A Q&A with Night Flight

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London collective riffing off the classics, making it their own – here’s frontman Sam…

How did you get the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
Our newest release ‘Songs from Echo Zoo’ is named after Echo Zoo Studios down in Eastbourne. We had spent the first lockdown demoing ideas remotely and we were absolutely chomping at the bit to start recording again. There was just this wonderful camaraderie when it came to record and we felt it was only fitting to name the EP after our time there. It’s also a nod to the titles of great albums like Music from Big Pink by The Band and Songs of Leonard Cohen.

What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
The hardest part initially was not being together for large chunks of the process. We’d usually work on pre-production and rehearse heavily before a recording session but, due to COVID-19, we had to work on everything remotely. Luckily, everyone in the band worked their tiny socks off and we felt in great shape upon arriving at Echo Zoo Studios.

Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
We’ve been working with James Mottorshead almost exclusively since the band’s inception. He understands our ideas like nobody else and has brilliantly overseen our sonic progression.

What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
A desire to keep playing our music over and over until we’re bigger than The Beatles… or at least The Monkees.

How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
It can vary. I write a bulk of material at home to then take into the rehearsal studio. From there, we’ll usually chip away at different arrangements until we find something that we all really like. The great thing about this new EP is that it includes tracks written by Harry and Ollie as well as myself, so it feels like a real collective effort.

What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
I think the influences change with each song and whatever we’re listening to at the time. We know what we don’t like more assuredly than what we do like sometimes, and that helps steer the guitar playing away from anything too conventional or showy. We try to take a songwriter’s approach to every instrument really, so the guitar players that come up in conversation are Elliott Smith, George Harrison, Johnny Marr, Mike Campbell, and then if we can get in any world music influences, Tinariwen or Boubacar Traore. I think reaching for just a rough approximation of those styles can introduce something that sounds different and away from the usual boxes, even if the end result doesn’t sound at all like them.

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When the world is back to normal where would like to tour, and why?
Everywhere and anywhere! We miss playing live so much so cannot wait to get back into the swing of things.

If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
I’d say have a listen to ‘Something Going On’ – it perfectly represents the kind of melodies we love to write whilst also showcasing our musicianship. But if you want more of a driving tune… stick on ‘Dreaming’.

What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
The aim is to look back in ten or twenty years sitting on a solid catalogue of songs and records that we can be proud of. That, or reaping the rewards of a one-hit wonder that splits up the band and has me embarking on an ill-advised solo career.

Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
I would like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we’ve passed the audition.

Night Flight play Sheffield Record Junkee on 12 October
For more info visit: facebook.com/wearenightflight


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