Emily and Mark from Night Club on interview with Electrozombies
An interview about Night Club’s L.A., the ‘Scary World’ that entered stage only a few days ago and a short trip to a tropical island – all in one interview right here right now!
L.A. seems to be the new american hotspot for dark electronic music: you’re from L.A., Nyxx, Aesthetic Perfection, just to name a few. What do you think which factors influenced this development for exactly this genre?
Emily: I know, it’s pretty crazy how LA has become sort of the epicenter for dark music. We just toured all over the US and Europe and we saw so many people wearing shirts of all these LA bands we know and play with. It made us realize something significant is happening here and it seems to be making an impact in the underground worldwide.
Mark: There’s a lot of dark electronic clubs here now and the scene has been growing over a long time. I would definitely say that Das Bunker (club/event promoter) has had a hand in that. There are so many places dj-ing darker music in the clubs here, that has only helped the scene grow. Plus there’s a lot of talented musicians in this town and in this genre and that always makes a difference.
How close are you L.A. bands? Is it a mere side-by-side living or do you actually meet up or even work together?
Emily: The dark electronic/industrial/goth scene in LA is definitely a small clique- every band for the most part knows who every other band is. We all play together, we’re all on bills together. We go to the same clubs, same DJ nights, same shows. So we sort of run into each other a lot. Obviously through all of that, you form some friendships. We’ve been a band for the past 6 years so we’re fortunate to know a lot of the up and coming bands here. There’s so much talent here and it’s inspiring to be around.
Mark: We definitely end up hanging out at the same events as well as performing together. For example, last year I ended up writing and producing songs with Prayers. That definitely came about from being in the same town and at the same events. Also, we always reach out to friends to do remixes and vice versa.
You both moved to L.A. from quite different parts of the US. How does the city influence you and your music?
Emily: This city influences us in a great way. A lot of our new album was written about LA and the relationships you form (whether real or fake). It’s not the easiest place to live for many reasons but in terms of inspiration, it’s great when you’re making art. There’s definitely a darkness and a sadness here that we tapped into while writing ‘Scary World‘. You just can’t help but be affected by it when you’re constantly surrounded by it.
Mark: Yeah, this town has definitely influenced our lyrics. It’s not an easy place to maintain friendships since people are pretty consumed with themselves. Also there’s a lot of people on the streets here so it’s hard not to be affected by the desperation and sadness everywhere.
What’s your favourite place in L.A. and anywhere in the world and why?
Emily: Favorite place in LA is probably any old man steakhouse where I can get a good filet and a great glass of wine. Sorry, I know that’s like the least goth answer ever. Or PF Chang’s.
Mark: My favorite place in LA is Vegas. (Kidding. It’s four hours away) That’s my happy place.
What is an average Night Club day like? When does it actually start?
Emily: Right now for me it’s waking up as late as I possibly can and trying to rest my body before heading out on tour again in a couple months. The last tour was incredibly grueling, we had barely any days off and since I’m not 16 anymore I am definitely feeling it.
Mark: We go through so many different types of days. When we’re making a record, we’re pulling our hair out. It sort of consumes your life. When we’re not making a record, we try to tour as much as possible. That’s a different type of exhaustion but it’s fun to explore the world.
I just reviewed your new album ‘Scary World’; as you know, I love it. Tell me a bit about it. How long did you work on it?
Emily: Thank you! We finished it in early May before heading out on tour with Combichrist, and I would say it took roughly about 9 months to write and record. We’re just so excited it’s finally coming out. We’ve been sitting on it for months.
Mark: When we started writing this record we realized that we both had a lot to say about mental illness. I grew up with a parent who was institutionalized and we both have had our bouts with anxiety, depression and medication. The album kind of turned into an opus about mental illness and how to cope with it. The ‘Scary World’ is about the world inside and outside of us along with a message to those that are younger about what lies ahead.
What makes you start writing? Do you need a special set-up or do you go by a plan?
Emily: We don’t start making an album until we’re actually inspired to write. After finishing a record, we typically need months to gather our thoughts and figure out what we actually want to say next and how we want to say it. How will this album be sonically and lyrically different than the last? How are we growing as a band? The last thing we want to do is just rehash the same shit over and over, there’s nothing more boring than a band who takes no risks.
Mark: When we are in the thick of making an album, we work almost every night. We start with just making instrumentals and picking the ones we think are the strongest and most melodic. We throw away most of them (sometimes even 50 or more) to narrow it down to the best of the best. We then take that small group of instrumentals and listen to them over and over in our cars until lyrics come out of us. Usually it takes months to even finish one song, but we’ll be working on a bunch of songs at the same time just in different stages.
What’s your 3 favourite songs each off ‘Scary World’ and why?
Emily: For me I would say:
- ‘Your Addiction’ – this song was written in complete anger and the chorus took about 5 minutes to write (always a plus considering so many of our song’s lyrics take weeks or months to write). Very cathartic for me to write this song. Also really fun to play live
- ‘Scary World’– I just feel strongly about the subject matter and think it can be applied to so many aspects of life right now in 2018.
- ‘Therapy (Get High)’– another one that was fast to write, the words just poured out of us in the room. I just like that it’s a bit of a different style song for us, and the lyrics are real.
Mark: For me I would say:
- ‘Your Addiction’– Also a favorite of mine. I also really love the synth sounds in that one.
- ‘Scary World’– That songs always hits me hard. There’s a lot of truth in those lyrics and it’s sort of message that you wish you could have given to the younger you. Also the children’s choir really brought that song to life.
- ‘Survive’ That one shows a different side of us and I’m really proud of how it turned out. It’s also the perfect bookend to the record and it complements ‘Scary World’ lyrically.
How autobiographical are the lyrics on ‘Scary World’? Do you feel that writing has a cleaning effect on you?
Emily: VERY. Every song on this record is about something personal to us. We really made a conscious effort on this record to write from the heart and really make sure each word, each lyric is real. When I’m singing on stage, I want to sing songs that mean something to me. I don’t want to sing words I can’t relate to. On ‘Scary World’ I FEEL every word we wrote and I can’t say that for some of our earlier songs. We really wanted to focus on our lyrics this go around and I think we succeeded.
Mark: Absolutely, we both worked really hard on lyrics this time around. We wanted to make sure that the songs had something to say. I think we upped our game on this record and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.
Mark, you are a veteran in the music scene and a swiss army knife when it comes down to music. What is your secret to maintain your creative energy throughout the years?
Mark: I’m insane, apparently. I have no idea how I have the energy I have sometimes. I’m just really driven to create music and art. It’s sort of what I live for. You only have so much time on this planet so I always try to make the most of it.
Emily, you once said it was a long way to build up your confidence on stage – a thing I could hardly believe! Also your acting in the videos comes SO authentic – did you take training for all this or are you just a natural talent?
Emily: Haha, thank you! I thought I wanted to be an actor for like 15 minutes when I was in high school – I did all the school plays, took acting classes, went to Barbizon modeling school and got really cheesy headshots. And then I moved to LA and I was like, no fucking way would I ever want to do this for a living. It’s too brutal.
What’s your strategy against nervousness?
Emily: I have a really difficult time with anxiety. I’m constantly trying not to throw up before going on stage. I hope people don’t think I’m rude when they try and talk to me before we go on, because I don’t really say much. I feel like if I open my mouth I’ll just throw up everywhere and it’ll be really embarrassing.
When we go on tours that last for weeks, I get better over the course of the tour where I think I’m just physically too exhausted to be nervous. But the worst was right before we played those two shows with A Perfect Circle back in May – I wanted to die. That was the most nervous I’ve ever been before playing. As for a strategy to combat nerves, I wish I had one. If anyone knows of a good one, please let me know.
Do you plan a tour (preferably in Europe) in the near future with you headlining it? A lot of people would love to see that, me included!
Emily: We have no plans to do that yet, but we’re definitely not opposed to it. Maybe soon!
Now let’s do the quick island scenario: You plan a vacation on an island – would it be a tropical or a northern island?
On the way your ship is destroyed by a storm and you get stranded on a deserted little island. Not much is left, but your music player survives. Which tracks are definitely on it? Please name 10 each one of you.
Emily: The entirety of Britney’s ‘Blackout‘ album (granted, there are like 15 songs on the record but let’s just say the first 10).
What’s the food you’d be missing most?
Surprise – you got rescued! Who’s the first person you’d call and what would you tell him/her?
Emily: Nobody, because I’m not convinced anyone actually talks on the phone anymore.
Mark: I agree with Emily. Fuck phones.
Thanks a lot for this very interesting tour with and around Night Club!