Nerina, in the documentary, 2014, The Year of EPs, you mention that you cut the Christmas EP in just one day, so was it literally that day that you came up with this EP per month idea?
Yeah, pretty much! I remember it was about October or November when we cut the Christmas EP and we were sat down having a quick dinner break and someone asked me ‘Have you enjoyed this process?’ And I responded with ‘Yeah, I want to do an EP every month.’ I got the idea in my head so then I decided that yes, that was what I was going to do.
It’s an admirable task to take on! How you finding it so far? 3 EPs already done, just 9 to go! Has it been as you expected?
Yeah, I thought I would have flagged by now but there are actually loads of different musical things I want to try. I actually really love this new film I saw called 20 feet from Stardom and that was inspiring me in terms of new different music I want to explore, so hopefully, if I can keep being inspired throughout the year then I should pull it off!
So it’s happening quite naturally for you at the moment?
Yeah because the actual act of song writing and recording is quite straightforward. What I need to make sure is that I have enough inspiration to make my material good.
Do you have any specific ideas about subjects you want to write about or, as you’ve mentioned, you’re letting inspiration guide you?
Yeah, I never try and force it. There will always be things subconsciously that you want to write about and as long as your open to it they will pop out. Also, if I become too focused on trying to address specific things then it becomes more of a job than a joy so I’d rather just let it happen.
Absolutely! And even though you do have the pressure of delivering an EP a month, is it a good type of pressure?
Yeah, I mean for me the pressure is more about delivering to my fan-base. I have a really lovely fan-base who is remarkably committed and I want to deliver, as I wouldn’t have this opportunity without them. They believe I can do it, so I have to do it!
So let’s do a quick recap of the EPs that have already been released. First one was the ‘Hold Tight’ EP. Beautiful EP. What was inspiring you at that moment?
I wrote that EP in December, to release in January, and I was thinking about the year that had just gone and was looking forward to the new year and wondering what it would bring. It’s strange because now I’m 3 EPs in it feels like ages away!
In my February EP ‘We Should Break Up’ that is about relationships but it’s not about romance…it’s about a couple of people who were really good friends and our friendship broke down. From my point of view, they betrayed me. I’ve had a couple of friendships that have broken down and it’s been really hard because we’d been friends for so long, so it is hard to let go.
Yeah, it doesn’t always have to be about romantic relationships; friendships are incredibly important and filled with love as well so it’s not great when they go wrong!
Yeah, and I don’t think we always document those friendships as much; we tend to keep it to romantic relationships.
Yep, very true.
So tell me about ‘When The Morning Stars Sang Together’ that came out March 31st, the latest EP you’ve released.
Again, it already feels really old because I’m finishing the April one now!
Of course, because you’re one month ahead of us! You’re writing the upcoming EP whilst we’re just getting to hear the new release!
Exactly! Well ‘When The Morning Starts Sang Together’ is definitely about the floods that we had. I was dreaming a lot of ‘end of the world’ type dreams. I was having those dreams and then waking up realising the world hadn’t ended, hence feeling very relieved and grateful that I was still alive! So yeah, I’d be looking out the window and seeing the stars and thinking YES! So those feelings are in the EP.
So you’re definitely putting completely different things into each EP. It would be amazing if at the end of the year each EP bore no similarities with one another and they each stand on their own ground, yeah?
I hope so! I think as an artist I’ve made quite different records; I don’t think you can pin me down and say I’ve only done one thing. And I like to try different genres, but I’m aware that I mustn’t alienate people who are fans of my more piano, ballad led material.
It’s about understanding your fan base and respecting that relationship. They also have to understand that as an artist I can’t make the same record over and over again; I need to explore. One of my heroes is Kate Bush and I don’t think she’s ever made the same record twice.
(At this moment, I gasp and gush about my love for Kate Bush. Nerina tells me she has tickets to go and see her, at which point, I am filled with jealousy. But I pull myself back together. On we go)
You said this creative process would work as a transition towards your album; do you feel you are getting closer to that album?
Yeah, it’s kind of half way done but I needed to step back from it a bit. It’s quite far away from my 4th album so I think there will be a massive gap creatively. What I’m realising is that this process is a great way of writing, writing and writing and instead of keeping it locked in a studio, I can put it online and people can listen to it!
Is your intention still to release an album with all the favourite songs the fans have chosen from all 12 EPs?
Yeah. Definitely. And I love vinyl so we want to make a vinyl copy of the album, as well as online and digital.
So just to wrap up, what sort of feedback are you getting from the EPs so far? I’ve seen positive comments on SoundCloud!
Yeah, I think people like it so far. But they’re also being honest and saying ‘I like this song, but maybe not this one.’ And it’s great because I asked for feedback when I started the process. Hopefully they’ll continue to be happy with what I’m doing!
I wish you lots of luck with the rest of the process Nerina, and I look forward to hearing every single EP each month, for the rest of the year!
Go to Nerina’s website for updates and where you can watch the documentary The Year of EPs
You can also catch her live at her next two live dates:
May 16th – Minack Theatre, Cornwall
July 26th-Jersey Opera House
Words: Irune Rue Chamberlain