With a new full-length titled The Other Side of Darkness released through Grave Mistake and several past releases, Brooklyn's Night Birds have been grabbing people's attention lately with their unique mix of 80s style hardcore and surf music. Punknews interviewer Andrew Clark caught up with Brian Gorsegner, the band's frontman. They got talking about the aforementioned release, the strangest place Night Birds have played, and the must-see movie of the year.
Congratulations on releasing a new LP! I have to admit that I'm a bit late in finding out about you guys, despite having played in the Baltimore area a few times this past year. Now that you've released the new record, what is next for Night Birds?
Thanks. We are going to Europe for about 3 weeks in Sept. - Oct. Playing Germany, UK, Belgium, France, Netherlands, etc. That will be the end of our touring for the year, aside from maybe a weekend to Philly and Baltimore or something, a possible trip to Richmond, and then a couple local New Jersey and Brooklyn shows. We were pretty busy this year, which was cool, but we'll take a break and start working on a new record and pick up touring again after the winter. Our first order of touring business next year is the West Coast, not sure where else yet.
Since you will be taking some time off this fall, I take it that you guys have careers outside of strictly playing music?
We aren't really taking time off. We're going to start writing something new, and play a few shows… We just won't be touring for the rest of the year because we've missed a lot of work this year so far and our bosses hate us… Well, actually, Mike is his own boss, but like any 30 something year old punk rocker I'm sure he hates himself to some degree, so it kind of evens out. And yea, we all have jobs. Mike just opened a record store in Brooklyn with a few guys… It's called CO-OP 87, it rules, check it out. I got a first press Negative Approach "Tied Down" there for like $50 a couple weeks ago, was a much needed upgrade to my 2nd press copy… Joe designs fire alarms, Ryan delivers food around Brooklyn, and I do hardwood floors. Pretty glamorous jobs all around.
Haha yes, absolutely glamorous, but still admirable and probably better than sitting in a cubicle like me. How have people been responding to the new LP?
I've only seen a few reviews so far and they seem mostly positive… My mom says it's great, so it must be. She wouldn't lie to me. Hopefully people will like it, but we are really excited with how it came out and that's priority number one. Usually one of us doesn't like something about our records and this is the first time we're each 100% satisfied with every aspect.
I know every interviewer seems to ask something about what influences your writing process, but I have to ask does living in New York contribute to the albumâs lyrical tone?
Well, Joe and I actually live in New Jersey, where Mike mostly grew up also. But I guess where you live is bound to show in your lyrics. They're both dirty, loud, scary, crowded, frustrating, smelly places to live, and I think that pretty much sums up our lyrics.
Well, keep it up! Is there something you guys did differently when writing or recording the new record versus past releases?
Well, as far as the writing it was done how we've always done it. Joe, Mike, and I write the songs, sometimes just a skeleton structure, sometimes the whole thing. Sometimes music and words, sometimes just one or the other, and we do lots of collaborating. When someone writes something that sucks, we let âem know, which we think helps keep shitty songs off our records. Little to no passive aggressiveness in our band, and that's the way we like it.
I think the main difference was in the recording and mixing. We recorded at Technical Ecstasy studios where we also did the Midnight Movies ep, but Mike and our buddy Darren actually mixed and mastered it. I think by Mike being so hands on with it we were able to get a sound that we think best represents and suits us.
I saw you guys for the first time at Best Friends' Day in Richmond this August in the parking lot of a grocery store. Have you played anywhere quite as unique as that before? If so, any stories to share?
We played an old funeral parlor in Buffalo, NY on our Midwest tour a few months back. It was a really cool show, except for our friend Nick cracking his head open on the edge of the stage and having to get a bunch of staples to close the wound. It did make for some really cool pictures though… He was wearing a homemade Night Birds shirt and there are pictures of him riding to the hospital with a towel to his head, everything blood soaked. Aside from that, Mike's apartment in Brooklyn where we practice is probably the weirdest place we've played, so many creepy toys; itâs like Pee Wee's Playhouse.
What contributed to you guys deciding to play, what is in my opinion, a blend of surf rock and early 1980s hardcore?
It wasn't so much a decision; it's just what we do… We've been playing in various punk bands since our early teens… 80s hardcore is what I'm mainly into… First time I saw Joe's old band play was on an island in front of like 8 people and they played 7 or 8 Black Flag covers, and they killed it… And not like "Rise Above", they covered "The Bars", and probably like "Rats Eyes" or something, ha. One of the first times I saw Mike's old band play he was wearing goggles and a cool Flipper shirt… I knew then that those guys liked the same kind of shit I liked, and they played very well and had their own styles. Joe and I got talking at some point about doing a punk band and Mike was quickly on board… Mike brought most of the surf element at first, and Joe had no problem keeping up… I think Ryan added a lot to that element when he joined too, he has a really speedy surfy style.
Lastly, I always like to end interviews with allowing the band to say whatever they wish to our readers. Go!
If you only see one movie this year make it 1994's It's Pat also known as It's Pat: The Movie, a delightful comedy film directed by Adam Bernstein and starring Julia Sweeney, Dave Foley, Charles Rocket, and Kathy Griffin among others.