The Return of Princess Leia
Forget Nina Kinert. Here comes Nina K. Well, it is obviously the same person, but her music does not really sound like the one she used to do. Especially the one she used to cook back in 2006, when I first mentioned her in Absolut Noise (yeah, that was 9 years ago!).
Impossible was just released today. It is the first solo song of Nina since her latest album Red Leader Dream, released in 2010. It sounds 100% pop. Clear pop music. Quite mainstream. Radio friendly. The kind of tunes I usually do not mention in this blog, except this one does sound great. A pop guilty pleasure, I would say. It deserved a little Q&A with miss K. I sent questions. She replied with answers. Her next album? What she did those last years? The upcoming Star Wars episode? Here you go…
AbsNoise: Your latest album « Red leader dream » came out in 2010. Even if you did several featurings in between, why did it take you that long to come back with a solo album?
Nina Kinert: I’m not back with a solo album just yet though, haha… But I’m working on it. These past 5 years I have been doing other stuff. After Red Leader Dream I put the Nina Kinert-artist career on ice. Indefinitely. In 2011 I felt a strong urge to learn new things, to meet new people and get out of the treadmill I felt trapped in. So I went back to school and now I have a bachelor in Film Studies and a better self confidence when it comes to my brains. I got married and I have a new last name. That’s why I will go by Nina K now. Ever since I started with the music thing I have always wanted my artist persona to be called something different from my actual name. I started going by only ‘K’ when I co-wrote things with danish producer/dj/artist Tomas Barfod. At first I wanted to differentiate the featurette thing from my solo thing. But I discovered a new freedom with writing that way and pretty much re-discovered myself as a songwriter. So Nina K turned out to be exactly who I was supposed to be. It sounds powerful, like a diva singer. To me it also almost becomes like a homage to swedish poet Bruno K. Öijer and cult rapper Leila K even though, or because, I’m very far from their explicit expressions and geniuses.
When I look back through your career, it could sound as if you were a folk artist who had kept on evolving into something more and more pop. But I can feel you have actually always been a pop artist. Am I making any sense ? How do you perceive this folk/pop evolution?
I think I see it as a sign of the times that were when I made my debut. As a trend in the crowd I was hanging around with and in relation to who I was feeling like being at the time. I wrote my two first albums together with Love Olzon and he was really into the blues, rock and folk thing. I was so in love with him and everything that he did so that was what I wanted to be, musically, at the time. Exploring things close to him. I wanted to be ‘Emmylou Harris meets Velvet Underground’. Sometimes I still do. On my third album Pets & Friends I went my own way a bit more, and used my own voice more. On Red Leader Dream I took that forward. I’d like to say I’ve kept on going in that direction and discovered more about who I am. In myself and as an artist. Maybe I haven’t. Time will tell. Sometimes I have wished that I wouldn’t have made my debut so early in life. I was 20. How many people know who they are or who they want to be when they are 20? The only thing I knew when I was 20 was that I wanted to sing. So I did that, and didn’t analyze too much.
Who are your references in pop music ? Which artists do you have in mind for the upcoming album ?
For the upcoming work I’ve gone back to my root-references a lot. The 80’s and 90’s artists I listened to and sang along to in my room. My childhood heroines Mariah, Enya, Whitney, Sade, Sinead. The divas are my comforting power animals. Since it’s been a while since I released anything solo this feels as scary as a debut in many ways and it’s good to meditate over power animals. Also Fleetwood Mac, Cocteau Twins and Roxy Music has inspired me the most during the past years. Among new bands I have loved Beach House. My husband thinks the genre of my new stuff should be called ’R’nBeachHouse’, haha.
On « Impossible », the production is to me much less « raw » than what you did before. I mean it sounds very « clear », very « radio friendly » (which is not something bad in my mouth). What had you in mind when you started the record of those new songs ?
I just wanted to make the song a punch-in-the-face-ballad – in my kind of way. I told Lexxx, who mixed that song that I wanted it to feel like a heavy-leather-boxing-glove-punch. Not a open-hand-slap. Does that make any sense? I think it did to Lexxx because he really gave it what I was hoping for.
How about the upcoming album ? Have you already named it ? When will it be out ? In which ways is it similar or different from the single « Impossible » ? Will it be signed on your own label NinKina Recordings ? Is it a « concept » album like « Red Leader Dream » was somehow (not « conceptual » per se, but with the Star Wars reference)
The album will be out in the fall. I can’t really answer all those questions yet but I think it’s very much a concept album. While creating something I have to have a concept and make it a process. The concept this time has been all about changing vs preservation, putting things on ice and being reborn. About love, life, death and the concept of self vs forever. I have tried to put the singing diva I am today in as close concetion as possible to that young person singing along to divas in a pink room in the suburbs of stockholm in the 80’s and 90’s. The difference between the two is not big and I find that interesting.
By the way, about this « Star Wars » reference : would you be interested in making music for films (i.e. score music) ? And are you excited about the soon to be released new Star Wars episode ? Cannot be worse than the three latest, right ?
I am psyched about new Star Wars! Everything about it oozes of greatness: the writers, the cast lineup and the sand dusty original-trilogy-feel the trailer has. I have actually written some film music for a documentary, but nothing that came to use dammit. It probably wasn’t good, haha. I would guess it’s many composers dream, to make music for film. Many artists, like me, probably consider their music very visual, storytelling and suitable. But I think it’s not for everybody. I don’t know if it’s for me. If J.J. Abrams calls I wont say no though, haha…