Rocking a big sound reminiscent of a Southern Baptist choir, the expert ensemble of blasting horns and soulful singers that are The Nightowls wrap you into their charm almost immediately. Their new EP, Royal Sessions, is a vigorous display of the warm pop melodies you can expect from the band, and these Austin natives simply ooze talent. The ten piece debuted as The Nightowls back in 2014, and have been winning over crowds with every live show that goes by. Listen to their contagious soul-pop yourself and tell us what you think – in the meantime, check out our interview below where we talk with Ryan Harkrider about music, influences, and the beauty of Austin.
CYM: With so many members I have to ask if you all met in Austin or have different backgrounds. Fill me in on how you all initially met, and how did you come to the decision to make music together?
With a band our size, we’ve seen many people come and go over the last 5 years. But, we’ve got a great core group of members and we’re lucky to live in a city that is filled with so many talented singers, guitar players, horn players and more. All of us met through the vibrant Austin music scene playing in other bands and projects and bonded over our love of soul music and rock and roll.
CYM: What is it about soul that you feel uplifts people and brings such a loving connection from audience to performer?
When we write and perform our music, our aim is to move people. To get them to get off their feet, clap their hands and stomp their feet. Our music and our shows are crafted with the audience in mind. Through that, we’re able to connect with people through our performances.
CYM: From your debut album in 2014 to the most recent release in July, was there anything you learned in the process that made an impact on how you went about this album creatively or otherwise?
Our writing and creative process is constantly evolving. It’s my job as the bandleader to always be positioning the band towards a direction in which each member can create and at their peak. For our recent albums, we really began to find the process and the techniques that work best for collaboration. From the rhythm section to the horns, you can really hear a difference in the arrangements.
CYM: Your live shows get insanely energetic, have there been any performances in particular that were super fun or memorable?
It’s hard to choose just one show because we aim to make every show more memorable than the last. The energy at each show is completely unique to the moment. We love being on tour and performing for our fans that only get to see us 1-2 times a year, but we also love getting to perform in front of our hometown crowd.
CYM: Austin is one of the most blessed cities in the world of music. What do you love the most about Austin, and how do you think the city inspires your creative flow?
Living in Austin is like living in the world’s biggest record store. From jazz, to punk, reggae to rock and roll, you can walk down any street and hear any kind of music you want. It’s inspiring, it’s challenging, it’s welcoming, it’s loving, it’s home. It is both the source of our drive and inspiration.