Blending electronic beats, orchestral arrangements and lyric-driven songs, Brighton-based Night House has a sound that is almost spiritual. In a quick chat with vocalist Nick Williams from Night House, we discuss their debut album Everyone Is Watching From Afar.
What can you tell us about your debut album Everyone Is Watching From Afar?
To quote the fantastic jazz poet Alabaster Deplume, “it’s the culmination of a lifetimes creative work. Is it enough?”. Everyone Is Watching From Afar is our debut Night House album and we’ve thrown all our heart into it. It was two years in the making, but we couldn’t be prouder. In addition to the core band of Alfie (double bass), Robin (cello) and myself (vocals, keyboards, guitar, synths and electronics), the album features additional instrumentation from some of our favourite musicians and friends. It’s a huge orchestral sound.
What was the writing and recording process like?
Writing is a pretty solitary thing for me. I usually start with a simple idea on piano, guitar or mandolin. I feel that the song should be able to stand on its own as an acoustic track, then I’ll have fun deconstructing it and add the electronic elements – it’s almost like remixing your own music. We recorded the album in my home studio, except for the drums done at Small Pond Brighton. Some tracks I’d bring to Alfie and Robin with most of my parts done, others were just a rough demo and two songs we arranged in one day and then recorded live (except vocals) that evening. So, we didn’t follow any pattern for recording, but as the album varies in styles this kind of felt right!
Do you think your songs have a similar theme or do they differ?
I didn’t realise it until I’d finished writing the album, but a lot of the songs were written about my family. This being said, ‘The Roots In The Wires’ is about the refugee crisis and ‘Unfold’ was written for a friend who was going through a tough breakup. There is definitely a theme of family and friendship that runs through the record.
If you had to describe your style of music, how would you describe it?
I’ve always described it as electronic folk, orchestral folk or alt-folk, but sometimes I wonder how ‘folky’ we really.
Who influences you to make music on a personal and professional level?
Music is very much an addiction for me. I can find myself feeling down if I haven’t been writing or performing. For as long as I can remember I’ve always written music and often used songwriting as a free therapist. Well, that’s what my therapist told me anyway.
I get really inspired by other friends and musicians; there’s nothing quite like someone playing a new song they’ve just written to put a fire up your ass and get you writing. My friend and brilliant songwriter Michael Baker is always doing this.
If you could meet anyone (living or dead), who would it be? Why?
I would have loved to have partied with Prince during the height of his fame and craziness. I’m the biggest Joni Mitchell fan, it would be insane to hang out with her around 1972, but I wouldn’t want to play music with either Joni or Prince. I’d be way too star struck!
What is one of your worst habits?
I’m very untidy and have a habit of fixing things with gaffer tape.
How do you stay motivated, particularly with this lockdown?
Whist recording the album I was working entirely from home except for our live shows, so I got pretty used to having to self-motivate! Going outside (responsibly nowadays), making lists and drinking a lot of coffee are the keys to success.
What can we expect from Night House in the future?
Way back in January we filmed three live videos with filmmaker Alice Humphreys, which we’re now releasing. Two tracks ‘Blackout’ and ‘Bloodlines’ are now out, and we’ll be dropping the final one very soon.
Do you have a message for all our readers?
Eating peanut butter on an apple is surprisingly amazing, give it a go! Obviously, only if you like both PB and apples and have no allergies to either. Also, keep safe and stay home. Oh, and listen to our album!