Riding the buzz from Huw Stephens’ Best of BBC Introducing playlist, Glaswegian group Nieves managed to stop for a chat before their homecoming show in December. We learn a few surprising things, mainly that not only are they indie-folk masters, they are also pretty magical…
Tell us a story that sums up Nieves…
This summer at one of the festivals we played, with the support of my band mates, I became a wizard. Wizard status is achieved by drinking more than your height in cheap continental lager and using duct tape to connect your empty cans to create a ‘staff’.
Incorrectly measuring duct tape or losing cans from your staff are crimes to magic and therefore result in a just but severe punishment. It was a difficult day but the moment I graduated and received my hat (beer box) and cloak (bin bag) is up there with my greatest achievements. We’d like to use this opportunity to apologise to the lovely punters who wanted selfies with us but instead were met with cries of ‘I’m a wizard Harry’ or ‘You shall not pass!’.
When’s the best time to listen to your EP, Matriarch?
It’s a belter to drive to apparently and we’re pretty miserable at times so winter is definitely the season for listening to Matriarch. Just remember people, if you are driving in winter, do take care on the roads and watch out for black ice!
Which bands, songs or albums would you say have most influenced your sound?
We have a pretty diverse range of influences between the four of us. Some of the crossover points are The National, Frightened Rabbit and Death Cab.
Your sound often gets described as ‘alt folk’, how much have been influenced by traditional music?
I think with the new EP we’ve drifted away from our folk roots and I’m not sure we would still be put in that bracket. Traditional folk was never really an intentional influence but we are definitely fans. Some of the stuff happening in Glasgow for Celtic Connections is brilliant.
What inspires your songs? Tell us a little bit about the writing process…
The writing process typically starts with a melody someone plays and we gradually build upon it. I’ll usually wait until I’m 100% happy with the structure before setting the lyrics in stone. Occasionally the lyrics are personal to me but with those big piano melodies to work with I often end up writing stories or about something I’ve seen or read that hit home.
You’re about to play a homecoming gig, does that add extra pressure or are you at your best at home?
It’s definitely an added pressure but in a really good way if that makes sense? To play to a sold out King Tuts is an amazing feeling. It’s such an iconic venue and it’s definitely got a special place in our hearts.
We started 2015 playing to a packed full Tuts and to end the year the same way just feels right. We’ll turn those extra nerves into a belting show hopefully!
Tell us about your favourite live music experience (at your own gig, or anyone else’s!)
We’ve been to so many amazing gigs over the years I feel pretty conceited saying one of our own shows here….but watching just doesn’t compare to actually playing! Loopallu was brilliant this year. It’s packed full of lovely folk and real music fans, I reckon it’s been my favourite so far.
What other up-and-coming bands are you listening to/excited about right now?
We were delighted to see Fatherson have such an amazing year and get the recognition they deserve. They look well on the way to being massive and on the basis of their songwriting they absolutely deserve it.
Nieves play King Tuts in Glasgow on 18th December.