I met Hard Rock band ALL NIGHT SOUNDS back in 2016 when they performed at Arlene’s Grocery in NYC. I was lucky enough to witness what happened to be their very first show. Over the last few years they have played a lot of great gigs and had the chance to play at the legendary Gramercy Theatre. They released latest EP Not Art in 2019 and it’s probably the best since their debut The Morning After. Kevin Downey (vocals/guitar), Ralph Missimer (guitar), James Mira (bass), and Dan Quatraro (drums) sat down with A&GS for a chat after their final(?) show. Check it:
Amps: How did you all come up with the name for the band?
Dan: If I’m not mistaken All Night Sounds was the original title for a song idea that Kevin had when he originally sent Ralph and I the original files and I believe I suggested we just use that for the name of the band.
Kevin: I think it was a name of a song demo or a project that I had started working on in 2008 and shared with Ralph at the time. I just threw that name idea into this massive Google Drive document we had going at the time.
Amps: Do you all write the lyrics for songs?
KD: I’ve written most of them I think. But I’ve been told to go back to the drawing boards at least a few times if the guys don’t like something.
Ralph: Kevin writes most of the lyrics, he’s the storyteller. Every now and again he may need a line or two and we will pitch in ideas.
Amps: What kind of music did you listen to growing up? What age did you start playing an instrument?
RM: As a kid I was really into the pop-punk scene that was big in the early 2000’s. Blink-182 was my jam, with other bands like Sum-41, New Found Glory, Green Day being close behind. I always like metal and hard rock too. By high school all I listened to was Metalcore. I think I was like 7 or 8 when I started piano lessons, that lasted about 5 years.
James: Elvis from my mom, KISS and 80’s mixtapes from my dad. Got into rock and rap young growing up with my dumb little buddies, then discovered Guns N’ Roses
.DQ: Always listened to classic rock and modern rock on the radio in my parents cars and at home- until I found metal and hardcore, emo & screamo and all that. I started listening to all that stuff plus jazz and funk as a teenager and beyond once I started getting more into drumming.
KD: I remember a lot of Beatles, Genesis, Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin in the car growing up. Metallica made me want to try to play guitar but Blink-182 kept me playing. I remember the day I got my first acoustic guitar was the opening Friday of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Amps: Most embarrassing moment on stage?
RM: I was totally hammered during one of our shows and I fell into Dan’s drum set right in the middle of a song. I was jumping around headbanging and completely lost my balance and ate it over his kick drum. I basically ended up sitting on his kick and knocked over a couple cymbals but he caught them.
KD: I remember playing with the volume all the way down on my guitar for a majority of a song and having no clue. One of my favorites is Ralph playing a solo on the wrong string and me just staring at him and him just staring back at me blankly. A close second is James stepping on his tuner and unplugging his bass multiple times in one song.
Amps: What other musicians inspire you?
RM: I love all kinds of rock and electronic music. The Jason Richardson and Luke Holland collaboration has been inspiring lately because they are so technically skilled and I love the rhythmic approach they’re bringing to the instrumental metal scene. I saw a couple local bands recently, The Royal They and Stuyedeyed. They killed it and I was pumped to see the crowd was so young and the energy was crazy. I was like, “Damn, the NYC rock scene is alive and well!”
DQ: I like listening to guys who can chop on the drums: gospel guys, jazz guys, funk guys, technical metal guys, they are mega-inspiring to me because after you watch them all you wanna do is practice! I follow everything from my teenage days like Taking Back Sunday up through new bands I discover through friends all the time. I’m big on going to any metal show that rolls through that has any bands that Ralph and I grew up listening to.
KD: Tom DeLonge has always been a songwriting hero for me. I love DEF LEPPARD much to everyone’s annoyance. I’ve loved EVE 6 since 2001 and the production and sound engineering on it is still amazing to me.
JM: I listen to a lot of Electric Six, The Derelicts from Seattle, old NYHC classics. CRX is a good new band out as well as Dinosaur Pile-Up, and shout out to Puddles Pity Party.
Amps: Kevin produced the EP. Kevin, how long have you been a producer?
KD: I started getting heavily into mixing and music engineering type stuff in 2016. It went hand in hand with me producing electronic music and trying to learn how to make my own mixes sound decent without having to use a professional studio or service.
Amps: Not Art is really good! What’s your favorite song off the new album and why?
KD: Thank you! “Storm Effect.” Was definitely feeling a bit nostalgic that day but I also was playing around with the idea that our initial memories of certain events tend to seem better than if you really stopped and thought about it.
JM: I like “EOT”, and “Crushed” the most. They are probably the best written songs we have and I feel they’ve definitely summed up our story, even if not in so many words.
DQ: Thanks!! Side note- Kevin busted his ass to mix and master all these songs by himself and I think he absolutely killed it.
RM: My favorite is “Storm Effect”. It’s got a lot of dynamics and like Kevin said, it has an element of nostalgia. It’s actually probably my favorite ANS song all around. Although “Feel” is definitely my favorite to play live; you can’t beat that kickass head-banging energy on stage.
Amps: Why is the new record called Not Art?
RM: We had a pretty large backlog of material that we would pick a song and then try it out in a live setting. We learned a lot as songwriters in that time and I think with Not Art we really found our voice. The themes in these songs definitely hit a little closer to home for me also, so the whole EP is a bit more personal and I think that comes through in sound. The name came from the artwork actually, but we liked the tongue-in-cheek humor which is representative of our image. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, we do this for fun above all else.
DQ: James stuck that ANS sticker on a lamp post who knows how long ago and that picture was just floating around my photo album on my phone and I used some app to add “all night sounds” text to it and then we decided just the picture was great and it already was spray painted with the words “Not Art” so we decided that would work. The original idea for the album art was really complicated but would’ve paid homage to every band we had ever played with up to the point of its release but unfortunately it just wasn’t working so in a last ditch effort we stumbled on what you currently see.
KD: The album art came actually straight from the streets of NYC. We are all pretty self-deprecating as well so the name seemed to fit. But I think I was sold by the spray painted “F” to the left.
Amps: Dan, you moved to Austin, TX. What does the future hold for ANS? Never say never right?
DQ: Definitely never say never- I have family and friends in NY still so I will be back a few times a year and if we can plan it right I’m sure we can make a few shows happen here and there. Also these guys know they will be coming to Austin and there are plenty of places to play down there too! The way we made this record though- we could easily keep recording and releasing music from afar, time will tell.
JM: ALL NIGHT SOUNDS WILL LIVE FOREVER!!
Amps: Will you all continue to perform, write new music, or take a break for awhile?
RM: ANS as we know it is probably going to take a break for a while. We could never stop writing music though so this definitely won’t be the end for us. Exploring other styles and sounds under a side project is probably in the cards while we try to save up to clone Dan.
KD: I’ll keep doing my electronic project (CIRCIT), keep writing songs on the guitar, and who knows maybe do some cross country recording with Dan and the other guys.
JM: With the band ending, I’m taking a break from music and working on a career in Jiu Jitsu, entering my first tournament in September. It was fun but nothing musically, or even on a level of friendship and brotherhood can ever replace the experience I had with these guys.Thus my next venture will be a solo one in a whole new field that I’ve been working pretty hard on.
Amps: What would you like to say to the fans out there?
JM: If you’ve seen us you can wholeheartedly say you saw the greatest band in the world, and for that I am jealous. If not, scream our name into your pillow, until we return. Keep it gully and keep it tight.
DQ: We didn’t have a bass player when we started and we just wanted to play together- we decided we would find a bassist and play ONE show in NYC just to say we did it. The love and support we have received in this community is incredible- it has been so much fun and we played places we literally dreamed of as kids and none of that would happen without the support of anyone who reads articles like this and goes to the local shows. So I just want to say thank you to those people in NYC that are keeping rock music alive and thriving, whether you are a listener, a band member, a venue owner, a sound guy or a bartender at a venue- we couldn’t have done any of this without you.
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: ANJANETTE MCGRATH