Night Flight heading to The Blue Moon in Cambridge
Songs from Echo Zoo is the new EP from indie/alternative collective, Night Flight, but the title actually has nothing to do with animals.
Ahead of the band’s visit to Cambridge, singer/guitarist Sam Holmes explains how it was written during lockdown. “We had to work remotely, which was a new experience for us. I’d write a lot of ideas, and the same with the other guys, and then we’d bounce them between each other.
“We’ve all got remote set-ups so we were able to add all the different aspects that we wanted on the tracks, and essentially pre-produce them before we then went in and recorded with the usual engineer/producer that we use,” he said.
“So we did a kind of residency down in Eastbourne, at Echo Zoo Studios, which is where we recorded all the tracks. The title is inspired by Songs of Leonard Cohen, and then also Music from Big Pink by The Band – so we tipped our hat to that really. We just thought it was a cool name for a studio...”
Sam, who shares a flat in London’s Muswell Hill with bandmate Ollie, continues: “Obviously the last 18 months have been a bit of a rollercoaster but we managed to stay proactive, to a point. We got in and recorded the EP and then another load of tracks that we’re compiling into an EP that we’ll release at the end of this year.
“But we’re dead excited to get out playing again. I think that’s been the major thing that we’ve missed a lot – being together and playing. We used to play so much together and it’s the same for everyone, but obviously with the pandemic everything kind of stopped.”
At the beginning of lockdown, Sam and the others – Oliver Halverson (bass, synths), Harry Phillips (lead guitar) and Dan Webb (drums) – initially saw the benefits of having more free time.
“Maybe it was the same for most, but the first couple of months we felt very inspired and it felt like it was the time that we’d always wanted to be able to spend on tracks and devote more time to it all,” says Sam.
“Obviously that kind of dissipated as the lockdowns continued, and the enthusiasm died a little bit because of the lack of touring and being able to see and play with each other and stuff like that. But we’re all super happy with how the EP came out; I think it feels like a great representation of certainly where we were during the initial stages of 2020.”
The album was recorded over a period of 10 days at Echo Zoo in July last year. “It was great,” recalls Sam. “In our other recordings we’d often spend a long time preparing and then we never really had that much time in the studio, but this was a first for us, where we could actually stay there and go till early in the morning. Most of us are night owls so that suited our recording pattern.”
The EP was released in April and Sam notes that the reaction to it has been positive. “It’s been amazing; we got some wonderful press from it,” he observes, “the likes of The Times... and then we got a great
spread in Guitar.com, which is ticking things off the bucket list for some of us guitarists...
“So we got wonderful feedback from it and the fan reaction was great as well – we just want to get out and play it. I think that’s the big thing, because we’ll essentially be starting a new cycle, like a new EP campaign, as we start touring so it will be great to get out and play the new music as well as some of the older stuff as well.”
The Night Flight sound brings in shades of everyone from The Band to Big Star to Elliot Smith while managing to sound modern. Previous releases have seen the group compared to the likes of Kurt Vile, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses, and even The Smiths.