The Panic Sequence is the band’s second release, coming a few years after their debut EP. Though this marks their first release in a while, Nightbox has been keeping busy. The group has played shows and festivals all the way through 2013, ending the year supporting Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. and successfully making themselves known both locally and in the UK for their dance-rock music driven by melodic bass lines and full synth sound.
After recently signing with Toronto-based record label Rare Beef, they celebrated with shows at Supermarket and Mod Club at the end of February, marking their first of many performances to come in 2014. The last time OTMzine connected with Nightbox was Issue 8 in 2011, so we had a lot to catch up on.
Andrew Weir: What’s up?
Jake Bitove (vocals): We have been working on this new EP called The Panic Sequence for the last 5 months. We’ve produced and tracked it ourselves. It’s available now!
AW: Does this EP mark a departure for the band?
James Shelly (synth): We’ve got a lot more experience under our belts for starters. When we put out our first EP, we were pretty new to the whole process. Doing it ourselves is a departure for us. In the past we were lucky enough to get help from some pretty talented and accomplished people. This time we felt that we should just go it alone and see what happens.
Nick Bitove (drums): The way that the songs sound is probably the truest representation of us as a band right now. Compared to the last EP, this one has acoustic guitar and a lot of cut up tracks.
JB: Yeah, sampling plays a big role.
AW: Your shows in February marked the beginning of a series of shows for you guys..
James Tebbit (lead guitar): We’re excited, real excited.
JB: That was the first time we played the new songs live. We be played the whole EP and the majority of the set is brand new.
Andrew Keyes (bass): We spent so much time on the road that we never really gave ourselves enough time to try new things. Now we’ve got brand new transitions and brand new parts.
JT: Recording is cool, but when you’re not out there playing, you get this energy that builds up. We just want to go out there and play.
AW: You guys have always understood the importance of performance and understanding what audiences respond to. What sort of things have you learned about performance while on tour?
AK: For some of our older shows, we just wanted to go all out. We were just like this massive bundle of energy and we hit it hard – 110% all the way through. We’ve still retained the dancier aspects, transitions and musical interludes that people fed off of but we’ve learned how to almost sit in the pocket, for lack of a better term, and really focus.
NB: It’s a much more dynamic set now. We’ve crafted it to take the audience on a bit of a journey.
JS: You’ll notice that there’s very little musical downtime through the set.
AW: Can you tell us a bit about Rare Beef?
JS: Rare Beef was founded by a couple of guys who are real deep into the electronic scene in the city. They also work with Universal and they’ve got access to a number of resources. They’ve been real cool with us, letting us do it on our own terms.
AW: We love collaborations, especially between OTMzine alumni. How did you connect with OTM alumni Devin Wilson for your album artwork?
JB: Yeah, he’s a good friend of ours actually. He’s the lead singer of the band Bravestation. We knew he’d be able to do something in line with what we were going for and he totally has.
NB: He’s done quite a few things for us and they’ve always turned out really really well.
JB: Shout outs to Devin!
AW: Tell us a bit about what it’s like on tour for you?
JB: We live in our van and it’s almost like it’s our little bubble.
JS: In its own way it’s really structured. I always find it weird when you get home, you don’t know what to do.
JB: We all love touring. Playing live is our favorite part.
JS: Eating on tour is awesome too.
AK: Except Applebee’s.
JB: Never get the fish there.
JS: Out of all the chain restaurants, Denny’s was the one we came to love the most.
AK: Chik-fil-A too.
JS: Chik-fil-A too. Don’t agree with their attitudes though.
AK: You gotta separate the art from the arse.
Nightbox is currently on tour with stops in the US, UK and eastern Canada. They return to Toronto for a performance at Adelaide Hall on June 14, 2014.