, crack some wine and continue to tinker with the tunes. Still trying to finish album #3!
If we’re on tour: Just trying to not die, drink water, hit various gas stations and grocery stores, sound check, show, after party, sleep.
What records have shaped you most as artists?
“All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison is a big one, Micky borrowed me a copy in Driver’s Ed in high school and it has been a beacon ever since. “Highway 61 Revisited” and “The Freewheelin Bob Dylan” are both very important records that I listened to a lot growing up while learning to play guitar.
Ideal environment for a gig?
Somewhere by a body of water, but also indoors because we’ve had a lot of live sound issues outdoors. Let’s say with lots of lights and strobes/lasers/fog, that whole thing, I’m talkin a NASA level production of fog and lasers, the big stuff that will make you blackout. So maybe a mansion that has an indoor pool, but that is also oceanside with a giant veranda full of snacks and tequila? That’s got to exist somewhere, right? Honestly, as long as there’s good atmosphere you could be in some jack den in the sticks and it’d be fine.
You guys have had played to a variety of audiences, what would be your most memorable gig and why?
It so hard to choose, so I will just mention one. We played in Ohio back in 2013, right after our first album came out, and only 1 girl showed up along with her dad and brother. She was wasted and kept calling out for the song “Colored Emotions,” even after we played it 2nd in the set. It was as if she didn’t know we even played it. The promoter revealed to us later in the night he lost a lot of money on the show and seemed pretty unhappy about it. He let us stay at his house, but insisted several times we “make beds” before we hit the night life, which felt very odd. Every place he took us to he seemed to be in poor standing with the folks there and that further gave us a weird feeling about everything, as in this guy is not well regarded around these parts, fuck, what do we do? I guess it didn’t matter because no one showed up to the gig. We ended up staying out all night and morning in this Ohio town and left at 9am. As we headed out the promoter gave us 5 big pussy willows he stole from his neighbor’s porch, stuffed them in the van. Must have been quite the assemblage to be witnessing rolling down the interstate at 9am looking like a busted, bloated, and broken Pottery Barn prop.
At the moment you’ve been touring the mid-west. Are there any plans to venture out to the West coast or the East coast in the near future?
Unfortunately, not at the moment. Hopefully, soon though!
If you were given the chance to re-score a soundtrack what film would it be?
Plains, Trains, and Automobiles- it already has some cool tracks, but I love the vibe of what they got going on and I’d love to embellish it a little.
With festival season in full swing, who would make up your dream festival line-up?
ACDC, D’Angelo, Flaming Lips, The James Gang, Mick Taylor era Stones, Mamas and Papas Hologram set
There have been many great albums released this year. What would be your favorite record of 2017?
Maybe 1 of these 4: Thundercat-Drunk, MacDemarco- This Old Dog, or Father John Misty-Pure Comedy, War On Drugs-A Deeper Understanding
Lastly, what can fans and those new to your music, expect from Night Moves this year and perhaps into next year?
Album #3, we’re hoping to start recording it in the fall so we can to put it out next summer~
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