Have you ever awakened in the dark screaming?
Then you know what The Night Screams feel like. This NYC band will turn those hollers of terror into some gritty punk rock that’ll haunt your sleep.
The project started as solely Michael Preiss’ (vocals/guitar)’s, but morphed into a collaborative ensemble with Mike Schnapp (bass), Troi Banjamin (drums) and Jon Mann (guitar). Their sound is dirty and DIY at heart, with distorted guitars and staggering vocals but their ambitious solos will remind you that these guys know how to play.
Inspired by pioneering dark bands like Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Wire, The Night Screams aren’t afraid to get personal in their lyrics, but keep the mood down and edgy.
Preiss tells BTRtoday, that he had a smack of reality after seeing Roky Erickson at this year’s Meltasia. “I experienced ego-death while watching Roky Erickson through a massive bonfire while shadows danced in the surrounding trees,” he says. “I’m not sure how to really share what happened after that.”
The Night Screams played earlier that day, before Erickson—the headlining act. Preiss describes their live shows as, “heads boppin,’ hips swingin’ and a few beer cans flying around—at some point everything goes black and you just wake up the next day at home, or on a train or wherever.”
Check out the rest of the interview below with The Night Screams’ frontman Preiss and learn all about the nightmarish shenanigans that the band has in-store for the future.
BTRtoday (BTR): What are night screams??
Michael Preiss (MP): There are screams out in the dark distance. Of pain? Of pleasure? That, I do not know. We are currently Mike Schnapp on bass, Troi Benjamin on drums, Jon Mann on Guitar, and me on guitar and singing.
BTR: How did you all meet and come to form The Night Screams?
MP: Mike, John and I have been playin’ and hangin’ in the same little Brooklyn music bubble for a handful of years. We just kinda kept bumping into each other through that. Troi and I worked at the same bar.
Originally it was just a three-piece, with friends rotating in and out on bass and drums, and very much “my” project (whatever that means). I believe it all started with my buddy David coming over to play some stoned chess and guitar. After a few months of David helping me put together a set Mike joined up and David played drums (with varied success) and we just kinda stalled out while we looked for a real drummer. I would think we had someone promising, and then it would fall through—like the universe was just fucking with me.
One guy no-showed because he got arrested an hour before the audition. But then I met Troi, and he heard potential in our demos, and jumped on. Things got rollin’ again and it felt like we leveled up. As we started writing more together and getting used to each other as bandmates, the band kinda stepped away from being “Mike P’s band” and started just being its own entity, which continues to evolve. The most recent leap in evolution being the addition of JMann [Jon Mann] and figuring out the four-piece dynamic.
BTR: What are some life changes that has influenced your music writing?
MP: I had this whole other life as a fairly upstanding citizen back in Chicago. Then I went a little nuts, burned it down and moved to New York with no real plan. I think that kinda shook me in a way I maybe needed to be shook. But yeah, I mainly write clichés like, “I’m a misunderstood damaged man, down on his luck, but that’s kinda mysterious and sexy, right?” And then it was like, “oh, it’s not? Well that’s understandable.”
BTR: What band and/or musician has really had an impact on you?
MP: For me, right here and now, I would have to say Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Wipers, Devo, Wire, Angry Angles/Jay Reatard, Modern Lovers, Talking Heads and Springsteen.
BTR: Tell me about playing Meltasia.
MP: It was rad as fuck. I met Andy [Animal] through the very social and charismatic Troi. [At Meltasia] I experienced ego-death while watching Roky Erickson through a massive bonfire while shadows danced in the surrounding trees. I’m not sure how to really share what happened after that.
BTR: What band/musician is currently on constant repeat for you?
MP: This was the summer of William Onyeabor’s box set and Nas’s Illmatic. I’m not sure what’s in store for the fall, but I just found Wu-Tang’s Forever at Human Head Records and it’s the current frontrunner
BTR: Can you paint a picture of what a live show for The Night Screams is like?
MP: Heads boppin,’ hips swingin’ and a few beer cans flying around. At some point everything goes black and you just wake up the next day at home, or on a train or wherever.
BTR: What should expecting from the future of The Night Screams?
MP: We got an EP coming out on King Pizza that I’m pretty psyched about and I’d like to hit the road in 2018.