Dirty Dozen: The Nightjar

Drawing influence from the surreal atmospherics of Grouper, the stark and poignant balladry of Diane Cluck and the deft compositions of Colleen, The Nightjar use close-harmonies, tight-interlocking guitars, deep bass and an intense lead vocal to paint fragile, haunting landscapes for their dream-like, ethereal songs of hope, loss and disaster.

Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
Originally conceived as a close-harmony vocal harmony project, a collaboration with South London producer Kams brought The Nightjar to the attention of Boiler Room’s Joe Muggs. The following viral Boiler Room debut brought 2015’s The Nightjar EP plaudits from nearly 70,000 underground music fans, as well as the accolade of airplay on Radio 3’s Late Junction.

Following the success of a crowd funding campaign to fund the recording of Objects, in the autumn of 2015 we relocated to a farmhouse in rural Portugal to begin recording what would become our first full-length offering. The recording process was completed following many late night sessions in this rural idyll, and features material recorded on the most basic of equipment, and in some very interesting locations including the faded-grandeur of the bar in Serta’s dilapidated Old Town, on the equally run-down piano.

Since returning home, we’ve been supported by Mercury prize nominated folk singer Sam Lee who booked us for Cambridge Folk Festival and Shambala and several events organised by his trailblazing promotions company Nest Collective. In 2016 The Nightjar toured France, Germany and the UK.

At the moment, we’ve just been awarded PRS funding so are busy developing our live shows to include film, animation and light projection.

How would you describe your music?
Lo-fi Post-Folk.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
So many. Many of us learned our trade playing old-time, bluegrass and swing around London’s vibrant folk scene, but we listen to everything from free-improv, electronica, soul… Diane Cluck and Grouper were particularly on the agenda during the making of the album.

What are you currently promoting?
Our debut album ‘Objects’ which is out March 17th. The first single from this ‘Wardrobe’ is out, with a video on Youtube and available as a free download on Bandcamp.

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
Our single Wardrobe comes close in terms of themes and sound world to what we’re trying to create…

What are you currently listening to?
All of Ali Farka Toure’s back catalogue, and Klara Lewis’s release from last year, entitled ‘Too’.

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
I can’t answer this question on behalf of the band. They’d be very displeased with me. Either What’s Going On, by Marvin Gaye, Geogaddi by Boards of Canada or Confields by Autechre…

What are your hopes for your future career?
Carry on being in a position to make music with each other and in collaboration with others. Be able to make things we’re proud of, perform in places where the music we make is of benefit to people, travel, not fall into poverty too much!

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
To record with Steve Albini – maybe with Warren Ellis from the Dirty Three dropping by with his fiddle.

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Being able to create memorable, moving occasions for other people. When you get it right, you can perform and the whole room is united in this occasion, and it doesn’t matter who’s in the band and who is not…

And the worst?
Having to consistently defend and explain the value of what you do: the value of the arts in human lives are constantly misunderstood by policy makers and money-makers.

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
If you ever need a break from high tempos and serious twang… you could do much worse than listen to ‘Objects’, out March 17th.

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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