On “Pompeii,” Molly Nilsson delivers Extreme’s epic, heartbreaking moment. Written and recorded during lockdown, Pompeii symbolises the yearning lovers feel to live forever in a perfect moment in time in the face of impending doom. The desire to be frozen in an embrace, but to also escape it. “I’d say I love you but then I catch my breath, because whatever I love I always love it to death…” the lyrics of Pompeii are heavy with a transcendent sadness, an aching poetry that cuts to the truth like the best Leonard Cohen lines. Sung by Molly Nilsson, however, they’re laced with an uplifting love lit by the dying embers of a romance.
Pompeii was shot at the Olympia stadium in Berlin, November 2021.
In 2021, Night School turned 10 years old. Back in 2020 I had grand plans to celebrate still being here, to ten years working with amazing people, incredible experiences, surpassing expectations and generally surviving. We planned a compilation of unreleased music from some of my favourite artists and collaborators. The past 18 months or so had different ideas and now, 10 years and a few months on from LSSN001, we’re all still here and that’s all the celebration we really need.
Night School started in London in 2011 with two 7″s by two DIY groups that sounded really different and everything since then has operated on the same, often chaotic but always sincere, modus operandi. The label grew to include releasing LPs by inspired musicians who’d go on to become lifelong friends, then reissuing some of my favourite ever recordings by people like Strawberry Switchblade, The Space Lady and Jackie Leven. The label has often flirted with professionalism, often adopting collective pronouns, alluding to the royal we, offices and other operational machinery when in reality it’s one guy working at night and on weekends after his day job.
All my favourite labels run like this to a lesser or greater extent. Along the way there have been junctions in the road where I could have made decisions that resulted in more financial stability but they never felt right. There’ve been plenty of failings, wobbles, time-stresses, the wonders of human error. But there’s been infinitley more moments of excitement, joy and togetherness. Night School Records has never been about me, I’m just the chief cheerleader, the pushy (or maybe not pushy enough) parent. I’ve sometimes felt uncomfortable being so visible being the sole employee of the label to the extent that writing this and including a photograph is supplying plenty of anxiety.
Just over 10 years ago I decided to sell most of my record collection to make enough money to make 2 runs of 300 7″s for two bands I really believed in. Terror Bird and Golden Grrrls would go off and do other things together or apart but LSSN01 and LSSN02 with their hand stamped or painted labels and amateurishly screenprinted sleeves will always be a source of pride for me. I don’t mind admitting it was a bit of a dark hole that forced me into action, but I’m glad for it now. Ever since then the label has ping ponged between debt and success, noob mistakes to unexpected triumphs and back again. The label has always been and always will be open, open to what’s round the corner, what’s been, open to fail and open to share. I’ve never supported myself financially with the label so I can take risks. I’m sure this is confusing for some followers of the label, maybe it’s thrilling, I don’t know. My personal listening is all over the place and so is Night School. It has always aimed to be evolving and shifting, never settling on one style or type of music. Sure some people will enjoy some of the output, but not all of it. That’s for the beholder to decide and “curate” for themselves. It’s a messy, uncategorisable (I think), slippery thing, this label, but the joy in it is hopefully what comes through.
Running a label in 2021 is, in many ways, harder than it was in 2011 but I’m as excited now as I’ve ever been for what’s next. I’m definitely more sincere now than I was back then (and I was already insufferably sincere ten years ago) so you know I mean it when I say thank you to everyone who’s ever invested their time and money in any of the artists and the releases I’ve had a hand in realising.
Fine Place (Matthew Hord and Frankie Rose) reveal the second song from their upcoming debut album This New Heaven. It’s Your House is a gorgeous, half-dreamed ballad built on beds of arpeggiated analog synths and pads.
Molly Nilsson’s new album Extreme will be released digitally on January 15th, with vinyl and CD versions available from January 28th.
Molly Nilsson returns after a three-year recording hiatus with “Absolute Power”, the first track from her new album, ‘EXTREME’ out 15th January 2022 via Dark Skies Association / Night School Records.
‘EXTREME’ is Nilsson’s tenth album in 13 years of underground cult stardom that has established her as the people’s champion and voice of the heart, it’s an album that both soars with confidence and offers tender consolation. The 15th January is the date of Rosa Luxemberg’s murder – the Polish Marxist economist, anti-war activist, philosopher and revolutionary socialist has been an inspiration to Molly Nilsson and it is the day she is commemorated in Berlin.
Really, really excited to be able to finally share the news: Frankie Rose and Matthew Hord‘s new group Fine Place have signed to Night School and will be releasing their debut album This New Heaven on November 19th, 2021. It’s a superlative, deep dive into synthesized post punk and melting vocal performances from Rose. We’re also really excited to team up with Dinked Edition to offer a beautiful package that features, among other things, an exclusive extra track on a flexi disc and lush design by Glasgow based designer Manuel Fernandez. You can head to the Dinked Edition for links to where to buy this edition. To support actual record stores in these weird times we won’t be selling this edition direct. Support your local record store if you can!
We are so excited to introduce Straight Outta Caledonia, a compilation of songs by the late songwriter Jackie Leven.
I’ve been running Night School for 10 years this year. It’s been a tumultuous, hugely rewarding thing in my life where the positives massively outweigh the negatives. Maybe I’d have less grey hair without it but I’m learning to live with that.
When I’m announcing a new release, something I’ve worked on for a while with the artists it’s a really anxious time. Often the feeling is akin to being on the edge of a cliff face looking into azure water. I’ve been working on Straight Outta Caledonia, a new compilation on Night School’s subsidiary label School Daze of songs by the artist Jackie Leven, for over 3 years. I first heard his song The Sexual Loneliness Of Jesus Christ in 2016 maybe and it had an instant, powerful, healing, transcendent effect. It reminded me of why I do this. Why I like music in the first place. Since then I’ve made it a kind of personal mission to try and show Leven’s music to as many people as possible and the best way I can do this is by making Straight Outta Caledonia.
I was really lucky to have the author Ian Rankin and singer Molly Nilsson on board to write some liner notes about how much Jackie’s music means to them. I wrote a bit too. I’m really, really nervous because I’ll never meet Jackie Leven (he passed away in 2011) and for some reason I’ve got into the situation where I’m releasing the first vinyl release of his in decades. It’s almost a make or break type affair for the label, I’ve put so much energy and everything else into this. I really, really wish that his music reaches some new people and it helps them as much as its helped me. I really feel like this is one of the most important projects I’ve been involved in to date.
I’m going to paste the liner notes I wrote for the release below but in the meantime, I sincerely wish you all the best time possible with the music on this comp, if you decide to dive in. I haven’t been the same since listening to Jackie Leven
Hey Moon is probably Molly Nilsson‘s most popular song. Originally released in 2008 on her self-released debut album These Things Take Time – a hand-burnt CDr with folded “origami” artwork – it became one of her earliest successes, reaching out to the lonely wherever they heard it. Though it remains one of Nilsson’s most popular songs she never plays it live and has come to distance herself from it. A few years after its release it suddenly became the property of other people, in a sense. Covered, used on television programmes, it slipped from her sphere.
It’s time to reclaim Hey Moon. In support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Nilsson’s label Dark Skies Association and Night School are teaming up to release a 7″ of Nilsson’s Hey Moon backed with a rare early song, Silver. All profits for the sale of this digital and physical release will be donated to Black Lives Matter. Hey Moon 7″ will be available direct through Dark Skies Association, Night School Bandcamp and in your favourite local record store soon. We’re anticipating it to be ready by the end of March. We’re thrilled to already have sold so many of these and to be able to donate a sizeable sum.
“In case anyone was wondering, I’m a lifelong supporter of Antifa. Like most of us, I was appalled by what we saw in DC this week and by the people present there. In response to this DSA and Night School Records have decided to release a 7” single of my original song Hey Moon (2008), with ALL PROFITS from the sale donated to BLACK LIVES MATTER worldwide.”