Jarrod Gorbel of Night Terrors of 1927 discusses new band and ACL performances

Marisa Charpentier

When Jarrod Gorbel finished touring for his solo album in 2011, he thought music was over for him. It wasn’t making him happy anymore. But, after moving to Los Angeles in 2011, he started writing songs for fun with one of his former producers, Blake Sennett. By 2013, the two had dropped their first EP, Guilty Pleas, as the band Night Terrors of 1927. Less than a year later, the band is performing during both weekends of Austin City Limits Music Festival. Before coming together, each artist belonged to different bands. Before embarking on his solo career, Gorbel was the lead singer for The Honorary Title. Sennett has done vocals and played guitar and drums for several different bands, such as Rilo Kiley and The Elected. Night Terrors of 1927 released their latest EP, Anything to Anyone, in September. The Daily Texan spoke with Gorbel to discuss the band’s background and upcoming ACL performance.

The Daily Texan: How did the name Night Terrors of 1927 come about?

Jarrod Gorbel: Around the time when we started the project, one of the things we were talking about were these kind of anxiety dreams and night terrors and all of the stressful things in life taking form in your dreams. That was where we got ‘Night Terrors.’ There were other bands with the name Night Terrors, so we had to add a number. We just messed with a bunch of different variations of numbers and time periods, and Night Terrors of 1927 just looked right on a piece of paper. 

DT: The band is rather new, having just dropped its first EP last year. How does it feel to be already playing at ACL?

JG: It feels super exciting because last time I was in a band, there weren’t as many festivals in the U.S., and now there are so many good ones. ACL is such a high quality festival, so that makes it a lot of fun really early on to be able to play at it.

DT: What thoughts were going through your head when you got on stage for the festival last weekend?

JG: I always get super nervous no matter what. Since we’re a new band, we feel like we have to prove ourselves. We have to entertain these people. There’s just that battle in my brain of being as natural as possible but also trying my best to win them over. 

DT: What do you think makes you and Sennett a good pair?

JG: I think because we have totally different styles, but we still understand each other. It’s complimentary. I also think timing is a key issue because we both had been in bands and knew how to work with other musicians, and we were both ready to do it again. 

DT: The band dropped another EP this year, including a song featuring Tegan and Sara. What was it like getting to work with them?

JG: We had played a couple of shows with them, so we really liked them as people already. We didn’t come together in a studio, but the end product was amazing.

DT: How would you compare the first EP to the second one?

JG: The second one is a little more eclectic. I guess I am a little more excited about the second one because it’s stuff we’ve done recently. ‘Always Take You Back’ is one of my favorite songs to play live. I feel like people who have seen us live get really excited for that one.

DT: You guys are currently working on your first full album. How is that going?

JG: We’ve basically finished it and just have to finish prepping it to be delivered. The four songs on the EP are all on the album, so it kind of goes along with that. It’ll be awesome. Hopefully, people really enjoy it. 

DT: What bands or artists influence you when making music?

JG: I always keep up with new music, so I love to make playlists. It changes every week. I love London Grammar and Phantogram. I love pop music, but I listen to so much different music. There’s a hip-hop group called Run the Jewels that I’ve been listening to. I love rap music too, like Schoolboy Q, Kevin Gates and Freddie Gibbs. Then there are the classics like Aretha, Otis and stuff like that. The influence is evolving constantly.

DT: What can ACL-goers expect from your performance this upcoming weekend?

JG: They can expect a really honest, emotional performance. I think we put everything we can into our live show. We combine electronic instruments with organic instruments, so it’s an eclectic mix. It’s definitely an intense, honest and melancholic thing, and I hope people are affected by it.