Exclusive: 5 minutes with NINA

We caught up with Berlin via London synth-wave singer-songwriter NINA to talk about her inspirations ahead of her EP release this Friday, 27th May via Aztec Records.

Hi Nina, how are you and what are you up to today?
I’m great thanks. Got back from Toronto last week and just moved to a new studio so currently getting settled in Greenwich. Love it there.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
I describe it as synthpop or dream pop.

Can you the name albums and artists that have influenced you the most?
Depeche Mode (Violator), David Bowie (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars), Blondie (Parallel Lines), Cindy Lauper (She’s So Unusual).

Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?
His song ‘Song For Zula’ is so beautifully written and so sad, it moves you. You can tell Matthew is a real poet. The first time I heard it, I had to Shazam it instantly.

I love her honesty when she sings. I watched her live and the show was awesome!

Aquilo’s songs have so much feeling and are very well produced. Love them, they’re kinda dreamy.

Great musicianship and so much rhythm! I could listen to HAIM all day long.

What would we find under the category of “Guilty pleasures” in your music collection?
I love power ballads from the 80’s/ 90’s. Anything from Bonnie Tyler, to Roxette to Phil Collins.

The UK music scene is certainly always changing. Some might say that at the moment it’s more electronic oriented. Do you think this makes it more difficult for indie/alternative acts to get recognition that it would have done ten years ago?
I think it’s great that there are more electronic bands out there, if anything, it’s easier than it used to be, as we can spread the word on the internet quicker. I’m obviously a big fan of synths and drum machines. I always liked merging programmed and live instruments, especially in a live situation. The UK has an incredible legacy of electronic bands like Erasure, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran and many others. They’re big shoes to fill, but there are some awesome new bands out there right now making the UK proud.

Where do you gather songwriting inspiration?
Usually from dreams or personal experiences. Relationships inspire me. Painful break ups and the void you feel afterwards too. Also, escapism and road trips. Retro films can inspire me and set the mood as well.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when put music together?
I always start with the concept and lyrics first. The message for me is very important and I always hope that people will relate to it. My producer in Sweden would usually send a basic beat and I’ll start tweaking things around with him until I feel the music and the arrangement is right.

What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?
It has to be opening for Erasure at House of Blues (Orlando) in 2014. It was a sold out show and the energy from the crowd was insane! Of course it turned out into a massive party as soon as Erasure played their biggest hits.

And the worst?
When I first started out gigging few years ago, I played a small pub in Kilburn, London. Right after sound checking, I went for dinner and another band dropped my laptop on the floor and smashed my sound card too. Needless to say that it was super stressful and the sound only got worse as the gig went on. Moral of the story: never leave your laptop and soundcard unattended!

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
Definitely a photographer. I’m an avid photographer, I’m really into retro cameras, Polaroids, etc. Photos are captured moments that will last a lifetime. Fascinating! I’d love to do an exhibition one day.

Do you have any particular gigs or festivals that you dream about playing?
I would love to play at Coachella and Glastonbury one day. A tour in Japan would also be amazing. Hopefully soon!

If you could perform alongside any other band or artist, who would it be?
Supporting Depeche Mode on tour would be a dream come true. They’ve been my inspiration since my childhood. My parents used to play their cassettes on our long car journeys from Berlin to Fanø (Denmark) during the holidays.

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
My new EP ‘Beyond Memory’ produced by Richard X and Sunglasses Kid will be out worldwide on May 27th 2016.

Upcoming Gigs:
2nd September, 2016 – Orebro, Sweden Live at Heart
8th October, 2016 – Hamburg, Germany Markthalle (DE/VISION support)
14th October, 2016 – Erfurt, Germany HSD (DE/VISION support)
15th October, 2016 – Frankfurt, Germany Das Bett (DE/VISION support)
28th October, 2016 – Oberhausen, Germany Kulttempel (DE/VISION support)
29th October, 2016 – Munich, Germany Backstage (DE/VISION support)
26th November, 2016 – Dresden, Germany Kleinvieh (DE/VISION support)
2nd December, 2016 – Hannover, Germany Musikzentrum (DE/VISION support)