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Nicole Andrews - Nicole Andrews Newsletter Interview

01 May 2018 // An interview by ShelleySketch

Wellington based singer and electronic musician, Nicole Andrews, released her second and highly anticipated album, A Stranger, on May 4th, and has a national album tour taking place from 10-25 May. 

Her music is described as “Simple, stripped back, yet incredibly solid” by NZ Musician Magazine; and The Listener Magazine have said “for those who like their femininity fierce and fearless.” Now with the release of, A Stranger, on the horizon, Andrews delves into the realm of electronic music, pairing with Rhombus producer, Thomas Voyce, for production.

Shelley spoke to Nicole for muzic.net.nz, here's what she had to say:

There seems to be a lot of writing to describe your music, but how would you briefly describe it to someone who hasn’t heard it?

The music is electronic and dark. I write very emotive music and am really inspired by people like Goldfrapp and Bjork, but also have loved Nine Inch Nails my whole life.

How do you come up with your lyrics and what inspires you the most when writing your lyrics?

I write my lyrics very improvisationally, which is something that I’ve always done, way back to when I was like 14 years old and writing poetry in my bedroom. I do stream of consciousness and just let it all out, and that’s often done at the same time as I’m composing the music for the song as well. I’m often inspired by things in my life, and process my own emotions in songs. That doesn’t mean that all the songs are from my perspective and about me, but it does mean that they are all real. 

You seem to be influenced by quite a few artists such as PJ Harvey for example. Are there any new influences that have come about while working on your new album?

Yes, there was a lot of electronic artists that I started listening to a lot more while working on the album. I tend to listen to things that are influencing me in the moment for that particular project, and this time it was a lot of Arca, Andy Stott, Goldfrapp, Grimes and so on. Not all was electronic though, there was a lot of Sparklehorse and Nick Cave in there.

What music do you enjoy listening too?

I listen to everything really, but tend to gravitate towards more alternative music or stuff that is very melancholy. I have a record player at home and there tends to be a lot of The Cure playing in the house, but if it’s good and it speaks to me then I’ll listen.

Your new album A Stranger came out on the 4th May. You wrote it in 3 months when you went through a period of condensed focus and inspiration. How much music did you write? Was there material that didn’t make the album?

Yes there was material that didn’t make it in the album. I wrote about 20 complete songs in that 3 months, and that was condensed down to 11 songs through both process of elimination and just realising that not all 20 songs were going to make it (so I just had to cull some) and then after they were recorded I realised that some songs weren’t working as well as others and just kept the strongest ones.

Where did the album title come from? And why May 4th (May the 4th be with you)?

Sometimes people come into your life and in that beginning meeting, you cannot foresee the effect they will have on your lives. The album title is about being a stranger to yourself and everyone you know being a stranger. Even the people you are closest with in life can act in ways that make you think you do not know them as you thought you did, and the same goes for yourself. You can not fully know yourself or another person as you think you might. There can be sadness and disappointments within yourself and within the others you have considered closest. I guess the point is that you just don’t have the answers, and this album is about discovering where those lines are drawn.

The date of May the fourth just worked with the timeline, but honestly it’s also sorta because May the 4th be with you.

How does it feel to finally have some new music out?

It feels good. I’m so ready for this album to be out. I feel like I’ve spent so much time telling people that the album is different and people not really getting that it’s not gonna be piano music, that now I finally get to show what I mean.

Your new single Lovely Thing is really intriguing. Without knowing your music it seems very haunting yet I’m also very drawn to it. The sound makes me think of old horror movies or something, it’s particularly eerie. How did it feel to release that track as the first single off your new album? Why that track in particular?

It felt super amazing yet super exhausting to finally release that track. There’s a lot of emotional build up to releasing something, and since that one was the first track, it just felt full on in a way that was also a very big relief. The reason I picked this track was because it just felt right for the single. I just knew it was a good choice, and it was actually harder to pick the second single. Also, I love that it reminds you of horror movies, because I’m a massive horror movie lover.

Your video looks like it was shot on old film. It’s beautifully done. Why that particular effect? Also why did you choose such close up and particular imagery?

All of that imagery was thanks to the talented Adam von Penfold, who made it. He’s an artist who works with all sorts of different styles of filming and a lot of experimental stuff. We shot it over two days in Wellington and I basically just gave him the guidance to make some of it have a sexual tone, and then voila. However, he totally ran with it and I tried to give him full creative license.

You’re going on tour in support of your new album, first in NZ then overseas. What made you decide right now to take it further than just NZ? Are you excited about the tour?

Well, it just makes the most sense to do a tour alongside the album release, and honestly I’m going overseas because my grandma bought me a ticket to get back home because she misses me, and so it’s just a perfect timing for me. I am excited about the tour, it’s just time to get the music out there to share with others. My grandma is excited to hear it too.

What is the one thing you want NZ to know about yourself?

I’m not sure… That I’m one of you. I’ve lived here like 30% of my life and am officially Kiwi. So don’t be fooled by the background story and accent.

Thank you for doing this interview with us Nicole. I wish you all the best and can’t wait to hear more!


About Nicole Andrews

Nicole Andrews is a self-taught pianist and electronic artist originally from Portland, Oregon, now living in Wellington.

Her debut album, In the Shallows, focused on piano driven alternative, and went on to receive critical acclaim within New Zealand and overseas.

Her sophomore album, A Stranger, has diversified from the previous ‘piano songs’ moniker, instead drawing on electronic influences such as Bjork, Goldfrapp and Arca. Paired with Rhombus’ Thomas Voyce as producer, the compositions centre around the Prophet 6 synthesizer and the raw confessional lyrical stylings Nicole is known for. The result is a gritty and dark album that reveals a new side of this singer-songwriter.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Nicole Andrews


A Stranger
Year: 2018
Type: Album
In The Shallows
Year: 2015
Type: Album

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