First coming across Nouveaunoise back in 2010 at the venerable, Electric Underground clubnight, little did I know that they would become all time favorites of mine. From the very first record Panaka, Galway natives Niall Conway and Conor Gaffney drew attention for their endearing & refreshingly energetic, organic electronica.
Listening back now to Goni/Cinnte which was out about the same time, it still sounds as fresh & vibrant as then (even though I’ve listened to it, literally, hundreds of times!) There’s an inherently natural vibe to their music with expertly blended string riffs, vocal samples and drum breaks culminating into enticing, uplifting & emotive music. Tracks like Psychasonic wouldn’t be out of place on a Four Tet album. It’s not all sweetness by any means either, they can nail post-rock too such as in Paraphrase Accolade, which could pass for some of the more melodic Redneck Manifesto stuff.
From their 2011 Sequence Consequence album, you can hear a development in their style towards the electronic scene in the UK, with a lot more bass and with hints of dub-step & hip-hop filtering through. All the while, still managing to retain their trademark sound. We were delighted to ask Niall & Conor about how they work together, their gear and lots more….
How did NN first come about? Were you both into the same music or did you come from different musical backgrounds?
C: I wouldn’t say we came from very different musical backgrounds, music is what we had in common! We met in Galway through college and we used to spend our days messing around with guitars and drum machines, breakin the neighbours hearts.
You recorded your first album Paraphrase Accolade using instruments & sampling your own riffs giving it a live feel and organic sound. Since you both hail from the West, where live music is held in such high esteem, has it influenced you & the instrumental style in your earlier stuff?
N: In that we play instruments, I guess it did. But equally was probably an immaturity towards electronic musical instruments. These didn’t exist out west.
You’ve self-released records. How have you found that? Would you consider doing it again and do you have any advice for artists who are planning on doing the same?
N: Yes and no. It was an experience, but not one we’d like to repeat. It costs a lot. It is great for getting out there and you learn so much. I’d say Cast of Cheers would be the best crew to ask for advice on that one. They done it right.
Your sound evolved in Sequence Consequence, and took a definite turn towards a more dance-floor orientated music. Was this a decisive transition or a natural development for you?
N: Yea a bit of both I guess. Certainly we wanted to go that route, but it was what was exciting us at the time. We weren’t listening to as much band music and the squat we lived in was a 100% electronic environment.
With this new direction you must have a different way of constructing the sound, what gear/software are you using at the moment?
N: Software we’re always updating and we’ve collected a few bits of hardware along the way. My favourite is the Roland Tape Echo. That’s where it’s at. But sure we could go on all day about gear. We love gear. But often tunes come out of a sample cut on the laptop mixed on headphones. Constructing maybe hasn’t changed that much apart from not recording as much string instruments.
You’ve mentioned previously that you worked separately even when in the same house, so that the distance between you two hasn’t affected your dynamic whilst writing, but do you have specific roles to play on the NN production line?
N: Not really. We very much share the load. Each one does what they want, whatever part of the production. Our vibe as a whole more or less stays coherent cause we share what we learn and what we are listening to.
What do you think of the Irish electronic music scene; Do you think there is enough opportunity for upcoming electronic artists?
N: The Irish electronic scene has really boomed. We have so many artists now that are at international level. Just look at all the Irish dudes that have appeared on XLR8R and elsewhere over the last year. That’s never happened before. It’s really exciting at the moment.
During your live shows you often have visuals, do you think it’s important to have a visual aspect to your performances nowadays or were you always interested in visuals anyway? And out of interest, who does them?
N: Sam Keogh used to do them. That’s a claim to fame right there. Look him up.
C: Visuals are definitely an important part of any performance. It enhances the atmosphere. Unfortunately it is something that we don’t spend enough time on.
So far you’ve changed the vibe of your music between records, and flawlessly so! Is this something you plan to continue doing?
I mean it stays in theme with your name!
N: Ha. What’s in a name eh? We’ve to figure that one out yet.
Our next release will be different than our last though for sure.
I hear that Conor is moving to Berlin soon and you’ll both be in the same city again, what’s the plan from there?
Open a Kebab shop. Serious lack of Kebab shops out here.
So there you have it: The Kebab drought in Berlin is solved! Is there anything they can’t do? 🙂
On a serious note, NN are playing tomorrow as part of the Hard Working Class Heroes gig in Dublin, it’s it’s on in The Twisted Pepper. You know what you have to do…
Big thanks to the lads for answering the questions!