By Jay Oakley
I’m sitting backstage with Night Club, how are you guys doing tonight?
Emily Kavanaugh: We’re good, we just played. I’m like still cooling off and have my little fan in front of me and I’m doing good. What about you, Mark?
Mark Brooks: I’m doing OK. No, I’m doing good, actually.
Emily Kavanaugh: He’s great.
So, you just got done being on stage, how was the set? How did it feel? How was your crowd?
Emily: How was the crowd? [Laughs]
Mark: It sounded amazing. Like 98% of that crowd was amazing and really awesome and then there was three dumb bitches in the front that was causing problems.
What were they causing?
Mark: Texting in the front row and giving us grumpy looks the whole time we played. So, like you’re playing, you’re on tour, you’re sleeping on a bus, you roll into town and you’re trying to play a show and then these girls are sitting there, rolling their eyes. Look dude, if you don’t like it that’s fine, just go somewhere else. Why are you in the front? It’s rude.
Yeah, I know what you mean.
Emily: I’ve got to call you out when you’re doing that in the front row.
Yeah, I saw you do that.
Mark: So, she called them out and they got mad because she called them out and then it became a little debacle but it was only in the front.
Yeah, because that was right after your third song when you were weaving through us (photographers) because we were trying to stay out of your way.
Emily: Right, right.
Mark: But, the rest out the crowd, awesome. The sound, awesome. The bands, awesome. The whole night, awesome.
I can appreciate that. I’ve got a little bit of “tour life” experience of my own.
Emily: You get it. You get it.
I totally understand. So, how’s the tour going so far?
Emily: It’s going really good. I think we’re about halfway through now. So, we’re three weeks in, we have another three weeks to go. It’s going great, all the bands are awesome.
Mark: Yeah, it’s good. Everybody gets along on this tour, which is really awesome because we knew CombiChrist already, we toured with them once before and they’re fantastic and super cool dudes but it is a harder rock bill so it’s very guitars, drums, loud and we’re an electronic band. So, that can be a little scary because you don’t have all that stuff but ultimately, who knows. Seems like it works, people dig it and we play pretty loud, aggressive things, they just don’t happen to be guitars. But, it fits in that zone and I’m really happy that it’s working out great and we’re almost like a weird pallet cleanser in the middle. [Laughs] Like, Prison is awesome and they’re heavy as fuck and then we come on and it’s almost like a reset, a different thing and then Wednesday 13 comes on and then Combi. It’s really cool.
At least with their only being the two of you, Em, you’ve got a whole lot of running room.
Emily: A lot! I know, I feel I do better on a bigger stage because I just love to run around and move around more. The smaller stages sometimes are a little tougher but they’re kind of cool in their own way, kind of, more in your face but I definitely like having room to do my thing.
Mark: We’ve been touring off and on for about five years or something and we used to play to no one. [Laughs] In tiny clubs like everyone does, like is this what it’s going to be? [Laughs] In the last year and a half, two years, it’s been to bigger crowds and stuff so it’s been really fun to have all that room to run around and do all this crazy shit. So yeah, this tour’s been great, everyone’s so cool. (Andy LaPlegua from CombiChrist has entered the room)
Are you going to be continuing into Europe with the other bands?
Mark: Yes! Unfortunately, for Andy, yes. [Emily and Mark laugh]
Emily: He’s going to get real sick of us.
Mark: Yes, we’re doing three more weeks here and then three weeks in Europe with Combi and Wednesday.
You guys had your latest record come out roughly a year and a half ago back in 2016, how’s that been going for you? You guys have putting out music pretty steadily since you guys got going.
Emily: Oh man, for the past year and a half we’ve been putting out videos. “Dear Enemy” came out, the “Show It 2 Me” video came out and I think the audience has grown a little bit since putting out the LP.
Mark: We had like three EPs that we did and we were like completely in obscurity forever. [Laughs]
Emily: Yeah. I don’t think anybody really understood what we were doing for a while. [Laughs]
Mark: We weren’t electronic enough to be in the electronic world, we weren’t hard enough to be in the industrial, hard rock world but we always viewed ourselves as kind of a rock band even though we use synthesizers and all that stuff, we’ve always viewed it that way. Then we did a thing called Moonbeam City which we did the soundtrack for, it’s a TV show and then we started to get some fans out of that because it, kind of, just changed from that. Like, that became a gateway for people to discover us and then Requiem For Romance came out, our last record, and since then, it’s been this progressive climb up. But, it was about a four or five year woe of, “Does everyone hate us?” and then it, kind of, started ramping up and it’s been really good over the last year and a half.
Have the plans always been for you guys to be a two-piece?
Emily: Yeah, I mean, it just kind of naturally became that. We started writing together, we write everything together, it’s very 50/50 in terms of songwriting and then we started playing live as a two-piece. We’re not opposed to having other live instruments but, for now, it just felt like this was organic and practical.
Mark: It just seemed practical too because we don’t have any band arguments or anything. We just write songs and go play them and I think we view ourselves primarily as songwriters more than anything else. I think only in the last two years, we’ve become more of a live band, where we’ve figured out how to play live because for a long time it felt like everyone hates us and then it turned into this cool thing and it’s kind of changed.
And getting more running room.
Emily: And more running room, exactly, yes. [Laughs]
Mark: Yes, more running room. We’re getting a track installed. [Laughs]
Yes, the whole stage is just a treadmill.
Emily and Mark: [Laughs]
Talk a little about Nerdland because that’s got to be pretty rad to be the musical minds behind a movie. The whole soundtrack was you guys, yeah?
Mark: There were a couple songs in it but we did the score. I think there were like two songs that weren’t us but the rest were.
How did that happen? Did you run into Patton (Oswalt) or somebody at a gig or something?
Mark: Really random, we did the Moonbeam City soundtrack which was on Comedy Central for a year so Titmouse, who produces that show, had a movie in production and they were working on it and Andy who wrote the movie, Andy Kevin Walker who also wrote Seven and that was, kind of, his pet project to make this animated movie about him and his roommate moving to Los Angeles, like a play off of his life that deviated of course and he’s, kind of, a music freak, he loves lots of cool stuff, old 80s stuff and new stuff and he heard the Moonbeam Stuff and Chris Prynoski, who was directing it, heard the stuff from Moonbeam City and asked if we wanted to take a shot at it. Ultimately, we started writing things for it, not knowing if we had the gig or not but we started scoring it and it eventually turned into a full score. But, it was so fun to do because it’s such a fucked up movie.
Yes, but that probably works well for the two of you as songwriters. There are no stages and crowds; this is literally, the two of you designing pieces specifically for a project.
Emily and Mark: Yeah.
Mark: It’s weird with that stuff because they give you a blank canvas audio-wise but you have a picture and a story and everything going so you have to score everything to every scene. It’s different then writing songs. With songs you’re trying to create this thing in this chunk, this is what this song is about is what I’m saying but with those things your writing about what they’re trying to say.
Emily: I feel like it’s almost easier.
Mark: It is easier but no one wants to hear it. I think it’s easier to score a movie then write a record because the picture’s there and a lot of times the already have temp-music they like or tempos they like so it’s, kind of, a guild a little bit and you just do your spin on it.
Emily: As opposed to when you’re making a record its like, well what’s the next sound going to be for this?
Mark: Yeah, on your own record they just go, “Well, I liked your last record. Is this one going to be any good?” [Laughs]
Emily: Yeah, surprise us!
So, tell us what you guys have going for the rest of the year. Obviously, you’ve got Wednesday and Combi in Europe but what do you have coming out this year and talk about some goals you have. What are you looking for?
Emily: We finished our record right before we started this tour and that’s coming out August 24th. It’s called Scary World. So, that’s a big thing that’ happening in a couple months and we’re hopefully going to be doing a fall tour. It’s being talked about a little bit, there’s a couple things going on and then putting out more videos and just try to tour more. That’s the goal really.
Mark: The first single came out for the new record so that was, kind of, the launch of this tour for us.
Did you play that tonight?
Emily and Mark: Yes.
Mark: Yeah, it’s called “Candy Coated Suicide” and we had two other new ones that we played tonight and when we get home we’ll make a couple more videos and then we go to Europe. Then when we come back the album comes out. It’s going to be a pretty active year.
That’s awesome. It sounds like you guys have a lot of positive stuff going for the rest of the year and things are coming out pretty looking good.
Emily: yeah, we’re excited.
Mark: There’s a couple good things in the works.
Thank you so much for taking a little bit of time to kick it after your gig. I appreciate you taking the time for us to have a little fun.
Emily and Mark: Yeah! Thank you so much!