Day for Night 2017

New wave: the hot acts who made the most of their Day for Night debuts

New wave: the hot acts who made the most of their Day for Night debuts

L.A.-based synth crooner Saro played his first major festival at Day for Night 2017. Photo credit Roger Ho/Day for Night Roger Ho
Houston-based Hescher played the Green Stage on Saturday and has a new EP in the works. Johnston Farrow

Making the most of a festival that encourages pushing boundaries of artistic expression through sound and visuals, two new acts are using Day for Night 2017 as a launching pad to bigger things in the new year.

Hescher, a Houston-based synth-based four-piece, played Saturday afternoon on the Green Stage. Influenced by the darker sounds of new wave acts like Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears, this was only the third time the band had played live as four-piece. After coming to the festival the last two years as spectators, they were now playing one of the major stages.

“We have close friends that have worked with the festival for a long time that we’ve known for years and have helped make an impact,” said Cory Sinclair, lead singer of the band, backstage at the festival's Post HTX headquarters. “There is this family aspect to the festival. We’re very fortunate, we’re not blind to that fact, but we are also very appreciative.”

For Los Angeles-based synth crooner Saro — aka Evan Windom — Day for Night 2017 is his first major music festival and he could barely contain his excitement, having only produced two EPs, the latest, Boy Afraid, that came out last week. He played the Red Stage – the biggest stage at Day for Night – early on Sunday afternoon.

“They had booked me months ago, and when the line-up came out, I freaked out,” Windom said. “[Sunday headliner] Thom Yorke is my biggest inspiration.”

To new artists, it’s a chance to see what other, more established artists are doing in terms of stage production with thrilling visuals and lighting put together by some of the smartest and most progressive artists in the business.

“The visual aspect to everything is right on par with what I want mine to be,” Windom said. “It’s making me want to push my visuals but also the sound is so phenomenal that it makes me want to push further and get more experimental with my work.”

For both Hescher and Saro, one of the most important aspects to playing at Day for Night, other than the extra exposure, is being able to use the momentum to release new music in 2018 and ultimately start building their fan base even more. Saro is currently working on his third EP and eventual full-length, inviting acclaimed string arranger Owen Pallett into the studio.

“It’s such a subtle, but powerful form of validation,” a youthful Saro said. “It tells me that I’m doing something right and to keep doing what I’m doing. It also inspires me to get even weirder with my music and take it even further.”

Hescher is currently in the studio in Houston and plans to release an EP in March. They used their Day for Night set to play new tracks live and flesh out their sounds as a full band.

“To have this opportunity means that we have some propulsion,” said Hescher multi-instrumentalist Omar Al-Bachi. “We could put it on our resume, we can say, ‘Hey, we’ve done this, here we are, we’re about to release material from this coming year and just go forward and use this as the backbone. Playing here, we’ll have eyes on us, so it’s helpful for anyone that’s playing here.”