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- Posted on Mar 10th 2010 9:50AM by Martine Paris
How did the band form?
In 2002, I was working at the Java Barn, a student run coffeehouse, where I was waitressing, bartending and booking bands. I met my drummer, Matt Burr, there. He kept asking me to be in a band with him. I said no six times. We weren't dating. We were just good friends, but I knew if I jumped in that water, we'd be in it forever. Then, in 2003, [during] the first weeks into the second semester he took me to see the movie 'The Last Waltz,' and it literally changed my life. I was finally able to see his vision of what it would be like to be in a rock 'n' roll band, and I knew it was going to be fun. Matt and I met Scott [Tournet], our lead guitarist, at a video store. At the end of my sophomore year, we left college to make our first CD, 'Original Soul,' and started gigging everywhere -- farmers markets, senior centers. We literally said yes to every request. Just like [in] 'Spinal Tap,' we went through several bassists until Cat [Popper] came on board last year with Benny Yurco, our rhythm guitarist.
How did you come up with the band name?
Java Barn was a popular place to rehearse, and we were like the baby band who were lucky enough to get the 2AM slot. After many late nights, we realized the name fit and stuck with the Nocturnals.
Describe your sound.
We are a rock 'n' roll band with a multiple personality disorder. Sometimes I'm in my diva 'Soul Train' mode, and other times I'm Aretha Franklin rocking out. We do broad sweeps across massive genres, but the binding sound is always my voice, our dual guitars, that analog sound and the classic rock tether that ties it together.
Beatles or Stones?
We love the Beatles for their songwriting, but we are definitely Stones for their eternal energy and endless attempt at keeping the dream alive.
What are your musical influences?
I listened to everything as a kid: the Kinks, the Band, Maggie Bell, Spooky Tooth. My Irish influences are definitely in there. You can hear the traditional folk songs of Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. The entire United Kingdom has this enchanted sound.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
Music should never be guilty. I like me a good Bon Jovi song every now and then, and sometimes girly music to paint away sorrow, like Dido.
Who were your first celebrity crushes?
As a kid it was Punky Brewster. But when I saw Leo DiCaprio in 'Romeo and Juliet,' he blew my mind and that's how I knew I was straight.
What's in your festival survival kit?
Definitely a pair of Wellies and a small rock sack for my keys, chapstick and mirror to wipe the dirt off my face for on camera interviews. Never makeup, and I always leave my wallet on the bus.
Cat and I are desperately trying to kick the nail biting habit.
What's the craziest thing that has ever happened on tour?
Once, we were warming up with 'Red Light, Green Light,' and I stepped on a nail and needed a tetanus shot. Another time my press-on nail got jammed in the door moments before going on stage. There's always some sort of mayhem going on. There ought to be a reality sitcom about bands trying to stay sane on the road.
How do you stay in touch with your fans?
I like to keep it personal and write heartfelt letters every couple of months to our fans who have been with us for the ride. The list is quite large now. I also enjoying tweeting from the road on my iPhone. Fans can give a shout out to me directly at @gracepotter.
What are you most looking forward to at SXSW?
We've been to SXSW twice before, but it's been three years since the last time. There's a lot of competition for the spotlight, but I'm going to enjoy it more this time and will definitely be making time to get to the pool at the Four Seasons.
In April, we're releasing our 'Tiny Light' single, along with a phenomenal music video that is sure to cause shock and awe. We are also getting ready to tour Europe. I traveled there as a child and speak a little Spanish, French and Italian. My mom said as a baby I had an uncanny German accent and would spontaneously shout out things like "wienerschnitzel" and "farfegnugen." I feel as though I have a European soul and cannot wait to take the stage there.
How do you define success?
We're living it. The door started creaking open for us years ago, and we feel so blessed to now be getting through the door.
Martine Paris is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.