Nicholas Williams of Night House talks to Chris about ‘Roots On The Wires’

Chris sat down with Nicholas Williams of Night House to talk about his new single with Ellie Ford called "Roots on the Wires" raising money for the Hummingbird Project. The single launch is tonight (24th November) at the Brighton Unitarian Church.

So tell us about your new single ‘Roots On The Wires

I wrote it around the start of the Refugee crisis. I, like probably so many other people felt really quite helpless about the whole situation and what we can do. It seemed to spiral, especially with all of the media coverage, it felt like a wave washing over you and you couldn’t really do anything. So, I did that classic thing that musicians do and said ‘…well, I know what I will do’ (laughs), write a song but it may not necessarily effect anything.

I think its interesting the lyrics you’ve written, for a hard subject you’ve made it still sound quite nice..

One of the main things I wanted to do, was to actually not have it be hopeless but in fact a more hopeful song. It is a truly horrendous situation but I wanted the message to be about someone who is looking into the future and seeing that it is a temporary thing and that with positivity and the right action, it can be changed.

More specifically, when I sat down to write it I marked out the verses and the chorus and I wanted versus to come from the perspective of someone who has had to leave their home behind and travel for thousands of miles and to have quite a sad emotion behind them, however, in the chorus I wanted it to be focused on positivity and with that with hope we can get through this.

Did you speak to any refugees when writing this song?

No I didn’t, I read a lot of articles and that was my main resource. 

You’re releasing this single alongside The Hummingbird Project, tell us more about that..

Yes, all of the funds from this single will be going towards The Hummingbird Project, which I thought is very much the right thing to do having written this song about the refugee crisis. It would have been weird to have profited from this song in anyway. It helps fulfil that helplessness that I felt when writing the song, that there’s nothing I can do to help. But, it turns out there is something I can do and it is helping raise money for this charity.

How did Ellie Ford get involved?

Ellie and I have been friends for years and have played so many line-ups together in the Brighton music scene …. and we’ve also drunk many beers together!

The main reason was that there is definitely a stylistic change for this song and for my album, which we are finishing at the moment. There has also been a change in my band, for instance my drummer has gone to London and therefore I have taken on a lot more electronics using drum machines and produced beats. I have tried combining acoustic sounds that I love, with electronic sounds.  I originally did a rough demo of the song, with me just doing everything and listening back to it, the changes from being in a minor key in the versus to a major key in the choruses, I thought ‘ wow, it’s really Ellie Ford…’  and thought its very much like something she would do. So, I phoned her and said ‘ive written this song, and it sounds a lot like one of your songs’. I think also having that female voice throughout the choruses to shift into the more positive sound was the right stylistic choice to make.

Luckily, Ellie liked the song and it went from there. It was a very interesting process as it changed the song completely. We did a guitar demo in her garden in March and it was sunny and we took her harp to the back of the garden and we sat with the guitar and harp and re-wote the song as a collaboration.

Do you think you two will work together in future?

I would love to do more with Ellie and I love her, but she is so busy with her own intense and beautiful creativity and I know she’s finishing her second album at the moment. But lets see what happens in the future.

Is the new album your currently working on going to be more collaborative?

It is going to be more Night House, the majority of it is myself and the core players which is myself, Alfie the double bassist and Amy who plays the cello and the drummer James who had just come in for the studio sessions but will be joining us live now as well.

Do you have a release date?

Well, I want to make it perfect so next year sometime; I am currently aiming for March.

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Tonight (24th November) you can join Night House and friends, at Brighton Unitarian Church, for a special performance, launching the first single from their forthcoming album. "The Roots in the Wires" features the harp and voice of Brighton artist Ellie Ford. As such Night House are donating the profit from this launch show to The Hummingbird Project to help aid their fantastic work. 

The Hummingbird Project

The Hummingbird Project is a Brighton based organisation. We provide aid and solidarity to refugee and unaccompanied minors as they flee from conflict and settle in new countries.

The project was formed in 2015 to provide aid to refugees in the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais.

Now, the Hummingbird Project runs and supports a wide number of projects across the UK and Europe, in order ensure refugees and unaccompanied minors receive the vital support they need and deserve, as they work their way towards a better life.