Features, Print November 7, 2020

2GETHR 4EVR: NGHT WLVS Find The Formula

by Laura Giagos

While Northern Colorado-based synth hop trio NGHT WLVS formed in 2018, creating music together was nothing new. Long-time friends Will Duran, Sam Archuleta, and Tommy Martinez began making music together over a decade ago, and while life took them down separate roads, they reconnected in 2018. Back with a whole new vibe and focus, they formed NGHT WLVS with Archuleta as producer, Duran on vocals, and Martinez on the drums.

Dropping their self-titled EP in 2018, they hit the ground with a clear vision for themselves and their music, rocking a sound saturated in the lushness and sparkle of classic synth pop while sticking to their hip hop roots. Throughout 2020 they’ve released an impressive stretch of singles and November has been no different with the release of their latest single “Howl.” The track is a clear continuation of the roll these guys are on, each time stepping up their game and stepping into their zone. “With all the experience we have from before [their 2018 reunion], we want to really get it right and go for it. We’ve been making music together for a long time so obviously we have that connection. I feel we have our formula down,” says Duran.

A sound saturated in the lushness and sparkle of classic synth pop while sticking to their hip hop roots, the latest single by NGHT WLVS is “Howl.”

All three members originally began playing together under the name The Real Deal Holifield as a hip hop group. Life led them in different directions as Archuleta joined the Army and Duran and Martinez continued with their hip hop band The Squid Kids. 

“Sam ended up going into the Army,” Duran says. “Then The Squid Kids fell apart and I moved to Denver. I remember trying to produce myself and I was trying to connect with people out there but it wasn’t happening. Then one day I posted on Facebook that I didn’t want to make beats anymore, I just wanted to write songs. Sam hit me up and said let’s do it.”

Taking pandemic business adaptation into his own hands, Will Duran of NGHT WLVS has built a friend-based collective to tackle record label duties.

Like the rest of the world, COVID-19 hit and threw all their plans out of whack. Duran found himself moving back to Platteville to ride out the coronavirus and the band went back to the drawing board. Making the most of their time, Duran says they are working to put out as much content as they can while they continue to work on their live show. 

Looking ahead, NGHT WLVS have no misconceptions about the difficulties of the industry, but are facing it with modern solutions. Instead of trying to do everything themselves, they’ve recruited their friends to help with the different facets of the project. “The idea is to build a team, so basically all the things a label would provide we just do ourselves,” says Duran. “Everyone has a role.” 

In addition to their inventiveness, the greatest artistic strengths of NGHT WLVS are both their execution and the exploration of their sound. Archuleta creates some amazing beats and the production is starting to shine. Duran is writing compelling songs bouncing between R & B and hip hop, and as a whole they’re showing a clear level of comfort in the studio. Growing as a band and a collective can still feel a little awkward at times but that’s part of the exploration process. “We just want to keep writing as much shit as we can,” says Duran.

Keep up with NGHT WLVS as they continue to release music by following them on the streaming platform of your choice. soundcloud.com/nghtwlvsmusic