Night Moves guitarist John Pelant on the making of their powerful new album 'Can You Really Find Me'

Night Moves guitarist John Pelant on the making of their powerful new album 'Can You Really Find Me'

The newest release features a shift from six-minute psychedelic rock songs to short pop singles

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John Pelant with bandmate Mickey Alfano.
Photo: NMC

From the depths of a bleak winter in midwestern America has emerged one of the strongest albums of the summer. Can You Really Find Me is the latest offering from psychadelic-rock band Night Moves, and just like the record, the band has been on quite a journey.

Buried away from the mainstream, Night Moves has been creating innovative, expressive music from the get-go, whether on the energetic 2012 debut Coloured Emotions, or the riff-laden breakthrough album Pennied Days.

Young Post caught up with singer and guitarist John Pelant to talk about the band’s struggles, self-doubt, and the new record, which was produced by Jim Eno from the rock band Spoon.

“[Eno] was really receptive, and he wasn’t too heavy-handed a producer,” explains Pelant, who formed the band with high school friend Micky Alfano.

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“All the original demos we had made were fully fleshed out that I didn’t really want to lose their charm – Eno took all the individual sounds, and we tried to [improve on] them in the studio. We’d compare things, and ask whether we beat the original.”

The process felt a lot more relaxed than it had for 2016’s Pennied Days, which, for Pelant, was a time filled with self-doubt.

“I was nervous about whether the final production [of Pennied Days] was better than my demos. Obviously it was, but I was going through this learning curve, where I needed to understood how producers and professional studios work.”

Although the record eventually arrived at a place which everyone was happy with, Pelant’s fears only increased while he was waiting for it to come out. It didn’t help that the band lost their manager and a member before the album’s release.

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“[Our manager] had a kid, and he had to get a job. We kind of knew it was coming, because he was less and less present … He moved out to New York and then San Francisco, and we could tell that his time with us was probably coming to an end. And then losing a member, that’s just ... the guy just wanted to do his own solo act, and you can’t really fault him for that.”

With the album’s release coming up and a tour scheduled, there was no time to question the future: the remaining members just had to power through.

“Mickey and I are really good friends, so it was just like, let’s make another one,” says Pelant. “If we want this to continue then we’ll have to work on it – it’s never going to be super easy.”

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Can You Really Find Me also marks a shift in tone, with the pair swapping the six-minute jams for a collection of concise, pop singles. Two of the stand-out moments come from lead tracks Recollections and Strands Align. For the latter, the group created an amusing, ride-along robbery music video.

“I was trying to think about what it was that I dug about music videos when I was younger, and the best ones always had a story – even though that might seem a little cheesy – so I thought if there was some kind of narrative, you’d be able to watch repeatedly, and pick up little nuances.”

Director Cameron Dutra came up with the video’s concept. “He had this story where we take this depressed sales manager for a ride and show him life – that joy exists out there. It sounded fun, so we just went with it.”

Coming out the other side of their growing pains with funny music videos, and another near-flawless record, Night Moves’ fortunes appear to be on the up.

“We finally feel like we have a really good core group of guys.”

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Seeing the funny side

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