> Music Interview: Nightshift – Zöe - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Music Interview: Nightshift – Zöe

Nightshift are an emerging Glasgow band whose latest album, Zöe, simmers with a kind of societal malaise. Released at the end of February through Trouble In Mind, the album also evokes feelings of vibrancy, wit, and a sense of hope.

The synthy swirl of ‘Power Cuts’ points towards revolution. ‘Spray Paint the Bridge’ is a rumination on opting out of society, and ‘Make Kin’ acts as a mantra for resistance. The album is independent, sometimes elusive, and straddles many genres, from psych to folk and post-punk.

Nightshift were formed in Glasgow in 2019 by David Campbell (ex-I’m Being Good!), Eothen Stearn (2 Ply), Andrew Doig (Robert Sotelo), and Chris White (Spinning Coin), with Georgia Harris (Robert Sotelo) joining later.

Is it fair to say you’re a very democratic band? Everyone seems to get their say individually.

Andrew: Absolutely. I hope so anyway. It’s certainly the intention!

Eo: Yes, completely.

Chris: Yeah. For the first tape we made the songs in the room together, and for the recent album, Zöe, we added something, and passed it onto the next person – no-one is telling anyone what to do.

Dave: There’s been a very democratic, collaborative process from the beginning.

Georgia: Yes. I felt really welcomed into the band, and free to do whatever from the start, even though I joined under weird circumstances at the start of the pandemic in the UK.
There’s a range of disparate influences within the music. Was that an important factor, that you’re not caught up in any one prevailing trend?

Andrew: It’s not important to me to not be caught in any prevailing trends; it’s just something I don’t think about. I think if you were to consider current trends too much or at all, it would be a bit of a vibe killer.

Eo: That’s nice you feel that. It seems the energy we all bring is unique and encouraged to be heard and co-exist, which transcends. We don’t follow anything in particular trends, it’s all organic.

Chris: I think it’s a natural result of not having a fixed aim of what the music should sound like. Everybody develops the initial idea in their own way, and it becomes what you hear in the recordings.It’s not consciously important, but I think it’s nice.

Dave: We all have such a range of musical tastes and influences and they all find their way distilled into the musical melee, but not in any deliberate or contrived way. We seem to all keep very open to whichever direction the music wants to take us.

Georgia: Like Dave says, I think disparate influences come naturally from being a musical omnivore. I feel pretty oblivious to trends and all that, as it’s just not interesting to me.

Is it important that a lot of your lyrics focus on lived experience?

Andrew: For me personally, not necessarily. I am totally open to abstraction and/or unlived experiences also.

Eo: For me it is. I am really interested in autobiographical feminist writing and the power of an individual’s voice. There is a strength and generosity of diaristic work, in terms of reliability of going through being alive in a particular moment. But again, different for all of us! I do sometimes also put observations or fantasy into my lyrics.

Georgia: I’m not sure. It’s nice to keep the possibilities open, in that I don’t think they have to be.

What has been keeping you going during the pandemic?

Andrew: My partner Gemma, TV, books, music, my bike, my friends, my Mum.

Eo: My partner Rachel. Pretty much the same as Doig. I love cycling too. My Mum. Gardening, books. My job has also been a strong driving force in me passing time. I’m working as a Climate Action Community Worker for a Woodlands Community Charity here in Glasgow. I’ve been cooking and working on a Climate Action Project which has been a positive distraction.

I’ve also been doing this amazing weekly online workout for queers which has kind of saved me by doing things regularly to connect my mind with my body – but it has been hard! Also the band has helped me a lot, and making art. I’ve been making some textile artwork and drawing, and painting in my flat.

Chris: Recording and mixing the Nightshift LP, our live stream, and what is going to become the next record. Working on new Spinning Coin recordings. Working as a support worker. Watching too much TV! Hanging out with my cats. Fixing my house. Making pizza. Eating out at Ranjit’s Kitchen.

Dave: The promise of real future happiness after meeting my soulmate. Making music under very different conditions than expected that continues to surprise and entertain and continues opening doors to seemingly never-ending enjoyable and occasionally amusing possibilities, and generally still loving making a racket on the guitar after countless years. I don’t know how I would have coped through this pandemic situation without playing guitar and coming up with ideas for Nightshift songs.

Keeping in contact with friends and family and the thrill of sometimes hearing from people out of the mist of gloomy news. Food and drink, especially nice wine… Reading, films, cycling, playing piano, drawing plants, gardening and studying Horticulture and Coding, and wondering if there’s a way of combining both.

Georgia: Thinking about this time as an unexpected experience I might gain something from, and reflecting how lucky I’ve been that friends and family are all doing alright. Also helpful: lots of phone chats, walking, cooking, music, films/TV, and enjoying the mundane acts of daily existence.

Who are you all listening to at the moment?

Andrew: Rollins Band, Lauryn Hill, Janet Jackson – The Velvet Rope, Sheryl Crow, Sun City Girls, Armand Hammer, Collate, Writhing Squares, Tomaga, Cruz.

Eo: Ibibio Sound Machine, The Green Child, Cate le Bon, Beverly Glen-Copeland, Current Affairs, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Gordon Koang, Primo!, Mary Ocher, H.M.S.RMA.

Chris: Black Sabbath (album Vol. 4), The Fates song ‘No Romance’, Charles Bradley’s ‘Changes’, Ry Cooder – Boomer’s Story, Klang – No Sound Is Heard, and Can – Future Days.

Dave: This last week or so: Black Flag Everything Went Black, Massicot – Kratt, Klang – No Sound Is Heard, Das ist DAF, Gang Of Four – Solid Gold, Art Ensemble Of Chicago – A Message To Our Folks

Joe Henderson with Alice Coltrane – ‘Earth’ from The Elements, Warren Sampson’s Traveller LP, Ustad Ahmed, Jan Thirakwa and Ustad Amir Hussain Khan – Rhythms of India, The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads, and many, many others.

Georgia: Random tapes and CDs I’ve stumbled on while spring cleaning, for example: Depeche Mode, The Cars, Os Mutantes, Patsy Cline, 16-17, High Rise, Meat Puppets, Prince.

Zöe is out now via Trouble In Mind

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