Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Where were you born and raised? What was it like growing up there?
“I was born in Mexico City and partially raised there. I was also raised in Williamsburg, VA. I lived in VA for 6 years (from 6-12 years of age). The rest of my life has been in Mexico. It was great! It offered a lot of cultural contrast for me. Especially when I got to move back to Mexico from VA. Learning everything again in Spanish, getting used to a different school dynamic, different interests, pursuits, values, different after school activities. It made things very interesting and put things in perspective.” -Mau
“I was born in Japan and was raised both in the USA and Japan. My dad is a Buddhist sculptor and my mom has a degree in art but she is a psychologist. I grew up around art, literally. There were heads of Greek sculpture and other sculptures all around the house. Growing up in Japan was awesome. It is so safe that I could go explore by my self at a young age. I remember it being very peaceful.”-Yusuke
“I was born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California. I guess it was more or less what you’d imagine a pretty typical American childhood to be. We moved a few times when I was younger but grew up mostly in one suburb, went to public schools, and was really involved in bands and theater from the age of 10. I suppose the fairly frequent beach trips and adventures Disneyland are unique to LA.”-Jeff
“So I was born in a fairly small city called Alesund on the west coast of Norway. It’s amazingly beautiful to say the least. I lived in the same house till I moved out of home at 19. Growing up there was great! Would build huts in the forrest behind our house and all that classic stuff. Got to live some of that pre-smart phone and gaming age haha.”-Dag
What did you want to become when you were a child?
“I wanted to be an inventor. I was really in to legos growing up and I always thought I’d invent something to help humanity. Never thought it would be music I’d be inventing, hahaha.”-Mau
What sparked your interest in music? What do you like about it?
“Well, for me I think growing up going to church and having that experience with live music every week definitely was a big part of that. I would study and look up to my older cousin that played the drums. Eventually he let me borrow his old kit, and I got started playing. I love the fact music brings all kinds of people together and It speaks to people on a level beyond just the words themselves.”-Dag
When and why did you decide to become a musician?
“I honestly would not be able to tell you one reason why I picked up the guitar. I was born into a very liberal creative family. My mom is a artist/psychologist and my dad a Buddhist sculptor. There was no question that I would eventually pursue something in the creative field. The question was which one. I spent a part of my childhood in Seattle and it rains a lot there. So my friends and I would go in the basement and jam until it stopped raining. That would be my guess of how I picked up the guitar.”-Yusuke
How did you develop the name Night Lights? What does the name mean to you?
“Night Lights comes from an aspiration we all shared to become better people. We desire to inspire, encourage, influence, and learn from the people we come across. The thing we know best is music, so we’re hoping that music is a stepping stone into making a difference. The dream is to shine a light on all the dark places of the soul in hopes to re-name the ugly stuff and hopefully learn to accept and nurture all that stuff for one another that we can overcome all that stuff together.”-Mau
When did you guys meet and how did the band form?
“We met in Boston a few years back now. Actually my first week in College, just after moving to Boston from Norway. Yusuke was the first person I met straight out of the airport actually, kinda wild when you think about it.. Mau, Jeff, and I started jamming after talking about our ideas of starting a band, and this eventually led to what is currently known as Night Lights. We had another good friend aboard on guitar when Yusuke joined us, and were a 5-piece for a while. So I tell people we we were friends first and then the band thing kinda happened.”-Dag
What kind of music do you create?
“We’re all influenced by a lot of rock and alternative music, so the music we create is often aligned with that style. We also love funk and soul music, and want to enable people to dance at our shows too if they want. Our lyrics have an emotional depth to them too, though, so I think the specific flavor of “indie rock” we create could be called something like introspective groovy dance rock.”-Jeff
How is your band different from the multiple others out there?
“I think the most obvious thing that makes our band different from others is that we are a very diverse bunch. The singer is from Mexico, drummer from Norway, bassist from the USA, and I am from Japan. I think it’s awesome that our love for music unified us despite the difference in our upbringing and race.”-YUSUKE
What do you like most about singing (or playing your instrument)?
– “I think its such a free form of expression. I grew up with a bad case of ADHD (feels like everyones got ADD now-a-days, but this was before all that stuff was so common). I honestly don’t remember much of that. I think it has to do with the lack of attention, but I do remember having a really hard time being understood. There was so much frustration. Singing changed the game for me. I felt understood. Even when the words I put together didn’t make sense to people. Somehow my voice cut through to people. I like feeling connected to people like that.”-Mau
Can you describe your creative process? How do your ideas come together? Does everyone have equal say in what goes in a song and doesn’t?
“For a few years, our creative process was really straightforward. We almost always started by jamming on a musical idea in rehearsal, sculpting a form and dynamics out of that and adding lyrics and melody last. More recently, we’ve tried to push ourselves out of that mold. We still right in rehearsals but are also exploring other processes like writing from a lyrical concept first or starting with a track produced on a laptop. We all contribute fairly equally to the final product, but Mau is far and away the primary lyric/melody writer.”-Jeff
Have you dropped any projects that you’d like to mention?
“We recently dropped our second EP “Expectations” ! I think it shows growth from our first EP. It showcases our growth as musicians but also our growth in life.”-Yusuke
Do you have any upcoming projects or shows that you’d like to speak about?
“Yea, we do have some more music we’re releasing in not so long. Aside from that we have a couple shows coming up here in LA. We’re playing at Saturday Nights in Pasadena on August 27th and at the Resident October 20th.”-Dag
Where can people hear/purchase your music?
“You can check out all of our music on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and the like. For hard copies of our EPs, wearenightlights.bandcamp.com is the place to go!”-Jeff
What are your future goals as a band? How do you plan to move forward?
“There’s definitely many of those! One goal would be to reach even more people with our music, and keep making music that people can connect with. I think looking at future moving forward we need to get on the road both here in the states and internationally. Actually next year it looks like we might go to Norway so that will be awesome. We also want to have an impact on local communities in practical ways that goes beyond just playing music, so kinda figuring out what that can look like.”-Dag
What advice do you have for aspiring musicians (singers, songwriters, guitarists, drummers, etc.)?
“When gathering your inspirations, try and keep an open mind and steal from so many people you admire, that you discover yourself. Don’t play what others have played and don’t write what others have written. When you write like you, the songs become a marriage between the words and the music and they will be unique to you. They aren’t as powerful without each other.”
Why do you think it’s important for people to follow their dreams?
“I think following your dream is the most important thing you can do. It can be something that gives you purpose in life and that can lift your spirit. But when a kid starts to pursue their dreams they learn the discipline and the reward of working hard. Which I think is a lesson that leads to a fulfilling life.”- Yusuke
Photo credit: Dreamer Loop