Interview with drummer Josiah Majetich | By Eli Enis
Hell Ya, the debut EP from Oakland’s Club Night, released in August via Tiny Engines, is 18 minutes of pure resilience. It’s not protest music, necessarily, but it imagines post-election angst as a sort of humanoid figure, gripping its hand and forcing its gaze upward in a frenzied attempt to find some shred of ironic beauty within our impending doom. It’s a desperate, instinct-driven batch of songs that somehow leaves the listener feeling as if they just conquered an unbeatable quest. It’s a project that knows we’re completely fucked, but rages forward anyway, because it feels like the only direction worth taking.
“The whole record feels like an exclamation mark,” drummer Josiah Majetich says. He admits he still doesn’t know why they titled it Hell Ya, but his explanation of the band’s writing approach is a fitting answer: “Why not all yell at once?”
Tracks like “Shear” and “Rally” are chaotic swirls of enflamed synth noise, multi-layered vocal passages that erupt like grab bags of fireworks, thunderous drums, and conversely staccato guitar arpeggios that keep everything loosely strung together. There’s an anatomical essence to Club Night, a bevy of individual parts working toward a common goal.
“We’ve all played different kinds of music and listen to different kinds of music,” Majetich says. “We kind of love that cacophony that exists within the band, and that dynamic.” He adds, “We have sort of an agreed upon thing in our writing process where if someone has an idea, we at least try it.”
After initially assembling in spring 2016 to, as Majetich puts it, “play and see what happens,” the quintet’s career took a turn as unexpected as those in their music. “It came together really fast,” he says. “Literally a week or two after our second show, we had already had a record offer with Tiny Engines.”
That experience of ending up with something completely different from how it started is exactly what happens on Hell Ya’s best track, the eight-minute closer, “Work.” After an unassuming buildup, the second half is a glorious pandemonium of hooky synth shrieks, a chugging rhythm, and a foray of warbled “Ooo-ooo”s.
Majetich says the song really reflects the “what if we did this?” mentality the band employ, but the bottom line for Club Night is that there’s never just one thing they’re trying to do. “There’s no single emotion we’re trying to convey,” he says. “We seek to create space for people to find their own importance within it.”