(Birthday Cake)
Add date: 6.4.2024
Release date: 5.29.2024

Apple Music
Birthday Cake

Nightshifts is exactly what it sounds like. The project was birthed from late nights, holed up in a home studio, tinkering with old synthesizers, scrappy acoustic guitars, wonky delay pedals and bubbly basses. Emerging from that creative work are songs soaked in the sonic exploration that comes to you once the sun sets and you are tapped into the ether, pulling out sounds and feelings, and committing them to tape.

Andrew Oliver is the force behind Nightshifts and his self-titled EP (out May 29, 2024 on Birthday Cake Records) is once again centred around putting in the work. But this time as a path to self-discovery and evolution. It’s about working towards the things you really want – a sense of place, a sense of home, a place to love and be loved, and a place to feel like yourself.

Some context – Andrew is also one third of the acclaimed folk band Wild Rivers. The project has taken him around the world and into clubs and stadiums, including high profile support tours for the likes of The Chicks and Noah Kahan. They have been streamed hundreds of millions of times and snagged platinum and gold records for their songs. But the highs of experiencing the road, playing sold out shows, seeing new cities and checking items off his bucket list were experienced in juxtaposition with a desire to be home. This started to form the emotional core of this batch of songs.

It’s not a new feeling. There’s a long line of song-writing greats that are steeped in a romanticism about having no roots at all. The idea that getting lost in feelings and sabotaging your own happiness is what artists do to make great art. But, deep in these songs is a deconstruction of that myth and the realization that it isn’t all or nothing. Being rooted in a sense of place is special, healthy and good – it only serves to enrich the wholeness of what life has to offer. This wholeness in life lead to wholeness in the art and Nightshifts’ most honest and poignant work to date.

“Right Way” is a cathartic clearing of heartache and longing. “Rover” processes disconnection in a post-tour funk and a quest to be present and soaking in what home had to offer. ”Just How it Should Go” is an up-tempo ode to the often foreign feeling of everything finally falling into place (“Nobody said it would be easy…but for some reason it is this time.”). And “Arrival” finds some closure – the pull to be back home is a beautiful thing and not at odds with a sense of adventure and artistry (“I just want to be where you’re at. So always, I’ll be right back.”)

This clarity of emotional process is also reflected in how these songs were built. Ever a tinkerer of tones, Andrew went into this set of Nightshifts songs with a new rule – he could only hit record and start adorning the songs with production elements once the song was fully written and could be performed with voice and one instrument. Once set though, he built lush exploratory backdrop for these heartfelt songs. He then pulled these songs out of his insular home studio space and teamed up with producer Marcus Paquin (The National, Local Natives, Julia Jacklin) to help bring them to their final form. With a cast of all-star musicians and an expanded selection of analog synths, vintage guitar amps and live drums he pushed these songs over the finish line. The result is a song-set of groove-filled, vibe-painted, dream-soaked songs full of catchy melodies and cut-to-the-core lyrics.

The Nightshifts EP lives in the spaces between pushing forward, but also celebrating where you are at. Living in that tension means the work on oneself is never done. But it’s satisfying work, and Nightshifts has found himself thriving in that process. And now, with these songs, we get to clock in alongside him.