Self-Portrait: Nice Girl

Although 2020 has brought much of the events and music industry to a standstill, that hasn’t stopped scores of fresh releases reaching our ears. With a seemingly infinite amount of time available during lockdown, many labels, producers and musicians have taken this opportunity to keep the creative juices flowing, and thanks to them we’ve been keeping sane.

Nice Girl is one artist that came to our attention during this period. A few months back we locked on to the Melbourne-based producer’s second release of the year, Whistling Thorn, for Munich-based record shop and label Public Possession. While her first for the imprint back in January came in the form of stripped back sultry vocal house, Whistling Thorn saw a darker side of her productions emerge, wading through hypnotic leftfield rhythms.

Her Self-Portrait mix is made up of a new project she’s been working on, as well as a live jam of sounds that includes a track she made with her dad. This sits alongside an interview about growing up around musicians, sampling her dad’s rehearsals and how she approaches her own productions.

We now premiere all our mixes a week early on Mixcloud Select. Subscribe to our channel to listen first, download the mixes, and ensure that the artists included in each one gets paid.

Let’s start with an ice breaker, what’s your earliest musical memory?

Driving with my parents and we were listening to a Mick Ronson album – Play Don’t Worry. Billy Porter came on and it was the first time I was obsessed with a song. It was such a spooky story and I thought the sirens at the end were iconic.

Did you have a particularly musical upbringing?

My dad is a musician so as a kid I was always going to gigs, but it was the rehearsals at home that revealed so much, being surrounded by musicians from all walks of life. He’s a jazz musician but also does a lot of improvised work so I am glad I grew up around an eclectic range of music. I played piano for quite a while, strictly classical.

What led you into music production?

I had been working full time after school in an office job, I was in a pretty dark place, felt lost, my parents asked me to move home so I could be in a better environment. Every morning I would go sit in a sunny room and just listen to music, I discovered Ableton and started learning about audio effects, production and DJing with this computer app (lol). From there on I just knew it was what I wanted to do, I am really grateful for music.

Are there any producers or artists who have inspired your production?

I have made some beautiful friends in Melbourne that make music and have been a great inspiration.

Are there any particular rituals you go through before you head into the studio?

Lately I have been listening to recordings from my Dad’s rehearsals, I’ll just intuitively take out some samples I feel inspired by, this seems to always lead to a song!

Do you come in with a destination in mind before starting a jam?

There’s usually always an idea, maybe even a whole song I have created in my head, but usually that will just throw me off because I won’t be able to recreate the ideas the way I wanted them to sound. So I am trying to be open with it going in a totally different direction and even though my computer is so cluttered I will just save projects and start new ones so it feels like a reset. The journey is just as important as the destination (I have learnt).

Are you the type of producer to work on a track until it’s perfect, or are you more of an impulsive creator, happy with first takes and sketches?

I can be lazy. I will just settle because I know tweaking things can cause more problems than good, but I have released music that I can’t even listen to because I’m so angry with myself for ignoring things I know are wrong. So I suppose I am now paying a lot more attention to each project I start.

Can you talk us through how you might construct a track?

At the moment it seems every project I start will be chaotic but there will be a few sounds in there that I really like. I’ll end up starting a new project with different drums and then I just take sounds from the previous project and then a song comes together, it seems to work everytime!

How much of your material is sample based and how much is original?

I use my voice in most songs and like taking recordings of random noises I hear. But at the moment working with improvised recordings is giving me a lot of inspiration. Eventually I would like to work with some musicians to create an album.

What’s the most important bits of kit that make a Nice Girl track?

Well my laptop would be a good start!

This mix is comprised of 100% original Nice Girl material. Could you tell us a bit about it? Any tracks that are particularly special to you?

The first 20 mins is a new project I have been working on. I have always wanted to create a live set so I used this opportunity to put together some sounds and have a jam. I would like to thank Reuben Derrick, Mike Michington and Michael Kime for the recordings I worked with in the first 10 mins. Around 23mins is quite a special song that my Dad (Michael Kime) and I made together.

Anything on the horizon for you? Any releases we should know about?

I have made a hella lot of music in lockdown so there are definitely some releases in the near future 🙂

We now premiere all our mixes a week early on Mixcloud Select. Subscribe to our channel to listen first, download the mixes, and ensure that the artists included in each one gets paid.

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