Nixer release new single ‘People Feel‘ on 5 January on Blowtorch Records, the title track from their EP which is to be released in the spring. I had a chat with the duo who had the best start to 2022 when the single was played ahead of release by Lauren Laverne on her BBC6Music breakfast show.
Happy New Year Nixer and congratulations on the new single ‘People Feel‘! How are the hangovers?
Could you introduce yourselves and describe your music?
Happy New Year Julia, come on! It’s fantastic to be in 2022, the year it’s all going to happen. We feel like the whole world is about to open up to us now that we’ve got a body of work ready to go and our first couple of live shows on our back. Thank you! – we’re absolutely buzzing to be starting the year with ‘People Feel’, it’s going to be an exciting year of releasing. The hangovers are fresh, we’ve both perfected the art of drinking more than anything.
Nixer is a project we started in 2020 in isolation. We’re a duo and we make electro/new wave inspired music. We never put a label on it to begin with, but our sound is basically synthy electro stuff (Gearóid Peggs) combined with lyrics and guitar (Seán Keenan) and boom you get Nixer.
Could you describe your creative process given you had lived in different countries?
Are you living in the same city now?
Seán: In terms of the songwriting and guitar, the productions always came before the ideas or lyrics. Peggs would make something and ping it over to me by email and I’d let it sit with me. I usually know after one or two listens if it was a ‘Nixer song’. I feel like we arrived at our sound pretty quickly working this way even though the communication element wasn’t ideal.
With the People Feel EP it was a bit different though. Once the first song and catalyst for the EP was written, I had the idea and concept for it nailed quickly. After that it was just a matter of pinging ideas over to Peggs about what I wanted sonically from each production going forward. The concept follows a story that’s told chronologically, so I just needed to hear something that matched the setting. The EP was mostly written in separation like all our singles to date, except for a couple of bits throughout. I feel like the creative process got tougher as time went on and as we homed in on our sound. Looking back on the past year it definitely feels like we were exploring our sound and songwriting, and while writing and producing People Feel, we found our sound!
We’re both living in London now which is mad exciting. Peggs moved in October and we share a place in Southeast. It’s nothing but tunes, homemade falafel, and Red Stripe.
Peggs: My creative process isn’t really much different since I’ve moved to London, I still start out writing a track the same way I would if I was back in my mam’s house in Dublin. I always start with a bassline then everything else comes after that.
What music has helped you through lockdown, and did you get to any gigs?
Peggs: I found a lot of music throughout lockdown. Sometimes I forget how much I actually found as well, I had a lot of nice conversations with friends about music and there was some cool music exchanged! I have to thank Bandcamp for their Bandcamp Fridays, I feel like that really pushed producers to put out music they had been making during lockdowns. Here’s 3 tracks that remind me of lockdown! Both old & new stuff; Sohodolls – Bang Bang Bang Bang, Nürnberg – Biessensoŭnasć, Ruf Dug – So Funky.
Seán: Lots of music helped me through lockdown. I had just quit a very unfulfilling career so writing my own music again helped me the most, it was a great release from the stresses of uncertainty. Before Nixer I wasn’t really into synth/new wave/coldwave/soviet wave music that has been popping off in the past few years. Once I started making music with Peggs I got really into artists like Molchat Doma, Boy Harsher, L.F.T., Buerak, Lebanon Hanover. It was super nice getting into these new artists as it’s most similar to Nixer than anything I’d heard before; it was also a nice break from listening to predominantly English-speaking music. I loved going through my record collection and sticking on some classic favourites of mine like Jamie T or The Stone Roses while having a beer or eating some homemade falafel, it helped me forget about the world and be present for real! Oh and Dua Lipa of course! I’ve been to so many gigs since restrictions started to ease over the past year. I’ve seen Molchat Doma, Yung Lean, Fontaines D.C. , Kojaque, ATO, For Those I Love etc. etc. Been a mega year for sure, I can’t wait to start playing our shows.
What can we expect from the new EP? Is it all unreleased music?
Seán: In three words; darker, emotive, banging. We’re unbelievably excited about this EP. As I briefly touched on before it’s a concept EP and as a songwriter, I’m very proud of it. The main focus of the EP is the feelings and emotions I explore in each track, and I’m really interested to see how people relate to them. The writing felt like an exercise in exposure and vulnerability about how I was feeling at the time. We’ve very much levelled up our productions too and all the songs are totally banging, so I can’t wait for people to hear it. The EP is six tracks, and all tracks are previously unreleased music.
Has the pandemic had an influence on your music given it has gone for so long?
Or do you prefer to separate it from your own creative influences?
Seán: If it wasn’t for the pandemic Nixer wouldn’t exist. Like absolutely no chance it would’ve happened I think, which is a crazy thing to think about. For that reason, I’m grateful for the time it afforded us to be creative and also for that reason it has influenced our music and what we do. When Nixer began it was a project based on existentialism, isolation, and comparisons (to home and what was). Now we’ve branched out from what immediately surrounded us, and in the EP we explored storytelling a lot more. The stories were influenced by feelings that were caused by the pandemic though, so I don’t think we’ve truly separated from it hahahaha.
I find it impossible not to be honest when writing music, so I think it’s only natural that Nixer has been inspired by my surroundings and the pandemic. I try to create a ‘character’ as much as I can when writing new stuff, but I always find myself tapping into feelings or thoughts that I hadn’t quite realised about myself while doing it. This part of my songwriting feels a bit exposing and scary, but also very refreshing and freeing.
Peggs: The only thing the pandemic gave me was time to work on projects I never really had the time to work on before. I suppose that would be one positive thing to take from something that was so devastating.
Have you any plans for gigs?
Seán: Oh God YA! That’s the next big step for us and we can’t wait to start exploring the live music scene in London. We’re super lucky to have a base in Dublin too so we’ll have some gigs there very soon. We don’t have any bookings just yet, but our live set is ready to go and we only just played our debut show in Dublin in December followed by another show in Ireland. Both were mega and we can’t wait to develop that and play it to lots of new ears in the UK. We’d love to nail a support slot with some exciting artists that we dig too. That would be a great opportunity for us.
Peggs: Yeah the two shows we played over the Christmas back at home were brilliant. I’m absolutely delighted with them. We’ll have plenty of gigs coming in the new year so keep your eyes peeled for that!
And finally, whose knee is that, and are they ok!?!
Seán: Hahahaha! Disclaimer: No knees were harmed in the making of the People Feel artwork.
That’s a long story actually but I’ll skim over it. The artwork for the EP took a very long time and it was major stress getting it done. We were working with numerous artists for months and we just couldn’t quite nail what we wanted visually for the EP with the artists we were working with. With less than a month before the single release I decided to have the EP title tattooed on me and I had my friend, Nicholas O’Donnell, who’s an amazing music photographer based in London come over to our place and photograph it while it happened. I’m really buzzing with how it turned out and we got some amazing photos from the night. ‘People Feel’ is raw, relatable and emotive and when deciding on the creative direction for the project, people and rawness were at the core of inspiration… and I think we captured that. We’re going to be making a Zine based on photos from the night that we’ll put inside the vinyl when it drops in April.
The track ‘People Feel‘ is now available via bandcamp.
For more information on Nixer please check out their facebook and twitter.