With a sound that rivals today’s top indie-rock bands and a determination that is rare in even the most well-known artists, the indie-rock quintet Night Riots is proving the value of talent and single-mindedness.
Since the 2010 release of the band’s first LP “Into the Roaring,” the band, formerly called PK, has been touring, promoting and releasing music — all without the backing of a major label. They have been recognized by both MTV and The Rolling Stone, as well as touring with bands such as Angels and Airwaves and Aerosmith. 2013 marks the release of their latest EP, “Young Lore.”
The Miami Hurricane got the opportunity to talk to the band’s lead singer Travis Hawley about the new EP, his favorite parts of touring, and what it’s like being in the music business as an unsigned group.
The Miami Hurricane: What motivated you guys to form the band?
Travis Hawley: We all grew up together and have been playing music for as long as we can remember. We went off to college for a little while and realized we’d rather live like Lost Boys than grow up.
TMH: You guys have a very interesting sound. Are there any bands or styles in particular that influence you?
TH: I would say that our band is specifically influenced by bands such as The Cure, U2, Billy Idol, The Killers, Vampire Weekend and The Strokes.
TMH: You recently released a new EP, “Young Lore.” Do you think, stylistically, the sound is different from projects you’ve done in the past?
TH: Absolutely. I think that in some way changing our band’s name helped us really solidify who we are. The music is constantly evolving, but I think it is finally finding itself and becoming its own entity.
TMH: You guys are touring without the backing of a major label. What has that experience been like? Do you think not being signed to a major label has influenced your work or set you apart from other artists?
TH: Being an unsigned band can be freeing and shackling. While we have complete creative control over the direction of our band and our future, we are also entirely in charge of everything … It influences us in that we are aware of everything that goes down in the band. I think some bands that are quickly picked up don’t quite know the inner workings of their own machine.
TMH: Do you have any stories from being on tour?
TH: There is an abundance of good tour stories…some that probably shouldn’t be shared. From naked belligerent friends to irons being swung overhead like Medieval Flails in hotel rooms. But we tour almost like a pack of nomads. We have a custom modified trailer that has been converted into a closet/kitchen with a dressing room and full kitchen set with a sink, counter top and stove/BBQ. Some of my favorite times are pulling up in a random parking lot in a new city, cooking a three-course meal and hanging out with friends.
TMH: If there is one thing you hope fans take from your music, what would it be?
TH: It’s a huge honor if our music brings someone back to a certain point in their life, helps during a difficult time, gives them something to relate to, lifts spirits or simply passes the time. To have someone listen to something that is a huge part of us is amazing, and if someone can take anything away from that for themselves, it means a lot.
You can find “Young Lore” on iTunes. For more information on Night Riots’ music and upcoming tour dates, check out nightriots.com.