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Nights In Stereo Discuss Their Debut Single ‘Open Door’

Originally Posted: February 1, 2022   |   By: Kevin Jan   |   Pop Culturalist

Ronen Rubinstein, Jonny Shoer, and Rodrigo R. Rodarte are the creative geniuses behind your new favorite band: Nights In Stereo.

While they’ve been friends for years, it wasn’t until the summer of 2020 that they came together due to their shared love for music. What started out as a jam session between the trio quickly became something more serious and the first chapter of Nights in Stereo was born.

Pop Culturalist was lucky enough to speak with Nights In Stereo ahead of the release of their debut single to learn more about “Open Door”, coming together as a band, and what’s ahead for them in the future.

PC: Tell us about the origin story behind Nights In Stereo.

Ronen: Jonny and Rodrigo have known each other for over ten years. They’ve been playing in bands their whole lives and making music together for a while. They’ve lived together in the past. I’m newer to the picture. I lived with Jonny in 2017.

It wasn’t until 2020, the summer when everybody was locked down, that Jonny and I started messing around with music, literally in his living room. He’s too humble to say this about himself, but Jonny is a master musician. He was messing around and had this song. I came over one day and was like, “Hey, do you mind if I write down some lyrics or sing?” That’s how it started.

Then Rodrigo came into the picture and things started moving much quicker. Things became much more serious because the music was coming together beautifully and most importantly was starting to sound really good.

Then our dear friend and producer, Mike Riley, heard the music. He heard a couple of the demos and was like, “Hey, I think you guys have something here. We should get into the studio and do this very legitimately.” That’s what happened.

“Open Door” was the first song where we all felt collectively, “This is the song”. It had the easiest writing process. Everything flowed organically. We locked it down two weeks ago. Now, in less than ten hours, it’ll be out to the entire world. It’s out in many countries right now, but in America, it’s about to be out very, very soon.

PC: Tell us about the inspiration behind “Open Door”.

Jonny: Like Ronen said, I’ve been playing in bands for a long time. I’ve been writing music since the fourth grade—since I was ten years old. The main riff that you hear, I wrote it in high school or freshman year of college, and in all the bands I’ve been in since then it never really found a place. It just never went anywhere with any of the different people I wrote with. I showed it to a ton of people who were like, “This is cool, but there are other things to work on”. It never blossomed.

I met Rodrigo about eleven years ago. We always jammed and made music together. We did a couple of house shows and things like that but nothing too serious. It was a riff that we played around with, but it never really went anywhere.

During the pandemic, Ronen and I had a lot of time. We were sitting with these parts and all these things that he always heard me noodling around with. He encouraged me to actually finish some songs. Then he started putting lyrics over it. That song never developed when it was just me and Rod or me and Ronen. We were always just jamming and jamming. Then during the pandemic, the three of us got together. My two best friends and I actually got in the room together, and it finally blossomed. It finally was in the right hands.

We had written other songs, but when we all got together and started to take it seriously, this one finally came together so fast and so organically. After fifteen years of being incomplete, it finally became a song and pretty fast, which is amazing.

PC: That’s the perfect segue to this next question. With this being your debut single, what was the process like deciding what would be your musical introduction? Was there a moment in the studio when you all knew it clicked?

Ronen: There are definitely a couple of other songs that we feel very, very good about. But this was the first one where all the parts were there. We all felt really good about every single part. You’ll hear us say a lot that we are very excited and proud of every single second of the song. There is not a single moment in it where we’re like, “That’s okay, but at least we have a song”. It’s like, “We’re proud of every single second”. Because we listened to every single second a million times and really wanted to make sure it was perfect. We’re 150% happy with it and have no regrets. It’s just the one that clicked. The parts just came out of us. It was the smoothest process with this song.

PC: What’s that collaboration like when you’re all working on a song? What do you use as a jumping off point to get that creative process going?
Ronen: Red wine. [laughs]

Jonny: It usually starts with a riff. I came from a metal and punk background. I like heavy metal. I’m into very guitar-based riffs. Usually, Rod and I will noodle around with riffs. Then Ronen will come in and noodle with some vocals. They’re not even full vocal takes. It’s usually just blabbing some words. Then we all hear the sample and we’re like, “Oh, that’s cool”. You take it from there.

Rodrigo: In a way, that’s the story of the band. Jon and I have been fooling around for so long and in a little bit of an unstructured way. Things come out of that. Sometimes Jon writes something and he brings it over. We’ll work on it. Or sometimes it comes out of jamming and then Ronen comes in and puts down the lyrics and vocals and gives it structure. That’s forced the whole project to become a bit more serious.

PC: Having been friends before becoming bandmates, has anything surprised you? Have you learned anything new about each other during this process?

Jonny: I learned Ronen can sing. [laughs] We lived together for a whole year, then there was another year, and then I found out you could sing! I was like, “We could’ve been doing this a while ago”.

Ronen: What were we doing? That was a surprise for me as well. It was reassuring that we could get into the studio and truly work together. We’re not butting heads. We’re not facing a lot of disagreements. It’s not difficult. Our relationships aren’t in jeopardy when we’re in the studio. If anything, it’s the complete opposite. We’re very transparent and honest. We’re still able to have fun and know that what we’re doing is making music. It’s not heart surgery. We go into it with a lot of ease, a lot of fun, and a lot of creative openness. That’s why the music comes out smoothly. Hopefully, it stays that way. I think it will.

PC: With music being a universal language, what is the message that you each hope to get across as a band?

Ronen: I just want people to have a good time and feel good when they listen to it. Music is my escape. I probably have music playing most of the day. I think if it could provide people a good feeling, even for four minutes and forty seconds, our job is done. From what we’ve seen so far, people are really enjoying it. It makes me so proud and in many ways relieved. [laughs] I hope people have a good time with it and feel good when they listen to it.

Rodrigo: It was a cool thing for us. We all have other pursuits. Obviously, Ronen does big stuff. Jon and I have jobs and things that we’re involved in. This was a chance for us over the last couple of years to buckle down and focus on something that is fun and meaningful for us. It’s another art form. We got to do that and express ourselves. I think even if it hadn’t turned into something that was going to be out in the world, it still would’ve made us really happy. But it is a thing, and that’s very exciting. This song will always be a reminder for me to take some time and do something that you love, even if no one’s going to see it or hear it or whatever.

Jonny: What makes Rod, Ronen, and I such great friends is that we love music. We love such a vast variety of music. Over the years, we’ve jammed out in the car to Harry Styles, N.E.R.D., Metallica. The three of us can listen to any kind of music together and enjoy it. We talk about it. We nitpick little parts. We have such a great time doing it. For me, getting into the studio and writing music with these guys and Mike Riley (our producer) is the most fun. We bring all the influences that we know and love and put them into our music. I hope our music inspires people who listen to it to branch out into other kinds of music.

They might hear something in our songs. They might see a shirt that one of us is wearing or a band that we may reference. If you’re a Taylor Swift fan, you might be listening to Hatebreed next week. It gives people a chance to cross-reference different kinds of music and get exposed to new kinds of things. I think that would be a great service to provide people.

PC: With your debut single dropping tonight, how do you all plan on celebrating this milestone?

Ronen: We’ll probably just get together and celebrate each other. We’re embracing the moment and really enjoying it because it’s pretty incredible what we did. It doesn’t really happen often and I’m just going to enjoy every moment of it. It’s like Rod said, even if nobody listens to it or five people listen to it, it’s the process and the whole journey that has been amazing. I just want to celebrate these guys and what we did. I just want to listen to it twenty times in a row and be like, “Wow, this is actually out in the world right now”. It’s a pretty cool moment.

Jonny: I think just staring at our song on Spotify. That will be surreal. I’m going to be like, “This is on Spotify. This is really cool to have our name and our song on Spotify”. It’ll be cool to hear the riff play through the speakers, which I’ve done already. But it’s cool to see people’s reactions to it too. It’s been getting a great reaction online.

Ronen: There are people jamming out to it in Egypt, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, and a lot of parts of Europe. It’s so surreal.

Rodrigo: It’s pretty cool. How are we going to celebrate? We’re going to get together and do something special or something fun or go out. But we spend so much time together anyway. Every weekend, we do the most fun things. The most fun I have is the things that I do with these guys. So what are we going to do? Have another fun night.

Jonny: We had the most fun dinner last Friday night, just hanging out. It didn’t even have anything to do with the song. It was just our crew.

PC: As we look ahead to the rest of 2022, what can fans expect from the band? Are we leading into potentially an EP or an album? What’s in store?

Ronen: Fingers crossed, knock on wood, that’s the plan. I know how much fun we had making the music and how much joy we got out of it. We’re making music that we truly enjoy and would honestly listen to. The plan is definitely to get back into the studio and make more songs. High on my bucket list is to play live in front of people. That’s something that I’ve fantasized about forever. That’s definitely, hopefully in the works. We’ll see!

Jonny: EP and a tour, for sure. That’s the goal. I would say an EP and a tour. We have some other songs that are ready. We have more material to roll out soon, but I think the ultimate goal is a record, a tour, and just to keep having fun and hope people enjoy it.

Ronen: I want to hold a Nights In Stereo vinyl in my hands so badly. That would be really cool.

PC: Ronen, a question for you about 9-1-1: Lone Star. Throughout this series, T.K. has been put through the wringer. How has playing this character challenged you as a creative? What have you learned playing him that you’ve been able to apply to different areas of your craft like music?

Ronen: The biggest thing that I take away is the discipline. It’s like, “How do you do your job when you have to wake up at three in the morning and then have to work at four in the morning?” You just did that five days in a row. You’re exhausted. You don’t know your lines, but you still have to show up on set and you have to do your job.

This season, we’re working with insane elements. We’re doing fake snowstorms. It’s super long hours. A lot of it is working overnight, so your sleeping schedule is inverted. But you still have to show up and be professional and do your job. That’s something that I’ve strongly embraced for a while now.

I’ve sort of always been aware of that. I don’t take what I do for granted. I know how lucky I am to be on a show like Lone Star. That’s the biggest thing: showing up regardless of the scenario. Show up and be professional, and hopefully do a good job.

That translates to music because a lot of the time, we’re in the studio when it’s like three in the morning. We have to lay down some instruments smoothly. We have to lay down some vocals smoothly. That discipline is the biggest thing that I could take away from all of this.

Pop Culturalist Speed Round

PC: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?

Rodrigo: Probably a lot. [laughs]

Jonny: I’ve been really into peaceful Chinese garden music. The playlist I found is peaceful Chinese garden music. I don’t know the names of the instruments, but I’ve been playing that a lot. It’s really different from anything I’ve listened to. It’s calming. My girlfriend laughs every time I put it on. She’ll hear it through my headphones. She’s like, “Listening to that garden music again?” I’m like, “Yeah, I like it”. She laughs at me.

Rodrigo: A fun exercise is to open up Spotify and search for what Jonny has recently played. I feel like you’re in an insane asylum or something because they just don’t make sense together.

Ronen: This may not be necessarily surprising, but it was sort of a surprise to me: I just discovered and realized how important Silverchair was for ’90s music. They’re so iconic and influential. I just started diving deep into them. Jonny actually worked with Daniel Johns. His cover art is right behind him. I’ve met the guy who is literally the Australian Kurt Cobain. I didn’t know the level of his icon as a rock star. Now I’m diving deep. I’m like, “Oh my God, they’ve influenced so much in modern times”. I’m very, very excited that I’m experiencing it now.

PC: First album you bought?

Ronen: The Marshall Mathers LP. I’ll never forget it.

Jonny: It was Green Day’s Dookie on cassette. It was that or TLC’s CrazySexyCool. It was one of the two.

Rodrigo: I bought Sublime’s self-titled album with my own money. I was weirdly into funk in middle school and I bought Parliament.

PC: First concert you attended?

Jonny: Linkin Park at Nassau Coliseum in New York. It was insane. My brother took me. Actually, no. It was either that or Pennywise, a punk show. I was in seventh grade. But Linkin Park for sure was the first one I remember. It was insane. Third row.

Rodrigo: Jamiroquai for me. Pretty crazy. My brother also brought me.

Ronen: I remember when we saw him at Coachella. I’ve never danced harder in my entire life. I think for me it was probably Red Hot Chili Peppers. I think I was maybe sixteen. That changed my whole view on music and performing. It was just crazy.

PC: An album that changed your life and why?

Jonny: Oh my God. There are so many. Glassjaw, all day long. My favorite band in the world. Shout out Glassjaw.

Ronen: Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Stadium Arcadium. It’s one of the greatest pieces of music ever created. It’s also like five hundred songs. It’s sonically and musically something that I’d never heard before. It was the perfect culminating work of those four.

Rodrigo: OK Computer. Just like we keep saying, everyone else has so many different musical genres that I kind of bend around, but that album really grounded me in terms of being just super, crazy weird but cool, and also capable of being mainstream rock.

PC: A venue on your bucket list to perform at?

Ronen: I’m always going to say MSG, first and foremost. Always. My favorite concert was at MSG. It’s just so iconic.

Jonny: Ronen and I are both New Yorkers, so we both have a thing for MSG. I feel bad that a lot of my favorite venues in LA have closed, so now I’m going to add those to my list. If we could reopen and play the Satellite and the Booth Theater, I would say those two. That would be cool. The Greek would be pretty cool too.

Rodrigo: The Greek would be pretty cool.