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Interview: Night Works

Night Works emerged this year with their track ‘I Tried So Hard‘, an experimental take on soulful RnB sounds – debuted alongside a mixtape. Since then, all that’s emerged from his social media outlets is another mixtape, a mix, a rough experimental clip, and only one other full track titled ‘The Eveningtime‘. What makes Night Works different to any other elusive internet artist, though, is that their sound tends to veer away from obviously following any fleeting trends. It’s clear that these guys are the real deal; Ben Loom finds out more.

Who’s in the band?
Some good friends of mine, a chap called Davo plays bass. Liam Fletcher plays drums. Davo and Liam were both in Your Twenties, my last band. And the newest recruit is a guy called Owen Barrett, he used to play in Manchester. We should be established to play in London in autumn.

So you’ve recorded a full album?
It’s all done. I recorded it before there was any label. I recorded it myself with the help of other musicians, including the musicians in the band, and Joe Mount produced a few of the tracks. But I just decided to make the record before worrying about record labels or who was going to release it. I just didn’t want any of that, I didn’t want anyone saying ‘do more like this’ or ‘do more like that’ I just wanted to make a record.

Cool, What’s it like?
Well I hope that it’s quite an involving listen. I wanted to make a record that people could really live with, and the more they gave, the more the record gave back to them. I didn’t want to just make tracks that I could release over a year and then put them all together and call it an album. I wanted to make a record; I wanted to make sequenced music.

So its got structure to it?
Yeah, its kind of got a very broad, not a narrative, but set of ideas that I wanted to explore. It’s not like a concept, I just had a few ideas that I was thinking about a lot to do with the lyrics and the music and I wanted to make sure everything just fell into place. I’d like to think that its got a bit of shade and a few hidden corners that you can get lost in a bit, if you decided to devote that kind of effort to it. I really hope that some people do decided to listen to it in that way. It’s got some songs you can dance to, its got some songs you can chill to.

Has it got hits?
I’d like to think it has a few track in there you could go away humming to or you could play in a club or radio and it makes sense in that context. And that’s always been important to me, actually writing melodies, writing songs. I love songs, more than anything I love being able to sing a melody or someone sing it back to you, it’s great. A couple of the songs maybe in a parallel universe will get to number one. I don’t think they’ll get to number one in this universe.

So the influences within the album are kind of Balearic, and RnB?
Yeah I liked that kind of scene. I suppose I’m one of those people that if I get an idea in my head, and there’s something that I want to find out about it, I go onto YouTube and watch loads of videos and do some research and listen to stuff. So one of most recent things I did, say the last couple of years while making this album was Ibiza in ’88 ’89 and just how inclusive and eclectic and positive and it just seemed like the music policy was really free ranging. And then French touch and house music or house and disco, also when I was a teenager I was into Brit pop as well as music from Daft Punk, Etienne de Crecy even the early Jacques Lu Cont. Then there’s RnB elements in that I just like that looseness and rhythm feel. I think its important that every track has a really strong rhythm and that it has a point to it in terms of the feel of the rhythm.

The key influences are the French touch, Ibiza and British (progressive) pop scene.

I know what you mean, like the development of indie and dance together.
Yeah it was like any revival, it is what it is and people picking and taking bits. I’m always interested in what those scenes tell you about the way people were thinking. Even the people who are just all about feel. I think in those scenes you had key people who were really open minded, really eclectic and quite clever, and that’s not to say that isn’t happening today. I like to feel romantic about things that make me feel, it’s inspiring.

Are there any particular tracks that are reference points?
I think there are key albums. My younger brother Michael introduced me to Steve McQueen, Cupid and Psyche by Scritti Politti, like The Word Girl. You know, too many tracks, but there are a couple of albums. I really hope its not a retro album, I’m not really into those kind of scenes because of the shoulder pads, you know what I mean, although that’s really fun.

From what I’ve heard, it doesn’t sound retro. its got elements that you could relate back to, definitely, but it does sound modern.
I hope so, I’ve tried hard to not make it retro.

Are there any modern themes from the modern world that you’ve brought into that?
The whole record is influenced by the whole time I was writing. I made another album as well after Metronomy, the Your Twenties record that I made with Joe Mann but I scrapped it because at the end of the process it sounded so different from the sound we wanted. By that point it seemed like the whole world had changed, from the mid 2000’s which were really confident, there was loads of cash and everyone felt really positive about the future and then it took a massive nosedive. The fact that we live here in London and down the road you’ve got this little hothouse of billions being traded everyday with people that have no contact with reality, combined with people who are feeling really disenfranchised and just trying to make ends meet. It’s become really dog eat dog. I hope that some of those themes come across in the lyrics.

In that respect do you think it’s a record which can appeal across the board?
I don’t know who I was necessarily writing it for, other than myself obviously. I think what I was trying to do was make it as friendly and accessible rather than being smoke and daggers about it or going down too obscure kind of path. Because of the internet people can find their fans easily which is so exciting.  music now which is more exciting in a way everyone can find their fans easily, so my instinct is to veer towards more inclusive music.. Some of the influences are pretty pop, they are the kind of influences that would be number one in my world, which doesn’t exist but yeah, I’d like to think it’d appeal to everyone.

I read that you’re a fan of the Tour De France?
Yes! It was so much fun. I’m not a cyclist and I’m not really sporty, and never was but the sporting events that interest me more and more are the ones that are really long. I just think its incredible what they put themselves through, it kind of frightening.

I love that Kraftwerk track ‘Tour de France’.
They’re the ultimate cyclists, man and machine in perfect harmony. Yeah, it’s fantastic.

Are you a fan of them?
Kraftwerk? Yeah. i mean I was in Metronomy for such a long time and certainly early Metronomy and the early stuff that Joe made and the stuff we presented it live obviously parallels them. But in Metronomy it was taken as a given that Kraftwerk was in your blood, they’re one of those bands like The Beatles, you just end up knowing all their stuff. They’re fantastic.

The way pop music is still so new, you’ve got those genres that run through.
Arguably they have had a much bigger influence than The Beatles, I mean, I only say The Beatles because they are so woven into the fabric of music and culture but Kraftwerk probably have a claim that every RnB, every hip hop and every dance record has some part of their (Kraftwerk’s) legacy. It’s totally mind blowing, 3 geeky guys from Germany, it’s amazing.

What label are you with?
The label is Loose Lips; they’re really new and they only have 3 proper artists.

They have Chad Valley and the band that really swung it for me is Azari & III, who I saw live for the first time at this converse show and they were sensational. That’s one of my favourite albums of last year.

-Ben Loom

 



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