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Maybe not “Everything Good Ends”: Night Hawk celebrates release of first EP

February 16, 2024

Courtesy of Night Hawk
(NO) END IN SIGHT: The cover art of Night Hawk's "Everything Good Ends." The release is available to stream today.

Today, Night Hawk—one of the more prominent bands to come out of Bowdoin in recent years—released its first EP, “Everything Good Ends,” which joins an assortment of singles released since the band’s inception. Intentionally liberated from constraints of genre but assuming a folksy indie rock feel, the collection aims to take a look at love in all its complexity.

The artistic brainchild of best friends Colter Adams ’24 and Peyton Semjen ’24, Night Hawk began as a way to find companionship in the Covid era. Initially an experiment in musically responding to Edward Hopper’s paintings, the band derives its name from Hopper’s iconic work “Nighthawks.” Infused with the American painter’s defining cinematic ambience, the songs explore perspective, ambiguity and the interplay between light and dark.

Across the EP, Adams’ exuberance and Semjen’s melancholy combine to create a complex listening experience.

“Peyton has a propensity to gravitate more towards dark, mysterious and ethereal, and I tend to gravitate more towards shit-eating grin, ebullience, magnanimous and just excited,” Adams said.

Pairing Adams’ passion for arranging instrumentals and Semjen’s lyrical finesse in the project, a rotating cast of Bowdoin’s finest musicians has brought the storytelling to life.

“We are super precious about our songwriting project,” Adams said. “But if we have the chance to collaborate with these great musicians, how could we not ask them to be a part of it?”

Bassist Shea Sewall ’24 and guitarist Alex Kozic ’24—who share an affinity for a heavier rock sound that bursts through the EP’s softer texture in exciting moments—explained that they met Adams and Semjen their first year and helped form their original band, Mistaken for Strangers. After a hiatus in the fall of 2022—while Adams and Semjen spent the semester away in Washington, D.C.—the band returned as Night Hawk last spring, moving from primarily performing cover songs to focusing on original songwriting.

What distinguishes this release from the rest of their work, though, is a more all-inclusive  approach to the creative process.

“It’s the first release where Peyton and I have let go of the reins a little bit in terms of recording and songwriting and let our band members really come into play in terms of the songwriting process,” Adams said.

Sewall shared that Semjen and Adams would bring a rough sketch to the group for them to flesh out together and collaborate to guide the music-making process. Each band member would bring their own skill sets and styles to the idea and meld them together.

The band’s multi-instrumentalism has become one of its trademarks, which Night Hawk has embraced by inviting cellist Layla Rafimayeri ’24 into its rich polyphony.

“It becomes a thing about instrumental textures,” Adams said. “There’s that old cliché, that the cello and the violin sound close to the human voice, but I feel like particularly with Peyton’s voice which has so much presence and gets so big, there’s so much room to play as a cellist with the interplay there, weaving back and forth. There’s a lot of parts in the EP where the cello almost becomes the lyrical component of the songs.”

The recording process, midwifed by audio engineer Dan Capaldi at Monaco Studios in nearby Falmouth, further embodied their collaborative spirit. A constant dialogue between both sides of the recording booth—uniquely uninhibited by the standard glass partition—created a natural, positive ambience that helped even a two-year-old song that had never worked out in the past, “Green Eyed,” align perfectly on the first take.

The final product is also defined by its unique format—the EP. Adams articulated that as a collection of songs, it traces narrative arcs and has more potential for multidimensionality.

“There’s no real reason to have an album. People still make them because they want a chance to have that dynamic range and storytelling,” Adams said. “ I feel like that’s something that we really were able to achieve with this EP, because it just goes through so many cycles, and I wouldn’t want a listener to get lost on one particular song, or follow the emotional direction of that song without getting to experience that shifted direction.”

Kozic hopes that listeners will lean into the format and listen the whole way through, embracing the stories as representations of their own experience.

“Our projects, they have our raw emotions in them,” Kozic said. “But at the same time, we leave them ambiguous enough that you can relate your own emotions as well.”

Adams admitted he wrestled with the name “Everything Good Ends”—his penchant for optimism resisting—but embraced it in the end.

“Part of what makes love and relationships so special is that they are limited and finite—or a band, right? Or a friendship or anything that has a lot of emotional significance,” he said.

While past releases like “Soir Bleu” refer to a specific Hopper painting, and cover songs were central to the musical identity of Mistaken for Strangers, the stories conveyed by each song on the EP have more personal significance, making this release all the more meaningful.

“When you’re writing songs about your life, suddenly there’s this new gravity to the music and a new sense of ownership,” Adams said. “It would be really a shame to let those fall into college nostalgia.”

With most of its members on the cusp of graduation, the group doesn’t see their leaving Bowdoin as an ending. Many plan on moving to Boston, where they will continue to make music and hope to maintain a connection with sophomore drummer Courtney Burnett ’26. This summer, Night Hawk will embark on a two-week long tour from Maine to Virginia where they hope to reimagine the EP in a live setting and reinvent their sound in response to the crowd.

“We’re going to do what we can to keep it going. Because I think we’ve got something worth continuing here,” Sewall said.

Peyton Semjen ’24 is a member of The Bowdoin Orient.


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