“Sunset” is the new single by Sydney-based singer-songwriter Nick Pes. It was released on October 24th via his own label.
His sound combines classic 80s synths with fresh indie-electronic ties drawing influence from contemporaries like Kilter, Shura and Woodes. A video for the single was premiered on TSS and it was directed by Josh Harris.
Thanks to Nick Pes
Interview : Renaud Velin
Very rarely when I write do I know what I’m writing about. Usually it’s the feeling and the words that come to me first. And then, only after I’m finished or three quarters finished that I realise what the lyrics mean. There are images in my head, or phrases that kind of just come to me and then I put them all together. SUNSETS happened in the same way. Without referring to a specific event the sunset allows you to reset – to say to yourself tomorrow is another day and you get to make the choice to leave behind the baggage of yesterday and embrace the new day.
In 3 years, you released 5 songs and each time, each song is superbly well produced, composed and interpreted. Do you need time to achieve your work and to get such result ?
I can be a perfectionist and I also procrastinate and when I’m working on music that doesn’t make me very productive! Sometimes there is really long gestation period – I started writing SUNSETS at the beginning of the year and it took some time to bring all the pieces together. There are hundreds of unfinished songs on my computer, melodies and lyrics saved on my phone. Sometimes I come back to them and finish them.
I insist on the sensuality of your vocals and of your melodies in your songs but you are also using the sensuality of your body as a way of expression. You gave us a preview in the video of « Under the light » but in this new video produced and directed again by Josh Harris, you are dancing, using all the talent of your body language. It is so rare for a male music artist to do that. Tell us more about your intention to use your body to express your art.
Well both of those video concepts, including having me dance came from the brain of Josh! I definitely don’t think of myself as a dancer but I do believe that movement is a powerful form of expression. I put a lot into my work and I hope it makes people feel something – every part is important to me. The music, the lyrics, the artwork, the video – I see them as all one and the same.
You seems to be very attached to the 80’. Your music has that vintage electro sound, some of your videos make references to movies or TV series of the 80’ (The Delorean car from Back to the future in « Sunsets » video, the aesthetic and the ambiance of Twin Peaks in « California » video), even the calligraphy of your name and your covers, make me think of Cocktail, the film with Tom Cruise. How and why this period influence so much your work ?
There is definitely an 80’s influence. I’m a child of the 80’s and 90’s and I think part of it is the simplicity of that time – I guess a lot of people think it was better « back in my day » – and I don’t necessarily think that. I love technology – take right now, I’m responding to your interview questions which you sent from the other side of the world on my iPhone – and I love that but I also think the advancements with technology bring addition complications to our relationships.
Robyn, MIA, Lana Del Rey, Courtney Love, Kylie Minogue, all these women icons seem to touch you. Are they part of your artsitic universe ? Are they a source of inspiration for you ?
I do love them all for different reasons. As a kid I loved Kylie Minogue – my parents told me I used to scream out « Kylie! Kylie! » when she came on the radio or the Tv and as an adult I love that she continues to make really intelligent pop music. I always loved Courtney for her arrogance and her rebellion – her anger and also her glamour. She’s a difficult figure to explain and understand but I love her.
And in a very different music gender, you already worked with SEIMS, a math-rock band that you like a lot. Will you have another collaboration soon with them? Or with another artist may be ?
Sim (who is the dominant create force behind SEIMS) is a really good friend of mine and ever since I’ve been playing live shows he has always been my bass player and the once constant of my live band. He always makes me feel that he is so happy to be playing my songs and he always bugs me for us to book more gigs. He is an amazing musician and I always respect his input and his ideas. As for other collaborations I’m definitely open to it!
Once on Instagram, you said jokingly « if I were a superhero my name would be ‘calfman’ ». It’s true that you have super calves ! As a superhero what is your secret identity ?
Batman and Superman were the only superheroes (aside from Buffy the Vampire Slayer – i think it’s fair to call her a superhero) that I ever had a real connection with. I think maybe I’m somewhere in between. I want what’s best for the world and I care about the betterment of others but I can also be a bit of a loner.