Night Lights
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Night Lights

Los Angeles, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Los Angeles, CA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Pop Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"These young musicians are hoping the US government likes their 'exceptional abilities'"

I loved their sound right away. I thought it had a nice mix of dreamy techno and harder-edge rock. At the time, the four guys in the band were still students at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. They met there as freshmen, and have been playing together ever since.

But after four years at Berklee, they faced a decision. See, Night Lights is a multinational band. Lead singer Mauricio (Mau) Jimenez is from Mexico, bass player Jeff Kinsey is from California, guitarist Yusuke Sato is from Japan and drummer Dag Hanken is from Norway.

So three of the four were in the country on F1 student visas, which expire soon after graduation. That’s made life after college more complicated.

“It’s been challenging looking for ways to support these guys and to figure out how to keep the band in the country so we could keep making music,” said Kinsey, the American in the band.

The other three members were able to extend their stays temporarily. F1 student visas allow for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) phase after graduation. That means they can start working, but only in their area of study. In this case, that’s making music.

But here’s the rub: music students on an OPT extension are not supposed to do non-music work. So, in theory, no waiting tables or washing dishes to help make ends meet between gigs.

In practice, it’s not that clear apparently. “I’ve talked to a few lawyers, and my lawyer says don’t do it,” said guitarist Yusuke Sato, referring to non-music work.

“And my lawyer says do it,” said singer Mau Jimenez.

To be safe, Sato is only pursuing music work while his visa application is pending. Like playing at weddings or giving guitar lessons.

But that only goes so far. And it’s still temporary. That’s why the foreign members of Night Lights decided to apply for a more lasting solution: an O1 artist’s visa.

They’re artists, right? Should be slam dunk. But it’s not.

“The O1’s were created by Congress as a way of addressing the fact that performing artists, or artists in general, are unique in their work and that they’re not replaceable,” said Matthew Covey, an immigration attorney in New York and founder of Tamizdat, a firm that helps artists navigate the US visa process.

“In other words if you want U2 to perform at your festival, it’s not good enough to just have Dave Matthews instead,” Covey added.

In order to qualify for an O1 visa, however, artists must prove that they have exceptional abilities. It helps if they’re global megastars already, like U2 or the Rolling Stones.

The guys in Night Lights are fresh out of college. They’re no global megastars. But they are determined to distinguish themselves.

That’s why they decided to move to Los Angeles. For the past year, they’ve been booking as many gigs as possible there and working on a second EP called "Expectations," which is now out.

I asked Norwegian drummer Dag Hanken if the need to prove themselves worthy of O1 visa status meant more pressure in the recording studio.

“I don’t know if we were thinking like that,” said Hanken. “I wasn’t nervous … like, ‘If I mess up this one take, I might be thrown out of the country!'”

In fact, the band has adopted the opposite attitude: assuming that their visas will come through.

“We’re like working full-steam ahead,” said Jimenez. “We’re working as if we have [the visas] and until proven otherwise we’re going to continue making good music.”

That attitude has paid off, at least for Jimenez. He finally got his O1 visa earlier this year.

But Hanken and Sato are still working with an immigration lawyer to secure theirs. They’re hopeful, but if they don’t get new visas soon, they may still have to leave the country. So the band’s future remains uncertain.

Matthew Covey, the immigration lawyer, understands the goal of the O1 visa program: to regulate which foreign artists, and how many, are allowed to perform in the US. But in a case like Night Lights, he thinks the rules are too strict.

“I think that independent young artists like the ones we’re talking about here contribute an awful lot to American society,” said Covey. “And I think that the bars created to keep them out are unnecessarily high.”

For now, the four members of Night Lights aren’t giving up on their dream of making it, all four of them together as a US-based multinational band. There’s nothing else, they say, they’d rather be doing. - PRI's The World (NPR)


Night Lights, a formerly Boston-based band now residing in Los Angeles, played their first L.A. show at the Hotel Café in Hollywood on Nov. 5. Despite an energetic performance and lots of love from the crowd at the popular venue, the band faces a dark and winding road — the quest to stay in the United States. - LA Weekly

"Listen to Night Lights' dancy indie pop release "Childish" [PREMIERE]"

Indie rock group Night Lights is about as diverse as they come, having members from Mexico, Japan, California, and Norway. The cultural diversity in their band is reflecting in their music. It's a blend of grooving indie rock, tinged with a dancey dash of pop, peppered in with notes of electronic synths, tied together with a driving soulfulness that combines together to create their own unique sound. Their latest single "Childish" is carried by a thumping bass line and sonic guitar riffs. The sound is similar of Two Door Cinema Club but with it's own unique styling of indie rock.
Read more at - EarMilk

"These Are the Real Struggles That Foreign Artists Face in the US (And How to Overcome Them)"

As a foreign artist, what was the first major hurdle you had to overcome in the US, and how did you get over it?
Fjer: My name! No doubt. [laughs] I used to go by my own name, Maja (pronounced Mya), and people would always butcher it and have a really hard time with it. I quickly found out that I would want something that was easier to pronounce, and more international. Granted, Fjer ("feathers" in Danish) is not the easiest to say, but it’s simple, still represents my Nordic roots, and makes for a great conversation. I’m glad I embraced my language and made it work.

Stef Lang: Getting the O-1 visa, which for me was a process, but once you're all clear to go and you've moved, the first major hurdle is just getting out there and getting plugged into the music scene, making relationships with people, and creating opportunities for yourself. You get over that by just doing it. I signed up for a million writing sessions, took meetings with labels and publishers, booked shows, and played open mics, but also spent time getting to know people on a personal level. You need supporters; you can't go it alone out here.

Joan Chew: The initial hurdle was, I guess, trying to know people in the scene, and to play out as much as possible in different places and situations. Not knowing anyone meant a lot of Craigslist hunting and going to shows or jam sessions, but persistence, doing a good job, and being professional with a great attitude helped.

Sofia B: My first hurdle was finding friends and places to play music at. I actually suffer from stage fright, so I was very much my own worst enemy. The best decision I ever made was going to Berklee because the friends I made there are a huge part of why I still write.

Mau Jimenez of Night Lights: I think the first major hurdle was the decision of whether or not to stay in the US and pursue Night Lights, knowing that it could potentially have an end date, with each of us having to apply for our visas eventually. I think we overcame it because of the music we make. We believe in it to the point of betting our time, our money, and our lives, to the years it will take to develop Night Lights. We have one another to remind us of that sacrifice, and to keep our heads and eyes focused on the future. To always work hard and stay humble knowing we’re not really just doing this for ourselves, but our future literally depends on one another. - Sonicbids

"Night Lights - Childish"

I've been mulling over the release of "Childish" by L.A. quartet Night Lights for the past few days. There's no doubting the talent that is on display here, but I can't help but be concerned over the longevity of this act.

Perhaps I'm being unreasonable, but I for one would like to see these edgy, but crisp guitar lines become a signature of Night Lights. The dancey persona of this single suits these guys perfectly and hopefully this is the path they follow for future releases.

Excited to see what they come up with for the rest of 2016. - Indie Shuffle

"Listen to Night Lights’ Sparkling New Single, ‘Take My Hand’"

Last time we chilled out with Night Lights, the young rock band was playing our 2015 Boston & Beyond party with Berklee down at South By Southwest (apply to play the 2016 edition here). Since that show nearly a year ago, the formerly Boston-based Night Lights have relocated to the West Coast, and their story has even generated some nice early buzz in their new home of Los Angeles.

This week, they’re back with what we believe to be their first single since heading west: A glowing, radio-ready alt-pop nugget called “Take My Hand.” Building on the promise of their early singles crafted while they were Bostonians, “Take My Hand” is augmented by a fair bit of SoCal sunshine and ambition, and should continue to bring the lads increased attention, positioning them alongside the likes of Walk The Moon and Grouplove.

“If this song hits home for you and brings someone to mind,” the band writes, “let them know you love them.” - Boston Magazine

"Baeble First Play: Night Lights Drop A Warm Blast Of LA Electro Pop"

It's cold as hell in New York City today. Between the wind and the below freezing temperatures, it's a day where you're probably looking for anything to warm you up. Thank god for LA electro-pop act Night Lights who are bringing a warm blast of dance pop right into our frozen winter wasteland.

We've got the exclusive premiere of Night Lights' latest single, "Take My Hand," which fuses the alt-electro weirdness of middle-period Passion Pit with the massive, funky hooks of Walk the Moon. Throw in the soaring vocals of frontman Mau Jimenez, and you've got the sort of enveloping pop atmosphere that is sure to warm you to your extremities today. - Baeble

"Night Lights Unveil Playful New 'Childish' Music Video [Premiere]"

Los Angeles-based, but internationally sourced four-piece rock band Night Lights met in 2012 while at school in Boston and have since been working to carve out their own niche of fun, danceable indie rock. Comprised of Mau Jimenez on vocals and guitar, Yusuke Sato on guitar, Jeff Kinsey on bass and Dag Hanken battering away on the drums, the group released their debut EP Here We Come in 2014 and are gearing up to release loads of new music in 2016. They just released their new song "Childish" and we are happy to premiere the fun video for your viewing pleasure.

The video is much more than just a still shot of the band playing in some practice space, they try and tell a story. The band takes a back seat to the short tale of a couple who have fun with their relationship, by determining who has to do chores around the house by playing pranks on each other and fighting it out with nerf guns in the yard all in good fun.

"'Childish' is about the realization of how we all so easily act extremely egocentric and childish in order to get our own needs met. We do the stupidest things when we feel that other people get in our way, and when we think that we are at the center of the universe/the world revolves around us, rather than seeing life through a wider lens and embracing the bigger picture," says Hanken about song and video.

"The music video is a spin on the word childish, with a newly married couple trying to find new and fun ways of getting chores done in the house. We tried to catch the dancey and childish feel of the song, and to not take ourselves too seriously. The selfless and tedious chores in life can be quite okay if you attack them together, and look at them from a new angle.. It's all about perspective!"

Watch the video below and stream the tune as well. Pick up a free download of the song below. - Music Times

"How to convince the government to like your music"

Night Lights is a multinational band. Lead singer Mauricio Jimenez is from Mexico, bass player Jeff Kinsey is from California, guitarist Yusuke Sato is from Japan and drummer Dag Hanken is from Norway. Their goal? To figure how to keep making music in the US. - BBC


Childish - Night Lights 2016


Feeling a bit camera shy


With members from Mexico, Japan, and Norway, Night Lights brings together an eclectic assortment of indie, rock, and soul influenced sounds in an effort to make people dance and feel feelings. The band met while attending school in Boston, and have since discovered a balance between profound lyrics, hooky melodies, and intriguing harmonic progressions.

Night Lights' catchy indie pop first single "Childish" earned features from EarMilk, Indie Shuffle, Music Times, and many more. Shortly after being released, the song made it's way into both the Viral 50 Global and Viral 50 US Spotify charts, and has been played over 600K times on the platform to date.

Night Lights recently moved across the country from Boston to LA to start the next (post-college) chapter of the band, but first, they were faced with the challenge of each earning the coveted O1 artist visa. Their diverse backgrounds (coming from 3 different continents), journey of obtaining the O1s, and story of "moving to the US to 'make it' as musicians" has been an interesting topic that has garnered attention from the likes of NPR, BBC World News, LA Weekly, Sonicbids, and more.

After gaining the ability to stay in the States, Night Lights set out on tour supporting electro pop act Mako on a 30-date North American tour from January through early March 2018, where they played "Childish," as well as all of the new music they have on the docket. Night Lights' next single "Nerve" is currently planned to drop in May 2018.

Band Members