In Conversation with: Naipia

"'When it comes to song writing, I sketch out the song and then we colour it in together"

In Conversation with: Naipia

We all have regrets, but it takes courage to highlight your previous choices and turn this into art. However, when it comes to the band Naipia, this has produced one of their best songs to date ‘Bluestown’.

Following on from previous releases, Bluestown will resonate with most of us – how the decisions we make define us and how we then learn from this.

Hailing from East Sussex, NAIPIA fuses indie and pop genres taking unforgettable melodies and addictive hooks that will have you singing along in no time. A common theme that occurs within their material is self-reflection with the message that ‘it’s ok to not be ok’.

Having signed to Golden Robot Records in 2020, NAIPIA has had string of successful releases, leading them to perform in the acclaimed BBC Introducing Live Lounge. They are back with their first release for 2021, ‘Bluestown’ – an anthemic tune that poetically highlights lead singer George’s past struggles.

Music Editor Emma Harrison spoke to singer and guitarist George to find out more.

House of Coco

Congratulations on the new single ‘Bluestown’ which is out right now. This song is about your own personal experience about how it’s best not to get too drawn into people’s lives if and when they are making the wrong decisions. Tell me a bit more about the song and what it means to you.

Naipia

When I was much younger, I think it was common to reflect on how the world is bigger than the town that you grew up with. It’s also learning about the relationships that you have with people in those times. You understand how significant it is.

House of Coco

It’s all about looking into the big wide world, isn’t it but also looking beyond it too as well? It’s also about disengaging with people who live their lives a bit too close to the edge from a self-preservation perspective.

Naipia

Bluestown is about looking into the way I would pair myself with someone who was willing to walk the “knife’s edge” and make mistakes with me.

Essentially, I was subconsciously going out of my way to create relationships where their own pasts and habits which would feed into mine, leading to a downward spiral eventually for both of us.

This song for me was a note to myself that I recognise that person in me, isn’t me. I won’t be deluded by the glamorisation of drugs with the thought of them making me feel free and I won’t ever put someone else in situations to feed that part of me that I recognise.

House of Coco

It’s a great song. For our readers that haven’t had the opportunity to listen to your music, how would you describe your music style? I would describe you guys as indie, but I also hear influences of rock and pop in there too.

Naipia

Indie pop predominantly, we always pride ourselves on big melodies and big chords and that naturally has led us down this indie pop kind of avenue. I don’t know if it’s bad advice, but we’ve never concentrated too much on genre. We just purely kind of followed our heart, which has led us into the indie pop sector. But it’s meant that when writing, we can be a little bit free, and we just follow what we’re loving.  I think we’ve now been playing together for years and I think we could definitely put ourselves in that indie pop box and we love it.

House of Coco

Before we officially started doing the interview, we talked about The Jam which is one of my favourite bands of all time and how they have shaped your music. Who else would you consider to be a musical influence? I’m guessing there’s quite a lot.

Naipia

There’s a hell of a lot there. All three of us have different inspirations from Catfish and The Bottlemen to Sam Fender. It’s all about the big melodies and the big chords.

House of Coco

I love Sam Fender – good choice! So Naipia, the name is a variation of a name of a town that you were lost in when travelling around New Zealand. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Naipia

I was living in Brighton and I guess you could say I had a bit of a breakdown one day. I said, ‘I’m going to sell everything’ and I travelled to New Zealand, where I quite literally got lost, and ended up in this town called Napier with no money.

I had an iPad to my name and three weeks into the journey, I felt the need to buy a guitar. So, I sold my iPad, which was my only communication with family back and bought this little guitar, which is sitting over there still (shows me his guitar).

And that was it. I literally stayed there for months, and I worked on fruit fields, but every day I’d get home, go down to the beach and I would sit down I’d write songs and that that really was the story behind the name of the band.

House of Coco

Naipia is made up of yourself, Tom who plays drums and Harry who plays bass – it’s a real family affair and it seems like such a special dynamic.

Naipia

We’ve grown up loving music, very passionately, as cousins, at family gatherings, we go down to the music room and that’s where we spend our time and we’re absolutely loving it.

House of Coco

You definitely can!

I would imagine one of the highlights for the band so far is being played on BBC Introducing?

Naipia

Yeah, we’ve had great support from BBC introducing especially Melita.  Yeah, she’s absolutely amazing. She’s one of those just special people who is truly passionate about the music industry.  She’s given us some great advice and she has had a lot of time for us, which just means the world. She’s played most of our tracks, which is very, very lucky to have had.

House of Coco

One of my favourite Naipia tracks is ‘Lonely’ which you released last year during lockdown. It’s a beautiful song and is incredibly endearing.

Naipia

I actually wrote that song on Valentine’s Day, the year before. We quickly realised this is an opportunity for us to write something quite positive about loneliness and how we feel about spending time on your own. That’s what where that song came from and it actually ended up having a really positive outcome. It was written about a year before lockdown and it came in and out of the practice room. One day, it just clicked and to be honest, it was a stroke of luck.

House of Coco

I really love it and I was listening to it again this morning. It’s really uplifting, and I think it’ll be like an amazing crowd pleaser at a festival or gig. I feel like that is one of your anthems now.

Naipia

We love festivals – it’s our favourite thing as a band ever. It’s like one of our main reasons for getting out there and playing the music.

We absolutely love the opportunity to play on something like the BBC Introducing stage or Reading / Leeds.  I think we kind of definitely see ourselves there. Yeah, that would be awesome!

House of Coco

The live music scene (at the time of interview) is looking rather precarious for 2021, do you have any kind of festivals/gigs committed at this stage or is it still up in the air?

Naipia

We are in a bit of a difficult situation in that sense, but we’re just staying as positive as we can. We are big believers in the universe and if the universe has put this in front of us we will use this time to the best of our ability, with that main goal of getting onto a festival stage.

When you’ve worked your hardest, and you’re doing the things that make you happy. I think that’s when the universe works.

House of Coco

When it comes to song writing? Are you the main songwriter? Or is it more of a collaborative effort?

 

Naipia

Oh, yeah, I’m definitely the main songwriter, I guess the best way of describing it  when it comes to song writing, I sketch out the song and then we colour it in together. I definitely spend the most time at a piano playing new stuff, and then I’ll bring the boys the melody and then we go from there.


House of Coco

I have had the pleasure of seeing you play live twice, and you were amazing. What do you miss the most about gigging? Is the interaction with the crowd or is it just the physicality of playing live?

Naipia

It’s the people. A massive hundred percent – it’s the people that watche you play 40 minutes on stage.

It’s the reason we get out and do what we do. It’s the most magic feeling in the world.

It’s also the other people interactions we have – it’s meeting the other bands. We really pride ourselves in just interacting with as many musicians; fellow musicians as possible.

That’s what we miss the most. You know, it’s always that thing towards the end of the show where you catch up with people. Yeah, I miss it dearly.

House of Coco

So, the most recent time I saw you play live was right here in Bournemouth supporting The Hoosiers. How was that for you and how did this gig come about?

Naipia

Well, we’re just extremely lucky to have an amazing team around us. We’ve got Harrison and Rachel from HP Music working alongside us as our managers. Rachel, like us is just emailing people all the time.  The gig came about when Leighton, the bass player from Hoosiers dropped in on one of our studio sessions and then before we know it, we were up till three in the morning making bass sounds and we just really hit it off and it kind of just started from there.



House of Coco

You have built up quite a loyal fan base which is really lovely…

Naipia

Yes, yes. Wow! So much support for all the tracks. It’s been unbelievable, actually and in such a quick space of time. So yeah, really, really grateful for that. We are really fortunate to have been added to a few playlists too which is amazing. Actually, there’s no word for me to describe them. I’m not used to this level of support at all. You have to pinch yourself sometimes. Just because I think we solely made music for ourselves, our hearts and we always went into this with no expectation and yet the support we’re being shown is immense.

House of Coco

When it comes to the song writing process, you told me that you do part of it, and then the rest of the guys will colour it and that this works as a collaborative process for you.

As a main songwriter, what comes first? Is it the music or is it the lyrics?

Naipia

It really depends. I think for me, it’s probably the music. I think I heard someone say to me, that Noel Gallagher said ‘You’ve got to go fishing every day as a songwriter, and you don’t catch it every day. But one day, you’ll get a huge catch.

So, I am a big believer in setting up my instrument every day. And sometimes I’ll get a set of chords out of nowhere, and that will flow. 

With one song, I woke up one night and had the melody for the chorus and that was the chords that were written. That was quite a new thing for me. I then take it to the band and we then create the song together.

House of Coco

Do you feel like your sound has evolved within the last four years?

Naipia

Definitely! I mean, we really were wanting to develop. We’re always open if it feels right. We’re always open to trying something new whilst at the same time holding on to our main values. We spent a year in rehearsals, and I think a lot of our development in our sound happened in our first year. Therefore, I think our core values musically will always stay the same.

House of Coco

What’s next for you as a band? Are you planning to release some more material?

Naipia

We’re sitting on an EP at the moment. We took the chance with the pandemic going on to try and just get as much content as we can under our belts. We had the tracks finished before we went into lockdown and we have Harrison Perks is our producer.

He’s an absolute wizard – if anyone needs some recording, you need to get yourself to HP Music as this guy is a wizard.

We have been working remotely which was just a beautiful process. It sounds like it should have been a nightmare, but it wasn’t. We really, really believe in our lessons here – we’re on a learning journey with music production and we just feel very fortunate to have had Harrison and Rachel alongside us for that.

Naipia’s latest single ‘Bluestown’ is out now. 

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Emma Harrison
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