Hard Rock and Heavy Metal news, reviews, and interviews.

A Day with NightSphere

NightSphere is a Phoenix-based power metal band who have opened for big-name acts like DORO, Firewind and Sabaton.

Their influences range from Stravinsky to Manowar, and their keyboard-infused symphonic metal sets them apart from many other bands in the local scene.

NigthSphere performing in February 2013. Photo courtesy NightSphere's official Facebook.

NigthSphere performing in February 2013. Photo courtesy NightSphere’s official Facebook.

The band formed in 2010 when the members found each other on Craigslist. The current lineup is Christopher “C.J.” McConnell on vocals, Elsthon Gomez on lead guitar, Josh Marines on bass, Marc Williams on keyboards and Mike Rodriguez on drums.

The Blog of Shredding got the chance to sit down with them and discuss a variety of topics. Here are some highlights.

On the origin of the band’s name:

“We thought it was pretty accessible,” says singer C.J. McConnell. “You could remember it. If you had some crazy name like–we were thinking of Elementasia or something. Well, it sounds great, but… how can you chant that? You know, that’s the thing for us too. We want our audience to interact with us as much as possible.”

On why they are unique:

“We each bring something different to the table,” says drummer Mike Rodriguez. “You have a drummer that is influenced by Motley Crue and Metallica, a guitarist who’s (influenced by) Opeth and Katatonia, C.J. with everything that he is. (laughs) And then John Williams (referring to the composer) over here… (laughs) Just like the blending of everything together, it’s just like the stars aligned. It’s something different.”

“I think that we can appeal to people outside the metal community as well,” adds keyboardist Marc Williams.

NightSphere singer CJ McConnell and guitarist Elsthon Gomez, opening for Doro Pesch. Photo by Alec Damiano.

NightSphere singer C.J. McConnell and guitarist Elsthon Gomez, opening for Doro Pesch. Photo by Alec Damiano.

On what made them want to pursue music in the first place:

“When I was a boy, I heard this story about a show in Sao Paolo with Sepultura,” says Marines. “Like, they had such an awesome presence onstage, the fans killed some dude. And I was like, ‘Wow. That is serious.’ People are into this style. I want to be in this. I knew that’s my calling in life.”

“When I first joined NightSphere, (playing guitar) was kind of more like a hobby,” says Gomez. “But now with NightSphere, I could see myself making it as more of a career.

“Guitar DVDs with Elsthon Gomez,” adds McConnell. “Just wait for it.”

“Oh yeah, it’s gonna happen! Move aside, (Dream Theater guitarist) John Petrucci!”

On what would define success for them:

“Playing big stadiums. Honestly for me, if we played Wacken (Open Air Festival)–even like the small stage, the first band playing like at noon–I would be like ecstatic,” says Gomez.

“I’m gonna know when I make it when I’m sitting down to eat dinner at a steakhouse. I’ll be like cutting into my filet mignon, with a nice glass of wine. Expensive. And I just feel like a little tap on my shoulder, and then like I get up and I look into his face and it’s like (Manowar bassist and songwriter) Joey DeMaio, you know,” says Marines. “I mean, having respect from other top-notch guys that have been around. That’s when you know you make it. Your sales can be good and stuff, but if you have no respect from people who have already been there, then it doesn’t mean anything.”

“For me, it would be when I wake up in the morning, if I know that the only thing I have to do that day is sit at my computer or whatever and write music,” says Williams. “And I’m getting paid for it. That’s what I would like to do. When I do not have to worry about a day job, I’m done.”

NightSphere will perform at Rocky Point Cantina in Tempe, Ariz. on May 16 and at Joe’s Grotto in Phoenix on May 18.

You can hear their song “As We Are Told” below.

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