It was really the curiosity of ‘what would happen if we brought all these ideas together?’
Night TapesMUSIC . May 29th, 2020
Let’s start from the beginning. Who are the people behind Night Tapes?
[Iiris] Max, Richie and me are housemates in London. We all have our own projects/other bands and Night Tapes started as an escape from the pressures of our individual projects/other bands .
Dream-pop is the genre which is assigned to your music. Do you have your own definition of your music and project?
What we try and do when we write is to follow a feeling and create an atmosphere. If we make that happen we can switch between genres on the way. We write a lot about dreams though so dream – pop is a fair description too!
I read that you are based in London. Do you feel like the city is also responsible in the way you shape your music and compose your lyrics?
[Max] We all had rural, small town childhoods so moving to London had a huge effect on our perspectives. I found a perfect spot to sit and look out over the city at night and that’s where the lyrics for ‘Dream’ were written.
Where do you compose/produce music?
[Iiris] We do it all in the house in our rooms – separately and together. Richie and Max mostly produce in Night Tapes, I mostly just sing and put some flute on it occasionally, come in and ask for everything to be shorter (xD). We all get to dabble in playing instruments that we usually don’t play – like Max has been getting more into playing bass while he is primarily a drummer, Richie has been getting more into playing keys while he is primarily a jazz guitarist and I’ve been getting more into playing flute and guitar while I mostly sing/play keys. I guess that has also arisen from the chill vibes in the house as we feel that we can just try things out and share each others instruments.
Is it your first collaboration all together? If so, how did you all come to the point of composing music as a band?
[Max] We’d played in a few projects together before but we’d never talked about forming a band. Each of us would be working on music in our rooms and you’d be drawn to the sounds coming through the walls so it was really the curiosity of ‘what would happen if we brought all these ideas together?’.
What were your main compositional challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time? What are your preferred ways to compose?
[Richie] Before Night Tapes we’d spent a lot of time producing electronic music that used a lot of found sounds and samples. We wanted to try and take that approach but push it in a different direction. Putting it all together is a bit of a puzzle – getting a vocal line recorded on a 90s cassette recorder to sit cleanly in a mix definitely isn’t easy!
The process hasn’t changed too much really. Each song has different qualities and textures so a lot of what we do is quite reactive. It takes some time getting it right but when it all falls into place it’s worth it.
I really felt obsessed about the track Dream for finding the best-fitting situation to listen to it … [drum roll] I had such a “dreamy” experience while sitting in the night bus looking at the city center slipping away and the street lamps blinking on the window. What was the creation process of this song? Do you imagine some very specific medium where and when your music fits perfectly?
[Max] We asked our fans to send us pictures of where they think is the perfect place to listen to our music and it was very interesting to see how they matched up. For me, that song sounds like a dark blue night sky. I wanted to write a song about experiencing someone else’s dreams for a night and exploring their subconscious with your own eyes…When someone tells you about their dreams after they wake up, whether they were beautiful or harrowing it’s hard to really understand what it felt like so it would be cool to be there too.
Still about Dream – What is the meaning behind the final part of the song when it feels like it is finishing but a different melody starts?
[Richie] For some reason it felt completely natural writing that section – it all happened in one evening. We were two weeks into a heatwave so the windows were open – We’re on a busy road so the sound of traffic and people were flooding in. We hit record on the tape machine and I’m pretty sure we hung it out of the window! By the time the tape had finished we’d pretty much finished the song off.
That was actually the first time we’d discussed calling the project Night Tapes. It felt like that kind of music could only be a product of that environment and time. In a way it still is now.
You chose to record your EP on tape as physical format. Today, there is a clear revival of this format. What do you like about it?
[Richie] It felt like a natural choice considering the project started life on a cassette tape. I think it’s the physicality of the format that’s most important though.
We often ask – what are your inspirations? – But I do believe that inspiration comes from ourselves and that we are influenced by people around and artists we follow. What do you think about this idea? What are the artists that influence you to become Night Tapes?
[Richie] It’s definitely a broad range. We listen to people like Nils Frahm and Fourtet just as much as we listen to Frank Ocean or Tyler the Creator. The process we go through when recording tends to glue all these disparate pieces together. At least that’s the Idea…
You have recently released a new single song – Space Force with Will Haff – is it an appetizer for a bigger project (EP – Album)? Does it also announce more collaborations?
[Max] Right now we’re putting a second EP together and hope to have it out this coming summer.
Besides music, what are your other activities in daily life? Can you take us through a day in your life and share with us your routine?
[Iiris] We all work, but on a day off we might go climbing or to play tennis, watch our plants grow and go see some of our friends play a gig/ have some pints with them. Preferably a day would consist of making music and one of the activities mentioned beforehand. Overall Max is into plants, Richie is into painting and I am into Tarot and meditation.
What are you going to do just after having answered to this final question?
[Iiris] It’s quarantine time, so I think I’m gonna dress up and read a book.
Credits / Photos : @etvisuals