SPOTLIGHT ON NAUSICA
Nausica’s multinational, European indie-pop colouring the airwaves and reaching new audiences
From a steady rise to riding a wave of increased airplay and well-deserved, renewed attention, Nausica is a four piece, multi-city-based band with members hailing from Poland, The Netherlands and Germany. Named in reference to celebrated Japanese Director Hayao Miyazaki’s film, ‘Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind’, frontwoman Edita Karkoschka’s resonant lead vocals have been compared to the emotive intonations of PJ Harvey, carried forward by the guitar-lines of Tim Coehoorn, bass of Pim Walter, and the electronic and acoustic beats of Jannis Knüpfer. Nausica evokes cinematic soundscapes through their pop sound with both edge and heart, delivering emotion and highly-charged live performance as well as delivering consistently listenable digital releases.
Nausica formed as a band in 2013 and has since found a loyal fanbase, touring throughout Germany, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland. Collaborating with visual artists and designers, Nausica have established themselves firmly in the future-mainstream genre with the duality of indie-pop with an edge. They recently supported Son Lux in Amsterdam for a sold-out performance at the MC Theater.
4SEE’s Madeleine joined lead singer Edita and drummer Jannis at the 4SEE Studios to talk band name pronunciation, weather extremes, and the ‘chaotic creativity’ of their ongoing collaboration with stylist Sarah Knüpfer.
Interview: 04/07/2019 with Nausica at raw studios. in Berlin
It’s a beautiful Thursday morning and I’m here with one half of the band Nausica – it that how its pronounced? Now-sih-kah?
Edita: Say it again?
(changing pronunciation slightly) Naw-si-car…
Edita: Yes, it’s nice.
Jannis: Most British or English people say Naw-si-ca, (Edita: “I like it”) because it comes from a Japanese movie it’s maybe Now-SEE-kah, but Nausica is nice.
Could you please introduce yourselves and your role/s in the band?
Edita: Hi, I’m Edita; I’m the singer of the band and front woman on stage, the only woman.
Jannis: I’m the drummer. I play as loud as I can.
And you’re Jannis?
Jannis: I’m Jannis.
Well, welcome to Berlin’s hot summer! Does the city bring up any particular feelings or nostalgias for you?
Edita: Yes, I think especially this Summer, I’m just very busy; extremely busy at the moment, and a few weeks ago I had a moment where I had like five hours free in the daytime and I was like ok, what can I do with it? And I was going by bike through the city and I think these are the moments when you live in Berlin where you realise ok, this is really like a vacation city, people always come here to really… just let the time flow.
Jannis: This year it’s a bit different, even last year was a bit different, cos’ the summers so hot, usually everybody loves the summer in Berlin because the winter is so harsh. But the last summer was horrible, it was too hot, and again this summer it’s kinda too hot and everybody’s struggling, everybody’s trying to escape.
Edita: That’s true. Last Sunday the city was empty.
Jannis: Now, since last week the city is empty anyways because it’s vacation time, but still, everybody needs to leave the city, its crazy hot. And this summer it feels kind of different to me because the winter was so dark, I don’t know what it was.
And you both live in Berlin permanently?
And the other two members live…
Jannis: In Holland. The Netherlands.
You formed around 2013; did you already know each other before you started playing music together?
Jannis: I mean, we did, I came into the band later.
I read that you all went to the same music academy?
Edita: The bass player did not.
Jannis: Oh yeah, the bass player. Pim did not. He was the last edition to the band. Actually I came into the band after we finished studies, at least, so we knew each other but we never had this band when we were in the same city.
Edita: It was very funny actually, because our paths didn’t cross while we were studying and then we came together in the rehearsing room.
Was there a moment where it all came together, where you knew you were all wanting to do the same thing?
Edita: I think it’s always a thing with timing, when your interests come to the same…kreuzung.
Jannis: Crossing. The band existed with another drummer, and I wasn’t involved, I was a fan, so to say. And all of a sudden he stopped, or the band re…rewired? I don’t know if you could say so. And the situation came up, so we were in the room, and everything was like…(trails off)
Edita: And for me it was like, when Jannis joined it really got to be the band. Before that I think it felt more like a study band who’s starting, but it was not so…not what it was in my mind already. So when Jannis joined, it felt really like the right person.
The name of the band, Nausica, is a reference to Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind – What made this title particularly significant as inspiration for the band name?
Edita: For me, I never had looked at anime films (Jannis: “Me neither”). Once, the guitar player of the band, Tim, said you have to watch this one, I don’t know why. So we watched it together, and…I love the timeless story of it. It’s about…actually it plays in the future, it plays in a time where the Earth is already destroyed (from) industrialisation, and this is a movie from the 80’s, one of the first Hayao Miyazaki films. And there’s this one girl, and there’s this toxic jungle growing on the Earth, and she discovers that this toxic jungle is cleaning the Earth of the industrialisation of humankind. So under the toxic jungle there is…(gestures) You’re like under the trees and there’s the freshest air you can have…and everything, I was just like…its such a beautiful story. Very timeless.
You’ve been collaborating with fashion designer Sarah Knüpfer for a while now. How did this come about, and what is it in particular about Sarah’s style that complements Nausica so well?
Edita: She’s a multi-genius. She can do everything. She can do production, she’s a fantastic art director.
Jannis: She does music video, does production stuff, she studied art, fashion…
Edita: She’s funny. And she has just endless ideas (for) doing things. She can be very patient. And for me it’s fantastic because I can really throw ideas with her and try things out, so in the beginning it’s mostly very chaotic, which people say from the outside, but it’s more like throwing with ideas.
Jannis: And she’s also kind of a chaotic person, but she’s got the production side, she’s got her things in a row; she’s creative but still chaotic, so it’s a good mixture.
How did you meet Sarah?
Jannis: Actually, I met her very early…she’s my sister, so actually…in the first place it was just like, hey, have you got any ideas? And well yeh, plenty…
Edita: And we were very glad because she also moved to Berlin.
Jannis: She used to live in Amsterdam and Italy and London.
Edita: First when we started working she wasn’t living in Berlin, so it’s really cool.
Jannis: It’s easier now, but unfortunately she’s got a production job and does a lot of video production and so she’s busy. She’s already growing too fast for us, so we need to bring her back a bit.
How has the band changed since the earlier days of playing together? Has there been any particular shift in the process?
Jannis: The biggest change was when we moved to two cities which are far away, like seven hours. In the first place I was living only an hour and a half away from the Netherlands and Edita was still living in the Netherlands, but then we both moved to Berlin and the other guys were in Arnhem which is a seven hour ride, and that just changes how you have to organise, and recording… we had to work on the recording procedure with the world wide web. Recording-wise, its 2019, you can record and put it online and someone else can work on the same project. But you need to focus and make some time to get things together.
Being on the road and moving from city to city I imagine can be unsettling, even for a well-toured band. What helps make you feel at home in an unfamiliar place?
Edita: A good pillow.
Jannis: A good pillow, absolutely. The home-feeling to me…for me it’s not the place or the spot, it’s the people. What you mostly forget is wherever you go, the one safe thing you always have with you is yourself, so as a band we have ourselves and that’s the family part, and you need to make sure there are as few idiots around as possible. So we got each other and that’s the most ‘home’ part.
Edita: And we haven’t been travelling outside of Europe, which would be very nice for the future, but I think this is also, I think, if you’re still in Europe…
Jannis: We grew up as Europeans, not as Germans.
Edita, in the ‘All I Do’ video, you seem to embody more of a bohemian aesthetic, as opposed to a more art nouveau, electro-pop style of the ‘Hey You’ video. Is this a personal shift in style choice, or a more a progression with the musical direction of the band?
Edita: I think it’s a bit conscious, a bit unconscious. The ‘Hey You’ video was really set by Sarah Knüpfer, it was quite spontaneous outfitting and stuff which works in the picture of the location where we’ve been. Change. It’s not so conscious, no.
Jannis: It’s been three years, so, natural change.
I noticed there’s quite a lot of use of the colour orange in Nausica’s visual materials; in the title of the ‘All I Do’ single, on the tour poster for the German dates, throughout the website HTML design and Edita, in what you wear in both ‘Hey You’ and ‘All I Do’ music videos. Is this an intentional colour theme throughout your work?
Edita: A bit. It happened. I was working on the cover and somehow the colour orange became nice to use.
It’s not a Dutch reference?
Edita: Actually not.
Jannis: No, it came out that it was orange and lighter blue which came back all the time.
Edita: And this was actually inspired by Sarah I think, at some point she brought the colour orange a few years ago, and I was never wearing orange, no, what is orange? Very weird. But somehow I was inspired by this colour, so.. We made the cover and the colour orange somehow became…it.
More on the style-side of things, what are your favourite style sunglasses – is there a classic brand or shape you go for?
Jannis: Moscot. I used to have the clip-ons on my Moscot. It’s a Moscot thing. Nowadays I wear sunglasses of Lunettes, it’s a Berlin company, they just have a store (in Torstrasse) but they developed their own line as well. It’s not about the brand, it’s about the people that are doing it. It’s a European-famous glasses store, they are just so delicate and awesome. It was a coincidence that I got (my) Lunettes. Now I have the Ace & Tate, which Tim has as well; so Tim our guitar player, he has long hair as well, he’s got the moustache as well, he’s got the Ace & Tate, he looks a bit like me, so…. I only got the Ace & Tate as well because it’s not too expensive, and I had to make a fast change before I could get new Moscot’s.
Edita: No. Not at all
Jannis: But she has loads of sunglasses, mostly no name or it doesn’t matter, it’s mostly just about whether you like it or not.
Do you go for a particular shape, Edita? Cat-eye, square, circle?
Jannis: Last year you had the Ray Bans style…
Edita: Last year I had these ones with the very small eyes, you remember? Always when I wear it people are like…(laughs and makes a face) It’s very crazy.
Jannis: (mumbles) What’s wrong with this girl?
I wish I could pull that off, the very small glasses. I’d like to know though – what do you want an audience to take away from listening to a Nausica EP or seeing a Nausica show?
Jannis: it’s more about a feeling I guess. We play within a pop sector but we always wanted to draw a cinematic musical experience, so its a mixture between what you could expect from an indie pop band (and) creating a sphere and atmosphere that is not just the usual experience. That is maybe the main thing of our show.
Edita: And the energy. I really want people to get dancing, and also to feel free to also go with the music, not only listen but also take it into your body.
Jannis: As you might expect, Edita is a very performance…energetic-like person performance-wise, so to say, so you really get a big front singer’s performance.
She’s really channeling.
Jannis: She’s channeling. So you might not expect it from only listening to the music, but if you see the show, that’s…the show has always been different to the single releases, everybody’s always like, ‘I didn’t expect this to happen’, which is nice.
Finally, what’s ahead for Nausica? Any projects or opportunities on the horizon?
Jannis: We’re producing the next single at this moment, so this is about to come out right after summer. There’s a next single coming before the end of the year and we’re having a tour in December, which is round about 2 weeks, so I guess the single release is right at the start of the tour. Mostly it’s Germany.
Edita: There will come some Dutch dates.
Jannis: At the moment it’s all over Germany.