PHOTO CREDIT: Larsen Sotelo Photography
I am always excited featuring NINA on these pages and she is someone…
who has appeared a number of times. She is among the most exciting artists around and captures the heart with ease. The German-born Synth./Electro.-Pop artist talks about her new track, One of Us. NINA discusses its inspirations and what kind of songs/subjects we can discover from her forthcoming E.P. It is clear she has a huge affection for 1980s music so I was curious knowing which artists she connects with and how influential that decade is to her music.
NINA looks ahead and talks about her plans; the albums that have influenced her the most and how the music scenes differ in London and Berlin. She talks about working with Oscillian on her latest track and the advice she would give to any songwriters starting out.
Hi, NINA. How are you? How has your week been?
Hello. I’m great, thanks.
I’ve just played a gig in Peterborough with LeBrock.
I’m still buzzing. It was an awesome night.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
I was born and raised in Berlin but I now live in London. I make Synth-Pop and Synthwave music.
I sing, I play synths and I love the ’80s.
As a musician in London, what has been your reaction to the recent terrorist attacks and General Election? Has it affected you a lot and how do you think the music community are reacting to them?
It’s been a heavy couple of weeks with a lot of uncertainty and sorrow. But, there are a lot of good people in this wonderful city and that’s the main thing.
I think we’re all doing the best we can which is soldiering on and (to) continue to spread love. Nothing will stop us from making music, writing and going to concerts.
One of Us is your latest track. What can you tell us about its birth and story?
One of Us is a collaboration with Swedish Synthwave producer, Oscillian. The concept was inspired by my teenage years when I used to be bullied at school. I felt that I couldn’t trust or open up to anyone. I felt alone. I didn’t know how to ask for help.
I want people to know that there’s always someone willing to support us in those circumstances – as long as we learn to ask for help.
You worked with Oscillian on that song. What was that experience like?
I’ve known Oscillian for over two years. We met in Sweden when I was playing a festival there. He drove five hours across Sweden just to meet me – which I thought was amazing.
He’s not only an absolute sweetheart but also a very talented producer who knows the Synthwave scene very well. We connected instantly.
One of Us is from your latest E.P. What was it like putting the songs together and what kind of themes were you keen to address throughout?
The two main tracks are quite contrasting – which is what I wanted. One of Us is about personal experiences and Counting Stars is a narrative. Hope and unconditional love are present on both tracks – although they have very different contexts.
Counting Stars is a slower Synthwave track which talks about a pact that two lovers make to run away: “You and I will pass the test of time/set in stone/A mission on our own”.
There are some amazing remixes in the E.P. also; from a fast-paced/high-energy Angger Dimas remix to a slow, dreamy Disco remix by Douglas Holmquist. I love hearing different versions of my songs and, hopefully, you guys will enjoy them too.
(Pre-order the E.P. here: https://ninasound.lnk.to/NINAOneOfUs)
I have been following your music and love tracks like My Mistake and Heart of Glass (Blondie cover). How has your music changed, would you say, in the last year or so? Do you find yourself a more confident artist than a few years back, say?
I think, naturally, you keep evolving with time and that’s reflected in my newest tracks. I’ve been doing lots of new exciting collaborations; going to watch more shows and getting inspired by artists around me.
I do feel more confident on stage and I think I finally found ‘my’ sound. Although, I know it’s only temporary as everything changes; everything evolves. I feel more open to that change now.
Is there a plan for another new E.P. or album this year?
We’re hoping to release another E.P. this year and we’re pretty much ready to release my debut album (next year).
You were born in Berlin but based in London. How do the music scenes differ and do you feel there are more opportunities in London?
I left Berlin in 2004 so I can only speak for my experience up to then. I felt, at the time, both cities were very different musically. Berlin had that strong Electronic influence that shaped my sound but London had that amazing U.K. sound (and legendary bands) that I admired.
I feel both audiences are pretty similar, though Londoners and Berliners can be a little sceptical at first, but, once they like your music, they will support you all the way.
Both cities are amazing in terms of connecting musicians from all around the world and making music projects happen.
PHOTO CREDIT: Chi Yan
Can you tell me the artists you grew up listening to and helped foster your sound?
Depeche Mode, Queen; INXS, David Bowie and Kraftwerk.
A string of British and European dates will follow. Which are you looking forward to especially and how important to you is it getting out and playing to the fans?
It’s hard to say.
I look forward to all of them! Every time you play a gig you learn something new and meet new people (and other artists). It’s inspiring. I guess if I had to pick one it would be Outland in London (at the Clapham Grand) on September 29th – which happens to be on my birthday.
It’s going to be a night to remember, for sure.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Check out LGHTNNG from the Netherlands. It’s an awesome Electro.-Pop band. The singer’s voice is lush.
Listen to their track Desert King. It’s simply amazing.
If you had to select the three albums that have meant the most to you; which would they be and why?
Michael Jackson – Thriller
I had this one on cassette and we used to listen to it all the time in my mum’s car when I was a child. It brings back sweet memories.
David Bowie – ‘Heroes’
This album (and the track) ‘Heroes’ helped me a lot through difficult times.
Fantastic lyrics that go straight to your heart.
There’s a track on this album called Neuköln which is the area in Berlin where I was born – so I felt very connected to this release.
The Doors – The Doors
I was introduced to The Doors a little later in life but I fell in love with them right away. My favourite tracks are Soul Kitchen, The Crystal Ship and The End.
I loved the controversial and psychedelic elements of The End and I felt transported on a journey every time I listened to it.
What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?
Work really hard, practice; play gigs.
Speak directly to your fans and stay humble.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
O.M.D. – Enola Gay