It’s been a few years since Night Moves‘ last record Colored Emotions, but the boys from Minneapolis are back with a full length titled Pennied Days due out March 25th (Domino Records). They also have a bonus EP being released which gives us plenty of music to catch up on. They’re not stopping there either, as John Pelant and Micky Alfano are adamant about not waiting too long between releases. In this Night Moves interview, we find out what their pet peeves are and what their plans are for 2016 besides the new record and SXSW!
SONIC HIGHLARK: The new album is really great! There’s a song “Carl Sagan” which I thought was a cool and interesting reference to the cosmologist, tell me a little about that.
JOHN PELANT (NIGHT MOVES): (Laughs) That song is probably the oldest one we’ve had. We wrote it around 2011 when we released our first record. It kind of got shelved but we went through a Cosmos phase. We were watching a bunch of Cosmos and yeah, astronomer, philosopher Carl Sagan narrated the first Cosmos series and we were big fans. It was a place holder title that kind of made it’s way into the final product.
SONIC: Somewhat a “cosmic” question but if you can go back in time what would you tell your younger self?
JOHN: Like my 5th grade self?
SONIC: Sure, just not 3 years ago or something.
JOHN: Don’t doubt yourself too much, and have some confidence in your vision. Musically and in an overall life sense. Often times there’s a lot of doubting like “what should we do? How should we do this? I don’t know if this is the right decision.” And not worry too much about what other people are going to think about it. I feel like so much shit doesn’t get done just because you think too much about how it’s going to look or how it’s going to be perceived. So just don’t worry so much 5th grade self!
SONIC: Going along with that, are there times when you are unsure if a song is done?
JOHN: Oh yeah, all the time.
MICKY ALFANO (NIGHT MOVES): (laughs)
JOHN: Just before you called I was listening to all these demos and I was like “Fuck man, I have to tie up the next record. There are so many that are not finished.” Micky is probably the one to say, “Yeah, this is good.”
MICKY: There’s a track on the new album called “Staurolite Stroll” and John did like 5 different versions of that. I loved the first version a ton, but he kept changing it up. They’re all good, but there were like 3 really good versions and I said “Man, this song can go in several different directions.”
JOHN: The final version was like a composite of all of them you know? It took all the best pieces, but at the same time you’re missing out on a lot of other pieces that the final version didn’t have.
SONIC: Were there songs that you wish you made this album?
JOHN: We have an EP too that is coming out which is 4 songs that didn’t make the LP. Even before we went in the studio we had around 23-24 songs, so we had to choose maybe 13 to focus on because we’ll never get anywhere if we try to do something with 23 songs. So there’s a bunch of songs we demoed out that we didn’t finish. It’s kind of weird, for the longest time I didn’t want “Leave Your Light On” on the LP or “Alabama” on it but at the end of the day, you just have to make a decision and go with it. The EP is kind of a companion piece to the LP, it gives you a full scope of what we’re doing.
SONIC: Yeah, when I played in a band there were times when I said “I don’t know if like this song too much.”
JOHN: I mostly relied on Micky, or the label was pretty vocal about what they dug. Our manager had some input into it, and friends too. I’d go “what do you think about this?” and they’ll say “Yeah, this is great!” and I’m like “really? I kind of don’t like this one.” But at the same time I think I didn’t like it because it changed from the demo and I had demo-itis where I was so used to what I made. When we did a new version in the studio, I was having trouble seeing that as a possible way. After hearing it so many times though I just say “Well, it’s not that bad.”
SONIC: Well, they all sound great so you made the right selections.
JOHN: Thanks man, I appreciate that. We worked on it for a while so I hope people dig it.
SONIC: We have a section on the website where we recommend books and any kind of flicks, anything you can recommend me?
JOHN:Hmm, books? The Please Kill Me book is really good. It’s by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, it’s all about the punk scene in New York in the 60s and stuff. It’s all first hand accounts so it’s vivid and fucking crazy.
SONIC: What pet peeves you guys have?
JOHN: I hate when people don’t reset the microwave clock after they microwave something. That’s mine. Because I always look at the microwave clock, I don’t know why. If you don’t finish the cycle, it shows the remaining seconds of whatever they were trying to microwave. What about you?
SONIC: I hate spelling mistakes on social media. I’m not like a spelling nazi or anything but for example words like patients and patience. They mean completely different things, and it’s usually on a meme or something and I’m the guy thinking about commenting saying “well, it would have been deep if you spelled it right.” I saw some celebrity make that mistake and there are hundreds of comments and not one person is pointing that error out.
JOHN: Yeah that does make you think about everyone and their education a little bit.
SONIC: Your turn Micky.
MICKY: Yeah, I’m trying to think of something but I feel like I get more annoyed with work place situations. It was after David Bowie and Glenn Frey died and people were posting articles like “And now Dallas Taylor died!” but Dallas Taylor died a year ago. And someone else posted “Richie Havens died too!” but Richie Havens died in 2013. People just see one link and go “Oh my god! This guy’s dead too!” and I just want to say “No dude, you’re just reading the wrong article.”
SONIC: Of course you guys have Pennied Days coming out, but what else is going on in 2016?
JOHN: We are doing South By Southwest, and still trying to put together a tour that makes sense. We’re going to do another single and another video for “Carl Sagan” actually. Hopefully start recording another record. I like to not have too much time between this one and the next one. Late 2016 or early 2017, that would be awesome.
SONIC: Thanks guys, hopefully the tour makes its way to NYC.