The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival kicks off this weekend with more than 190 artists and tens of thousands of people invading the desert city of Indio. Our Coachella coverage starts with a band playing the festival for the first time.
Night Terrors of 1927 is an electro-rock band from L.A. that’s comprised of veteran indie-rocker Blake Sennett and singer Jarrod Gorbel. Sennett played Coachella with his former band, Rilo Kiley. But Gorbel — former frontman of the band the Honorary Title — is making his Coachella debut.
Gorbel and Sennett joined The Frame to talk about starting a new band after breaking up with one, how they work together and playing Coachella with their new project:
Blake, so you took a sabbatical from music and picked up drywalling and other recreational activities. What made you decide to get back into the game?
Blake: I think when Rilo Kiley ended, I think I sort of took a look at myself and I realized I didn't have any skills except for playing music. I don't know if I would have kids or not but I thought of my future child looking at me and being like, "Wow dad. You're, like, pretty worthless. You can only do music." So I think I wanted to put myself through "man-training" and I learned to scuba-dive and I learned to work on motorcycles. I took karate classes. Yeah, I think I wanted to do a little "man-rehab."
How does "man-rehab" lead you back to music?
Blake: I think I started to become a secret hobbyist with music. I sort of told myself I was putting music behind me, but then I would sneak into my studio at 10 at night and work. Then, as fate would have it, my friend Jarrod here called me up and said, "Hey man, I just moved to L.A. Would you like to tinker around and write a couple songs with no particular goal in mind. I don't really know anyone here in L.A.," and I didn't have much going on. And I said sure. and he's kind of a guy who doesn't say, "OK, I'll see you on Thursday!" He's like, "Cool, I'll be there in 20 minutes."
Jarrod, your former band the Honorary Title broke up. I'm curious to know if you find starting a band attractive?
Jarrod: Yeah, I didn't think doing a band thing was very attractive or seductive at all. Even when I contacted Blake, it was for the art of songwriting. I kind of let go of the concept of a band. Plus, after the band thing, I did a solo thing and it was so easy. So I think I was trying to get into the craft more of songwriting.
Your new collaboration doesn't sound anything like your previous musical style. Did that come organically from working together?
Blake: I think the cool thing about collaboration is sometimes your collaborative partner could see what you want to be better than you can. I think Jarrod was being good at like, "Whoa, that's really cool what you're doing, but what about this?" And the same would go for his vocal and his take on things. It felt like it wanted to be more epic and bigger than probably the Honorary Title or Rilo Kiley had ever been.
Jarrod, this will be your first time playing Coachella but this won't be the first time for you, Blake. What do you tell Jarrod about the experience?
Blake: Oh, I don't know what year I played it, but whatever year it was, it wasn't the Glastonbury double weekend experience that it is now. It was huge, but it wasn't this level of huge. We haven't sat down yet and I haven't given him the talk.
You could do it right now.
Blake: Jarrod, I want you to be ready for this.
Jarrod: I'm scared, Blake. What's it gonna be like in the desert?
Blake: Jarrod, it's hot, but there's a lot of body paints and there's a lot of Burning Man integrated structures.
Jarrod: Do I have to take acid and ecstasy?
Blake: No, that's not for you! In fact, you're not allowed.
Jarrod: It's too late.
Blake: He's on acid. I can't help.
Jarrod: We've played a bunch of festivals as Night Terrors of 1927, but Coachella is — reputation-wise — and I've attended Coachella so I kind of know what to expect.
Blake, isn't Jenny Lewis going to be playing there as well? Will there be a Rilo Kiley reunion?
Blake: I don't know. I'm definitely gonna see her. I'm gonna watch her set and hang out. We've already been texting. She's still a close friend, but yeah.
Night Terrors of 1927 will be playing Coachella on Sunday, April 12 & 19.