MEET: Night Tapes

Words by Rachel June

Max Doohan, Iiris Vesik, and Sam Richards: ‘Night Tapes’

Max Doohan, Sam Richards and Iiris Vesik make up the heavenly and transcendent sound of ‘Night Tapes’.

Night tapes are dreamy and calming, catchy and heavenly – with vocalist Iiris’s soft, airy and ethereal voice that sways over rhythmic and romantic gentle elements, naturally ebbing and flowing together. The sounds are danceable yet calming, including carefully produced beautiful bouncing bass along with soft vocals. Night Tapes can be picked out of a line up. Difficult to be boxed by genre, but sounding similar to dream-pop, indie and shoegaze.

Their much anticipated EP ‘assisted memories is out today, June 6th 2024, which includes the hit singles ‘drifting’, ‘loner’, ‘projections’ and ‘everyday is a game’.

‘Assisted Memories’ EP, Night Tapes

Night Tapes is a passion project, where bandmates have freedom to express themselves. They collectively create, ideas stemming from areas of each of their lives. Night Tapes like to challenge themselves and push boundaries with their music, using unique sounds and not playing it safe when creating. With Max stating that “the reason I make music is to be surprised by myself”. They feel comfortable and free to pick up new instruments and explore avenues, with Max explaining that “the roles are undefined which is what makes it fun.”

Photo by Marii

Night tapes is a result of encapsulating a moment in time, specifically the period where they lived together in London during lockdown. They recorded their music at night onto tapes, hence the name. Max expresses that “life was complicated but also way simpler at that time.” 

“We were all living together in a house working on separate projects, and we could hear everybody from different rooms producing. We started chatting together and naturally made music” – Iiris

They used the energies and vibes of these moments and turned that experience into music. Using elements such as the sounds of the city, saying that “the window would be open late at night, and you’d have the traffic going past you – like sirens and people talking.”

They were all trying to find tranquillity within the chaos of the city, tapping into their roots, as they all grew up in the countryside. Creating music together was a way the band sought a calm place amongst the chaos. They lived far enough from the city that they could see it glistening from a hill, and this vision in the distance was what they loved about living there.

“In the summer, we would sit on the hill and listen to the music we had just made. It felt like us capturing the feelings we had and turning it into music” – Sam

Their music stemmed from hanging out and having fun, and you can hear this in the songs they produce. Every song is created with care. Speaking on this song-writing process, Iiris asks the question “how can you organise spontaneity?” Commenting that both chaos and structure is needed. Iiris also advises that you should “write the song first, and then determine what is is”.

“We create haphazardly and edit in detail” – Max 

Photo from Night Tapes Instagram

Collaboration is important in helping make a piece come together. Night Tapes highlight the importance of genuine connections. They suggest to “get a group of people around you that you can trust, good and trusting relationships are key for making music together”. 

“If you can’t get deep with a person or if you feel anxious around them, I don’t think they are the people to make music with” -Iiris

For aspiring artists, Night Tapes say to “create and collect”. Keep archives and organise your creative work, as it may be used for later. They advise to “enjoy the process and don’t make music out of a stressful state”. Music has less pressure when it’s made naturally, “if it happens it happens”. 

Listen to their new EP here. The band have also announced a UK tour for September, with dates in London, Leeds,
Cambridge, Manchester & Bristol. Their debut US tour will follow in November, as they head out to play dates in New York, Chicago, LA & San Francisco for the first time. Follow their journey on Instagram.

Night Tapes’ current songs/artists on repeat:

IIris –  “2 Moons” by UTO

Max – Bon Iver

Sam – “Small Hours” – John Martyn

YouTube: Night Tapes ‘Every Day is a Game’