No long introductions on this one – it’s all about connections, the wonderful artists we are getting to know, and the super new EP from NAH. We talk to Sebastian Voss & Estella Rosa about the project, the music they love, The Fisherman and his Soul, Dungen and The Day, and Estella reveals her belief that Ireland is populated by disturbed old men who wander around shrieking at random strangers. Well, Estella, we’ve got news for you, you couldn’t be more…..right.
How did NAH come together?
Sebastian: Stella and I became friends while working on a Sophistipop cover-versions compilation for her fadeawayradiate blog. I did a cover of Scritti Politti‘s „Oh Patti“ with my main solo project: “The Fisherman and his Soul”.
After that I needed a female voice for a new, untypically jangly tune and she put forward the idea to try it herself. We used to send our files backwards and forwards and sooner than we thought our EP was completed. Curiously enough, we haven‘t yet met personally… What a magical internet that internet is!
Stella: I really fell in love with “Summer’s Failing”, so I was keen on doing this!
Sebastian and I are an ideal pair for collaborating. We complement each other. He is the Jackson Pollock of music: spontaneous, fast…very now! and I am more of a Rembrandt: everything in the right place, picky, detailed…. I will talk loads, and he will do loads…. haha…
We love “Summer’s Failing”, is it representative of the new EP? Are you
excited/nervous about the release?
Sebastian: The EP is a first home-recorded collection of 4 songs that all have a certain kind of spring attitude in common. Unnecessary to mention that we are in a constant state of agitation because of the more than positive feedback we got the last two days after releasing „Summer’s Failing“.
Stella: We are!!! And not just because it’s ours I guess. I genuinely think it’s wonderful, and play it a lot! You cannot feel that enthusiasm if you are not entirely convinced of it being a great thing!
What is your favourite song that you’ve written?
Sebastian: Personally, I like “Annie“ best, a song from the EP that I‘ve written for my little daughter who is four and a half years old. And „Perfect Game“, a song about darts legend Phil Taylor that I wrote for my band Stars Play Music about ten years ago.
Stella: Ha! I do stuff on Garageband that is not bad but never gets completed…working on that…. I like “Annie” too 🙂 I think it should be the next single…..
What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?
Sebastian: I think it was the red Beatles double LP. My father used to play it on his stereo turntables when I was three or four years old. I still remember my lustful shivers, when „Love me do“ starts with its characteristic harp while one can watch the apple logo on the label turning. I used to singalong in a gibberish style (and that’s what I’m still doing, to be honest…). The order of those songs on the album will be forever burned into my mind.
Stella: My first single ever was “Blockbuster” by the Sweet. I thought they were funny af, and very glittery glam cool! I like glitter…a lot…. I had a girlfriend who just came over from Turkey and I played it to her, she thought it was some sort of wicked magic since she had never heard music coming out of a box….this was 1973…. good god, I am getting old…
What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?
Sebastian: “Du Är För Fin För Mig“ by Dungen from their album „Tå Det Lugnt“ in 2004. Why? You know, it‘s the most beautiful tearjerker ever written- though I can‘t understand a single word. Another alltime fave is „Time“ by Paul Williams. A song with such simple but subtle chord progressions which are capable to make my cry at any time.
Stella: “Two Grey Rooms” by Joni Mitchell. Perfect composition, perfect chord progressions, and so, so much feeling……
What artist(s) has been your biggest influence and in what way?
Sebastian: I’ve never had the testosterone smell of the male part of my peer groups, even when I was fascinated by the raw power of punk and hardcore back then. Because I‘ve always felt myself wimpy and clumsy – a slanky guy with arms and legs too tall to find a place for them – I felt familiar with the attitude of all those C86 and tweepop bands mostly coming from the UK, Australia and New Zealand in the later 80ies. Especially I adored the Bellshill bands like Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits, Soup Dragons, but also The Wedding Present, Felt and all those tiny little indie labels like Sarah. I’ve also had a real tight long-term connection with Johnny Marr, Aztec Camera, Orange Juice, Prefab Sprout and Pale Fountains/Shack. All these names are representing and keeping alive a genuine romantic idea of pop music which accompanies me during my whole life as a pop fan.
Stella: Everything! apart from hairdo rock…. heroes are : Neil Hannon, Harriet Wheeler, Johnny Marr, Kurt Feldman, Ole Johannes Aleskjaer, Chris Dedrick, Gary Daly, Laura Nyro, Burt Bacharach etc.
Name a song that makes you happy and why does it have that effect?
Sebastian: „Birdhouse In Your Soul“ by They Might Be Giants. Actually, the whole „Flood“ album always makes me jump up and down. It‘s a great mix of superb melodies, smart lyrics – and all in all it’s a slightly foolish aspect of seriousness – or a serious aspect of foolishness.
Stella: “Summer’s Failing” ! I am usually happy when a song puts me in a dreamy, pink-cloud, road-movie kinda mood! The Sundays“Summertime”, Hazel English “Birthday”, Hatchie “Sure” etc….. When it comes to serotonin-happy “Around” by Knower.
What’s the best (other) new band you’ve heard recently?
Sebastian: Estella and I, we‘re both such big fans of The Death of Pop, aren‘t we?
Stella: Definitely! They are awesome! But I have also become a huge fan of The Loch Ness Mouse, who I hadn’t heard until last year: it’s one of those rare moments when something lodges yourself into your subconscious. I literally worship Knower, who are the just far out there, and are the only true musical innovators right now…but I also adore Hazel English, Men I trust, Gingerly’s, Bolinas. As a music journalist becomes, my list would be endless….. I just came across the first single of Dutch band The Day “Leaving the Dark”: stunning!
What’s your idea of success?
Sebastian: Success is just like a little blue canary in the outlet by the lightswitch, isn‘t it?
Stella: Doing what you love…
What question would you like to be asked that you never are and what would your answer be?
Sebastian: This one.
Stella: What would be the last thing you would want to see before leaving this life?: Sun reflecting in the water like liquid silver…..
What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you recently?
Sebastian: Having met Uriah Heep at Berlin railway station’s business lounge and asking for a selfie, being convinced that they were – let‘s say… Whitesnake.
Stella: An old geezer with a crooked hat passed me on the bicycle and shouted “aaaaaaarrrrrggggghhhh” at me for no reason. For a second I thought I was in Ireland, it made me smile……
What’s the best phrase you’ve picked up in another language?
Sebastian: К сожаленью, день рожденья Tолько раз в году. (I’ve translated this and it’s so rude that even SWIT can’t publish it)
Stella: Faen Ta
Which if these activities are you most likely to be found doing: (a) baking a cake, (b) tinkering with a motorbike, (c) building a snowperson or (d) drinking hard liquor
Sebastian: (c) > (a) > (d) > (b)
Stella: none of the above
Does the path of excess lead to the palace of wisdom?
Sebastian: Definitely. But also the trails of abstinence.
Stella: Nope the secret is the middle. Balance is the word.
We ask everyone to do a drawing or a sketch or a photo for our gallery – and these are class, thanks folks!