[Photo by Rob Spadafora]

Toronto emo-rockers Nightwell are hitting their stride as they gear up toward releasing their self-titled album, and they’re giving people a taste of what’s to come by revealing a new video for their song “Runaway” exclusively with AltPress.

The band added a fresh face two years after their start with vocalist Jason Emsallem (formerly of math-rock act Pfloog) joining in 2019, and since then, they’ve been steadily dropping emotionally introspective singles with a newfound drive for hard-hitting energy ahead of their April 3 album release. 

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Forming in 2017, Nightwell guitarist Cole Hardy and drummer Terrance Pettitt found their creative footing and were soon joined by guitarist/producer Kyle Marchant, with Emsallem joining later.

On top of dropping the new video, Nightwell are set to perform at the sold-out launch of Canada’s own Emo Nite North in Hamilton, Ontario, with Like Pacific, Romancer and Hotknives March 7.

Now, though, they’re offering up an inside look at the video and writing process behind the track. You can see that along with the video below.

Put us in your mindset while writing “Runaway.” What inspired the song, and what made you want to put this story out into the world? 

JASON EMSALLEM: “Runaway” is a conclusion to our previous single, “Drive.” It dives into the crumbling relationship alluded to in the previous song. “Runaway” follows the story to its end and shows the struggles that come at the final chapter of a relationship and how we’ve worked toward moving on from those experiences that we invested years of our lives in,” says Emsallem.

Instrumentally, the song brings in a ton of soft melodies while still having a heavy-handed delivery. What was the significance of finding a middle ground between these two approaches?

KYLE MARCHANT: The song has many melodic and instrumental ups and downs. The lyrics follow a relationship that is slowly falling apart. The instruments follow this winding road as well. The song starts soft and gradually builds as the tension develops in the story. The wall of sound in the outro is sweet and lush sounding but is filled with conflicting lyrics. Ending it with an intimate vocal concludes the chaos that has taken place over time—a beginning, middle and end to the story.

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What’s the story behind your music video for the song? What was it like filming it? 

TERRANCE PETTITT: The music video is a visualization of figuratively watching a relationship slip through your fingers as you see the distance between yourself and the other grow further and further apart. We decided to do a one-take video planning all the shots in advance to give the video a smooth collective feel. It was a challenge to get everything to flow, but it was worth the effort. Cole and Rob, our director, worked ahead of time to plan everything out so the day of shooting could move forward with as little hesitation as possible.

The band have put together a handful of singles since introducing new vocalist Jason Emsallem at the beginning of 2019. How has his inclusion in the band shifted your musical approach?

MARCHANT: When Jason had joined the band, we were sitting on a collection of material that we weren’t sure what to do with. “Drive” was a real test on how the band would develop musically and melodically. Working toward our album, we started to find our footing with “Confident.” As we worked endlessly on structural changes and melody changes, we decided to keep the singles as part of our release. Front to back, the album has a lot of genre-melding material yet still flows. You can almost hear the flow of ideas throughout the record.


07/03 – Hamilton, ON @ Doors Pub

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