Abstract interpretations

Night Rooms

Reno natives Ryan Burt, Landon Renwick and Nic Graver rely on tempo and mood changes within their songs to get across the heartbreak and rawness of real life.

Reno natives Ryan Burt, Landon Renwick and Nic Graver rely on tempo and mood changes within their songs to get across the heartbreak and rawness of real life.


Night Rooms performs March 25 with Bedroom Moaning and Blue Shirt at the Holland Project, 140 Vesta St.

As lead singer and guitar player Nic Graver sits down to write a song, he tries to actualize the scene he sees in his mind. It’s not a scene from a movie or anything concrete, but rather something more abstract, like an assortment of colors or a feeling he experiences in the moment. As he begins to write or play the music, he knows it’ll work as a Night Rooms song if what he’s playing matches the scene he’s picturing in his head.

Between the harmonizing, upbeat strumming, heartfelt lyrics and frequent time signature changes, Graver and his bandmates—drummer Ryan Burt and bassist Landon Renwick—don’t put a limit on what their genre should be or pigeonhole themselves into sounding a certain way based on what they’ve produced in the past.

To Graver, honest lyric-writing is important, especially when it comes to admitting fear and trust in romance. He said it’s something a lot of people can relate to.

In the song “Loaner Boy,” during the second chorus, the lyrics go “And I/ I’m not your man no more/ I’m sorry ’cause/ Don’t know how to trust/ Pushed so much love/ Right out the door.”

“I really put my whole heart into writing because, to me, it has to be real or who would want to listen,” said Graver.

He draws inspiration from artists like Keaton Henson, noting that being true about doing something through songwriting makes it relatable. He said that while writing “Rip Me” for the band’s 2017 EP Outside Days, he progressed from heartbroken and lovesick in the first verse to realizing his worth and knowing he deserved better by the second verse. All of this happened in real life, he said.

To Graver, his best songs come to fruition during highly emotional times when changes are happening. He said he’ll be up late at night, trying to make sense of himself and his emotions, while typing lyrics on his phone in the dark and softly playing his guitar. “The rawness of those states is what brings about the realest work to me,” he said.

The band also places a huge emphasis on changing the tempo and essentially changing the feel throughout each song. On songs like “Gotta Lot 2 Learn” off Outside Days, it feels like an upbeat surf pop track one minute, then the song suddenly breaks down into a sea of slow-moving melancholy lyrics.

All three bandmates were a part of Galena High School’s drumline and jazz program, which had a huge impact on their rhythm and style, yet their individual tastes vary from pop punk to reggae.

The latest Night Rooms album is a jazz-heavy one, set to be released in May, this time with keyboard, complex chords and scales, and intricate lyrics. Like Outside Days, this album will be entirely self-recorded and mixed by the band.

“A lot of our recording stuff is just a lot of learning experiences, just seeing how things sound in different spaces like trying different rooms and mics, and we’re getting better at it,” said Burt. The band quickly found, for example, while creating their last EP, that recording acoustic sections in the shower didn’t quite work out the way they had hoped it would.