Blake Sennett

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.

After a brief hiatus, Blake Sennett makes a return with his band, The Elected. Their latest record is filled with his go-to trademarks. (Photo courtesy of The Elected)

The Elected- Babyface by MMMusic

In between the transition from lead guitarist of indie band Rilo Kiley to center stage with his own band, The Elected, singer-songwriter Blake Sennett found a lighter-hearted perspective on music.

Despite his two-year break from the music industry, Sennett’s latest album Bury Me in My Rings is laced with what he is best known for — not-too-sweet lyrics on conventions of love, smooth, poppy beats and a whispery voice.

While in town for the band’s concert at Emo’s last Friday, Sennett met with the Texan to discuss his musical hiatus, his latest album and child acting career on “Boy Meets World.”

Daily Texan: This is your first album since you kind of, well, left the music world in 2010. So what inspired you to come back?
Blake Sennett: I think I missed it. I think I did a lot of soul searching. Also, I was excited to try things with this fresh perspective that I think I’ve been able to cultivate over the last two-and-a-half years.

DT: Why did you decide to leave in the first place?
BS: I think I was disappointed. I felt a little stagnant, a little stale spiritually and emotionally. If you’re around the same people for years it can make you a little, well, bitter and weird. I didn’t want to be like that. I needed to step away from everything and see what that felt like and experience that perspective.

DT: So how is Bury Me In My Rings different from previous albums by The Elected?
BS: I think it’s a lot less self-conscious. It’s a lot more stream of consciousness. I tried to focus more on narrative and story arc in songs versus on the last record, or really the last two records, where I wrote a little more abstractly and a little more from pain probably.

DT: You’re also the lead guitarist of Rilo Kiley. What was the transition like to The Elected?
BS: It’s a little more stressful. You can’t just wing it, you have to have a lot more focus. When you’re playing guitar behind that person you don’t feel it as much when shows go bad or even when it goes well. You take shows a lot more personally.

DT: Okay! A few less serious questions. What’s the strangest thing to happen at one of your shows?
BS: I think the first time at a Rilo Kiley show that a kid peeled back his sleeve and showed a big Rilo Kiley tattoo on his forearm, I think that was pretty weird for me.
DT: Cool or creepy?
BS: It’s a lot of pressure! Someone inks up for you and it’s on their body for life. You don’t want them to regret it. Like I loved Primus so much when I was younger, but if I had a Primus tattoo on my forearm now I would be like “WEIRD.”

DT: Have you ever Googled yourself?
BS: Oh, yeah. Definitely. Not for a long time, though. I don’t really like doing it.
DT: Well I have, and —
BS: Googled yourself?
DT: No, Googled you! And you were on “Boy Meets World,” something children of the ’90s like myself find very exciting. So what was your character?
BS: I was a bully, Joey the rat, for about 20 episodes.

DT: What was your favorite episode?
BS: There was one where I had to do some wrestling, and a pro-wrestler came in to show us how to do some of those body slams and stuff. It was pretty awesome. I think I was wrestling Ben Savage (Corey Matthews) in the show.
DT: Did you win?
BS: Oh no, he’s a hero ­— I’m pretty sure he beat me.