26th January 2018 // Interview // Live Music // The Polar Bear
The Night Café are a band on the rise. Hailing from Liverpool, and named after Van Gogh’s famous painting, they’ve been steadily releasing singles and EPs since late 2015. Each release has seen them refine their sound. It’s a melodic, anthemic sound that seems to run through all Liverpudlian bands’ veins. The city has a rich history of bands producing big-sounding, cosmic rock, and The Night Café fit right in with this tradition. Every band wants to plough their own furrow, but if you come from a city with such a big musical reputation, comparisons will naturally be drawn.
They’re an indie rock band in essence, but it’s an accessible sound they’re making. They sound as though they’re reaching for the stars, and they already have a handful of bangers that are destined to fill large venues. They’re a tight-knit unit, and they play with a tightness that belies their youth. On first release Addicted, they announced their intent with authority; they already sounded fully-formed, it’s a polished debut single with a confidence that usually comes from years of playing. They go straight for the jugular with no trepidation you might associate with a young band’s first release. On first listen it’s lodged in your skull before it’s even finished. It’s that good.
Together, a paean to friendship, is equally infectious, as is last year’s 4-track EP, Get Away from the Feeling, which showcases a willingness to experiment with more varied styles, each track different stylistically. Felicity and Turn, also released in 2017, hint at a more mature, melancholic direction, but it still sounds massive. When they play The Polar Bear on 1st February, the room’s going to struggle to contain these big anthems, but it’ll definitely be one to catch them at. They won’t be playing such intimate venues again.
I chat to drummer Carl about the big issues:
Your music’s big-sounding, anthemic and melodic. And you’re from Liverpool. Is there
something in the water that inspires this kind of cosmic, melodic music?
‘I think our sound is just naturally coming together how we want it to, we're all influenced by all different genres of music and we want our sound to be as diverse as possible, the water is definitely producing a rare specimen haha!’
Liverpool has a strong tradition for psychedelic, melodic music from, obviously, The Beatles,
through The Bunnymen, Shack, The LA’s, Cast and The Coral among countless others. Do you
feel part of this lineage? Do you feel any affinity with any of these bands?
‘It's sick to be associated with the biggest names band wise, in Liverpool.
But we'd like to carve out our own path and create a lineage that other bands would like to be associated with.’
The liquid guitar present in all of their songs is very Will Sergeant from The Bunnymen, but it’s admirable and understandable that they want to distance themselves from such heavyweights, and become an inspiration for other young bands to follow. Their style is different from most of these bands, but it’s the knack for a killer melody that seems to be typically Liverpudlian, which is no bad thing.
I’ve watched some of your live videos; you seem to have quite a rabid fanbase. It’s unusual
(in a great way) to see such scenes for a band who’ve yet to release a full-length album.
What is it about the band that inspires such devotion?
‘Yeah it is unusual, we always find ourselves feeling a bit surreal after shows, we all think it's a good sign for the future, we have big plans for the album!’
In the live footage I’ve seen, the audience is jumping, singing back every word as though the songs have been there forever, and they’re already bona fide classics. They are in the eyes of their fans, who lap it up like devotees of some musical religion. It’s refreshing to see and does indeed bode well for the future.
Your music sounds tailor-made for bigger venues. Is that deliberate, and is this something
you’re ready for?
‘We've had a lot of experience supporting bands in big venues, the biggest yet has been Brixton academy with The Wombats last summer, we've learnt a lot from seeing big shows like that and it's had an influence on us. We're definitely ready to play some big shows of our own.’
They should indeed get used to playing these venues, one day soon, they’ll be headlining at them, but it’s fantastic that they’re getting the opportunity to be broken in gently to playing to large audiences.
You’re off on tour with fellow Liverpudlians, The Wombats again soon, are you looking forward to
it, and what do you expect from the experience?
‘It's going to be a boss tour! Every show is sold out, except the show in London.
We always look forward to touring, especially when all the venues are a few thousand people a night, it makes all the hard work pay off.’
Your upwards trajectory is going very nicely. When can we expect your album to drop?
‘We are hoping to drop the album early in 2019.’
You’re on the bill for a one-day festival. What’s your dream line-up and who’s headlining?
‘The Night Café headlining of course!
Jets to Brazil for our manager Rob’
The answer shows both a supreme confidence that they would be headlining above two of the biggest bands of all time, and the diversity of their influences. We know all about the two below Night Café, but the other two bands are somewhat unexpected; Title Fight, the American hardcore/shoegaze merchants and now-defunct Jets to Brazil relay a knowledge of alternative music that you might not associate with the band. However, their penchant for big-sounding, melodic alt- rock pulses similarly through both bands.
Do you think British guitar music’s in a healthy state right now? Why/why not?
‘We will make it the healthiest state again! I think there are a lot of bands trying to be the bands they grew up loving, we just want to be ourselves and make what we want, if every British band done that it'd be a lot different!’
It’s an astute observation, indeed. I have to ask the burning question next:
Are you Reds or Blues? Are you enjoying the current season?
‘Haha there is a 50/50 split - half of us reds and half blue. Me and Arran are loving the season so far haha, Josh and Sean aren't too happy, but they don't really care haha.’
It’d seem that Carl and Arran are Liverpool fans, and I highly doubt that the others don’t care. Everybody in Liverpool cares about football in my experience. I’m sure it’s just the woeful season that Everton are having that elicits the apparent nonchalance.
This will be your biggest headline tour so far, what can we expect? Any new tunes in the set?
‘Expect to have a great time! We have two new tunes in the set and are very excited to play them’
Who would you say are your peers at the moment? If you could pick 2 bands to go on a
joint-headline tour with, who would they be?
‘We recently done a tour with Blaenavon and PLAZA, and would love to do it again!’
It looks like you’re going to get pretty big. Are you going to go ‘full rock-star’ or is it important to stay grounded?
‘Now and again it's okay to go full rock star ahaha, we're all pretty grounded people anyway, definitely wouldn't forget our roots!’
Of course it’s okay to tear it up. Who wouldn’t? But it’s reassuring to hear that they’re prepared to stay close to their roots. I note that their seems to be an extremely close bond between the band and their fans, which is special even at this early stage in their career. It’s obviously important to maintain that.
Are you looking forward to playing Hull? Do you have any expectations? If so, what?
‘We've only played Hull once at Cub Fest in Autumn, so it would be good to get more attention there. We plan on putting on a show for everybody!’
And that they will. Their star is firmly on the ascendant, and we can expect their next foray into Hull’s live music arena to be in a larger venue as they’re definitely destined for great things. Most dates on their upcoming tour are sold out already, so that’s a clear indication of their upwards trajectory. You really need to catch these lads at The Polar Bear while you can still see the whites of their eyes. You won’t get the chance again.
Book your tickets for The Night Cafe at The Polar Bear 01/02/18 HERE.
Follow The Night Cafe Here: facebook.com/nightcafeband twitter.com/nightcafeband