Interview: N-qia

This year saw the Japanese electronic/vocal duo N-qia really take shape, releasing on several netlabels which all culminated in a signing to World’s End Girlfriend’s label Virgin Babylon records. I sent some questions their way and they were more than happy to give a closer insight into their music and ethos.

First of all thanks for answering some questions for Netlabelism, who is behind N-qia and how did you get started?
Thank you for the interview! Track maker Takma and a melody making singer Nozomi are N-qia. We are nobody’s with some skills and love for music who badly want to produce something unique. Through sound exchanging and communication on the net N-qia has begun. Opening our songs to the public on some sites lead us to releases.

Your music is characterised by extreme attention to detail in both production and vocals, how do you go about writing/creating your songs?
We are always improvisers, detail comes later or is discovered. Something like intuition rather than attention. Takma produces tracks (really rough operation with some dexterity, composition based on the right side of brain), Nozomi writes melody for her song. (with her skills of improvisation, a rare ability of grasping the structure of tracks at once). Time for recording is limited, so we do best with our concentration.

With the attention to detail comes many different styles of music, is it a challenge to incorporate say a saxophone solo (eg. Dust, from the album Audio Illustrations) with glitchy electronics?
Electronics, acoustics, noise, glitch… every sound exists for a good song, good music, we guess. A playful mind sometimes gives us some nice mixture, happy coincidences.

Where does your inspiration come from when writing music, and what sort of things inspire the words being sung?
90’s indie music could be our roots. Something like a rebel against the sad reality under a severe social condition or oppression, a sense of alienation we feel everyday. Finding and forming beauty in chaos. Words are cut up from many books, we weave it into positive flow and meanings. Also meaninglessness, the charm of voice itself is important to us. So foreign reactions really make us happy!

The use of unsampled vocals is something unique in the electronic netlabel music scene (to the best of my knowledge), was it difficult to work on a style that fit well with the programming side of the music?
It’s not that difficult, after listening to a  track, Nozomi creates images, voice patterns. So it’s all improvisation 🙂

Regarding your latest release, we here at Netlabelism really enjoyed it, the music is really intense and textural – can you tell us a bit about the release in terms of inspiration and what emotions you wanted to convey?
Inner peace or freedom by self-expression. Loving, hating, accepting, changing, creating the paradoxical complexities of life. Music for dancing in it. We need to create new music on our own and don’t know why…DNA? destiny? operated from outer space? 🙂

You have released on several netlabels including La Bel Netlabel, MiMi Netlabel and Bunkai-Kei to name a few, is it important for you to release under a creative commons license? If so, how has this helped you?
It has really helped us a lot for spreading our music. Fortunately, many user of N-qia music noted our name with their action on the net. We really like to thank them all !!

You recently signed to Virgin Babylon Records (congratulations!), do you intend to continue releasing on netlabels as well?
Thanks!!!!!! So far as circumstances allow it we will!

It seems there is a real sense of community and kinship between Bunkai-Kei and Virgin Babylon, will we see any collaborations in the future between N-qia and similar artists?
World’s end girlfriend produced really nice remix of our song”earth”. Hopefully, There will be more nice collaborations in the future.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Anyone with skills and passion, love for music!

You can visit N-qia at the following links: Facebook, Soundcloud
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  1. Garrett
    January 24, 2013

    Thanks for doing this interview Alexander! I was actually going to write a review about Audio Illustrations until I saw you post it up a few days earlier than me last year on here haha.

    I love this album a lot though and I’m really happy that people on here appreciate it and that they’re getting some attention. Virgin Babylon is definitely a very fitting label for them to be on. The way they speak in this interview is very poetic, it’s like their album put into interview format. Great questions!

  2. Alex Stretton
    February 19, 2013

    Thanks Garrett,

    I agree, I was surprised by tthe answers as they did indeed reflect their musical style, free flowing and so very creative 🙂

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