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Niki & The Dove
One of your songs, Sun Choir, is almost like ethereal choral music, but DJ, Ease My Mind grows into throbbing electro.
How easy is it to describe your sound?
G: Well, because there are so many little things in our songs from different genres, it actually makes explaining the music quite hard. It’s difficult to sum in up in one word, and even if you could, you’d probably be better off as a poet than a musician. It’s good that you can’t completely nail it down, I think.
M: If you really had to say, though, I suppose the closest would be electronic pop.
A lot of your songs are built from strange sounds, such as keys jangling in The Fox. Where do these ideas come from?
G: When you’re making music in the studio it’s really important to be as open minded as possible. Be receptive to ideas. You have to be aware of what you’re listening to and how you could change or improve it. The creative process is very special. So for example, we used a lampshade as a percussion instrument. I remember we were really happy about the sound.
G: Yes! It was great. Think of it this way: you have sound around you all the time, don’t you? And the nice thing about living in a technologically advanced era is that you can easily record anything you want to. Then you manipulate the sound and it’s in the song.
Is the lampshade the weirdest ‘instrument’ you’ve used?
G: Well, maybe not actually. We used the foot of a stool, banged on the floor, as a kick drum! We liked that a lot, but I really don’t know whether we kept it.
It was definitely in one of the songs for a couple of weeks.
M: Don’t forget the water bottle.
G: Oh yes, we also used a water bottle as a drum, which was banged against our knees. We had to manipulate it quite hard, but it’s there, in Gentle Roar.
It sounds like the recording process is completely anarchic. How do you keep focused on making the song the key rather than the strange sounds?
G: Well, to us, pop music is an important element. You have to respect the power of a pop song, so we aim for that. Whether we always reach it is for others to judge And what you sing about is interesting too – with descriptions of everything from dark woods to deserts, it’s a very lyrical album.
M: Place and location isn’t always the starting point for what I write about but we wanted to do a thematic EP, which is why The Drummer has that concept about the desert. I’m fascinated by it. But I’m also really interested in animal behaviour as a metaphor for what human beings also go through, because we are all animals, really. So yes, this record will have a lot of animals in it, because that really intrigued me at the time we were writing.
So would you say the lyrics are as important as the melodies?
M: Absolutely. They are supposed to act together. It’s like a complete package, maybe!
You’re usually quite reticent about explaining your name. So what’s been the best interpretation you’ve seen?
M: Actually, most people just seemed to decide it comes from Prince [a combination of Darling Nikki and When Doves Cry]. But that’s quite wrong.
So will you sensationally reveal the real meaning now?
M: No chance! You’ll just have to have your own ideas.
G: But isn’t it better that way too? I think it’s a really nice thing when people have their own interpretations about names, or songs, or lyrics. You don’t always have to put everything down into words – we live in a society bombarded with text and information.
So it’s nice to be encouraged to think for yourself. We really hope that there can be a little bit of mystery to Niki & The Dove – not in a really forced, obvious way, but in a way where not everything is explained in a press release.