Tuesday, 4 September 2012

It's My Kind of Interview - Nick and Liesl

Nick Everitt and Liesl Karlsson have quickly become one of our favourite new acts with the incredible debut album Feather. I was very excited to be able to have a chat with them about the album, their 2012 tour, what the future holds for Nick and Liesl and a whole lot more. Enjoy! 


Q. I've got two tickets to see Nick and Liesl live and I'm taking a friend who knows absolutely nothing about you. In the five minute car ride to the show, how would I best 'sell' you to them?

Liesl: Singer/songwriter couple singing lots of harmonies… folky pop/soul/alternative songs with guitars, piano and even some drums… uplifting (well, mostly) lyrics… a talkative and happy pair. Is your friend looking any wiser?

Q. Your debut album, Feather, shows you both to be very talented songwriters. What is your writing process like, what do you find you draw the most inspiration from and since all of the tracks are listed as being either Nick or Liesl's work, is there any collaboration between the two of you when writing?

Liesl: Thank you! The process varies a lot of course, but for me it’s usually important that I have something meaningful to say to begin with. Something close to my heart and yet something that I feel other people will identify with too. I’ve started to realize that once I have words the music comes quite naturally. Melody and composition, and increasingly lyrics, are intuitive for me whereas I have to work harder on my musicianship. I draw inspiration from relationships, social observations, our lifestyle and all the travel we do with the music. People, the environment, places. While we tend to feel ownership over our songs we do collaborate a lot. It used to be at the point in the process where we were developing the song for live performance, but it starts earlier and earlier on in the process the longer we’ve been together. We turn to each other for help on arrangements, structure, lyrics, many things. It takes a long time to build up that trust and synergy to share your work with someone. At this point I think we would both be quite comfortable having ‘Nick and Liesl’ as the writer on each song, we love all our babies equally!


Q. Nick and Liesl are no strangers to festivals, performing at the Woodford Folk Festival and Hamburg's Reeperbahn Festival and you're on the line-up for this year's Caloundra Music Festival (28 - 30 September). What would be your dream festival to perform at and who would you love to have with you on the bill?

Liesl: Woodford was pretty special. The dream festival would be big and friendly like Woodford, full of a mix of people of all ages and backgrounds, all lovers of music, and where all the artists are camped together. It’s by far the easiest and most enjoyable way to get to know other artists and meet your idols. And I guess my idols and dream headliners would be Crowded House, Martha Wainwright, Radiohead, Feist, and while we’re on the dream line-up why not throw in some Beatles and Michael Jackson. And a plethora of less-known artists who we’ve met over the years both in Australia and overseas. There’s so much good music, maybe the dream festival is one full of new discoveries.

Nick: Some extras for the bill, all the artist I’d like to see live, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, The (original) Platters. It’d be amazing!

Q. Recently your music was featured in the play Catharsis with Nick and Liesl performing live. How was the experience compared to your usual gigs and will you be taking part in future performances? Have you considered writing more original songs for other media; film, stage or beyond?

Liesl: The big experience was seeing and hearing our songs being performed in a musical. That was surreal! But very cool. It gives the songs another dimension, one that we didn’t necessarily even see ourselves. We played a small set at the reception afterwards to showcase the original versions but that was just for the premiere. There are plans for more performances of the play however; at the moment the idea is to prepare it for next year in the US. And yes it has got us inspired to write for other media and we are possibly writing for a film and TV series which is in pre-production at the moment. It’s all very exciting! I think it’s just fun writing for something other than ‘Nick and Liesl’. It keeps it interesting, helps us grow as songwriters and it’s something we’ve always wanted to do to complement the live act.

Q. Congratulations! You've been selected by Rage as guest programmers, giving you complete control over the videos to be played throughout the show. What are five music videos that would definitely make your playlist?

Liesl: Oh no I would make a terrible guest programmer! I never watch videos. Is that really bad? I do occasionally, when something comes up randomly, but we don’t have a TV and I spend so much time working on the computer that the last thing I want to do is sit and look up videos. That sounds terrible doesn’t it?! I do really like the clip for ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’, I’ve watched that quite a few times this year, because I love the song and it’s there all the time. I like videos that are funny, beautiful, different, make me feel something. I dislike videos that are rushed flickers of glammed up bodyparts that say nothing but ‘we just made a video to sell music’.

Nick: I would love to be a guest programmer! I’d certainly have to do some research though, as Liesl said we don’t have a TV set up at the moment. I’d probably go straight for the independent section and look for the most budget clips that are really creative. 

Q.What are your plans for after your tour ends in late October? What I'm really getting at here is, do you have plans to get back into the studio to start work on a follow up to Feather? Because I really want to hear it...

Liesl: We sure do! If all goes to plan we will start recording the next album at the end of November. It won’t be out till late next year but it’s in the pipeline. We’re working on the songs at the moment and it will probably be a bit darker than Feather, and maybe a little bit edgier..? We’re not sure ourselves yet but looking forward to getting creative with it!

Q. What music/bands/singers/albums have you been listening to in 2012? 

Liesl: We’ve been listening to a little bit of everything but some that we’re really enjoying lately would be Shannon McNally, Paolo Nutini, Ben Kweller and also rediscovering our appreciation for the great songwriters from Crowded House, Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles.

Q. Finally, finish this sentence; a world without music would be...

Liesl: numb.

Nick: a world with lots of poetry and no dancing. It’d be very strange.


A huge thank you to Liesl and Nick for taking the time to answer our questions! Don't forget, they are currently on a big Australian tour, which includes a stop at the Caloundra Music Festival, September 28-29. For a full list of tour dates, head to their official site!

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