THE MODERN RECORD INTERVIEWS.... NINA
GERMAN-BORN SYNTHWAVE ARTIST NINA DISCUSSES HER DEBUT ALBUM 'SLEEPWALKING', SUPPORTING ERASURE AND FUTURE PLANS
The Modern Record: So Nina, can you tell us a little bit about your background at all? How did you get into music?
NINA: I was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. I've always been a huge fan of British bands/ artists like Queen, David Bowie, Depeche Mode, so 15 years ago I decided to explore the UK music scene a bit more by moving to London. In 2011 I got signed to my record label Aztec Records.
TMR: Your debut album - Sleepwalking - is out now on Aztec Records. How does it feel to finally have it out there in the world?
NINA: It feels awesome! I’m very proud of it. The CD's were sold out pretty instantly and all the vinyl are nearly sold out too. We've been working on this album for quite some time, so I just wanted to get it out there and share it with the fans.
TMR: How long were you working on the album for?
NINA: About 2 years. But some of the songs were written before then. My main producer Oscillian (who lives in Sweden) produced most of the tracks on my album. It was a lot of back and forth via Skype calls and I've actually flew over to record a couple of songs at this studio too. I also recorded with Richard X and Sunglasses Kid in London.
TMR: The nostalgic 80’s electronic tone on your music is unmistakable. What synths were you and your production team using to get those sounds?
NINA: I use my Roland Gaia a lot, especially for live. I know Oscillian used Korg PolySix and Oberheim OB-X for some of our songs. And Richard X has a vast collection of vintage analogue synths.
TMR: I see you’re also curating a compilation of synthwave music - can you tell us more about that?
NINA: Aztec told me about their plans of releasing their Pure Synthwave compilation and they asked me to curate it, which I agreed to instantly. I listen to a lot of the artists that are featured on this compilation and wanted to share my personal favourites with people around the globe. I had way too many favourite tracks to start with, so we had to cut it down to 20 only. I'm glad it seems to have been a success. Wish I could have included more!
TMR: You supported Erasure on their American tour a while back, how was that experience?
NINA: It was one of the best experiences I've ever had. I grew up listening to Erasure, so I would just sit after my show and watch Andy belt out his tunes with all that passion and power after all these years. I felt so lucky to have been invited to open for their shows across the U.S.
TMR: How did you approach the challenge of performing your material live?
NINA: Myself and my drummer/MD Laura have quite a simple set up. I play most lead synth sounds on a Roland Gaia and she plays drum Samples on Roland SPD-SX electric drum pads, and we run some stereo backing tracks on a laptop. It's just easier to tour and travel around that way for now. For the Erasure tour I used a limited edition (black keys) micro KORG, which Vince Clark fell in love with!
TMR: If you could collaborate with any artist - current or past - who’d it be?
NINA: Past - David Bowie, Current - Chromatics.
TMR: Finally, what are your plans for the future?
NINA: We've got some exciting gigs lined up. I'm especially looking forward to playing at Retro Future Fest II again on the 28th July in London. We’re working on releasing ‘Sleepwalking’ on cassette very soon too. And we're busy working on a new music video and also on my second album, which we'll hopefully release early next year!