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Blog interview: Inky Nite

Congratulations on the release of “Dream Totem” how does it feel?

Flick: “We’re over the moon to finally show everyone ‘Dream Totem’ – we think this might be our best Inky Nite tune yet!”

What’s the story behind it?

Jim: “The latest single ‘Dream Totem’ was the first thing we recorded for our three-track debut EP. It was written and recorded during lockdown 3.0 and was partly inspired by Christopher Nolan’s Inception, which we re-binged during that rather joyless January. It started out as a little bass riff that we thought sounded a bit like ‘Easy Lover’ by Philip Bailey and Phil Collins, but ended up being something more bittersweet with its anxious lyrics, brooding synth bass and ghostly theremin-like sound throughout. Flick’s wonderful vocal melody was what gave it a big hook and a sprinkle of magic!”

You are a husband and wife duo from Brighton how did it all start for you?

Flick: “Well, we met all the way back in 2010 playing a charity gig at our favourite Bournemouth pub Sixty Million Postcards and after a decade of dawdling and ditching Garageband projects halfway through, we finally actually finished some songs together just after the pandemic struck.”

What did you listen to starting out?

Jim: “The first music I ever owned was a tape of Deep Blue Something’s ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, which I seem to remember was swiftly followed by ‘Ecuador’ by Sash! – those both give me a wave of primary school nostalgia! Then my first albums were Wyclef Jean’s ‘The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book’ and Usher’s ‘8701’. I had pretty eclectic taste between the ages of 7 and 11.”

Flick: “Like lots of kids in the 90s, I remember loving Eiffel 65’s ‘Blue (Da Ba Dee)’ and I also had Atomic Kitten’s’ Whole Again’ on repeat. Toploader’s ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ and Cat Stevens used to get played a lot around the house too, so I was into both of them from an early age as well.”

Inky Nite started in lockdown, what was the main catalyst for this?

Jim: “Writing the first single ‘Bad Machines’ was the catalyst for starting Inky Nite. The bass and synth hook reminded us of ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ by Eurythmics and that played on loop for weeks in our flat during COVID-19 captivity. We thought we’d try and create a dystopian 80s floorfiller and with that, Inky Nite was born!”

You record at home in your flat in Brighton, what’s been an essential part of your set up?

Jim: “After the first singles, I would have said the bedroom wardrobe filled with duvets and blankets which was Flick’s “vocal booth”, but we’ve moved flat now and we upgraded a lot of our kit this time around! My favourite part of the set-up we had for recording these songs was this amazing soundscape plugin called Valhalla Shimmer. Without getting too geeky and excitable about it, it’s an ethereal reverb that makes everything sound otherworldly and mystical. Think Brian Eno, Sigur Rós etc.”

How does a typical writing session begin for you?

Jim: “The ideas for most of the songs are Voice Memos first – we’ve got gazillions of these from over the years! They’re everything from old forgotten recordings of us jamming from yonks ago to 10-second snippets of me humming into my iPhone mic as I’m walking down the street with traffic noises in the background. The songs all seem to begin life on the bass or acoustic guitar, before Flick sings over them. Then we record them and add all the synthwave drum samples and layers upon layers of mysterious-sounding synths.”

You have an EP coming out named after your daughter, what is your favourite memory of recording it?

Flick: “I was more and more pregnant throughout the recording of our ‘For Raya’ EP, which is the main recollection I have from it all. Towards the end, I was singing with my maternity support belt on and was quite out of breath a lot of the time, so we didn’t hang about too much when it came to the vocals. I got through my takes in lightning speed and then got back to more important stuff like working my way through my box of 48 Wispa Golds!”

What’s your favourite track from it?

Flick: “We love them all, but the most special one to us has to be the EP opener ‘Raya’ as it was written about our beautiful little daughter and was played as her entrance music at her birth back in August 2021. It’ll always take us back to that feeling of nervous excitement, her little kicks in the early hours and the moment she was first lifted out into the world like Simba in The Lion King.”

COVID impacted the creative industry in a big way, what kept you motivated?

Jim: “It was certainly a very tough time for the creative industry, but what kept us motivated with the Inky Nite stuff was the fact everything was completely new for us. We’d never properly recorded or released music, we’d never done a band photoshoot, we’d never been played on a national radio station like BBC Radio 6 Music and we’d never had a blog write about us or someone add our song to their playlist. Every milestone was uncharted territory and that made it exciting and inspiring.”

The last couple of years have been a time to reflect what did you learn about yourselves?

Jim: “Great question! Perhaps the main thing we learnt was to enjoy a slower pace of life without so many plans. We’ve definitely both fallen into our old habits somewhat this year, but having fewer to-dos and a less over-crammed calendar definitely helped us to focus and be more creative.”

Did you pick up any new skills? 

Jim: “I learnt lots about recording and releasing music over the last few years, as well as loads about parenthood thanks to my trusty ‘How to Be a Dad’ book and some amazing first-hand experience.”

Flick: “Me too! Before Raya arrived, I also spent loads of time during the various lockdowns learning to DJ and was really into mixing all my favourite Afrobeat tunes!”

Being from Brighton what are your three favourite things about the city?

Flick: “Diversity, gigs and fun!”

Jim: “Yeah, same! The friendly and creative people, the brilliant local music scene and the endless choice of pubs and things to do. It’s the best!”

Any favourite hang out spots?

Jim: “The Hope & Ruin. I run a monthly new music night there called Hidden Herd Presents, which is all about exciting emerging artists, ones-to-watch and hidden gems. If you’re reading this, you should come!”

Flick: “I love this café down the road called Salvage, which is super cool and full of vintage furniture, antiques and records.”

What are you listening to at the moment?

Flick: “I can’t get enough of Dublin alt-pop band Soda Blonde. Lead singer Faye O’Rourke has such an incredible voice!”

Jim: “I’m always listening to new music to discover artists for my nights and the Hidden Herd playlist. My favourites change all the time, but right now I’m listening to Malady, DAMEFRISØR, Fräulein, Media Giant, Haich Ber Na, Oslo Twins and Human Interest – all worth checking out!”

What are you looking forward to next?

Flick: “The release of our three-track debut EP ‘For Raya’, which lands on Monday 15 August! Two of the three songs are out there already, but we’re looking forward to revealing the final one. It’s called ‘The Filter and I’ and is about people’s relationship with social media, inspired by The Social Dilemma, Ingrid Goes West, LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Oh Baby’ and the Stranger Things soundtracks.”

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