Night Gaunts are a 5 piece New Zealand based Ska/Punk/Reggae band, after touring the US and returning back to NZ they are working on their upcoming full length album. Paul (Guitar and Vocals) and Hayden (Bass) answered some questions.
Where did the band name come from, is it directly from the Lovecraftian poem or does it have some other meaning?
Hayden: I saw the Rudimentary Peni song ‘Nightgaunts’ and thought that would be a cool name for a band. I didn’t even know there was a poem at the time, we just thought it sounded cool.
What made you want to play Ska music?
Hayden: Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and mix CDs we would share between our friends was probably how we got into it. We were listening to bands like Less Than Jake, Mustard Plug and NOFX when we started our first ska band. Paul and I didn’t even know how to play instruments at that point. I remember getting the Less Than Jake DVD and being like “Daaammmnnn, I wanna do that.”
Paul: My story is the same as Hayden’s but in addition to that I’m all about dancing so naturally it was my genre of choice for listening, writing and playing. Party times for all.
What are your favourite Ska bands and who is worth checking out from the New Zealand Ska scene?
Paul: The ska scene is incredibly small here. As in very very few bands but back in the day we were really into The Poisoners and The WBC.. both now defunct.
How was it traveling through the states? Was there anything about it you didn’t like ( I bet it will be the shitty fast food)? What were the things you liked the most? What states did you enjoy the most? – From /u/Take_Another_Look
Paul: It was so so cool. The US is so vast and has almost every landscape imaginable. I believe ya’ll like the word “diverse” so that should cover it. I love how positive Americans are. The subculture and scene in every town was so supportive and incredibly pumped on life, music and good times. It’s something very unique and American and I can get behind that. There wasn’t much I didn’t like on the trip to be honest. Feeling unwell after every Waffle House visit was shitty though. I loved getting to meet new people everyday, seeing lightning illuminate the desert during the dead of night, PBR’s, the American pool party we had in New Orleans, feeling positive everyday (I miss that the most) and getting to play our songs to high energy crowds who were genuinely pumped as hell we were there.
Hayden: It was the most fun I’ve ever had. The whole country is beautiful and so diverse. I really liked driving through New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. I didn’t like sleeping on floors or sharing beds with Simon. The things I liked the most were the Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Carl Sagan’s grave and playing every night to people who were totally stoked we were there. The whole thing was surreal really, half the time I didn’t believe we were there.
What are upcoming plans for tours and recording?
Paul: We’re currently about halfway through recording our upcoming full length album, due out in November. It is and has been a really slow and long process as we’re doing it all ourselves, like we always have, but it’ll be worth the wait!! It’s definitely a new direction for us, that’s for sure.
We are hoping to be a part of the USA Ska Revival tour next year (not that it’s in discussion yet but it’d be really cool to be a part of) and we are also seriously looking into Europe and the UK. News of this should come together with the next few months.
What are each of your favourite NG songs and why?
Paul: I really like all of Love Life & The Devil so I’ll say that collection of songs are my favourites, especially Crowned By The Devil.
Hayden: I like Mosquitoes. It’s catchy and easy to play, and there is a drink break for me in the song.
Which song gets the best reaction from fans?
Paul: All of them, peeps go bananas haha. Though the most active crowd participation has to be during Shivers, Mosquitoes, Crowned By The Devil and Money Money Money. Everyone seems to have a soft spot for Ninja-Like-Bandanas too.
Weirdest story from when you have been on tour or at a gig?
Paul: Hanging out with Mustard Plug backstage in Detroit was super trippy. Drinking beers with your idols is a weird thing especially being from New Zealand, a country that gets almost no international tours, you just don’t ever think you’ll be talkin’ shit, drinking beers and getting smoked out with the people who wrote the soundtrack to your teenhood. On top of that requesting my favourite track “Miss Michigan” and then Dave and Colin asking me to tie my hair in pigtails and sing the line “I’m sorry Dave I’ve got no time, I’ve got my life my life is mine” on stage with them…. I mean for me that’s just so fucking cool, bizarre and badass it’s ridiculous.
Which bands that you have supported or been supported by really stood out for you?
Paul: In New Zealand I’m fond of Yebiisu as they are always super tight and put on a good show with different set lists from show to show. We were lucky enough to play with some really cool bands in the US as well but the ones that stood out the most to me and were Donovan Wolfington, Joystick and obviously Mustard Plug.
Hayden: Days N’ Daze! Days N’ Daze live are one of the coolest things I have ever seen.
Who is the fussiest member of the band?
Paul: I guess it depends on the day but we can all be fussy from time to time. Hayden is probably right nominating himself but that only really applies when in NZ, when on tour we’re all pretty easy going as we’re too pumped and happy to whine.
What do you guys like to do in your free time?
Paul: The usual, drinking beers with friends and dancing. I am also down on sleeping.. it’s the best thing ever. Though I am usually working till 6am on songs and enjoy spending time doing that.
Hayden: I like to drink beer and play Frisbee with my friends.
How Reddit has affected the popularity of the band, and how interacting with fans like that has changed the way they do things? – From /u/Dieselite
Paul: I think Reddit is cool and it is always a trip to see our music posted and upvoted on r/ska. I am really down on being able to reply to questions from fans or users easily. It’s crazy how easy it is to speak with and interact with bands and musicians that you like. I’m just glad people give enough of a shit about our music to care to chat with us haha and I know it’s cool for them to have us reply. Connecting with people is what it’s all about.
Is the song Lo-Fi One Mic is referencing shitty recordings from Choking Victim, The Stupid Stupid Henchmen Etc.? /u/Dieselite
Paul: Yeah it 100% is. I don’t consider Choking Victim’s No Gods / No Managers to be shitty though. It’s the perfect sounding record for their sound. It’s more like shitty sounding punk bands that my friend was listening to at the time. I wrote her a verse for Lo-Fi, One Mic and the last lyric in the verse was Lo-fi one mic hold me steady. I repeated in for the chorus and we thought it was really cool and BOOM a song was born. The verse was never released and I personally can’t stand lo-fi crappy recordings unless is rude as hell ;)
Hayden: I never have any idea what Paul is going on about.
What are your opinions on each wave of Ska music? e.g. 1st Wave, 2 Tone and 3rd Wave
Paul: Haha, Hayden summed this one up. I’ll only add that the 3rd wave, for me, has become a little stale and I rarely listen to it anymore unless it’s LTJ for nostalgia or at a party. I think there are some cool new groups who are going past the 3rd wave sound so hopefully the genre will branch out and diversify a little in the next lil while.
Hayden: Like it, love it, gotta have it, it’s all fabulous baby
Are there any songs you have written or tried to cover and scrap? If yes why?
Paul: Wow, this is a big question. There must been like 30 – 40 something songs written for the band that’ll never get past the demo stage. Since I tend to write everything at the computer it’s easy to jam an idea at any time. Usually I’ll then get bored of and never touch it again so there’s a shit load of song ideas, beats and instrumentals kicking about.
I only really continue with a track if I can listen to it on repeat and if it inspires us or is something that I haven’t heard before… this is rare hence the amount of time it takes us to release anything and backlog of ideas. P.S We released the unfinished version of “It Always Makes Me Wonder” on our Soundcloud. https://soundcloud.com/night-gaunts/it-really-makes-me-wonder
You can check out Night Gaunts music and other stuff at these links