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May/June 2019

by Mike Tweed

Fresh Talent: Late Night Tales

by Mike Tweed

Fresh Talent: Late Night Tales

With an average age of just 17, it’s safe to say that Whanganui five-piece Late Night Tales have time well and truly on their sides. Despite their youth, the band has already independently released a full-length album, ‘Rosetta Road’.

Recorded in just two days at Levin’s Tsunami Sound Studios, the 10 tracks on offer meld reggae, jazz and rock with lashings of hip hop. Standout tracks BumbleBuzz and Acidolem have racked up over 80,000 spins on Spotify alone since the album’s release late 2018.

Lead singer and guitarist Jack McCoubrie smirks when thinking back to this first recording session.
“‘Rosetta Road’ is the sound of a bunch of dudes desperate to release an album. We recorded everything in a couple of days, and our vocals were all one take. It was a great, crazy experience. We stayed in an old insane asylum, with all the stuff from it still intact. There were names on the walls and everything!”

After a few initial line-up changes, guitarist Cameron Walker and drummer Jonathan Stolk were brought into the fold ahead of the recording of ‘Rosetta Road’ and the band immediately gelled. It seems 14-year-old drummer Stolk’s considerable talents have already got McCoubrie thinking about new ways to attract the unsuspecting public to Late Night Tales’ shows.

“I thought we could just chuck Jonathan on the street with some pots and pans and tell him to go nuts. We’ll just put a big sign above him with all our details and go from there. He’s an amazing drummer, so it’s bound to work!”

Despite the debut album being only months old, McCoubrie is keen to keep pushing forward and exploring whatever sounds pop into his head.

“Next time around we’re going to take our time a bit more. There is definitely more of an electronic-y, synth-y vibe starting to creep in, and that’s something I really want to explore more.”

Indeed a second record is already being written and rehearsed. Discussing this new batch of songs, McCoubrie and Stolk mention artists such as Rex Orange County and Sticky Fingers as common musical references. The band are still experimenting with each new composition.

“We pretty much took our favourite moments from ‘Rosetta Road’ and ran with them, Stolk explains.

“It’s amazing how some of these new songs have turned out. I don’t think any of us expected them to grow and evolve the way they have. This new stuff is music we never expected to make!”

Whanganui’s Lucky Bar, which hosts the majority of touring bands who come through the town, has been the venue for many of Late Night Tales’ formative gigs. The band is keen to play as much as possible throughout NZ, with the main centres being the first port of call. One evident stumbling block is the age of the members, with drummer Stolk still four years away from being legally allowed in bars and pubs.

“I always try and say I’m 18!” he cackles. “I just want to be able to play the gig, not prop up the bar or anything!”

Given the pace at which this young band is progressing, who knows what late-night tales the next four years could bring