The Night Cafe
April 19, 2020 | 19:30£13.50
“It’s sounding heavy.” says singer Sean Martin from The Night Café about their impending debut
album. Like, ‘heavy heavy’? Are we talking about head-thumping, riff-tastic, rock epics? “Nah, I
mean like heavy,” he insists. It’s a Scouse term the rest of the band agree fits the bill and
whether you’re from their hometown or not, if you’re familiar with this lot, you’ll be starting to get
on their wavelength.
It’s still a work-in-progress, with a release slated for the second half of 2019, but watching them
play the songs live sends big signals where they’re going. The lyrics hit harder than before, the
melodies are sweeter and the scope for where these songs are heading is even wider. If the
string of singles and EPs they’ve released so far act as infectious rushes of melodic indie magic,
these songs both thrill and linger, leaving a satisfying aftertaste.
Most of this is down to the task they’ve set themselves; to make a timeless album that’ll propel
them into being one of the nation’s biggest bands. A daunting feat for any musician in this
climate, but not this lot. “It’s so exciting making a massive piece of music rather than a single.
We’re using synths, pianos, everything. We’re really going for it. We all know that it’s going to
be boss,” Sean says. Drummer Carl agrees that it is “feels like we’re making a massive piece of
The band formed in their native Liverpool as an “excuse not to do the homework”. School
friends Sean, Josh, Arran and Carl bonded over a mutual admiration of Bombay Bicycle Club,
Kings of Leon, Fleetwood Mac and Title Fight and would jam together in music class. The band
then started working on their own material and though they all pull from different scenes – Arran
is a techno fan – they found a middle ground in the song’s melodies and structures. “It was more
about chord progressions than actual genres of music,” Sean says.
Writing original songs is something that the band insisted they wanted to do before they hit their
home cities venue circuit. While some of the scene’s local giggers were incorporating covers in
their sets, The Night Cafe wanted to make their mark with original material. “Early songs like
2015’s ‘Addicted’ showcased the boys’ skill for crafting relatable love songs made for falling
head-over-heels with the one, while later singles like ‘Together’ and ‘Mixed Signals’ have
casually racked up a few million streams due to their killer choruses.
The impact of Liverpool runs deep in each member. Sean says that the city “has made us who
we are” and calls it “the best place in the world”. Arran concurrs and calls it the “centre of the
universe.” But they acknowledge how the city’s perception has wrongly coloured people against
them. “We get treated a little bit different just because we’re from Liverpool, but we act
differently to all the bands in Liverpool scene,” Sean says. “It’s not where people are from, it’s
what they’re about that people remember.”
Indeed, it’s not where they’re from that should matter – it’s where they’re going that truly
resonates. And they’ve been everywhere. The band’s reputation has been cemented by their
reveltory live show, one that they’ve taken all around the country and back again. Each gig –
whether it be out in the regions or in the big cities – are met by a fervent fanbase ready to party regardless of what night it is. It’s that close contact with each other that has laid such a strong
foundation. “We chat a lot of shit”, Sean admits. “We’ve rubbed off on each other so much. We
spend seven days a week practising and then on tour it is literally every single minute. We
basically live in the practise room.”
That dedication is paying dividends already. The band recently joined hometown heroes The
Wombats on their nationwide arena tour and will do the same in the coming months. “It was
amazing to see a band from Liverpool like The Wombats smash it in arenas and be bigger now
than they ever were,” says Sean, with the professional touring culture rubbing off on them, also.
But before they dream too big, there’s the album to finish. Trying to get a straight answer out of
the band with how far they’ve got with the record is tricky – they all suggest a different
percentage – but know this; it’s going to be corker. They’ve done the hard work, the big tours
and had a blast while doing it all, but what comes next then? “World domination,” Arran says
semi-jokingly. Sounds heavy.