Interview: NOVYI LEF | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle electronic duo NOVYI LEF return with their new single Part Of The Bigger Thing, a track whose synth fuelled soundscape pounds and pulsates its way around a deep rich analogue vocal that questions past intentions for their home city.  

Recorded remotely over lockdown in separate makeshift home studios, the single is the band’s first new material since their debut EP ‘Ethic Or Aesthetic’, and is the first material released from these new recording sessions. 

We catch up with the NOVYI LEF to find out more…

How are you and how have you been keeping busy during lockdown?
Over the past several months we’ve both been kept busy, either working at our jobs or making sounds in our makeshift home studios. We’ve always struggled to prioritise recording over performing, so in some ways it’s been great to have this enforced break and have a chance to focus on recording and writing new material.

How would you sum up your sound and who are some of your musical influences?
We produce electronic post-punk in the vein of New Order, The Normal and John Foxx, and combine this with a raw political edge. We take inspiration in our sound as well as our approach from early electronica, where the DIY spirit of punk combined with newly affordable analogue synthesisers. Beyond that, the explicitly political edge of Le Tigre and the electronics of LCD Soundsystem have been important influences. We also reference mid-century art movements such as Constructivism, which marry politics with an aesthetic, and we try and carry this through our music as well as our performances and artwork.

Describe your songwriting process? How did the pandemic affect that process?
Our songwriting comes from two different places – experimenting with synthesisers, finding new ways to produce new sounds, and thematically a wider interest in art, architecture and politics which feeds back into the lyrics. Writing during the pandemic has necessitated lots of sending recordings back and forth, although luckily we’ve both been able to set up temporary home studios in spare rooms which has been a lifesaver!

Tell us about your new single Part Of The Bigger Thing. What is it about and how does it differ from past releases?
Part Of The Bigger Thing looks at the unkept promises of Newcastle’s 1960’s rebuilding, asking: where has this vision for the future of our region gone now? It contrasts the utopian promise held by the building of a new motorway – embodied in the planning text spoken during the song’s breakdown – and the contemporary dystopian landscape that this has created. It initially started life as a 20+ minute long art performance by Euan, which we then refined as a band and developed into a song. It’s the first new material we’ve released since our 2018 EP ‘Ethic Or Aesthetic’, and the first to showcase some of the new gear that we’ve been working with since then.

Have you got any other lockdown material that we should keep an eye out for in the future?
We have plenty more material to come – expect another single near the start of 2021, with more to follow, plus an EP on the horizon!

What do you hope to achieve in 2021?
It would be great to finally play another gig next year – we really miss the thrill of performing to a crowd. We want to sustain the momentum we’ve discovered in recording during lockdown too, so hopefully we’ll have more new material to put out – watch this space!

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