Night Verses' 'From the Gallery of Sleep' Is Like Prog-Metal Salvador Dalí
The L.A. trio venture into uncharted realms of arrangement and hyper-technical playing on their new album, so we talked to them about embracing their eclectic influences and the nature of dreams.
Dreams play an important role in our daily lives. They are the playground in which we are free to do anything, go anywhere, and be whoever we wish. Dreams represent the concept of freedom in its purest most unaltered form. They can be avenues for self discovery just as they can be rabbit holes to get lost in. People have drawn from the untamed nature of dreamscape to craft masterpieces for years, obviously. Salvador Dalí painted surreal expanses and Stephen King turned nightmares into stories of magic and fear. Night Verses basically do the same as both, but with sick riffs. On their fourth album From the Gallery of Sleep, the L.A-based alternative metal power trio examines the junction between fantasy and reality. Taking the role of a prog Morpheus, they lead us through the land of imagination.
Opening track “Copper Wasp” starts the album at full blast. A hi-hat and an audio sample give way to intricate guitar and bass work. The polyrhythmic drumming of Aric Improta on fourth song “Vantablonde” takes on an almost lyrical quality as it blends seamlessly with guitarist Nick DePirro’s melodic arpeggios and beefed-up riffs. “Glitch In The You I Thought I Knew” provides a change of pace from the first half of the album with pounding drum beats supporting cascades of sounds from various sources both live and sampled, forming a hypnotic collage. “No.0” adds a groove-based, almost hip-hop inspired element, with bassist Reilly Herrera’s muscular yet danceable bassline propelling the song. Closing track “Infinity Beach” ends the album on climatic note where all the instruments work together to provide an emotional crescendo to the entire project before slowly fading out like waking up from a dream. You can stream the album below and check out our interview with the band.
Noisey: What is the album about? What is the core theme behind the production?
Night Verses: From the Gallery of Sleep is mainly focused around the inexplicably limitless parameters we operate through in our dreams and the parallels between that world and the world of art (music, visual, etc.), from the subconscious influences to the value found in unpredictable story-lines. We wanted it to feel human, So rather than filling space with post-production, we chose to embrace our limitations and write exclusively within the capabilities of a three-piece band. So all the electronics are hand triggered and all of the parts are played between the three of us. There are no backing tracks or extra instruments on the album that we couldn’t perform live. Also with the engineering/mixing of the album, we wanted to find a balance in getting a recording that felt modern enough to cut through everything from a cell phone speaker to a car stereo, but not feel rigid or synthetic in the performance, which is why Will Putney was perfect for producing. He has a thorough understanding of how to fully utilize modern recording technology without losing the organic tone and feel of a band, which is something we all admired from the records we grew up on and were first inspired by.
You guys have such a hard to classify sound that blends so many things. How did you develop such an eclectic sonic palette as a band?
First off, thank you! I think I speak for all of us when I say that our biggest influences were all considered hard to classify at one time in their career, so it means the world to hear that. Like I said before, we enjoy embracing our limitations and in most of the research I’ve done on the subject of creativity, that seems to be the common thread that is continuously brought up. Musicians used to have to take pieces that don’t easily fit together and find new ways to make them satisfying. Before the internet was such an accessible research tool, bands usually formed based strictly off of who was around their local area. There weren’t forums to meet other musicians that like the exact same 20 bands you do, and there weren’t ways to write songs via email with those people (I’m not saying that doesn’t have its place, I’m just explaining our situation). You used to meet in a room with people who often had loosely related musical backgrounds/skill sets and you’d just hack away until you put together something that sounded decent between your artistic personalities. It wasn’t as easy to filter through musicians and find your "perfect match", so you’d get together and work and work and work until something kind of made sense.
So, influence-wise, Reilly comes from a punk and emo (first wave) background, Nick has this endless obsession with anything heavy and I spend most of my time listening to anything from trip-hop to 80s post-punk. I think progressive rock and metal were the only two genres we all shared an interest in throughout the years. But we’ve literally been playing together since we were in junior high, so its taken a long time for us to figure out how to express all of those influences in a somewhat cohesive sound. The hard part about music today is people want to understand you right away. They want to sum you up based off of your name, artwork and the first 30 seconds of the first song they hear. So it’s weird being an instrumental act because there are such specific factions, from post-rock, to djent, to these modern downtempo electronic acts like Tycho and Bonobo. So we are kinda just floating between right now, excited to see what types of music listeners connect with this new record.
L.A has been an important city in the development of alternative metal as a since the 80s. What is the scene like these days?
As far as the “L.A. scene,” I don’t know that there is anything super consistent happening right now with actual bands. Not like it was when Chili Peppers and Jane’s Addiction were coming up or later with groups like Tool and Rage. We know some rad bands from that area like our friends in Silver Snakes or Intronaut. But unfortunately, most of the stuff I hear coming out of Los Angeles is painfully derivative. Bands trying to revisit a dead era, dressing like they came out of the 70s or 80s and mimicking their heroes to the point where it almost just feels like tribute music. There is a quote I love from Kenny Werner’s book entitled Effortless Mastery where he is addressing imitation vs. influence and it says, “I don’t wish to borrow - I want to open my own account! I don’t want to play the way Monk played, I want to feel the way Monk felt when he played.” I feel like the bands that understand this idea are the ones we’ve always loved most and I kind of hope we see more of those popping up in our area soon.
You can pre-order From the Gallery of Sleep here and catch Night Verses on tour on the dates below:
6/28 San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
6/29 Sacramento, CA @ Goldfield
6/30 Redding, CA @ The Dip
7/1 Bend, OR @ Volcanic Theatre
7/2 Portland, OR @ Paris Theatre
7/3 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon in the Funhouse
7/5 Denver, CO @ Streets of London
7/6 Kansas City, MO @ Davey’s Uptown
7/7 St. Paul, MN @ Amsterdam Bar and Hall
7/8 Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
7/9 Indianapolis, IN @ Hoosier Dome
7/10 Detroit, MI @ The Loving Touch
7/11 Columbus, OH @ Big Room Bar
7/12 Pittsburgh, PA @ The Funhouse
7/13 Brooklyn, NY @ Kingsland
7/14 Hartford, CT @ Webster Underground
7/15 Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage Lounge
7/16 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
7/18 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
7/19 Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
7/20 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
7/21 Orlando, FL @ Will’s Pub
7/22 Tampa, FL @ Crowbar
7/24 Nashville, TN @ The End
7/25 St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
7/26 Tulsa, OK @ The Vanguard
7/27 Dallas, TX @ The Prophet Bar
7/28 Houston, TX @ The Secret Group
7/29 San Antonio, TX @ Jack’s Patio Bar
7/31 Scottsdale, AZ @ Pub Rock
8/1 Van Nuys, CA @ White Oak Music Hall
8/2 Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
Daniel G. Wilson is on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Noisey CA.