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Premiere: Night Court Keep Their Distance With “Together Apart”

The lo-fi indie punk trio rail against technology from the pixelated paradise of their new music video.

by Christine Leonard

Photo by Megan Magdalene

The sweetest “Dear Joan” letter you’ll ever hear, garage trio Night Court’s video for their new song “Together Apart” delivers the instant satisfaction of optimistic jams and guitar hooks served sunny side up. Foot-tapping, thigh-slapping and just fixin’ to kill the radio star, this 90-second introduction to digital detachment from their debut LP, Nervous Birds, breaks through the static. 

With social distancing signals blazing, a classic “It’s not me it’s you!” scenario plays out with unapologetic jangle-rock glibness. “Together Apart” takes the arm’s-length approach to amore, preferring a pixelated reality over the hi-def tedium of a relationship that unfolds IRL. Content to play with your emotions — and their instruments — Night Court furnishes their suburban basement with reverb as thick as the TV set in their family room. As evidenced by the collage of 1950s control boards, the band has a talent for pushing those emotional buttons. It’s no wonder they prefer silicone valleys.

Averaging two-decades a piece when it comes to tearing up the stage with different previous rock and roll outfits, Jiffy, Emilor, and Dave have a FAQ-sheet and a backstory for every track on the new album. RANGE caught up with Night Court to see how their snappy little video venture for “Together Apart” played out.

Congratulations on the new video! Where did you source the images that you used in the video for “Together Apart” and what concepts did you want to bring to the screen in representing the mood and meaning of the song?

Emilor: I’m always collecting stuff for collage works and I liked the juxtaposition of imagery of older screens and technology with lyrics that reflect our current screen dominated existence… The dissociation between real life and the filtered online existence.

How did the pandemic impact the band as a group, and as individuals, and how does that come through on this particular track?

Jiffy: Definitely a deep lockdown reaction song. Pretty tongue-in-cheek though. I had been joking with Dave that, at the time, he was probably stoked to have an excuse to not have to go out and socialize with people because he’s a bit of a homebody. But that was back when we thought it would last a couple weeks or months — not a couple years. Seems less funny in retrospect.

How does “Together Apart” fit into the rest of Nervous Birds’ catalogue and build on the narrative you were seeking to create with your debut LP?

Dave: “Together Apart” was the fastest song written on the album. Jiffy made a joke in the morning, I sent him some music by noon, and the whole thing was done before dinner. Usually takes us twice that much time. Even without a global pandemic, the song would still be about technology mediating our social lives. It’s the ‘OK Computer’ of Nervous Birds.

How comfortable are you in front of the camera and is the experience of making a video something you’d like to revisit in the future?

Emilor: I have been a total extrovert who loves the stage since I was mini. I remember crashing the main stage of the Vancouver Folk Fest when I was maybe two and a half. As such I don’t have any advice other than, the opinions of others are worthless. Do everything like you mean it and have fun. I hope we do it again many times! It’s been really fun working together on the videos. I don’t have any video editing skills but I have ideas and maybe some other skills? Next, I would love to explore stop-motion animation and making marionettes or puppets.

Night Court’s debut, Nervous Birds! One, is available now via Snappy Little Numbers and Debt Offensive Records