NIAS love a contradiction or two. With plenty of enthusiasm, the Berlin trio weave samples of playful experimentation into a distinct, poppy sound that wins over local crowds - and the approval of star producers
NIAS - at first glance, it is just a name like Tille (vox, guitar, engine, vision), Milian (drums, mixing, grey matter) or Georg (bass, keys, impulse, euphoria). An open and neutral term, yet also the definition of this trio’s joint output as a synergistic music machine. “I guess it might also have served as a dog’s name, but the band came first”, is their tongue-in-cheek explanation. Under this moniker, the Berlin threesome now creates driving beats, dynamic highlights and catchy vocals ready to take our breath away.
Yet as spontaneous as their sound might be; our discovery of this Berlin trio did not come entirely by chance. After all, German-American singer-songwriter Nicolas de Leval Jezierski not only graced the NIAS line-up, but also the select ten of our popular Mixed Tape classics edition "Full Spectrum", with vonLewald and their song Thank You For. And although he recently left NIAS for other projects, the band keep going from strength to strength: with a Snowhite record deal (Zoot Woman, You Say Party, etc.) and their long-overdue debut album NIAS (to be released on March 23rd, 2012).
Bursting with pure pop, vigour and diversity, the band soon made waves in Berlin’s multi-faceted live scene. They even won over production heavyweight and music expert Rob Kirwan (Depeche Mode, U2) who picked up on the band’s incredibly energy and determination to make it big.
The result sounds both fleetingly fragile and mature, with Tille’s smooth vocals gliding easily over a powerful rhythmic base à la LCD Soundsystem. Vibrant vibes, crystal-clear sound and lucid lyrics - for club, home, beach and beyond!
Time to find out how NIAS craft their incredible tunes. We met the three likeable guys in the laid-back living room setting of their Berlin studio. Here, they experiment with a huge range of instruments - without any pressure or pre-tour nerves.
1. Name a word for every letter of your band name.
NATURE, IMPULSE, AGGRESSION, SOUL ;)
2. Can you still remember what it felt like to hear your single on the radio for the very first time? What was it like?
It was in a taxi and they were playing Made Up. At first it felt a bit weird and we thought, “hang on, don’t we know this from somewhere …?”
3. How do you write your songs? How much spontaneity is part of the process?
Making music is completely unplanned. When everything goes well, you simply start and allow the song to lead the way, not the other way around. In the end, you take a closer look and ask yourself who or what it is. You simply love or hate it. Ideally, both. By adding lyrics, you might try to stick the unplanned into a more structured framework because most listeners cannot take too much random meandering.
4. Who writes? And who critiques the result?
Tille comes up with the song ideas, Milian translates them to reality and Georg brings them to life. Complaining and critiquing is not really our thing.
5. What was it like to get producer Rob Kirwan’s praise when he discovered your potential? Did it dial up the pressure or make you proud?
We blushed. No, really - we love it when people react to our music. But it is not up to us how they do it.
6. Could you tell us about the story behind She Would? How and where did you film the video?
She Would is about a certain “urban species” that tends to appear distanced and aloof - even when that’s not their intention. At the same time, they constantly flirt with their environment and enchant it with their broken charm. The video was filmed in the Steglitz public bath in good old Berlin.
7. In both videos and live shows you like to play with shadows and light effects. What is the concept behind it?
The undefined, open to interpretation aspect is what makes music so interesting. Everyone sees and hears something different and gets to spin their own story out of it. With our music, we allow everyone to bring their own visions to life and to go a bit crazy.
8. Your tour starts at the end of March. What are you most looking forward to?
Finally, we are going to get out and celebrate with a crowd! After an extended stint in the studio, we took the time to fine-tune the album for its stage debut. This has spawned plenty of new sounds that we are going to take on tour with us.
9. Name your personal musical faves/current top albums or artists?
Tille: Zoo Kid, Spank Rock, Blood Red Shoes
Georg: Tom Waits, Toro Y Moi, Stevie Wonder
Milian: J Dilla, Jeff Buckley, Santigold
10. Any hot tips on this year’s newcomer?
Our buddies Laing, Brandt Brauer Frick and Hans Unstern! Zoo Kid/King Krule won’t make it because they’re simply far too good for this world.
11. Finally - any famous last words (by another musician/artist)?
"It takes restless people to change the world" by Brian Eno.
The band’s latest video She Would