The Night Party

Few artists can work through the nine-to-five grind and still make waves with musical ventures after hours. Melbourne lo-fi garage soul duo The Night Party have reached that equilibrium, offering a take on contemporary rock grades above the most seasoned of moonlighters. Drummer and songwriter Rick Sands says their progress has him living two fervent lives with fun a priority.

“My day job is going good. I am trying to run a band though [laughs],” Rick says. “It’s quite a juggling act.” The 30-something and his similarly aged partner Buck know they’re wily veterans on the scene. “We’re on the wrong side of 30,” he laughs. “Sometimes we feel old. I mean, we’ve been playing in bands for ages but fuck, a lot of the new guys are puppies. They’re so young.”


In truth, the boys attribute much of their success to age. “We couldn’t have written the songs we have now in our twenties. You go through phases,” Rick says. The Night Party derive their sound from a vast array of influences but ultimately the two write rock tunes for rock intellectuals. “Basically we’re music nuts with huge record collections,” he admits. “We’ve been playing since we were little.”


Rick says the duo came about as a by-product of rehearsal. “Buck and I are guitarists, so we both sat down with guitars to write more songs,” he says. It appears the self-confessed nuts happened upon their acclaimed ensemble by accident. “I jumped on the drums and new stuff came out. Me and Buck had always played bass and guitar together, and when I started playing drums, I realised I could sing songs that I couldn’t sing while playing guitar.” 


To that end, Rick’s vocals are just as much a feature on the boys’ debut LP GET TO YOU as drum and guitar sections. He believes the team are devoted to their lo-fi bent and apply it everything heard.


“We say we’re lo-fi because, compared to some of the stuff that’s out there now, we’re all about the ‘demo’ aesthetic,” he says. They know the intricacies of the genre well. “We sing through amplifiers. We had a whole heap of songs that didn’t make it to the record, for instance, that sounded awesome recorded with an iPhone.” Some songs, he says, required more. “We went into the studio for some, too.


“Our producer Paul Maybury did a great job extracting the essence of songs you hear on the album,” Rick says. “He’s a magician, and he’s got some beautiful equipment.” He recalls Maybury’s experimental spirit. “He’d walk around with magnets, trying to magnetise old Russian tape machines.” The trio worked staunchly with analogue as a means to retain the authenticity of their rock‘n’roll forebears.


“Our tracks can be really reverb-heavy. Normally you’d do that on a laptop, with Pro Tools, but we recorded ours using a beautiful old reverb tank Paul bought from Vanda & Young Studios,” he says. “It’s a real comfort to think Bon Scott’s voice floated through the same coils.”


When The Night Party play their album-launch gig this week, Rick is hoping to dispel any punter preconceptions his work is simply more commercial garage rock. Cookie-cutter comparisons have thus far been the professional thorn in his side. “People tend to say that we’re all about old school blues. Then they point out we’re a duo, and suddenly it’s like we’re The Black Keys.” According to him and Buck, they couldn’t be more different. “We’re not strictly a two piece, either. We’ll have other musicians playing with us. We’re really keen to have a good time, though.” Expect two things from The Night Party live, then: an efficient partnership, and the kind of sheer brazen squad-based lo-fi no mainstream spring chicken could emulate.




THE NIGHT PARTY launch their new record Get To You at The Workers Club on Friday March 21. Get To You is out now via Rum Jungle Records/MGM Distribution.