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Interview: Novelties – a synthpop duo from ‘the other side’

27 October, 2016 — by Lee Bennett0

novelties band

In the age of media saturation it’s easy to grow weary of an artist or act before they even release an album. LA’s The Novelties are taking a different approach.

Earlier in the year this exciting new synth pop duo dropped their debut track ‘Intro From The Other Side’ then crept back into the darkness where they lurked quietly until the recent release of follow up track ‘City’.

Both songs are the perfect nocturnal soundscape for a drive around your favourite urban district (with nods to The Chromatics and closer to home, classic Client).

Here’s what the duo had to say when we caught up with them this week…

Hi Kelly, Hi Sophie. Firstly a big hello from the UK. ‘Intro From The Other Side’ is one of my favourite debuts this year. Can you tell us a little about how you came to know each other and form this musical alliance?

Kelly: I’ve known Sophie for years before we decided to collaborate. Music has always been our deepest connection and we decided to form the band to contribute our original creative efforts to the world in a meaningful way.

Sophie: Our intention for ‘Intro From The Other Side’ was to sonically introduce ourselves and give listeners a preview of Novelties, so I’m thrilled that you connected with the track. At the time we formed the band, we were both pursuing unfulfilling careers in complete opposite directions. We’re both heavily influenced by music and wanted to find our purpose collectively as artists.

We hear some strong European influences on your debut single. There’s an English band called Client who were all about tales of what really goes on behind the closed doors of seemingly average surburbia and Goldfrapp’s earlier work was a bit like that too. Can you tell us whether there are any European acts, particularly from the UK, who have inspired your sound?

Sophie: In terms of European bands, The Rolling Stones, alt-J, Kings of Convenience, Babyshambles, Oasis, First Aid Kit, Rod Stewart and Phoenix are all on my playlists. However, a soundtrack that definitely has inspired our sound is Lost in Translation, which features European bands we love, such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, Air and My Bloody Valentine.

Kelly: I’m influenced by the electro appeal of Fritz Kalkbrenner and Gorillaz. Both artists have an influence on our sound.

‘Intro From the Other Side’ created a very clear picture in my head the first time I heard it and the video totally delivered that. How involved are you with the visuals and indeed the creative side of things beyond the music?

Sophie: It’s so great to hear that the video matched the visuals in your head, since it brings up a few interesting parallels surrounding our artistry. Novelties is a potent collaboration. Besides songwriting and music production, Kelly and I fully immerse ourselves in the visual aspects of the band. Beyond the music, we explore photography, film and fashion. I love the art of capturing an essence through motion pictures that evokes emotion and illuminates intrigue. When I filmed and edited the music video, Kelly and I concentrated on capturing the electric energy of the song and visually enhancing the lyrics, “We come alive at night from the other side.”

Kelly: Towards the end of the songwriting process, we discussed filming locations. When I was mixing the song, I became even more inspired after we decided that Downtown LA’s Chinatown would be the backdrop for the music video. I created an extended version of ‘Intro From The Other Side’ which is featured at the end of the video and released on SoundCloud called ‘Intro From The Other Side (Extended Cut)’.

The track is incredibly cinematic – would you be open to working on a film score and what films would you say have influenced your work?

Kelly: It’s an honor to hear that, especially since we both admire many film scores and cinematic soundscapes. The first soundtrack I played on repeat was Gladiator. I was captivated by the stunning instrumentation and how the score summoned a divine intervention type of feeling. I would love to work on a film score since music brings life to a movie. Novelties is incredibly influenced by Sofia Coppola’s film and accompanying soundtrack, Lost in Translation.

Sophie: Absolutely, scoring a film would be very exciting. Since we’re so inspired by intertwining musical and visual elements, we approached the extended ending of the music video for ‘Intro From The Other Side’ like a film score.

Beyond music and film what other artforms affect your work? We think ‘Intro From The Other Side’ is the ideal musical companion to many a Bret Easton Ellis novel for example.

Kelly: Everything is an art to me and I find that art is truly everywhere. I tap into the sensory components of art and also understand that we need art to communicate. I’m really moved by traditional Chinese artforms such as Shan Shui paintings since the artwork pushes me beyond the painting itself and into a philosophical realm.

Sophie: American Psycho is actually on my reading list! Literature is an artform that deeply affects my work. Classic novels, contemporary fiction and biographies all challenge me to think and question life, love, spirituality and death.

With such a strong visual presence already what will a Novelties live show look like? We want lots of neon!

Sophie: A Novelties show would visually mix our individual aesthetics. Ideally, our show would be a visual elixir of fog machines, mood lighting and of course, neon! As we continue to write and release more material, we’ll also be launching our video series, Novelties: Live Sessions early 2017.

Kelly: Our live show would compliment the music and incorporate the many eclectic visual components of our sound.

Your second single, ‘City’ was just released – can you tell us about that?

Sophie: City is inspired by dreamy cityscapes and reverie.

Kelly: The lyrics, “You left a world on fire. What I can’t find, all the city lights,” is about the metamorphosis our lives undergo as we try to find our calling. As we move through different versions of ourselves, our old world burns out and a new one rises. We all leave worlds on fire.

Can we expect an album release from Novelties or will you be releasing more singles or an EP first?

Sophie: Right now, we enjoy emerging through releasing singles, music videos other digital content. Novelties is constantly evolving, so an EP and other surprises are definitely in the near future.

Kelly: Novelties will be releasing singles as we expand our sound. We’re currently working with Toronto-based electronic trio, closely on our next collaborative track, “closely x Novelties away with me.”

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