Under the cover of darkness and awash in neon stadium glow, the project first took the field in 2017 led by frontman, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Martin Johnson. A catchy combination of muscular guitars, new wave synths, and big screen-worthy stories seamlessly speaks to the nocturnal nature of their moniker.
“The name personifies the emphasis on sports, sex, and the undying quest for the American dream,” explains Johnson. “The lights are on. It’s primetime. There’s an element of danger. It feels like anything can happen in the moment. ”
As the story goes, The Night Game first began appearing (fittingly) at secret late night shows around the Los Angeles area. Upon release in March 2017, the debut single “The Outfield”—co-produced by Francois Tetaz—quietly garnered early praise from The Fader, Billboard, and Noisey who unabashedly proclaimed it a “future classic.” Journeyman jack-of-all-trades Dev Hynes directed its cinematic and avant garde music video, while the song amassed millions of Spotify streams upon its release.
After “The Outfield” graced Spotify’s “New Music Friday” playlist, John Mayer heard the song and invited The Night Game to join him on a summer shed tour. “Usually, it’s that cliché of your people call my people, and then something happens,” Johnson laughs. “John heard the song on Spotify and reached out directly. It was refreshing to see that real music fans still exist in the industry.”
Following “The Outfield,” The Night Game unveiled the follow-up single “Once In A Lifetime.” On the song, a robust beat gives way to another emboldened and enigmatic hook punctuated by Johnson’s fiery falsetto. “I was in a pretty dark and self-destructive time of my life,” he admits. “Lo and behold, in the middle of all this darkness, I got a once in a lifetime opportunity. There was this pinhole of light. I don’t know if it’s fate, divine intervention, God, or a willingness to live, but this moment changed my life for the better. It pushed me out the door.”
You might’ve heard a tune or two from Johnson before The Night Game began. He fronted the mid-2000s pop band Boys Like Girls before transitioning to songwriting and production—penning and producing music for a myriad of artists across pop, rock, R&B, and urban. However, The Night Game represents him most clearly in the end with each experience leading to this moment.
“I’d love for listeners to be transported into this world,” Johnson leaves off. “This is an extension of my reality and truth. If people can relate to or feel that at any level, then we’re really getting somewhere. “