North Shore five-piece Night Gaunts have already made it big. At least it seems that way when they tell me about their American tour that occupied them from June to August 2013. Three months, 31 states, 51 shows and thousands of new fans later they are home again.
The band’s sound has been likened to Supergroove and Steriogram, but while they share the same high energy and similarly rapped lyrics, Night Gaunts’ sound is unique.
“We’re ska, but I rap, and we use the synth which gives us a lot more versatility than traditional ska bands,” explains singer, guitarist and songwriter Paul Jonassen.
Night Gaunts is the love child of Paul and bassist Hayden Pye. They released their debut album ‘Full Body Tourettes [Pt II]’ in 2011 and have since released ‘Love Life & The Devil, an EP, in 2012. Both were recorded, mixed, mastered and produced by Paul.
“Some songs popped out in half an hour and some took over a year to get right. Once the songs are released, it’s the best feeling and totally worth the hundreds of hours put into it,” he maintains.For live performances, the pair enlisted Daniel Costello on guitar and keys, Simon Jonassen on drums and Jacob O’Brien on sax. This line up worked so well that they joined as full time members in early 2012. Having utilised the blogosphere, their music found its target market very easily. If listeners enjoyed what they heard, the band was only too happy to give them more.
“At this stage it’s just about getting our music to people’s ears,” says Simon. “You can’t expect people to come and see you and pay for your music if they don’t know what you sound like.”
Hayden agrees. “If someone is not going to pay for it then why restrict it in the first place? Someone out there will upload your stuff for free so why not do it yourself?”Work on their new album is well underway with plans of a release halfway through this year, in time for their second US tour. To get the perfect sound they have enlisted widely experienced local punker Chaz Rabble to master the new album. For the first time Paul doesn’t have this weight on his shoulders.
“I’m looking forward to being able to just be creative. Everything feels manageable now and we will be closely overseeing the whole process to get exactly the sound we want,” he says.Once they were making light of the music industry’s war on piracy, now they sing about the hypocrisy and greed of this draconian “money hungry empire”.
A wry smile appears as Hayden tells me. “Internet piracy is how we are who we are today.”