Interview: Nocturnes

\"webwxgetmsgimg-5\"Interview conducted by Brad Seippel

Last year, I caught a listen of guitarist/producer Dave Carey’s previous duo, Palaces, and while that duo has since gone on hiatus, it was enough to perk my interest in anything the man touches. Flushed with sensual overtones and an airy elegant grace, his newest project Nocturnes pairs the artist and producer with vocalist Leslie and the result, A World Full of Adults, is a fine addition to the Beijing indietronica scene. A sultry boilerpot of emotions backed by some top-notch production values, which evidently were created in the duo’s bedroom, it’s a wildly impressive debut – the duo will perform on May 21st as part of the Live Beijing Music x Seippelabel presents showcase at Old What? Bar. Seipplabel was kind enough to ask some question to Mr. Carey about the project.

Could you tell me briefly about where you both are from, how you met/decided on doing music together? 

I wish I could. I awoke from a month-long mushroom trip to find myself in China as part of a 2-piece Indie-Electronic outfit with a finished EP. I was less enthused to find myself married to a Madagascan man called Nigel that was just using me for my Irish passport. But you have to take the good with the bad. Leslie (the singer/lyricist), tells me that what in fact happened was that I posted an advertisement on Douban, looking for a singer to work with and she, a Qinghai-native who has been living in Beijing for over 7 years, coincidentally was also looking for someone to form an original band at the exact same moment. But what would she know, she was probably high on mushrooms.


On bandcamp there are pictures of a physical edition of the album \”A World Full of Adults”.  While digital releases are so convenient to do, where do you guys stand on still releasing physical material?

Feeling, like we do, that \”A World Full of Adults\” is a great break-up album, we thought it important to have a physical item you could fling at your former flame during the process of said break-up. We also are boringly old fashioned, and feel like something is much more complete when you can hold it in your hands. In that way, it is as much for ourselves as for people that enjoy our music. And if we\’re feeling angsty during our gigs, we can fling them at people. Performance Art.


You mention your songs are all recorded at home.  Could you explain your process for recording?  

We sort of approach the songwriting process in the same way as the creators of many modern art paintings do for their works. That is, we throw buckets of paint at white canvas for a while, but then realise that this isn\’t actually how you create music at all. Then we sit down, play a few games of Mahjong and wax lyrical about what plagues society. The answer? Not enough marmosets. Which is where the main themes behind the album lie. Somewhere along the way I write a guitar or piano part, record that in my home studio using Logic Pro, layer it with a multitude of different instruments and then send it to Leslie, who comes up with lyrics. In that way, our processes are very individual but symbiotic. A main part from our sound comes from cutting up vocals and turning disparate parts of them into sampler instruments, giving us a very synth-led sound that actually doesn\’t use any synths at all. Because fuck the Moog-archy.


Have you done many shows in Beijing?  Where?  How do they compare to where you’re originally from?

We started playing in March and have racked up quite a lot of shows already. A personal favourite of mine was our show at the now-deceased Mao, wherein my guitar decided kindly to fall apart midway through the set. Nothing speaks Rock and Roll more than holding in your guitar jack with one hand while tapping out a guitar solo with your other. We\’ve also played in School Bar, Aotu Studio, Old What, Bluestream and we have gigs coming up in Temple, FruityShop, AZ club, and School Bar again. The main difference, I find, between here and Ireland, is that people actually show up to your gigs here. The smell of urine is also much less intense during gigs, at least until afterwards when you pass a public bathroom or happen to be walking down Wudaoying on a night when massive piles of manure have been deposited haphazardly along the road. True story bro. People here, both in the bands and the audience, are much more passionate about music, for whatever reason that may be.


What can we expect from your performance on the 21st at What Bar?

For starters, the bar will almost certainly change its name to \”What!\” afterwards, an exclamation mark being much more befitting of the awe with which they regarded our performance. Leslie will definitely crowdsurf, and if there aren\’t enough people for that she\’ll break dance on the floor. Our music is clearly suited to both of those activities. I will break from my guitar solo midway in A World Full of Adults, reach behind my amp, take out some raw noodle material, and perform one of those noodle dances that go down so well in places such as these. You can also expect us to play our debut EP, as well as 2 or 3 new songs, depending on how generous we feel on the night. We may even play these songs with feeling, providing we don\’t become jaded with the rockstar lifestyle we lead in the next few weeks. What we probably WONT do, is wear sunglasses indoors, strip onstage, or perform a shoddy thruoutin cover before you take to the stage.*


*all subject to change at the band\’s discretion.


-Da Wei


Catch Nocturnes alongside Mengqi, SNSOS, and thruoutin this Saturday, May 21st at Old What? Bat


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