Night time is definitely the right time for Gabriel Stebbing, aka Night Works. So unwind with this exclusive CLOSE remix of Modern European and read our feature with this purveyor of midnight sounds.
The London-based, ex-Metronomy bassist has recently been unveiled as the man behind nocturnal solo pop outfit Night Works. Night Works’ brand of hazy make-out-music-for-the-apocalypse – heard on singles from Stenning’s eponymously titled debut LP, set for release early next year – can be seen as something of a digression from Metronomy’s concept album/ode to night-time mishap, Nights Out (2008).
“This album is very nocturnal”, explains Gabriel, “I had an atmosphere in mind that I wanted to get across. What I’m interested in are people who have been part of [the London nightlife] for years and are on the point of burnout, right at the end of their youth. Night-time is great because there are so many secrets. People wear different masks.”
It’s clear that this newborn outing is a moon-step away from the shadow of Stenning’s former projects. “I moved on from Metronomy because I wanted to focus on my own writing – Metronomy is 100% Joseph Mount and that’s not going to change, nor should it. Your Twenties [the short-lived indie rock project Stenning started after leaving Metronomy] was my first stab at something solo. It was what I call a ‘glorious failure’ – but I was proud to be involved. With Night Works, it feels like I’m truly managing to make sense of my own music. Everything feels as it should – the artwork, the videos, the songwriting and production. I’ve never had that before. It feels like something’s quietly clicked.”
Night Works’ debut single I Tried So Hard, released on Loose Lips records back in April, was accompanied by a hazy pink, smoke-rippling video directed by ex-Metronomy collaborator Daniel Brereton. Its looping piano arpeggio and minimal arrangements perfectly encapsulate that 5am moment: solace, quietude and tinnitus after a night on the lash.
Stebbings’ newest album cut, The Eveningtime, released in August, is a contemplative track, set in the corner of a dingy nightclub. He explains: “There’s a conversation going on here about power, about getting the upper hand in a romantic situation. I haven’t made a concept album in the sense of that 1970s Dark Side of the Moon prog rock stuff, but I found I had a really clear picture of the story already. I was reading a lot on 80s New York: the Wall Street Crash and psychosis – this sense of people ripping each other off. This was the world in my head which I wanted to get across.”
Words: Sophia Satchell-Baeza
Image: Oliver Hadlee Pearch