Nina / Sleepwalking + Interview
One of the most anticipated albums of 2018 has finally arrived...Nina's Sleepwalking is officially out on Aztec Records, and it is glorious. It's almost hard to believe that this is her first feature length record seeing as how she's on the shortlist of the most popular artists on the synth scene. This whole release weekend has felt a bit like an event. My inbox is usually full of artist submissions, messages from promoters or labels, or notifications from the various Echosynthetic social media outlets. As soon as Sleepwalking hit I was getting messages from people asking questions like, "When are you going to review the new Nina album?" or "Have you heard the new Nina yet?" The most notable message I got was from Atlanta synthpop virtuoso, Juan Cezar, from Frisky Monkey. It read, "Hey James, if you haven’t checked out Nina’s new album yet, you definitely should!"
Truth be told, I had already been in talks with Nina about the upcoming release and as such, not only are you getting a review today, you're also getting a full interview with one of the leading ladies of synth. It's funny how it all came about, actually. My wife, who has been pretty well documented as someone who doesn't really care much for synths and doesn't understand my love of the 80's, absolutely loves Nina. She pretty much called me out on Twitter because I'd not covered Nina yet...she even tagged Nina (who loved the Tweet). Shame level = High. Well, I immediately sent a message over to Nina, who is thankfully the nicest person ever, and she was super keen to talk to us. My reason for telling this story is because it cuts to the heart of Nina's biggest secret weapon. Crossover appeal.
Sleepwalking, from start to finish, is a fine tuned pop machine. I honestly can't find a single flaw in what Nina has accomplished here. There's no denying that she's one of the best talents out there, so much so that she's able to tap into fan bases that don't normally identify as "synth fans." What's the magic trick? These tracks aren't a rehash of what everyone else is doing. She's not creating generic, paint-by-numbers 80's nostalgia pieces. No, Nina, much like The Rain Within, has succeeded in tapping into an aesthetic while creating a unique, genuine, and relatable sound that is hers, and hers alone. The result is good music, plain and simple. As such, my oft repeated (but still true) phrase applies, good music is good music, no matter the genre or the time period. That's why Nina can cross boundaries and touch more people with her music...it's also why Sleepwalking is an instant classic. A genuine must own for any collection.
Speaking of...there are several ways to get your hands on Nina's new masterpiece of synth. First off, there's a limited edition pinky 12" 180 gram heavyweight LP that you should jump on now if you want one. These are going to be gone soon AND they come autographed! They start shipping in May. Want it on CD? She's got autographed versions of those too! If you want it on digital there's two options as well, Deluxe and Standard. Deluxe has the full album plus instrumentals included for just a few bucks more. You can find the digital versions wherever you prefer to buy your music, such as iTunes or Bandcamp. Want one of those limited edition physical copies (digital available there too)? Click HERE for details over at Nina's official site (along with all sorts of other goodies she has for sale!).
Alright, we're not done here yet! Let's talk to the woman behind this spectacular new release, Nina!
Thanks so much for talking to us! For anyone who has somehow missed out on NINA, do you mind introducing yourself?
I'm a London based singer-songwriter who's in love with everything 80's. I'm basically a retrophiliac. I'm very involved with the Synthwave scene but technically speaking I'm more of a crossover between synthwave and synthpop.
Your debut full length album, Sleepwalking, is out! Excited, nervous, or both?
I'm both nervous, excited and everything in between. It's been a really long time coming but I'm so happy it's finally done. Fans pre-ordered the CD and Vinyl already and have been sending me such positive messages, that I can finally start to relax a little.
Sleepwalking is available on vinyl! Did you ever think you’d have your own LP on vinyl?
It's always been a big dream of mine. Since the 80's I've been fascinated with my dad's vinyl collection and always hoped that one day, I'll release my own music on vinyl. The fact that it will be a pink 12" vinyl, is even more exciting.
How do you come up with your songs? Do they just come to you or is there a process?
I usually think of something I want to talk about, an experience, dreams or a narrative and write it all down. It often starts off being quite an abstract or melancholic kind of poem, we then listen to different beats / instrumentals / demos that we have (my drummer Laura and I work closely with different producers around the world), and we'll start turning it into a song. We both totally ride the same wave when it comes to music. Dynamics, arrangement and catchy melodies and super important to me.
What inspired you to start writing music?
It helped me get things off my chest when I was going through rough times in high school, that's how and when it started really. It was quite therapeutic for me.
What have you been listening to lately?
Lately I've been listening to a lot of Synthwave Playlists on Spotify. Depending on my mood I love listening to Gunship, Absolute Valentine and Timecop1983.
Any advice to someone inspired to follow in your footsteps?
Don't pressure yourself and work with a humble and dedicated team, who believe in you. Work hard and play as many gigs as you can, and with time you'll find who you are as an artist.
Any parting words before we go?
If you're in London on March 31st, come to my gig where I'll be playing along with Canada's own Parallels & Futurecop! It should be a hell of a night.