Night Shop is the songwriting project of Justin Sullivan. Sullivan has worked as a touring drummer for the past twenty years, much of which was spent playing house shows, warehouses and art spaces with a half dozen DIY punk bands, including Ringers and an early incarnation of Worriers. In 2009, he joined the Babies alongside Kevin Morby and Cassie Ramone. When the band went on hiatus in 2013, Sullivan moved to Los Angeles with Morby and continued working with him as a staple of the live band and playing on all of Morby’s studio albums. In the meantime, Sullivan also formed the fuzz punk outfit Flat Worms, with Tim Hellman of Oh Sees and Will Ivy. In the Break is Night Shop’s first full length album, following a self-titled EP released in 2017 by 1234 Go! Records. The album was engineered by Jarvis Taveniere of Woods, a longtime collaborator from Sullivan’s time in Brooklyn and mixed by Drew Fischer.
When I was first discovering music and new ways of thinking, the locus for everything I wanted to learn about was found at the local independent cafe, two towns over from me where all the musicians and artists and weirdos would hang out. I’d literally spend every night there, just taking it all in. Even at the time, I knew I’d never really get over that feeling of discovery.
As someone who has continued touring every year since those days (21 years now, good lord), my favorite thing about traveling is the hope that I might find that cafe in each different city or town that I visit. Or any place that you can feel is at the center of what’s next, what’s to come; where the forward thinking is, where the melancholy is, where the romance is. Every day on tour I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of that, even for a second from the passing van and be reminded that the spirit that meant so much to me lives on.
I have a lot of friends who feel a real sense of meaningful connection in nature. A kind of zen state or moment of transcendence. I’m happy for them. But the feeling that they describe is what I feel on a crowded avenue, in the mix of all kinds of people and ways of living. Just soaking in that view, seeing things that inspire or confuse or excite me. Even when that view feels bleak or reflects the horrors of an economic order that crushes people as a matter of routine. To me, clarity and transcendence comes through other people. It helps me see myself as part of this bigger, wilder project of humanity, and think through the things we owe one another. It helps me set the course for how I want to co-exist in this world.
Any truly beautiful view I’ve ever seen is one that has people in it.
Which is I guess what I mean when I write about the idea of eternal youth. It’s not about some desperate ploy to stay relevant. It’s about other people, new ideas, weird possibilities, things we don’t know how to say yet. It’s about making way for what’s next and questioning what we thought we knew in those supposedly halcyon days. It’s taking a quiet seat in the corner, sipping a strong cup of coffee and feeling lucky to still be in the room, before heading down the road once again.
(Oh and this song is also a bit about being in love with an unavailable person too.)
(Also, it’s a nod to Patrick Modiano’s “In The Cafe of Lost Youth” and hopefully not too clumsy of one.)
— Justin Sullivan
All the proceeds from “The Cafe of Lost Youth” and from this t-shirt will be going to St. Elmo Village.