Last week saw Glasgow-quintet, and 21 for 21 alumni, Nightshift, release their excellent new album, Zöe. Put out through the Trouble In Mind label, Zöe marks something of a departure for the band, at least in technique, rather than, perhaps sound. While their debut full-length cassette, released on CUSP Recordings in early 2020, was largely crafted in the band’s practice space, Zöe was pieced together remotely, with an almost reverse pass-the-parcel approach, each member adding something new before passing it on to the next. The result was a record that was more difficult to make, and also more radical and creative than the band ever envisioned, described by the band’s Eothern Stern as, “a kind of exquisite corpse”.
Across Zöe’s ten tracks, it is a record that seems to always be evolving; opening track Piece Together channels some of the nostalgic psych-folk beloved of the 70s hippy ideology that the track lyrically questions, while Power Cut is a modern sounding track, with easy drifting vocals and meandering synths, cut through by the surprising urgency of the drum rhythm. Elsewhere recent single, Make Kin could be filed neatly alongside Dry Cleaning or label-mates Lithic and the title track has a certain scratchy, gently unhinged quality that is wonderfully disorienting. Ultimately, Zöe is a record that seems to have embraced it’s unusual creation story, undimmed by the difficulties, it serves to show what is possible when we push ourselves out of our comfort zone and embrace the world as it is, a hopeful reminder that creativity always finds a way.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Nightshift?
Andrew: I am Andrew Doig and I play bass and sing a bit in Nightshift. Sometimes I am called Robert Sotelo and make records under that persona as well as playing in Order of the Toad with my partner and our good friend!
Chris: I’m Chris White and I play the drums and do some backing vocals. I also play in a band called Spinning Coin.
Eo: I’m Eothen (Eo) Stearn I sing and play keyboard in NIGHTSHIFT. I also play in bands 2PLY and Difficult – although these other two are on a bit of hiatus we will return at some point.
Georgia: I’m Georgia Harris and I play clarinet, guitar, and sing a little in Nightshift. The rest of the band have been together longer but I joined in March 2020. Chris has been a friend for a long time and he asked me to play with them. I’m not in other active bands but I release recordings as CBF Collective.
David: Hello there! I’m David Ewan Campbell and have played in a few bands here and there over time, like I’m Being Good which I was in for about 17 years, released a few albums, singles & compilation tracks on various underground labels, toured a fair bit around Europe & did a couple of John Peel sessions. I’m Being Good are still making & releasing great, uncompromising, criminally ignored records – last one was ‘A Constellation of Bad Ideas’ on my mate Andrew Clare’s Infinite Chug label – if you like a detuned/chimey/wonky guitar or two please go to their Bandcamp… I also played keyboards for a bit in Imitation Electric Piano with Simon Johns from Stereolab, 1st drums then guitar in Sloath on Riot Season records amongst a variety of different mostly quite noisy guitarry/drummy/’electronicky’ improvvy things over the years in my old hometown of Brighton. When I moved to Glasgow Doig was the first person I played with, having a very enjoyable stint in his Robert Sotelo Group. Nightshift was formed instantly when Eo, Chris, Doig and myself got in a practice room together and it was spontaneous, funny liberating musical enjoyment and rapport from the outset! Then Georgia joined and the full flavour of Nightshift’s heady brew came to fruition!
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Andrew: Nightshift never played a show yet, so I remember only an expansive nothingness.
Eo: It being cancelled!
David: It was on Valentine’s Day and the gig got a bit er… massacred mainly due to a combo of illness and hearing impairment! Friends in Dragged Up were supporting and ended up headlining and said the gig was fraught with technical difficulties but glad to say they pulled through and had a good one by all accounts… We’ll be able to try playing another gig again sooner rather than later I hope…
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Andrew: I am probably the only member of the Nightshift who doesn’t really do other art things. I can’t paint or draw or conceptualise very well and my writing is okay but I don’t really enjoy that so much. Music has been my obsession since I was young, it totally dazzles me and I am blessed to be able to make it all the time.
Chris: I find it fun to collaborate on music projects with people. I took art at school and still do some visual art occasionally but its not a social thing like music is for me.
Eo: I do make other art, I see my practice as very interdisciplinary and holistic. Sound is part of my visual art practice and the process of writing lyrics is naturally intertwined with writing. Music making has less pressure in general and has more collaboration which I love and it gave me more confidence with my performance art.
Georgia: I guess because I don’t have any formal training in the arts it would be hard to take myself seriously, but also because the idea of making Art feels high-stakes and solitary, whereas the process of making music with others is intrinsically fun and blends seamlessly into my social life. Anyways, I studied chemistry and physics at university and I teach mathematics so most of my energy has simply been directed elsewhere.
David: I’ve done other sorts of art in the past but always made music since I was little and always found it the most spontaneous, ‘therapeutic’ form of expression and a way of instantly, enjoyably interacting with friends, who have always been part of a wider social circle… and it can be majorly fun!
FTR: What can people expect from the Nightshift live show?
Andrew: Good question!
Eo: The hits ha, and some improv surrounding the songs + cool visuals.
David: If the sorta semi-live ‘Livestream’ we recorded is anything to go by (debuts Saturday 27th Feb at 8pm UK time via upset the Rhythm on YouTube I believe, day after the Zoe album release) it’ll be a whole variety of songs from album one and Zoe but they’ll be constantly evolving, like Eo says, we improvise a lot too… and there’ll be lots of new material, loads of new songs and ideas gestating in lockdown at the moment!
FTR: What’s next for Nightshift?
Andrew: More songs, there are bits everywhere and it’s very exciting. Today I was daydreaming that we went on tour somewhere hot and I got stoned.
Eo: I think another album will be great. Playing a gig will be the ultimate step of progress.
Georgia: I can’t wait to play with the full band! Who knows what the future holds for any of us?
David: More songs and then more songs after that. Can never enough songs! Songs make the world go round! And yes playing live! The prospect and anticipation of that happening is almost too unbearably exciting to bear!
They Listen To…
Andrew: Tood Rundgren – Healing, Pt.1
Chris: The Rain Parade – Look at Merri
Eo: Colourbox – The Moon Is Blue 1985
Georgia: Toy Love – Pull Down The Shades
Georgia: Lil Bob & The Lollipops – Nobody But You
David: SWEET WILLIAMS – Ride A Gold Snail