Preamble | NIIX
We caught up with rising star NIIX ahead of her artist talk in Manchester.
We caught up with rising star NIIX ahead of her artist talk in Manchester.
For those who aren’t familiar with your journey, how did you get into producing and what are your main influences?
Hello! I’ve been writing silly lil songs for as long as I can remember, but mainly just using my voice and piano. Eventually I realised that if I wanted to evolve my sound, I should probably get into production. I also grew tired of working with producers as an artist and never feeling quite on the same page/finding it difficult to communicate exactly how I wanted my songs to sound. So, I taught myself - I fell into Logic at around aged 21 and went from there (we did a brief module on ProTools and Reason at uni but ew, I COULD NOT get my head around them). So through a LOT of patience, persevering through dull YouTube tutorials led by white men and, most importantly, collaborating with producer friends, I slowly built my practice up to where it is now.
I’d say my interest in production began with the one and only Kate Bush. I grew up listening to her thanks to my Mum and have all of her records. She was the first female artist to get a UK number one with a song she’d written herself (at aged 19!). Her production from album to album is so different and creative; you can really hear her grow as an artist as she goes from strength to strength.
You’re the one of the co-founders of Dubs Club, could you let us know more about it? What did you aim to achieve through the project?
Yes! Myself and fellow co-founder Lucy Grey (also a really sick producer/DJ, based in Liverpool) were bonding over the lack of space for women in music production over a couple of G&T tinnies one afternoon at Melodic Distraction Radio. She tentatively brought up the idea of creating a meet-up group specifically for women and gender minorities to see if it was something I’d like to attend. I was like, YES, what are we waiting for?! And Dubs Club was born.
So far we’ve put on 3 non-profit events (two in Liverpool at QUARRY and one in collaboration with Shifting Spheres at Manchester’s SOUP) featuring a panel with industry experts including Låpsley, Pops Roberts and Sisu founder Malissa. Budding producers (of ANY ability) are invited to submit their tunes in advance (of ANY genre at ANY stage - a ready-to-go single or a 30 sec WIP). It’s an opportunity to hear your work through a club soundsystem and get critique from the panel, who also give an insight into their own production processes. As well as meeting like-minded folk and (hopefully) making long-lasting connections.
Through hosting these events, our aim is to provide a safe space for marginilised communities to share their ideas without feeling intimidated or not good enough; something that both Lucy and I felt we needed but had no access to when we were first cutting our production teeth (shoutout again to the dullest white male-led YouTube tutorials…). The music industry is obviously and unfortunately still heavily dominated by men, and it’s about time our voices were heard. Whether you attend an event, have ideas on how to collaborate or simply join our Discord, we’re always looking to grow our community - it’s been amazing to watch it flourish in a short space of time.
We’ve just had our 1st birthday (yay) and we’re currently planning our next event for a couple months time - keep up to date with us here!
Your sound floats between different genres with hyperpop at its core, who are a few of the artists that have influenced your production style?
I suppose hyperpop is a broad term covering many subgenres; I see it as incorporating elements of more traditional pop, experimental electronic, trance and even hardcore (which as a 90s kid, I LOVE), so it’s hard to cite specific artists but… there are definitely some elements associated with the genre that I use, such as heavily processed and autotuned vocals, sparkly sounding synths and catchy melodies. I can see how people would hear it and think “hyperpop”, but really I just do what I feel. Writing is super cathartic for me and so it’s always been quite an insular process, so I’m less thinking about where it sits on the genre spectrum or how it’ll be received. I suppose the common denominator of my tracks is less-so the sound, but more the emotions wrapped up in them. They tell stories of feelings, experiences and pivotal moments of my life that I hope the listener can relate to and interpret in their own way.
Some artists I find inspirational and are associated with that sound would be SOPHIE, A.G Cook, Sega Bodega, Shygirl, Caroline Polachek and Danny L Harle. PC Music (A.G. Cook’s record label) is one of my favourite labels, I find the sounds emerging from that catalogue super innovative.
For those who aren’t familiar with hyperpop and its associated genres, what are 5 key tracks that never leave your record bag?
I guess if you’re looking to dip your toe in the hyperpop waters, some essential listening would be…
Charli XCX, SOPHIE - Vroom Vroom
You’ve been on a roll since your debut EP in 2021, ‘I’, what’s in store for you this year and beyond?
Ah, why thank you! I have 2 new tracks coming out as part of two different compilations this year, which are both veeeery different from one another. One is super ambient and the other is 130 breakbeat/garage, so that’s been interesting. Alongside that I’ve been working on my next EP - I’ve been taking my time to figure out my sound as it’s evolved a lot since ‘I’. I’ve had a few major changes over the past year or so (moving cities, a rough break-up, quitting my job to focus on music), so it’s been quite turbulent both literally and musically, but I’m finally finding my feet and am in a stable enough position to focus on the next chapter. I also have a mixture of both live and DJ gigs coming up across the North West (and I’ve just been booked for my first European DJ set - eek! More on that soon).
Talk us through the track you last [cmd] ‘S’d ? ([ctrl] ‘S’ to PC users)?
Ooh, erm… it was a vocal melody that I rushed to record in Logic before it left my head. I then built a chord progression beneath it using a Rhodes keys sound (my go-to when fleshing out the harmony before deciding on the sound). It’s only about 30 seconds long and I think I saved it as ‘where’? No idea why.
What can the CDR audiences expect from your time with us?
That’s a good question! Haha. Even though I’ve been producing for a few years now, I still feel like I’m learning new things all the time. I’m extremely honoured to have been invited to CDR and I’m having to seriously force myself to get over my “imposter syndrome” haha. But I’ll be chatting with the wonderful Pops Roberts and going through a couple of Logic sessions of some new tracks that I’m aiming to release later this year. Above all, I just hope that whether you’re a music lover or experienced producer, they’ll be something valuable that you can take away from the session. Even if it’s just to reassure you that I am also very much winging it most of the time…
And finally, for those just getting to grips with producing and keen to get their Works In Progress out there, what advice do you have for them?
Get those WIPS out!!! (regardless of how “unfinished” or “unmixed” or “rough” they might sound to you). Sharing is valuable for growth. I feel like you hear your tunes in a different light when you play them to someone else, in the same way that that person probably hears them in a different way to you, too. You never know what feedback or ideas they could suggest that could take your track into a completely new and unexpected direction. Also the more you share the less scary it feels.