With its tight-knit communities and popular neighborhood stomping grounds, it’s impossible to avoid running into people you know on any given day in any corner of Salt Lake City. The music scene is no exception.
“The same 20 people make up all of the bands in Salt Lake,” quips Terrence Warburton, guitarist of local indie act Night Sweats.
Though the six-member band has played together as Night Sweats for a mere toddler’s life span of about two years, its members have made music together in various incarnations of local bands like Laserfang, Red Bennies and Vile Blue Shades for more than 10 years—so, like, triple that in music years.
The years of jamming and exploring musical landscapes together allow Nights Sweats to do something usually reserved for more seasoned bands: They play whatever they feel like playing, and it sounds damned good. It’s like that ever-elusive time in a relationship where you’re in a comfortable groove that hasn’t become monotonous and you never fight about what you’re going to do—you just do it.
Night Sweats’ forthcoming EP, Red, plays out like a carefully planned balance between catchy guitar riffs with climbing synth patterns and a cacophony of ambient soundtracks. They don’t allow themselves to teeter for too long on something that sounds like a typical college-chart-topping electro-dance-rock tune without digressing into minutes of exploratory soundscapes that oddly resemble a soundtrack to meditation, but are still hip.
The balanced ebb and flow of Night Sweats’ songs were not militantly planned out. As lead vocalist Scott Selfridge describes it, the structures of their songs just “happen.”
“When you do what you love and play and write what you love, it just comes naturally,” Selfridge says. “The way we write is just by catching moments of inspiration and bringing them out, harnessing them and combining them.”
Or, as Warburton less delicately puts it, “We throw a bunch of shit at the wall and what sticks is what we sound like.”
Even in songs that don’t incorporate breaks of ambient background music, Night Sweats dip into atmospheric, loosely structured jams that hold enough driving elements—particularly, intricate percussion—to keep listeners interested in what will happen next.
On the flip side, the Night Sweats’ music also carries a lot of indie-pop appeal. They are six good-looking dudes who play danceable, interesting music led by baritone vocals that linger longer than the winter inversion. But though the songs are easy to hang on to, they were not as easy to concoct.
“The structured stuff, we have a harder time with. The shorter, more poppy, formulaic music is actually really difficult for us,” Selfridge says.
The album’s bright 12-minute opening song, “Car Commercial,” is aptly named, as it sounds like something heard on an advertisement showing a luxury sedan hugging mountain curves under a night sky. But that couldn’t possibly fill 12 minutes.
“We struggle to play that song because we don’t naturally feel it,” Selfridge says. “ ‘Car Commercial’ was all about finding a simple melody and a base line and just playing it like a pop song, and then we felt like we had to redeem ourselves at the end of it, so we added the long outro.”
The “long outro” is about nine minutes long, and while outros of that length aren’t a typical formula for success, it works for this band.
Night Sweats has a stack of songs not included on Red that are waiting to be heard. Sax player and keyboardist Stephen Chai says, “This EP has kind of been a hold-up; we needed to draw the line in the sand and finish it” so they could move on to new music.
Now that the much-anticipated EP will drop this week, Night Sweats and their fans can look forward to more good music that just comes naturally.
CD Release Show
w/ Hang Time CD Release Show
The Urban Lounge
241 S. 500 East
Friday, Jan. 25, 9 p.m.
$5, or $10 to receive both albums