10 Questions With…The Night VI
TODAY AT ALL THE WRITE NOTES, I’M EXCITED TO HAVE “10 QUESTIONS WITH” THE NIGHT VI. THIS SIX-PIECE FORMED THREE YEARS AGO AT THE FRENCH LYCEE IN LONDON, AND THEIR POWERFUL, AND EMOTION FILLED, MUSIC WILL LEAVE YOU CLAMOURING FOR MORE. I CHATTED WITH THE BAND ABOUT INFLUENCES, THEIR DEBUT EP, AND THEIR LATEST TRACK, FEARS.
Everyone at All The Write Notes is excited to welcome The Night VI for “10 Questions With.” First off, tell all our readers a little bit about the band, and how it all got started.
SOPHIE: Well we come from all over the world (Colombia, Paris, London) but we all live in London. Before The Night VI I was a solo artist and Anna (Harpist) played in the band at the time. Jack and I decided to have a go at writing together, it felt like a pretty unique connection. I think it was the most free I had felt in a writing session, having done the rounds of writers I was sick of being told what they thought I should be so from then we decided to form The Night VI. We basically hand picked our favourite musicians that were playing around London at the time, most of them were in other bands before we all came together. Kristy and I met at Vocal Tech (a school that teaches you to sing Yellow by Coldplay) and Bo (Drummer) was 1 of 6 drummers we tried out, him and Bogart (Bassist) formed a tight relationship instantly and that was the day The Night VI had officially formed.
Just like every other band/artist, you can hear influences from yesterday, and today, within your songs. Who are a few bands/artists that have helped shape you as a band, and as performers?
JACK: To me they are quite different things, influence wise I could point to a select group I listen to time and time again and just go HOW are you so good?! Buckingham/Nicks, Joni Mitchell, Feist, Arcade Fire. But performance wise you pick up ideas from loads of places. Savages are incredible Live but as is Mac Demarco in a completely different way. Equally The Stones are masters of holding the attention of a stadium whilst Laura Marling plays as if she’s in your front room. There’s something to gain from all of them.
I can barely handle keeping myself happy when I write, let alone anyone else. How have you been able to juggle the artistic input from all six of you?
JACK: Hmm, with great difficulty. It can be a pretty highly strung and emotional group…there’s a lot testosterone and Far too much oestrogen. As self appointed leader and musical director I try to take responsibility for shaping what we do, a role which I regularly fail at in dramatic fashion. Herding cats? Trying to keep 6 monkeys in a bag? Honestly though we seem to swing quite freely between being collectively brilliant and a complete fucking disaster. Anna’s physically attacked me twice in the studio (not joking) and Sophie and I are as patient with each other as a 4 year old brother and sister stuck in a traffic jam after a long haul flight being asked to share the last carton of Ribena. Amidst the mayhem we do seem to get there though and ultimately the music keeps us in the same room (just long enough to get the parts down anyway.)
With all the praise, and well deserved I might add, that surrounded your single “Thinking Of You”, did you find that it put pressure on the band to get back in the studio and record?
JACK: I guess so. We just followed our noses last time though and did was felt and sounded right, so if we do that again I’m sure our next release will find ears that can also appreciate it. I always feel pressure though, every time we write there’s pressure to produce something interesting & new, pressure to do Sophie’s lyrics justice, pressure to write something the band will like and enjoy playing on. I concern myself with those things far more, the journo’s can have a listen once it’s all done!
It’s clear that you sometimes write your songs based on personal experiences. Do you find it harder to find the right words because they were part of your own life? Or is it easier to turn your own experiences into lyrics?
SOPHIE: Personally I write from my own experience or even from another person’s experience that I can relate to in some way. To me the best songs are love songs. So if I’m feeling content I find it incredibly hard to write a love song, often I search and write everything that I feel inspired by, listen to other peoples stories and relate them to my own, read poetry, listen to new music.
Staying with songwriting, does what you read or what you watch have an impact on your songwriting?
SOPHIE: Totally, as I mentioned earlier articles, poetry and photography exhibitions make their mark on our music, for sure. When life gets quiet, imagery and quotes help you to write your own story. Sometimes I even route through our blog http://www.thenightvi.tumblr.com. Anna is behind all the artwork and I carry a diary with me everywhere I go and write every day, it’s the only thing I do consistently. Put it this way, if I lost my bag that would be the biggest loss.
From thought to pen. From pen to paper. From paper to sound. Considering there are six of you, and the geography of the band, how has your demo process changed from recording your critically acclaimed EP “Still Thinking Of You” to your newest single, “Fears” (Free Download Below)?
JACK: Sophie & I wrote Fears in our shitty studio in Stoke Newington last summer. It was the hottest week of the year and there’s no windows so it was fucking boiling. There’s actually a video of that day online and you can see the sweat dripping of our faces. The songs really about isolation and we were certainly feeling it in our little melancholy prison that day whilst the world was outside swimming and ice creaming! The second day of the session was easier, we decanted to my Camden flat and sat out on my tiny balcony. We drew on both of our lives to flesh out the lyrics and chatted about production ideas….There used to be such great pop producers that had their own signature and sound and made great sounding, credible & commercial music (think Nile Rodgers) but now radio records just sound like they were made using a photocopier or 3D printer. We didn’t want that for Fears, we wanted it to sound Live and Real (pause whilst everyone nods and says ‘yeah man.’) Anyway having produced our demos since day one as well as the recent set of six covers I decided to step up to the plate and Fears is actually my first band production (which I’m pretty proud about.) The Thinking of You EP was recorded in 6 weeks at RAK studios but we didn’t have the cash for that so it was back to the melancholy sweat box in Stokey. I recorded the drums with just 2 mic’s and kept elements of the original scrappy demo. It’s not a perfect recording but it has character and style which are far more sexy anyway.
Every weekend at ATWN, we tweet out some of our favorite covers under the hashtag, #ATWNWeekendCovers. Having already enjoyed your EP of fantastic covers, are there other tracks you would still love to cover?
SOPHIE: Joni Mitchell is 1 of my favourites, so I’d say Little Green from her record Blue, not only can she stretch her voice dynamically but her songs are great stories and beautifully told.
Beautiful. Intimate. Breathtaking. These are some of the words I’ve used, and many others have as well, when describing your music. What is it like to have your artistic expression understood, and appreciated?
SOPHIE: It’s always interesting to hear peoples reactions to our writing, because often they point out something new or different to what was originally intended. It’s one of the best things about music, everyone has their own experience with it but when it touches people it’s one of the best feelings. I want people to relate to it, that for me is when I feel most touched by a song.
I would love to sit down and chat with Jack White and Stephen King. I just want to thank Jack for The White Stripes, and Stephen King for “The Shining”. That’s it. Is there anyone that you’d love to meet, and thank for the joy their music, or their words, has brought to your life?
JACK: I’d love to chat with Nile Rodgers and/or Lindsey Buckingham. They’re guys that have a sound and a signature… a style that’s instantly recognisable and unique. As writer/producers they just know how to rinse every last bit of magic out of an idea, set it in the best possible musical framework & record it in a way that jumps out of the speakers with so much purity and clarity. I love that.
BOGART: the person I would really like to meet would probably have to be Jean Claude Van Damme cause he’s the ultimate dude or maybe Woody Allen because he makes me laugh and I would be curious to see if he’s as funny in real life.
ANNA: Meet Nick Cave and thank Serge Gainsbourg.
KRISTY: If Whitney was still alive I would have loved to meet her as she is my pure idol. I would definitely have a lot to thank her for!
Cassette or CD?
JACK: Vinyl & MP3 please – one for the wall and one for iTunes.
SOPHIE: C.D I love looking at the artwork, reading lyrics and who wrote and produced what.
ANNA : Cassette. My mum used to manage a library in the nineties and when cassettes got properly overtaken by CDs I inherited the whole library’s tape collection adding to the ones from my dad’s home-made collection. I had to make a selection though as there were a lot of tapes, but now I’ve got an awesome collection, both homemade and commercial ones. I love their muffled sound and my hi-fi rewinds them automatically so I know records back to front.
One Book. One Band.
JACK: Book – John Niven – Kill Your Friends (an essential guide to the music industry) Band – The Smiths (a lifetimes entertainment)
KRISTY – I got Hunger Games – Mockingjay as a Christmas present. I’m only on chapter two but am already hooked!
ANNA – Band: POND. Book: Even Silence Has an End by Ingrid Betancourt
I’D LIKE TO THANK ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE NIGHT VI FOR STOPPING BY ALL THE WRITE NOTES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO HEAR MORE FROM THE BAND, YOU CAN PICK UP THEIR DEBUT E.P. HERE, OR CHECK OUT THEIR OFFICIAL SOUNDCLOUD PAGE. TO KEEP UP WITH THE BAND’S NEWS, AND TOUR UPDATES, YOU CAN FIND THEM ON TWITTER, AND FACEBOOK.