I have been speaking with Night House...
about his new single, Unfold, and how he arrived at that interesting moniker. I ask whether there is more material coming and what the scene is like in Brighton right now; which approaching artists we need to watch and what sort of music he grew up around.
I wanted to know how he feels his music has developed through the years and if there are gigs coming up; which artist he’d support if he could and whether there is a standout memory from his career so far – he selects a cool song to end things with.
Hi, Night House. How are you? How has your week been?
I've just been attempting to jump-start my friend and fellow musician Michael Baker's van - sadly, unsuccessfully. Other than that, great week so far planning tours and the next releases.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I'm Nick Williams, A.K.A. producer and songwriter, Night House. I adopted the name, Night House, after my Folk songwriting took a turn for the more electronic. I love blurring the lines between electronic and acoustic sounds. There are two other key players in the Night House family: Amy Squirrel on cello and Alfie Weedon our double-double bassist.
Where did the moniker, Night House, come from?
Searching for a name that fits your sound is a real challenge. I decided to turn to my favourite albums and artists for inspiration. I've always been a huge Joni Mitchell fan and, strumming through her records, I saw the track, Rainy Night House...well, you can guess the rest.
Unfold is your new single. Did it stem from a personal story?
I wrote Unfold for my best friend who was going through a very tough break-up. I wanted the song to comfort him and let him know that pain he was feeling was only temporary. Both the lyrics and the video - directed by Elliot Tatler - draw from this breakup.
Might there be an E.P. later in the year?
I'll raise you an album! We were lucky to work with producer Dan Brown (Massive Attack, Jerry Williams) on our debut-album, Everyone Is Watching from Afar, which will be out later in the year.
How do you think your music has mutated and developed since 2015?
One of the biggest changes was embracing electronic drums and the new orchestral sound brought by Alfie and Amy. Our Night House E.P. had more of an Indie band line-up, whereas this new album is far more adventurous with its arrangements. Despite embracing synths and drum machines, it still has Folk songwriting at its core with a real focus on lyrics.
Is Brighton a pretty great place when it comes to music, inspiration and people?
Brighton has an incredible music scene; one I feel fully emerged in! I could recommend hundreds of acts who deserve to be huge. It really does have that much talent here but I'll keep it to just three. Ellie Ford, harpist songwriter and all-round Brighton musical hero. We collaborated on my previous single, The Roots in the Wires. Michael Baker. We run a small promotions company together, Back in the Woods, putting on shows in Brighton - and he is one of the best songwriters out there. He's releasing his second album this year. I've been lucky enough to hear it all and it's incredible.
I've been addicted to Trip-Hop/Jazz band Bledig's debut E.P. which came out last month. We were lucky to have them as our main support for the Unfold single launch show at St. Nicholas' church and they blew everyone away!
When did music enter your life? Can you remember the first album you bought?
My parents were really into Fleetwood Mac and Simon & Garfunkel, so this really influenced my early years. I remember when all my friends were getting into heavy Metal and Rap, I was singing the praises of Rumours and Bridge Over Troubled Water - not cool at the time but they have definitely stood the test of time.
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
Supporting both Willy Mason and Ben Howard on the same night was a big highlight! But, really, often the smallest shows are the most memorable. There's a tiny town in Germany called Sohren, which we've played every time we toured Europe. They put on an incredible show and we're always so warmly welcomed back - and it's amazing to see the same faces and catch up with their lives.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
That's a really hard one, as there is too much music that I love, but today it would be...
Joni Michell – Hejira
This is a very special album to me; lyrically it's perfect. It documents Joni's solo road trip across America, reflecting on relationships; growing older and the deeper meanings of life. Musically, Joni's Jazz-tinged atmospheric guitar work, mixed with Jaco Pastorius' fretless bass, is impeccable.
Radiohead – In Rainbows
I was just listening to this whilst trying to jump-start Michael Baker’s van. On this album, I think they perfectly combined the electronic elements of Kid A with their more classic Prog-Rock sounds of OK Computer. The final track, Videotape, with its simple piano and swirling electronics was a huge inspiration to me.
Sun Kil Moon - Benji
I was introduced to this album by my friend Paul Murray, the singer-songwriter of Bee and Jackrabbit (an incredible Brighton Queer-Folk band). We were both supporting Warsaw Radio on an Irish tour and Paul put this on as we were driving home to Brighton. I was completely blown away by the naked, diary-style lyrics and it's had a big impact on my own writing.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I saw James Blake live a few years back and I think he's one of the most brilliant and underrated live acts. I don't really like to drink too much when performing but a good whiskey never goes wrong.
Are you planning any gigs in the coming months?
I'm going on a short joint-headline U.K. tour with Ellie Ford in April. We're playing:
03/04/2019: Sofar Sounds Southampton (venue not yet announced).
05/04/2019: St Martin’s Church, East Horsley, Guildford.
06/04/2019: The Space, Keynsham, Bristol.
Tickets available now. Head over to www.facebook.com/nighthouseuk for ticket links
How important is performing? Do you prefer it to life in the studio?
I often feel I can't really get into a song until I’ve played it live, so I often book in shows to try out new material. However, this being said, the title-track of the album, Everyone Is Watching from Afar, was made completely in the studio. We cut-and-pasted beats, synth and piano parts then overlayed so many intricate cello and string parts; so much so that it's almost impossible to play live without an orchestra! The time signatures for the verses is a technical nightmare!
IN THIS PHOTO: Ellie Ford
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
From Brighton, my top picks are Michael Baker, Ellie Ford; Bledig, Bee & Jackrabbit; AK Patterson, Jouis and Yumi and the Weather. Not a new artist, but one I've just discovered is Lucy Dacus. I've been listening to Night Shift on-repeat all week.
IN THIS PHOTO: AK Patterson
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Not really! I've always been pretty bad at taking time off but, in the summer, I live to swim in the sea.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Let's go for my good friend and touring buddy, Michael Baker, and my one of my favourite tracks from his first album, Anywhere Anytime Soon. Thanks!
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