Nightshifts is the recording project of Toronto based songwriter Andrew Oliver. He works his magic across vintage synths, groovy guitars and drum machines during late-night recording sessions to create soulful and cosmic pop tunes. Nightshifts delivers slow-building progressions of phased synthesizers and delay-coated guitars to create powerful atmospheres that feel close-at-home. The project is both exciting and complex with a fast-growing reputation for kaleidoscopic production and soulful songwriting. His music carries an underlying theme of imbalance and the challenge to stay present, with the musician confiding, “I very often get caught up thinking about past situations, and looking towards future ones. I write a lot about this imbalance. And ironically, the times I feel most in the moment are when I’m working on music.” Aiming to create music to teleport you to paradise, even if it’s just for three minutes, Nightshifts creates a space to both boogie and feel introspective, whilst learning and feeling something new with each and every turn.
His 11-track album STIR is a result of the artist spending too much time in his head and going a little stir crazy over the first year of lockdown. Oliver explains, “The album was a journey of me overthinking different facets of my life, like where I should be by this age (By Now), imagining a romanticized version of my life had I taken different paths (Beach), and already missing a time that I’m currently in (20s). It was a cathartic process that led me to realize the only truly important moment is the one right in front of me, and not the ones that are out of my control in the past and future.”
“Easy”, the album’s focus track, is about the paralyzing nature of indecision. The songwriter shares, “When I’m stuck on a decision, I tend towards inaction and dragging out the process. The result is generally worse than if I had just made a choice in any direction. Easy is about trusting your gut, making a call, and moving forward.” Featuring otherworldly synths, Nightshifts takes you into uncharted territory, creating a feeling of trying to remember the hazy recollections of a dream.
“20s” is a feel-good, nostalgic song dripping in shimmering synths. Featuring sleek, hip-hop bars from The Game, the single has done a 360 cycle. After meeting The Game outside a hotel at just nine years old, 20 years later Oliver saw the rapper advertising a search for independent artists to collaborate with and instantly caught his attention.
“Rest” is a place of euphoria and peace. The single gives off a scent of calmness, entering with striking, swirling synths and muffled guitars, giving us the atmospheric dreamland of Nightshifts. The narrative of the track stems from an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and the inability to sleep, after returning home from a long tour. He continues, “I have always had a rocky relationship with sleep, I wanted to use this song as a reminder to myself, that whenever I’m feeling a bit funky, I may just need some rest.”
Baked in optimism and rejuvenation, “Tunnel Vision” is a dewy tune oozing in escapism. The songwriter explains his fascination with “one-person production based artists” like Tame Impala, Bon Iver and Neon India, sharing, “I loved how these artists created a defined-aesthetic world around their music, and how it didn’t feel like a singer-songwriter project, but something closer to a band.”
Having garnered millions of streams on Spotify alone, Nightshifts has made a name for himself through his unique and innovative sound. Following the release of a remix of Bon Iver’s “Michicant,” Oliver was praised by Justin Vernon himself, further propelling the Canadian artist into the limelight and giving him a taste of what he is truly capable of.