In Memories by Night Windows | INTERVIEW
Author: Thommy Delaney

Hey Ben! Congrats on Night Windows' latest album "In Memories", coming out on all streaming platforms February 23! For our readers who may not be familiar with your band, tell us a bit about how you guys started and where the name of the band originated from.

Hi Thommy, thanks!

I wrote and recorded a solo record back in 2013 and didn't want to release it under my own name. So, I called the project Night Windows to pay homage to one of my all-time favorite bands, The Weakerthans. This did two very important things: (1) allowed me the freedom to be a band or a solo artist, or both at the same time (2) gave me a unique name to release music under - there are a surprising amount of people with my name, and it feels like half of them are active musicians.

On your website, you said something that describes the album perfectly. You said: "Where do I go from here? Everyone is getting older. I'm losing people both to death and life. I've written about the sadness that comes with the gift of life, but never like this. This time, I leaned as hard into the sadness as necessary in order to feel better." What is it about writing sad songs that help people feel good and find happiness?

That's a great question. I think it's all about being heard and understood. In a perfect world, the artist's expression is heard and understood by the listener who feels heard and understood by the message of the song. It's trust. It's vulnerability. It's communicating and allowing proper time and space for the things in life that are not easy.

These songs, specifically, provided me with a place to take refuge. A place to process my grief. A place to mourn. I kept my focus on the four grandparents my wife and I collectively lost during the pandemic and figured that as long as I was writing to honor them, then I could do no wrong.

"For Art, Margie, Thelma & Dot" is printed on the spine of the LP. And we even used one of Dot's paintings for the album art. These things mean a lot to me.

You have already released 3 songs from the new album. The first is a song called "Something Simple." In an interview with Chorus.FM, you said: "It's about loss and longing. It's about reckoning with greener pastures. It's about the desire to move away, and the desire to return home - only remembering the good parts of what was left out. All these wishes and fears about the future. And at the end of the day, it's about leaning on little moments that occur each day to pull us through." What inspired you to write a song with such a powerful meaning especially in the post COVID era?

I think I actually started writing this one before the pandemic, and then finished it toward the end of 2020. Just checked my Voice Memos to confirm, and the initial demo was recorded on piano November 2019. The song was shelved for a bit and then I changed the key, finished the lyrics, and recorded another demo (this time on guitar) of the song in its final form, November 2020.

So I guess some of the power that is present in that song is pandemic-inspired. But I'd say it's more inspired by being an East Coast lifer, which comes with a lot of things. Definitely a lot of yearning to get out. Definitely a certain sadness, being exposed to things like seasonal depression. So, I mean, that stuff is all there, baked into most of my writing.

It's a lot to get into, but I touch on the idea in the second verse of Kitchen Floor. The idea that East Coast people stay put, because their parents stayed put. And their parent's parents stayed put, and so on... We stay put, but we can dream. These dreams in a lot of ways feel like coping mechanisms. And in the face of our little daily adversities they're meaningless. We see what's in front of us and reach for creature comforts.

I'm finding that as I get older, I'm appreciating where I'm from a lot more. I make fun of South Jersey (like most all South Jerseyans do), but it really is quite beautiful and you're situated in the middle of five or six big cities, 40 minutes from flying just about anywhere in the world. Oh, and I have a driveway.

If I had to distill it down to one sentence: This song is about how much more important people are than places.

The next song which was released a few weeks ago is called "Broken Glass." About this song, you said: "All in all, the song to me is about finding your place in what can feel like a steaming heap of trash at times. Looking closer, finding the beauty here. The uniqueness. Finding the present. Finding your place, and understanding that though it's not the same as everyone else, it's okay." In a crazy mixed up world, it's quintessential to find the joy in our lives. When did you begin the process of writing this song and could you tell us a bit about that process of coming up with such a moving song?

So this is a song that I wrote in April of 2021 and kept re-writing until August 2021. It took on probably five distinctly different forms. Just kept wrestling with it. Hopping from piano to guitar and back to piano. I knew the song was special, I just had to work at it. Probably to the point of exhaustion, if I had to guess. And then once I stopped trying, the song appeared and sang itself to me. It would be neat someday to release an EP with all the different versions.

Though the song took many shapes, the message remained the same: there was always a relationship on the brink of extinction, backdropped by crumbling, small-town America. It's here where a lot of people find themselves. And it's not the end - we're a resilient species.

Couple of notes, musically: Adam's bassline in the chorus was strong enough to effect a change in the chord progression (originally C and F back and forth, but then switched to C, Am, F to better support the bassline). The outro was Tad's idea. He's got this knack for knowing how long parts need to be - which parts to repeat. Sam layered maybe five or six harmonies for the outro. You should hear the isolated tracks, she's just incredible. Oh, and also, I drummed a little bit at the end of this one. If you listen closely to the outro, you'll hear my little drumline-style contribution.

Just recently, you released the single called "She." You talk about this song in an interview with The Alternative. You said: "Distractions can be soothing, but I feel that they are ultimately draining. Earbuds. Earbuds louder. Sleeping with the TV on. The soothing, sobering effect of a hangover. In this song I am opening about my tendency to overthink - and if there's anything I've learned from over the past year, it's that when you're vulnerable, people feel safe around you and they generally open up too. I'm finding that life works best when approached with honesty and kindness toward ourselves." What made you decide to open up to your tendency to overthink to others and do you think when people hear this song, they'll feel comfortable about opening up to what bothers them?

I hope so. I hit a wall sometime last year, where I realized that though I considered myself an open and honest book, I hadn't been honest or kind to myself for years. I needed to make a change. There were a lot of areas in my life where I needed help, and for whatever reason I'd always trudge through alone instead. The people that are in your life care about you and don't want you to go through things like this alone. They don't want you to suffer in silence. They want to help. And maybe I couldn't understand this before because I tend to feel unworthy.

Being raised in evangelical churches gave me the impression that the only thing I could be by myself was bad, unworthy and full of shame. Anything good in me was attributed to god. In retrospect, I may have been taking the sermons too literally. Or maybe I'm making excuses to protect the abuser.

Making peace with losing my faith was a lot like what I understand the stages of grief to be. Except you never fully heal. I'm in therapy now trying to re-write the blueprint. Trying to understand that I am worthy of love. And the more I believe that, the easier it is for me to ask for help when I need it.

I'm over-simplifying a lot of this, and by no means am I trying to bash religion - it's just one size does not fit all. You've got to find what works for you, and what better way to do that then opening up about who you are and what you really want in life. This is how I found my tribe.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting out writing their own songs?

Keep going.

There are a few shows coming up for you guys in March! You have shows in Washington, DC, Richmond, Virginia, Baltimore, Maryland, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with the band Graduation Speech. Tell us a bit about what people can expect from these shows.

Yes! Kevin (from Graduation Speech) has been so gracious with us. He invited us to play their record release in Philly, and then once he heard that I was trying to book some long-weekend jaunts, he invited us to play with them on their DC, RVA, Baltimore stretch. I highly recommend checking out Graduation Speech's new stuff - they've got two singles out so far from their forthcoming EP, Arcane Feelings, which is due out in the beginning of March.

We'll be mostly playing songs from the new record, with a couple of oldies thrown in there for good measure. Our friend Nick Cislak will be joining us on guitar/keys/backing vox. Can't wait, it's going to be a blast.

What other plans do you guys have for this year?

More touring. And we've already begun working on new stuff for the next record. Tad and I made a promise to each other to NOT take five years between records this time, haha.

Is there anything you would like to share with our readers?

Not off the top of my head. But I would like to thank you and thank Lazlo. It's been amazing to have the steady support of BlowUpRadio over the years. Thanks for everything you do for the underdog.

Artist Bio
Where do I go from here? Everyone is getting older. I'm losing people both to death and life. I've written about the sadness that comes with the gift of life, but never like this. This time, I leaned as hard into the sadness as necessary in order to feel better.

New LP "In Memories" out 02.23.24

"In Memories is a huge step forward from a band that already ruled, but really benefits from the format of full band arrangements interspersed with the more solo-born experiments or just differently fleshed out songs. It's a really dynamic set of songs that I could see people getting really excited about, especially with the way bands like Wednesday, MJ Lenderman, and Big Thief have gotten folks excited about a specific kind of wood-grained songwriting that Night Windows isn't totally like, but could appeal to fans of." -Fred Thomas






About the Author: Thommy Delaney is a Senior Music Business Major at New Jersey City University. He is also the lead guitarist and a vocalist in the Bayonne Indie pop-rock band BreakTime: a four-piece writing modern pop tunes with generous vintage allusions to artists such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Looking for something new to listen to? Be sure to follow BreakTime @breaktimelivenj on social media and stream their music on all platforms.

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