Words & photo by Michelle Perez
Young in age, but rich in experience, Ottawa’s Nighttime in Kansas can only go up from here.
Having spent the better part of the past few months in the studio working on their debut EP, Nighttime in Kansas is in the very beginnings of their career together as a group. But history runs deep between the three members.
The story begins with guitarist Mike Watson and drummer Jon Reid who have more than eight years of musical chemistry together over the course of their life under varying band names. They had been working on song ideas in Mike’s basement with their soon-to-be bassist Nicholas Boone there for moral support. That session would eventually lead to the writing and recording of their debut single “Same Air” with all three of them playing their parts in the production of the song.
Reid said the band formed naturally.
“It was almost an accident, really. With maybe two minutes worth of music written, we booked a show and just decided ‘okay, we’re a band now,’” Reid said.
Since then, the band has had a handful of shows as they find their footing as a group and get growing support. The energy of their live shows rival that of a band with more years of experience under their belts. Watson handles most of the vocals while Reid chimes in on more than one occasion, singing and drumming with an expertise of someone way beyond his years.
They play off the energy of their crowd, letting their music be a welcome introduction of themselves to those unfamiliar while also satisfying their fans. Their stage presence is comfortable, but focused, shifting from speaking to their audience to joking around with each other between songs.
Their gigs have been exclusively local up until mid-November when they make their first branches out into Kingston and Montreal as a celebration of the release of Solstice, their debut EP.
The EP, released November 18, has been the main area of focus over the past year. The songs were originally written in a blind panic before their first show, being composed of improvised instrumentals and lyrics done right on stage. Later, they were written as intended over the course of a month before recording began in late March.
“The songs kind of wrote themselves right away. It was an easy, but great experience,” Reid said.
It acts as an autobiographical experiment in that the instrumentation was based around finding their niche in terms of sound. The lyrics were written from personal encounters, acting as an outlet for emotions and experiences from that point in their lives. It is their hope that their audience connect with their music on a personal level while having as much fun with the songs as the band had recording them.
Their future beyond the EP remains vague in terms of end goal, but concrete in action. The band plan to continue to work on music between studies and personal lives into the next year, whether that be sporadic or focused. The band agrees that the main focus continues to be working on the foundation of their sound while still having fun with the experiences of being a group.
“It’s just so much fun, getting our ideas out through music. I know I’ll have fun doing it as long as I’m with these guys,” Reid said.