Electro-pop band Night Drive to take ACL-goers on sci-fi journey

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Brought together by a mix of tragedy and serendipity, Rodney Connell and Brandon Duhon blend sci-fi elements with catchy synth beats in their electro-pop band, Night Drive. The two first met when a girl they were both dating — each unaware of the other — died in a car accident.

They began collaborating and released their first EP, Position I, in 2013 and have been steadily producing singles and remixes since. With the recent addition of drummer Gibran Nassif over the
summer, Night Drive is set to play Austin City Limits on Sunday at 11:45 a.m. The Daily Texan spoke with the band about their current project and plans for their ACL show.

The Daily Texan: Tell me a little about how you two met, and how you decided to start collaborating on music.

Rodney Connell: A girl that we both knew is actually what kind of brought us together. We don’t really like to get into a lot of the details out of respect for her family. We realized we were both songwriters and musicians, and we were just spending some time together. One thing led to another and we realized we had a lot more in common than we thought we had. Both of our bands were kind of in the last throes when we met, so everything just kind of worked itself out that way.

DT: With Rodney living in Austin and Brandon living in Houston, how does your writing process work?

RC: We’ve done it in every way possible. But a more usual way of writing is Brandon will have a piece of music that he’ll share with me, and we’ll kind of start with that, and ,if we’re both on board, and we like it and want to keep working on it, then we just start writing more stuff. We’re not stuck into one process, which is good. But we also know what works, and what both of our strong suits are.

DT: What are you all currently working on?

RC: We have an album’s worth of songs, but we’re actually finishing up some more stuff right now, and we’re going to be releasing a lot of new material in the early part of next year. We haven’t decided if that’s going to be an EP or an album.

DT: You recently added a drummer, Gibran Nassif, to the mix. How did that decision come about and what’s it been like so far?

Brandon Duhon: He ended up contacting us, and we had always had it in the back of our mind that we wanted to eventually get a drummer. Then whenever we got ACL we were like, ‘We need to start looking for a drummer,’ expecting it would be down the line, but Gibran picked it up really quick so it was a perfect fit.

DT: Has the addition of a drummer changed your live shows at all?

RC: Oh, absolutely. We want people to get engaged and enjoy the show, so that’s always been important to us. Our shows are very visual. We do a lot of projections and lights, and we’re a very animated band, and I think having a drummer adds so much more energy. And for us onstage, we feel it a lot more. It’s been fantastic.

DT: What do you have planned for ACL and what are you most excited for?

RC: We’re going to go out there and play what people really want to hear for sure. We’re looking forward to seeing other bands and just hanging out.

BD: I’m excited to bump into Julian Casablancas at a food line.