Yesterday, we dug into Portland duo Nice Nice’s ten years of improvising together. Today we discuss their joining Warp Records and being forced to get a new rig. Our interview continues after the jump.
I’d like to change the direction of this conversation completely and start on something else: I’m curious about whether you think that the fact that you have been signed to Warp exerted any influence on how the album came out. And whether it’s different than it would have been if you were recording it for an indie label, or even a major label. Do you think there was an influence there?
You know, it’s hard to say. There were times when we worried: “Wow, is it going to work out with this label?” It definitely entered our minds during the process, but I think we were going to make this record regardless. We had an idea of what we wanted to do. It probably changed a little because it took so long that our tastes evolved during the course of the process, you know. But I don’t think we did any intentional IDM jams or a dubstep album just because of Warp.
They gave us free reign and we felt comfortable doing whatever we wanted to.
I was once talking to A Place To Bury Strangers in advance of a record that they had made for Mute, and they mentioned that when they went in to have a meeting with Daniel Miller, the owner of Mute Records, he gave them this pile of Mute albums to listen to.
And I don’t think there was anything explicit attached to that, you know, “This is the brand you’re representing now,” but was there any back and forth like that with Warp?
No it was real hands off, they gave us creative freedom. We never felt like there was even a subtle [force] trying to move us in a direction. We’ve actually listened to a lot of Warp artists already. You know, some SquarePusher and Autechre records were probably some things that even motivated us to start the band in the first place. But yeah, we didn’t feel pressured in any way.
Did they bring anything to the table in terms of hooking you up with an engineer or a studio space or someone to help mix it, or did you just give them the thing and it was like done?
We just gave them the thing and it was done. Had we asked, I’m sure they could have steered us in certain directions. At various points, when I was trying to learn my new studio, there were points when I was like “Oh shit, we’re doing this by ourselves, and there are people around here who are serious audio engineer types on the label!” So it’s probably more of a homemade record that the other ones they’ve released, but they were totally cool about it.
Talk a bit about the new system that you had to put into place. In the 10 years that have passed since you guys started making music, do you think that technology’s made it easier or harder to make a record that you’re happy with?
That’s a good question. I mean, probably easier in the sense that our studio is still rudimentary. We’re not super deep into the engineering side of things. We work on our musical, you know, stuff, and on trying to capture it. I kind of got in over my head a bit with this past record because in the past we did just roll the tape, or the computer, and I couldn’t go back and fuss with it, but because we had extra time and had more control, I tinkered with it probably more than I should have, but you know, what are you going to do?
I don’t think it sounds overworked in any way. It is interesting though, thinking about how it sounds like there was a serious sort of ‘aha’ moment when you got that loop. Was there a pedal that you used? Do you work with a sampler? What do you guys do to make the racket that you make?
No, there’s no samples. Everything is built live in real time with essentially guitar petals. My current rig is slightly more complex that just a pedal, but we’re pretty much just loop and go, on the fly in real time.