Night Cap Develops their Sound in the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’
The local five-member band is celebrating the release of the music video for new single Eileen
By Vanessa Blankenship
Photos courtesy of Night Cap
Although their music is rooted in indie rock, Night Cap will never conform to one genre.
Inspired by musical artists including Kings of Leon, Cage the Elephant, The Strokes and Local Natives, who are known for adding a mix of different styles into their songs, Night Cap is growing and evolving with each new single.
Since releasing their hit song Everest back in 2017, the Austin-based quintet has performed at festivals like ACL and Float Fest, played sold-out shows at local music venues like Stubb’s and Parish and recorded a live session with Audiotree. They recently signed with Los Angeles-based record label Nobody Gets It and are now working on an album that’s set to be released next year. The band is making strides in Austin’s music scene and quickly building a fan base thanks to their heartfelt tunes about love, heartbreak, challenging times and new beginnings.
Composed of bandmates Ryan King, Jake Bomgaars, Alex Alfonso, Adrian Ayala and Stijn Dobbelaere, Night Cap is just as captivating and authentic in person as they are on stage.
Back in late August, I met with Night Cap in the beer garden at Central Machine Works. Bass player Alex Alfonso (also the group’s honorary chef who apparently makes the finest spaghetti carbonara in Austin!) explained how living in the “Live Music Capital of the World” has given the band a chance to experiment and develop their style.
“In Austin, you have true freedom to play any kind of music here,” says Alfonso. “Part of that is just the reputation the city has, but also the creatives here, and I think we’re seeing a fun differentiation of the local bands here. I don’t think we ever feel like we have to fit into a certain box when making music or putting it out. We don’t feel like there’s pressure to do it X, Y, or Z way.”
Night Cap’s journey began five years ago at the Sahara Lounge, a laid-back dive bar that doubles as a music venue in East Austin. It was the band’s first real gig. At that point, they were a four-piece group going by a different name, with core members Ryan King, Alex Alfonso and Adrian Ayala. Their good friend Randon Grametbaur was on the drums that night. King and Alfonso met during freshman year of college at the University of Texas at Austin and started playing a handful of songs King wrote in high school. Ayala and King are childhood best friends and grew up in New Braunfels.
As the crew waited to perform on stage, Jake Bomgaars opened for the band as a solo artist.
“I had listened to his music before we played that show, and I was like, ‘Damn, this guy’s pretty good,'” says King. “After our set, Jake came up and said, ‘Dude, that was such a great set.’ I was like, ‘Man, you had a great set too.’ We just stood there for a while, and I said, ‘You want to jam with us?’ And he said, ‘Absolutely.'”
Bomgaars immediately joined the band and began writing songs with singer and guitarist King. They reinvented themselves and landed on the name Night Cap, inspired by King’s many late nights sitting on the porch with his father.
“It would be the evening time, everything’s winding down and he’d tell me a story over a nightcap,” says King. “That was one of my favorite memories.”
Following the success of Everest, which now has over two million streams on Spotify, Night Cap has released an array of singles over the years with entirely different vibes and messages. Love Plane, released on Valentine’s Day in 2018, is the polar opposite of Everest. Its sweet, almost melancholy melody captures the simple pleasures of finding love.
“It’s my favorite song because it’s our slowest song we’ve ever put out,” says keyboardist Adrian Ayala. “We put that song out right after Everest, which was kind of a ballsy move on our part because Everest was heavy. They’re two completely different songs.”
All You Have Is Now, written and vocals performed by Jake Bomgaars, carries the most meaningful message for the artist — don’t let the life you have slip away right in front of you and be present in the moment.
“When I wrote that song, I was writing what I wish I could tell myself and remind myself,” says Bomgaars. From Me, another band favorite, is the first song Night Cap released following the pandemic and is filled with dynamic, electronic elements.
Today, the band is celebrating the release of the music video for Eileen, a fast-paced, high-energy song you’ll want to play on repeat. The jam just came out last month, but King originally wrote the song two years ago amid the pandemic when he was going through a real low point in his life. King’s father was undergoing cancer treatment, and the singer-songwriter was getting over a tough breakup.
“It was a new side of darkness that I hadn’t seen before,” explains King. “I just wanted to write a song that was the farthest away from what I was feeling at that time.”
The music video is now live on Nobody Gets It’s YouTube channel and features scenes of the band driving around New Braunfels (King and Ayala’s hometown) in a vintage 1968 Ford Bronco. The band is cruising while passing by their favorite neighborhood and hangout spots. Many shots were filmed at the Academy Street Gymnasium and River Road, a special place for the hometown duo. Back in high school, King and Ayala would head down to River Road to listen to music on a playlist, CDs or even cassette tapes because there was no service in the area.
“At the end of the day, that’s what I wanted to do whenever I was feeling bad, and the only thing that was bringing light back into my life was the idea of just getting in a car, driving and feeling like you’re going somewhere,” says King. “And just being with people that you care about.”