Waking Up with Night Terrors of 1927

Jarrod Gorbel and Blake Sennett are starting over—musically, that is. The duo, previously known from The Honorary Title (Gorbel) and Rilo Kiley (Sennett), wanted to change their tune(s) and did so by branching out into indie-pop with collaborative songwriting as Night Terrors of 1927. The L.A.-based band released their debut EP Guilty Pleas last fall. Since then, the pair has been working on more music in anticipation of their record coming out this summer; the first track to come from the new batch of music was the anthemic “Dust and Bones.”

Although the band’s name seems to remain an enigma for now, their influences are not so secret: acts as diverse as Dum Dum Girls, Vampire Weekend, St. Lucia, and Boards of Canada have led to some of the sounds you hear from Night Terrors of 1927.

We’re excited to premiere Night Terrors of 1927’s video for “Young and Vicious.” The video incorporates beautiful, haunting stills of time spent in Idyllwild. Gorbel also took some time to speak with us about getting darker (and poppier), moving away from The Honorary Title and Rilo Kiley, and the weather making the “Young and Vicious” video work.

ILANA KAPLAN: What are you doing out in Utah?

JARROD GORBEL: We played last night in Salt Lake City and now we’re eating at a place. We have to drive to Seattle.

KAPLAN: Sounds like you have a big day ahead of you. You and Blake, respectively, were in two different projects, Rilo Kiley and The Honorary Title. How have your previous projects played into Night Terrors of 1927, or how have they not?

GORBEL: You know, it’s like anything else. It’s any job you’ve had, education you get, and previous experiences that help you become who you are and educate you. It’s shaped our songwriting individually, how we interact with people in bands, how we know what we want and how we know what we don’t want. All of those things are affected by it. We wanted to make something different than we did in our previous projects.

KAPLAN: What’s the story behind your EP that’s coming out?

GORBEL: Oh god, I don’t know. Once upon a time there was an EP and we put songs on it. It’s just a collection of five songs that we wrote together that started the project. “Dust and Bones” was the lead-out song that will be on the album as well. There’s no real story: it’s the beginning of our song catalog. Hopefully people will like us, and we’ll introduce the world to us.

KAPLAN: Cool. Is there a particular theme that resonates throughout the songs?

GORBEL: I don’t know. Each song is kind of a different story, but they seem to string together well enough. There’s a negative skew on life and dreams, dark images and stuff like that.

KAPLAN: Why so much darkness?

GORBEL: I think it’s where both of us kind of gravitate towards. It seems to lend itself to the music and the way that imagery exists with the production.

KAPLAN: How did you and Blake meet?

GORBEL: We met through a friend a couple of years ago. He produced my solo album, Devil’s Made a New Friend. I sought him out, and I flew out to L.A. So, when I moved to L.A., I called him just to hang out, and the band happened accidentally.

KAPLAN: Can you tell me a little bit about the video we’re premiering for “Young and Vicious”?

GORBEL: We went into the forest, and it was freezing. We went up to Idyllwild and hung out around this cool, old house. We shot a bunch of footage. I looked awkward holding a flashlight and was like, “Do you really want to use that?” They said “yes, great!” I was like, “I kind of look like a lizard. Are you fucking sure?” We shot a bunch of footage while it was raining and foggy. It was cool. It was done spontaneously. Hopefully it’ll be good. I hate seeing myself in videos, always.

KAPLAN: What makes you most comfortable in videos? What calms you down?

GORBEL: I’m a pretty neurotic person, and it’s hard to calm me down with a camera in front of me. Maybe lunchtime when there’s a buffet set up. Or if there’s a kick-ass director, and I’m comfortable there and can trust them.

KAPLAN: How does the aesthetic of the “Young and Vicious” video complement the song?

GORBEL: I have no idea. I guess the environment and the weather. It wasn’t planned, but it was perfect. It was misty and foggy. The mood of the song and the emotions fit perfectly. It really wasn’t planned, but it worked.

KAPLAN: How has touring with The Colourist been for you guys and putting your music out there for the first time as Night Terrors of 1927? How has it been different for you?

GORBEL: It feels good. I guess the big difference is that it’s more of a collaboration, and I also don’t play guitar as much, so I get to stand around with a bunch of other guitarists. Sometimes I get a flashback to being a kid because that’s how you always fantasized about being in a band. It’s different for us because it’s new.

KAPLAN: What do you want Rilo Kiley and The Honorary Title fans to get out of your music?

GORBEL: I just want the chance to show a large audience these songs that we worked really hard on with as many people as possible.

KAPLAN: How did you come up with the name “Night Terrors of 1927?”

GORBEL: We like to leave that name open to interpretation. We have so many stories coming from different directions. We don’t want to glue it down at this point.

KAPLAN: That’s fair. It kind of sounds haunted. I keep thinking about haunted mansions.

GORBEL: We like the haunted vibe.