There is something special about rock bands; it is not about the genre. It is about their approach to music, lyrics, and audience.
Keeping deep roots into the best Rock and Hard Rock of the golden era, the L.A. rockers NIGHTRISE stand out from the crowd thanks to their unique style and incredible songwriting!
Today, at Planet Singer, we have the great pleasure of discovering more about the band with an exclusive interview!
Hi guys, thanks a lot for being here today at Planet Singer! As a Rock Music fan, I have to say I am thrilled and can’t wait to discover more about your music, so let’s start from the beginning! How did NIGHTRISE come to life? How did you guys meet?
Ara: “Nightrise has been an idea of mine since high school, but it really started once I met Jake at my first Dokken concert back in February of 2018. We got along quite well from that night after chatting and I found out we have a lot in common, especially in music taste. Once he jammed at my house a few days after that,I asked if he’d be down to join and work on music with me. From there, I phoned Haze up, who’s been one of my close friends since college, and the lineup was formed.”
L.A.’s music scene is vibrant and exciting; what is it like to be a rock band in such a big city?
Ara: “L.A. was definitely the birthplace of classic rock. So many bands got their start on the strip here, especially places like the Whisky A Go-Go, the Starwood, and Gazarri’s. Van Halen, Dokken, Ratt, Quiet Riot, Guns N Roses, the list goes on. As of recently though, the landscape has shifted more towards hip hop and pop, so I know a big motivator for me was to bring this kind of music the attention it needed back in this city especially.”
Jake: “One thing I’ve noticed too is that even though rock isn’t quite as popular in the L.A. area as it used to be back in the 80s, we’ve noticed that our fans don’t care too much the current music trends, and just enjoy music in any kind of format that it comes.”
Your first self-titled single, “Nightrise” (2020), is a great release! I can feel the influence of legends such as Scorpions and Survivor, plus that extra vibe that made the ’70s and 80s Rock so iconic! Can you tell us more about this track?
Jake: “Rudolf Schenker of the Scorpions creates a lot of his songs that way, with simple and very memorable riffs. So I try to apply the same thinking process when creating the songs. The song Nightrise started out as a spur-of-the-moment riff that I noticed was quite catchy and sounded really cool. Then I sent it to Haze, and he worked his magic from there.”
Haze: “My goal was to retain the simplicity and catchiness of Jake’s guitar riff by innovating onto each section of the song. Things like dynamic lead guitar tones, layered vocals and harmonies, and cutting out and fading in certain instruments like the guitars and drums. When playing the outro solo over Jake’s synth, I was having such a good time that I wanted the solo to then reflect that feeling. That’s why I have the song fade out as if the solo is still going on because I couldn’t stop playing over it.”
The past two years have been tough for live gigs. Are you planning some live shows anytime soon?
Ara: “We’d love to do shows and plan on doing so in the future. We always rehearse quite often, but as of right now, especially with all 3 of us apart from each other and everything still closed right now with the pandemic, we’re using this time to polish up and get our debut album done.”
Jake: “Luckily for me, I’ve still had the opportunity to play live during the past year, even if we haven’t had many chances to play together as a group yet. I’ve been filling in with a few bands, performed on my own at all sorts of venues, mostly throughout Texas where I currently reside and attend open mix nights when I can. Sometimes I play acoustic renditions of our songs if that’s all I can do at the moment. I’m constantly trying to expose people to our songs who may not have had the opportunity to hear them yet, live or recorded.”
Ara, your singing is another big pillar of the band; your singing is impressive not only for your vocal range but also for the intensity of your interpretation. Where did you learn singing? Are you a natural talent?
Ara: “I actually never sang prior to being in Nightrise, but in the early days of the band around 2017, I would constantly rehearse and cover hundreds of songs to get my voice used to singing. You can ask the other guys in the band. I’ve got over 475 vocal demo files as practice on my computer! Recently, I’ve also signed up for vocal coaching lessons with Tony Harnell, the legendary powerhouse frontman of 80’s rock band TNT. Because of the kind of music I listen to, I tend more to create my own unique sound, while also drawing from my main inspirations, which are Paul Rodgers of Bad Company, Don Dokken of Dokken, and David Coverdale of Whitesnake. Jake hears Paul the most in me, and both him and Haze really appreciate the blues side of my voice. As of recently, though, Jake’s also noticed I sound a lot like Dave Meniketti from Y&T.”
Your latest single, “Winds of Time,” is another brilliant release that shows another side of your style. Intense and captivating, this track shows not only your songwriting skills but also your artistic maturity. Can you tell us more about this song?
Haze: “We wanted to put a spin on the typical rock ballad with a more melancholic and introspective atmosphere. Like with Nightrise, we took a simple riff/idea and made small innovations throughout to create a bigger impact overall. It’s a tame song, for the most part, something you could listen to at night or even before bed, but to change it up, we focused on making the verses noticeably heavier than the chorus and having the solo build over time. The goal being to pleasantly surprise listeners with the tonal contrast.”
Jake: “What’s interesting is that at its core, Winds of Time followed a very similar process of writing as Nightrise did, despite it being a much more serious and intricate piece. It started off as a riff and a piano instrumental. Ara began singing over it with his poetic lyrics, and then we just expanded upon it from there.”
“Rattlesnake” Jake Allard and “Blazin’ ” Haze, what a duo! Rock bands with two guitarists have always fascinated me, not only for the incredible harmonies and riffs combinations but also for the fact that, like in your case, two different styles of playing sometimes can combine perfectly, creating incredible chemistry. How do you guys work on the guitar lines of your songs? Do you cooperate of you both feel free to follow the music flow naturally?
Haze: “Since we’re all working remotely, for the most part, we’ll send files of ideas back and forth to each other until we hear something with promise. Jake usually sends me a rhythm track first, and then I do a solo over it and send it back. If we’re both happy with it, we’ll show Ara, and he begins writing lyrics. After that, it’s a lot of isolated recording sessions with small flourishes and running it by the other guys to hear if they like it. While we may be working separately, we absolutely are cooperating via shared ideas and feedback, which has always lead to a better result.”
Jake: “I agree! I think the fact that Haze and I have quite distinct styles of playing gives our work extra layers of texture. I’m sure many guitarists and songwriters would agree, the overall direction and style of what you crate is significantly different, and in my opinion, better, when you collaborate with somebody who has a totally different perspective, rather than attempting to write and create the entire piece yourself. It forces you to get creative because you are playing in conjunction with someone who has created music that you wouldn’t have written yourself! Approaching it from that angle allows it to be a much more interesting song, for both of us and our listeners.”
Another evident pro about your music is that your songwriting and style are free from contamination; even if the legends of rock music inspire your sound, you still keep your style unique. How important is it for you to mark your identity and sound in a genre like Rock?
Ara: “Identity and standing out is very important to me, especially because we’re both a young and new band right out the gate. Unfortunately, typically when that happens, the music is either just ok or less than average, or egos play into it. We’ve been humble from the beginning, and especially when it comes to rock, we want to bring some much-needed rejuvenation to the scene with both our originality and creativity intact. On top of that, we also want to make music that people genuinely enjoy and will want to listen to.”
Jake: “I think approaching music from several different angles, such as in Nightrise where we have three primary songwriters, allows us to each add a bit of our tone and style to the piece. Add in the fact that we communicate our ideas and blend them as cleanly as possible; it often results in a finished product that doesn’t quite emulate any particular band.”
Haze: “While at the end of the day, having fun with this is most important. If our music isn’t also wholly original, I wouldn’t feel comfortable releasing it. Inspiration is key and should always be a part of the creative process, but it’s the stuff that can stand on its own and not live in someone else’s shadow that we feel most proud of. With each new song, we get closer and closer to refining our style and establishing a concrete identity.”
And your artistic DNA also comes from your creative process. Can you reveal how you guys make your music? How do your songs come to life?
Ara: “What turns into the lyrics for the band often start as pretty much poems I’ve created. Don Dokken is my biggest inspiration lyrically, so I try to write a lot like how he does, which is using personal experiences in my life to try to make them into songs that can give people hope or help them through a tough time. I write around underlying or overall themes and try to use a lot of descriptive words to put the listener into the setting I’ve created for the song. Doing that makes the lyrics personal and helps the song connect deeper with the person.”
Jake: “The way we write songs is to let it happen naturally. I spend a lot of time just messing around, playing with ideas, and improvising. If something sounds unique or catchy, I’ll either expand upon it myself or send it to Haze and Ara to see what they think. If they can add to it and we can make the piece flow well, we use it. If it just doesn’t seem to work well, we just tuck that idea away or keep it on the back burner, potentially using it in the future. You can’t force a song because the listeners can tell.”
Haze: “Like anything, it all starts with an idea. I could suddenly start humming to myself and quickly record it, so I don’t forget or be listening to music and get inspired in the moment. When it comes to creating fleshed-out compositions, though, I consider Jake to be the backbone of Nightrise. He’ll send us a track that’s already near completion, and we’ll provide the complimentary touches to make it complete. Then, it’s all a matter of back and forth quality assurance. No matter the song, though, we always give it time to sit and come back with fresh minds if we’ve been working on it for too long. It’s easy to get stuck in a creative bubble or have writer’s block, so taking a step back when needed is pivotal.”
What are your plans for the future?
Ara: “At the moment, our biggest goal is to get the debut album finished! We’ve been working on it for so long now, but there’s still a good amount to get finished before it’s ready to come out. We, unfortunately, don’t have a release date for it as of right now, although I’m hoping it can come out before the end of 2021. However, until that time comes, fans can look forward to 3 more singles off the album that will be out in the future, so keep your eyes open!”
Guys, it was such a pleasure chatting with you! We can’t wait for your next releases! Is there something you would like to say to our readers and fans?
Ara: “First off, I want to extend a big thank you to Planet Singer for reaching out to us. To have our first interview ever is such an amazing honor, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. Second, and most importantly, to everyone reading this, go listen to or stream our first two singles (Nightrise and Winds of Time); if you haven’t yet, make sure to follow us our social media links at https://nightrise.hearnow.com , and stay tuned. Thank you to everyone for the support, and in the words of Klaus Meine: the best is yet to come.”
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