This Melbourne duo have made one of the most memorable debuts of 2016.
How did you develop the nyck sound?
What we stumbled upon really early with the nyck sound was that because Dom and I sing really well together and just have a really good sense of each other in terms of the way we sing, that we really decided that we didn’t need much else. So the whole process with our recording so far has been about taking things away rather than adding them. Some bands are really intricate and then for us it’s just like, we struck this really great feel with just vocals and piano.
What’s your greatest source of inspiration for making music?
We’re always inspired by the little things that say a lot. The way that some writers can talk about the smallest details that you could easily pass off as nothing, and make them seem so important. Mike Skinner does it in The Streets. He’ll be writing a love song and throughout, he’ll keep talking about how the girl is spinning an ash tray on the table. Or he’ll say he’s “looking to the left slightly, then looking back down.” It puts you right where he is, and says so much about the way he’s feeling without actually saying it. We’re inspired by writers who can put you in a moment in just a few lines.
What can punters expect from the nyck live show?
We’ve been through this really great process with our live show. It’s been the same with our recordings - we started with all these layers and parts and then slowly stripped everything back. We’re really comfortable singing together, and feel like the songs and the lyrics are strong, and that the vocals and the melodies and harmonies come together really beautifully. So everything else is in the background. There’s a lot of stillness and silence. But we like to think there’s something brave in silence.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who was it from?
We’ve got our EP into this really great demo stage, and we’ve been really careful in trying to finish it. And worried about finishing it the right way. Maybe a little too worried. The other night, a good friend of ours, Chris Rigney, told us that the imperfections are what make it sound unique. It’s so true in music. It’s often the mistakes and imperfections and idiosyncrasies that make it sound your own.
What Australian track would you play to cheer up someone who was crying?
Things of Stone and Wood - Happy Birthday Helen
Because the lead singer, Greg Arnold, wrote it for his girlfriend Helen on her 21st birthday. He wasn’t trying to write a hit or anything, it was just, like, a recount of their relationship and all of the things they’d done together. Then he took it to the band and they turned it into a hit song. The best thing is that they’re still married today, 25 years later.
What Australian track would you play to someone to make them cry?
Leonardo’s Bride - Even When I’m Sleeping
Dom is listening to this song right now while we’re at the airport on the way to Sydney, where we’re playing our first show. We both think this is one of the most beautiful Australian songs ever written.
You’re the DJ at a party. The dance floor is pumping. What Australian track do you put on next?
Crowded House - Mean to Me
Because everyone sings along to Crowded House songs.
What was the last local gig you went to? How was it?
Dom and I had too many beers at the pub last week and then tried to get into the Montaigne show at The Corner on a whim, but it was sold out and we couldn’t get in. Dom tried to sweet talk the guy at the bar and the lady at the door but no dice, so we went to get a falafel/kebab instead.
At Big Sound in Brisbane recently we loved Sampa The Great, Olympia, Mallrat and Lanks.
Tell us about the bands or people in the Melbourne music community that inspire you.
Dom and I both love Hayden Calnin’s music, a lot. We’ve been listening to his production and love how patient and slow and beautifully constructed it is. His song ‘Nothingness’ is everything. We’ve been listening to it heaps lately. We also love our manager, Pete Sofo, because he shows great belief in us and literally forces us to be inspired by filling our calendars with events and shows and sessions.
What are your plans for the rest of 2016 and in to 2017?
We’ve written our EP, 10 Years and 12 Weeks, so we’re just putting the finishing touches on it for the rest of the year. Lyrically, it’s a concept EP. It’s about how you go through great stretches of your life really stable and centred. And then every so often, it all falls away in the space of just a few weeks. In this case, it was 12 weeks. It wasn’t meant to be conceptual, but all of the lyrics tied together and told a different piece of the story, starting with a song about the breaking point called ‘Decision’ and ending with a resolution called ‘This Might Be My Year.’
Along with that, we’re paying Valley Fiesta in Brisbane, Supporting Emma Louise at The Corner in Melbourne in November, and playing our debut shows in Melbourne and Sydney.
We also want to start writing the next EP or album, but we want to try something a little different and see some of Australia while we do it. The plan is to pack up and hit the road and stay in some road side motels in the desert. Maybe drive across to Western Australia, and all the way up the west coast into Northern Territory. There has to be an EP on that road somewhere.