Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

The Local Listen: Last Nighters

(arts) local listen (courtesy of dylan c. altman)

The Local Listen sat down with Last Nighters, an indie rock band consisting of Rob Fernandez (Vocals/Guitar), Niem Harris (Synths/Keys/Vocals), Kendall Merryman (Guitar), and Alex Alarcon (Drums) to talk about their album “Animal Room.”You can catch them at Freedom Fest this Friday Jan. 31at Jack’s Bar. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $5 for 21+ and $8 for minors.

Q: What brought you all together? How do you all know each other? When did you all start playing together?

A: The three of us (Niem, Kendall and Rob) were all in our high school band. So was our drummer, Alex. We played saxophone and trombone in orchestra, marching, jazz band and even several musicals together. Our background with music made it easier to move along into other styles and instruments. In 2010, before we were officially a band, Kendall and Rob played for a country band, which was a good experience but not exactly our thing. We had recording gear and we would go to Niem’s apartment to jam and get out our pent up creativity. Eventually, we realized there was a cohesiveness to our sound that went beyond just jamming. We would show our friends what we had worked on the previous night, and Niem referred to those projects as ‘last nighters’ which stuck as our name. It was just the three of us when our friends from White Elephant asked if we wanted to play a show with them. We knew that by agreeing to do so would commit us to the project and so we brought it together under the pressure of a solid deadline. After playing live a few times, the response was really positive and that encouraged us to record and master “Animal Room.” We did that process entirely on our own, which when you are so close to a project, is difficult because you want it to be perfect; but what is perfect becomes this evasive goal that is undefinable. We chose not to focus so much on our ideas of perfection, rather we focused on producing something that felt complete and enjoyable for our audience. The feedback from the release in October 2012 was positive and we accomplished what we had set out to do. Creating an achievable, tangible goal allowed us to feel satisfied in a way that idealized perfection could not.

Q: What context was “Animal Room” written in? You seem to be talking directly to the 20 somethings, freshly independent with seemingly endless freedom… What is the message you want your audience to hear?

A: Niem and Rob wrote the lyrics for “Animal Room” after leaving country music, which taught us about playing within a structure and also about breaking out of that structure with new freedom. Boundaries were still relevant though because we did not want something so abstract that our audience could not identify with the message. Our lyrics are empathetic and accessible because we want the message to be clear. We want our listeners to be able to identify with us because we go through the same problems so many people face, love or loss of love, moving between different worlds of experience, we face all of that and instead of distancing ourselves from those common issues we want to describe our experiences with them.

Q: Can you tell us more about the song “Oceanographer”? It’s my personal favorite off Animal Room.

A: Yes, it is about the paradox of existing in an endless universe and having deep thoughts about life and all of it’s possibilities while also living in the real world of responsibility and hard work. You have to find a balance between living so far out there in that infinity that you lose touch with reality and become a crazy person and getting caught up in the world of making money just to survive or be happy. Oceanographer is about that push and pull of isolation and immersion. In our lives, it is the transition from creative life, such as when we work on a song for ten hours and miss the daylight, into social life. Your mind is still transitioning even though your body is going through those motions and yet there you are, talking to people and doing it and we all deal with that, some of us deal with that every day and some people are more successful than others, but everyone faces that in their life.

Q: Who are your favorite local musicians? Are there other indie rock groups your audience might enjoy who also play San Antonio?

A: There are too many to list but to name a few, White Elephant, Deer Vibes, and Octahedron are great as well as Tera Ferna, Creatura, We Leave at Midnight, and Islands and Tigers. We are playing this weekend with Lonely Horse, Mockingbird Express, Fisherman, Verisimilitude, Mr.Composition, Crown, and Saakred Y Los Teardrops. Freedom Fest will give you a little bit of everything so we are looking forward to being part of it.

Q: What can your fans look forward to in 2014?

A: We are working on our new album right now, which we expect to release later this year and go on tour with.

You can follow Last Nighters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and purchase music on their website Follow The Local Listen and ‘Like’ our page on Facebook for more local music coverage.

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