Night People are a great addition to the Vancouver music scene. Playing a not-easily-pigeonholed form of moody punk, the band features current and former members of a whole bunch of local bands — Spectres, Haggatha, Fashionism, The Jolts and more.
When I ask Joshua, Night People’s vocalist and guitarist, how he would describe the band’s sound, he replies: “I always have a hard time telling people what we sound like but not because I think we’re special. I think we tried to do a Cure meets Wipers thing but ended up playing something totally different. We play desperate, moody punk that maintains melody and tries to be open minded with approaches to different styles.”
Although Night People’s members have connections to a bunch of great local bands, Joshua believes those bands have relatively little influence on their current sound. More so, the band takes influences from the music its members listen to.
“Night People is fully different from all of the bands that we play in, besides Spectres, and I don’t think we sound anything like them,” says Joshua. “Some of us play in hardcore bands, doom metal bands and powerpop. Night People sounds nothing like that stuff. Totally different approach.”
“It’s more our record collections and willingness to experiment that brought that demo together,” he says. “We were jamming those songs in various lineup incarnations and versions for over a year. Only in the last 6 months did it actually come together. It still feels like we’re finding our footing.”
That’s probably as close as you can get to summing up the band’s sound. Definitely dark, but with added synths that give it an almost glam, 80s twist.
The band’s self-titled EP — originally released as a demo cassette in May and more recently on vinyl via BC’s Deranged Records — deals with themes of faith and loss.
Joshua mentions that came about “kind of by accident” and adds that “for a couple of songs, at least, loss of faith and what happens to the ego in that moment and as it rebuilds was a focus.”
He elaborates on how that ended up happening: “Basically, I didn’t think I’d be writing any of the lyrics for this band, and then we had a member swap or 3, and I decided to give it a shot. I wanted to try and stay close to the heart and try to be a bit more poetic than in other bands I’ve been in and the result are those songs.”
Of the four top-notch tracks on the EP, the song closest to Joshua’s heart is the last.
“Under the Sign of Christ is the most personal track on the record,” he says. “It’s about confronting an earlier version of yourself with contempt even though you never really had a chance at a different way. I hadn’t written a song that personal in a really long time.”
Following on from the demo EP, Night People has more recording planned for the New Year.
“Perhaps for an LP, maybe for another single,” says Joshua. “I like singles the most. It’s my favourite format. We would like to get some touring underway as well but I’m pretty done with touring Canada.”
In terms of playing locally, Joshua likes the Astoria and SBC, adding: “There are some DIY spots as well, but I’m not going to be the one to publish the names. Not with the last dying gasp of culture in the DTES as we’re all gentrified into new concrete, salted caramels and homelessness.”
Even in its dying gasp, Vancouver’s scene is producing some damn good bands. In Joshua’s opinion “Lié is probably the best band here, but they don’t play much anymore.”
He starts listing off other great local acts: “Sore Points play great, fast punk. Cloaca is cool, too. I like Tough Customer a lot, they’re really great Vancouver art-punk. But the number one band that I love and I never got to see by sheer virtue of laziness and longevity was Crazy Bugs. That band should never be forgotten.”
There’s a lesson there. Go and see that show! You never know how long a certain band or venue will be around.
Main image credit: JR