Night Terrors of 1927

Night Terrors of 1927 Biography

Blake Sennett and Jarrod Gorbel had no intention of being in a band together when they started writing the songs that evolved into Night Terrors of 1927. They were just trying something different. “I think we each had let go of the idea of being anything we’d ever been before,” says Sennett, whose previous projects include Rilo Kiley and The Elected. “I had given up the band dream in a way that has been kind of reborn in me. I had put it in the ground and buried it and was like, ‘Cool, I’ll just write and produce and that’s where I’ll go.’”

“We were like two people with broken hearts that came out of bad relationships, in a way,” says Gorbel, formerly of The Honorary Title. They met through friends in 2010 and Sennett produced some of Gorbel’s solo material. “We talked about writing together, but I wasn’t open to it at the time,” says Gorbel. “But then I went through a year of turmoil and realizing that I wanted to create something with someone, not just on my own like I always had. When I moved to LA, I called Blake and said, ‘Hey, can we just get together and write a song. I don’t know for what or why.’” They started getting together casually to work on songs that fell out of their comfort zone. They tried to push themselves to explore their poppier creative instincts, to blend their styles without judgment. After all, they weren’t trying to be a band, so why overthink it? But then something unexpected happened.

The pair traveled to Todos Santos, Mexico for an impromptu songwriting retreat, to finish some songs they’d started, and to brainstorm some new ideas. It was a short trip -- just a few days -- but it was a revelation. “Todos Santos was such an easy-going atmosphere. Everything just flowed,,” says Gorbel. Adds Sennett: “There was no noise and the only thing left was songs. We had a house on the water that was all tile, with very little furniture, so everything we played sounded so magical and reverb-y, bouncing around that cool beach house. It was just us and some guitars and my iPad serving as a drum machine, and it suddenly all seemed so simple. I felt like, ‘Wow, I want to do this.’”

Back in LA, they set about building on the songs they started in Todos Santos, recording in Sennett’s Echo Park studio and beginning to flesh out their vision for their new band. They decided to call themselves Night Terrors of 1927, after a phrase Gorbel had found scrawled in his grandfather’s old journal and which had stuck with him ever since. “Everything we ever loved spills out into this band,” says Sennett, citing things as diverse as 80s goth and 90s hip-hop, plus contemporary artists from Crystal Castles to The Weeknd to Lana Del Rey.

“Pop and indie are influencing each other more than ever, which is exciting because it opens up possibilities for the kind of music you can make,” says Gorbel. “But no matter what, I've always loved anthems. Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi -- that’s what I grew up on. Even though Night Terrors is on the darker side of that spectrum, I think the goal for me is trying to find a masculine way to express an anthem that’s dark but still accessible.”

Sennett says he thinks the strength of the duo lies in their opposite extremes. “Jarrod comes from a suburban upbringing and his parents are still together, and he loves these anthems rooted in the traditional everyman experience,” he says. “And I’m this LA child of, like, five divorces and random New Age ideas and hip-hop and weird, cut-up sounds.”

Without including any biographical details, they posted their first couple of finished tunes on Soundcloud last year, and the response was immediate. “Watch The World Go Dark” drew raves from the U.K.’s Guardian (“an impending apocalypse never sounded so good,”) and taste-making blogs including All Things Go (“The most polished songwriting and production we’ve heard from a relatively obscure group in a long time”) and Neon Gold. Released a couple months later, their song “Dust & Bones” earned plays on powerhouse Los Angeles radio stations KROQ and ALT 98.7, as well as Sirius XM’s influential Alt Nation.

On the strength of those songs and their dynamic live performances, Atlantic Records signed Night Terrors of 1927, releasing their debut EP, Guilty Pleas, last fall. The collection earned instant praise, including accolades from SPIN, who praised it as “darkly cathartic synth-pop,” and Neon Gold, who called the EP’s premiere single, “Dust and Bones,” “a beautifully orchestrated four and a half minutes of fatalistic bliss.” Elsewhere, Esquire hailed Sennett and Gorbel for “blatantly, unapologetically swinging for the fences,” noting, “bat meets ball in a big way.”

In the months since, the duo teamed with producers Andrew Dawson (Kanye West, fun.) and Ben H. Allen (Washed Out, Walk The Moon, Cut Copy) to record the songs for their debut full-length, Everything’s Coming Up Roses. The eleven-track album, due out January 20th, features their infectious new single, “When You Were Mine (Feat. Tegan and Sara),” which was produced by Sennett. Released on the band’s Anything To Anyone EP earlier this year, the song has been hailed by Stereogum as “a gorgeous piece of work,” as well as earning heavy rotation on Alt Nation and elsewhere. Another touchstone track, “Always Take You Back,”demonstrates Night Terrors of 1927’s flair for dramatic anthems and has become their dynamic show-closing number.

Based in Los Angeles, Night Terrors of 1927 has spent considerable time on the road, including headline shows, sold out residencies, national tours alongside Capital Cities and fellow Atlantic recording group Fitz & The Tantrums, and performances at such gatherings as New York City’s CMJ Music Marathon, Austin’s South By Southwest (SXSW), San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, and Austin’s ACL Music Festival.

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