Boston is known as a bustling hub for young musicians seeking to network, learn and be pushed to their highest potentials. Berklee College of Music has seen some famous faces strum down its hallways and has acted as the catalyst to the formation of a some pretty great bands. Night Lights was formed here four years ago. With members hailing from Japan, Mexico, Norway and California respectively, they’re the purest example of how incredible music is at bringing people from very different backgrounds together. Fun, talented, entertaining and engaging- these guys have a lot to offer as they make the journey to L.A. this summer. We talked to lead singer Mauricio Jiminez, guitarist Yusuke Sato, bassist Jeff Kinsey and drummer Dag Hanken after their gig at Boston City Hall Plaza.
I’m excited to sit down with you guys. It’s nice to see a Boston-based group doing so well. What inspired the band name?
Mau: We’re glad you came out for the show! We all got together under the pretense that we were musicians and that we love people and community and that we want to promote and inspire lightness in darkness; to be lights in the dark for people.
Yusuke: I’ve never heard that before. Damn.
Mau: Yeah it sounds good right?
Yusuke: Yeah, dude we can use that. Wow.
Mau: This is all made up. Nah, that’s at least how I view it and when I proposed it to the band when we were thinking of names. I think it struck everyone, you know? Really pulled at those heartstrings.
You all met at Berklee, right?
Dag: This is my question. I met Mau about four years ago to the day. It was a rainy day.
Yusuke: Was it really?
Dag: Yeah, it was I remember. I became friends with Mau through school and then we met Jeff and we started talking about making a band. We had similar musical interests and sound-wise, we clicked on what we wanted. We started jamming and that’s how it happened. Yusuke came over a little later because of his nice hairstyle and that’s really it.
Who writes most of your songs?
Jeff: Mau does most of the melody/lyric writing but as a band, we generally start off together instrumentally. We start with a guitar line or a bass line or something and the last things to come together are the lyrics and the melody. We kind of all contribute to the creation of the songs but Mau does most of the lyrics.
Yusuke: We all do what we’re specialized in, you know? We tell each other when we suck and where we can be better.
What inspires you lyrically; is there an artist you draw inspiration from or are they more so drawn from experiences?
Yusuke: I guess there are different ways. When me and my ex broke up I was roommates with Mau and I’d be like “Let’s write about this…girl.” You know? I’ll write the guitar chords and then Mau will sing it.
Mau: She who will not be named.
Yusuke: No, we’re cool. She’s supposed to be coming to the show tonight. We’ll see. Anyway, one thing led to another and here we are.
I feel that the community formed at gigs is a huge part of why it’s so moving, do you find that you guys focus more on creating that vibe for people or do you have a specific creative message you try to send at your shows?
Mau: I think that’s the beauty of this band; there’s a marriage between both of those things. I mean, for those who like to vibe, we write music that can be really vibey and introspective and musical. Ideally – hopefully, people leave singing a melody or have a hook stuck in their heads. The hope is that, for me, either before or after the show the audience can connect either with our lyrics or via the music. That’s where the community comes in. On stage it’s us versus the world but I hope there’s that sense of connection at the end of the day.
What are your hopes for the future?
Yusuke: I see iced coffee within the hour.
Dag: Yeah, food is number 1. In the long term, I don’t know, we try not to look more than six months down the line. We don’t have a big ten-year plan. We’re working on an album that’s going to come out soon.
Mau: Soon is nice way to say that.
Dag: Soon enough, soon enough. That’s one big thing. We’re all moving to the west coast – L.A.
You’re headlining the Lotus Play Beats Festival – can each of you name a band you want in the lineup?
Dag: Foo Fighters
Yusuke: Half Moon Run and NIRVANA!