Six-piece ensemble The Night VI take us on a sonic journey with their fusion of raw lyrical hypnotic heartbreak and dream-pop retro Americana vibes
Next time you’re looking for something a little musically calm to ease you into the evening, or maybe it’s chucking it down outside and you’re feeling melancholy; pressing play on anything by 6-piece ensemble The Night VI will fit in perfectly with the mood.
A fusion of raw lyrical hypnotic heartbreak with electro synths, blissful dream-pop and retro ’80s Americana elements, their eclectic blend is the kind that bursts at the seams with emotion and translates into a totally absorbing sound.
Aside from the music, the band are also aesthetically easy on the eye with their good looks and unique mix of effortless cool, in part due to their British / French roots – attracting the likes of fashion houses such as Burberry, who invited the collective to appear in the ‘Sparks’ sunglasses campaign in 2013. The luxe label which has built its signature around ‘Cool Britannia’ also used one of the band’s tracks in their Prorsum Menswear AW14 show.
Having met the band last year, Wonderland re-visited members Sophie, Anna and Jack to find out what’s coming next in 2014, and as their profile is on the rise, why they still work to a “no heroes” policy.
Hello again! So just for those people who aren’t familiar with The Night VI, how does it work collectively? Who writes the songs, plays the instruments etc?
Jack: Sophie and I write the songs as a duo. She sings, I play the guitar and then produce a demo. We then share our new creation with the rest of the gang and if they approve then typically I’ll meet with Bogart and Bo (drums and bass) and work on rhythm section ideas. We’ll also have a separate session with Anna and Kristy to write keyboard, harp and harmony parts. Then we’ll get together as a 6-piece and start to knead it together. We have 5 voices and 5 instruments to account for so we have a strict “no heroes” policy -meaning that every element should bring it’s thing but never dominate too heavily or for too long. It’s quite a long process with so many steps forward and back sometimes it feels like jogging on the spot but when it all clicks into focus it’s a great moment.
How does the French / English mix influence your sound and visual aesthetic?
Anna: Half the band is bilingual and half isn’t which creates a certain exotic atmosphere within the group. It doesn’t separate us though it gives us a unique identity that I feel bonds us together. In terms of sound 60’s singers like Francoise Hardy are both musical and style influences – her sense of style is just an immaculate combination of nonchalant cool and chic.
Which is best then – London or Paris?
Anna: Paris is best for fashion and London is best for music.
So do you think the music industry here in the UK is still passionate about signing new song writing / recording talent?
Jack: I think there are two sides to this. Traditionally the major labels were (invariably) obsessed by making money and risk averse. As a developing and burgeoning talent one needs guidance, belief and space in equal measures. The major label environment currently seems to offer the absolute antithesis of this. Having said that managers have never been so powerful and with so many start up, outsourced and independent labels, press agencies and services springing up, there are tonnes of ways to get practical support, belief and passion from people that genuinely care.
And what about elsewhere in the industry, which other artists / groups have influenced you and who would you like to work with given the opportunity?
Sophie: Currently some of my favourites are FKA Twigs, Rosie Lowe, Jungle, Temples. They are all totally self sufficient from their productions to their image to their song writing. I love that, that’s what we are doing more and more now, it’s very inspiring. I would love to work with Damon Albarn, I love his song writing, I’ve been a big fan for a very long time. Some people don’t get it but it’s like my own secret love affair, we all have one with someone.
You supported Bruce Springsteen on one of his live dates too – how was The Boss?
Anna: The boss put on an incredible show and was just so relaxed. We saw him hanging out backstage without security or entourage, just speaking to people and looking GOOD!
So let’s talk about fashion – can you define your style as a collective and is having a visual identity as a band important to you?
Sophie: As a group we’re all about being timeless in what we wear, we have classic pieces we pull out for shows, often second hand vintage McQueen, Saint Laurent, Burberry and we make a conscious effort to select show outfits together. Visual identity is hugely important to us, we don’t just throw anything on. Attention to detail is Anna’s first name and in the way we write, record, create – it’s all about that.
And talking of Burberry, they asked you to appear in their ‘Burberry Spark’ sunglasses campaign which showcased up-and-coming British musicians wearing the shades. How did that come about?
Anna: They contacted us stating that Christopher Bailey had heard one of our songs and was really interested in working with us on the campaign. We couldn’t believe it at first and it ended up being a great experience as they are a creative powerhouse driven by young talented people passionate about visuals. It’s really inspiring for us as we do everything ourselves nowadays from artwork to production.
Christopher also liked our acoustic cover of a Jeff Buckley track (‘Lover You Should Have Come Over’) that Sophie and Jack had done in our little studio and it ended up being used in the Burberry Prorsum AW14 Menswear show too.
Your debut single “Thinking Of You” was dream-pop at its best – that haunting melancholy meets atmospheric romanticism is something you do very well. What kind of mood and environment do you find inspiration from when writing / recording?
Jack: I would say your chosen words “romantic and melancholy” are fairly apt descriptions of Sophie and I’s respective personalities, so it’s perhaps unsurprising those qualities come through in our writing. Inspiration wise Sophie’s lyrics, my favourite few classic records and the other incredible musicians we work with all prompt and motivate me to do what we do.
So what’s coming next for us all to enjoy?
Anna: The video for our latest single ‘Wonderlust’, which we are working on at the moment with new young director Jo Jo Lam. There’s also a new single coming up which has been entirely produced by Jack which is a first and we’re really excited about that!
Are you planning to release an album soon?
Sophie: There are talks of an album for sure but right now we are focusing on releasing our singles and ‘Heroine’ is to follow in September – it’s my personal favourite and I think the most exciting production yet!
For more information on the band, head to www.thenightvi.com
Wirds: Kate Lawson