“Art is art”: The story behind LA alt-rockers Night Riots signing to Sumerian Records

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The California-based rock band Night Riots are standing strong at the start of 2015. After successfully crowdfunding their 2013 EP, Young Lore, as an independent band and signing to Sumerian Records shortly after, Night Riots are back with a new EP, Howl, that was released in January.

Many artists might think it’s a risk attempting to crowdfund your first EP or full-length, but vocalist Travis Hawley says it was what the band needed to do at the time.

nightriots1“Groups who put their creativity to the test and start the campaign as artists and kind of go out of their way to give back to their fans, do really well,” Hawley says. “It worked for us. We kind of came into it with realistic aspirations on how much we could make and we really worked on that half.”

While Night Riots have enough material to release a full-length, they released another EP because they wanted to introduce themselves, especially on their new label with Sumerian Records, which is one of the reasons for naming the EP, Howl. But something Hawley said about Night Riots is that they are a nighttime band.

“Everything that revolves around Night Riots is nighttime,” Hawley says. “There’s a lot of that in this EP. Sometimes my lyrics are melancholy or kind of somber. I really think that what I write is more just empowering or really humanistic—like, move forward or be better than you think you can be. I think that’s a major theme that runs through a lot of the stuff I write, not intentionally, but it’s just what comes out.”

Before making the decision to sign with Sumerian Records, Hawley says the band almost saw it as taking a risk because of the label’s roster. While Night Riots slide toward the alternative side of rock, most of the bands on Sumerian fall into some subgenre of metal. He said the band were expecting to get some backlash from other fans, but that hasn’t been the case at all.

“We kind of took the risk with Sumerian that we would be one of their first alternative bands,” Hawley says. “But we couldn’t be happier. We really feel like we’re something special on their label. I’m amazed at how much support we’ve gotten. We’ve been stoked to find out that the majority from the Sumerian fanbase are really accepting to us. I really like people that are down to listen to whatever. Art is art.”

While the band have been touring, they are going to try and push the EP as far as they can so people can become familiar with their music. After that, it will be time to release more material.

“There is a time where you have to understand that not everyone is going to like what you put out,” Hawley says. “It’s your art and you can’t change for other people. You just have to channel what comes out of you.”