Their recent comeback ‘Crystal Clear’ knocked our socks off with its hot, tropical beats and suitably, we can’t wait to get a bit more of N-A-I-V-E-S! The duo has been cranking out killer electro-pop since 2014 after meeting in a club two years earlier. Clearly, it was fate, and now they are back for more having just released their debut album. We got in touch to find out more and see what makes this exciting band tick…
You’ve just revealed your fluorescent video for your comeback single ‘Crystal Clear’! Tell us a little about the track itself?
‘Crystal Clear’ is a pure love declaration. It’s about that moment in a relationship when everything seems to be going down a hole and everything is true and false at the same time. It’s about that kind of confused contrary feelings but in the end, love triumphs!
So there’s more new music brewing in the near future? What can you tell us about it?
Ours was released on the 27th January! It is composed of nine tracks in total, half of them are unpublished and we are really excited to share these songs with you. For some of them, for example, “Trampoline”, we will be releasing a video followed by various remixes including Severino, Is Tropical and more to be announced. We’re going to work on “Golden Shore” video too. You’ll see.
How was the writing and recording process this time around? Did you encounter any challenges in creating an album?
During these years we ended up recording so many ideas and so we decided to spend some time collecting and refining the best of them for an album. Songs that we thought could have been part of the same concept, basically. The selection took a while, as many tracks were a little bit rough, so we spent some time in the studio, changing parts and occasionally combining different songs together.
We have a studio in East London where we meet for writing and studio sessions regularly. When we write a song, we always try to be as spontaneous as we can. We prefer not to have any music references as we find it a little bit of a limitation and sometimes confusing. Paintings often inspire us, this happened with the majority of the tracks on the album, where we tried to create music influenced by Henri Rousseau’s jungles. We don’t just love his paintings, we find ourselves quite close to his attitude too.
When we record a new idea, we don’t have a particular starting point, we might start with some percussion or a drum loop that we find exciting and then record on top of it. Or maybe we sample ourselves while jamming and we process some vocals or stuff, we don’t really have a rule for that. But we love when a loop can go on and on for hours, this is usually a good sign that particular combination of sounds works. In achieving so we generally switch on all the instrumentation that we have and start jamming freely, so then music comes out naturally.
The idea is to be ready to record everything we find interesting if we need, we want to record as many layers as possible so then we can decide later what is the best “dress” for the track and also creating some harmonies and vocal melodies on top of it. Finding the right shape out of this “magma” of ideas is not easy sometimes; the big challenge for us is to extract the essence of the track and remain as close and spontaneous as possible to the original idea and translate it to a 4-minute pop format.
After comprising an EP of singles, was it an exciting project for you to create a cohesive album? Why?
Yeah of course. We wrote more than 50 tracks over the last two years and we figured out the majority of them have something in common. We just felt this was the right moment to put together the best of them in one release. We always wanted to do it but we never really figured out what we had recorded in the past, so we carefully selected the best material and also re-recorded some of them with “fresh” elements, you know, listening back to your past recordings sometimes makes you want to change something, but we did this without ruining the main idea.
So, this album is composed by our previously released material and new tracks we felt were close to the same concept. We are really happy at what we achieved and we are already looking forward to performing the album live.
Your video for ‘Crystal Clear’ looked a lot of fun! Whose idea was it and how was the shooting process?
‘Crystal Clear’ is a colourful and explosive video! For this one, we wanted to express these powerful and at the same time contrasted feelings the lyrics describe. So we came up with the idea of volcanic explosions and we blend it in colourful contrasts. We wanted to stand out both in terms of its image and concept and try to express the feelings of when you are in love with someone. We create our own videos ourselves, it is an exciting and unexplored territory for us but we love it. For this video, we went to Sicily and shot some scenes atop the Etna volcano, then back in London for some green screen shots. We are really happy with the results and all the love shown on Vevo and socials. Thank you, guys!
All of your music is quite tropical sounding and, more than anything else, fun. What are your main intentions for the music that Naives create?
We love sharing positive vibrations, the music we create has to express that feeling of joy. In this particular period of our lives we don’t really want to vent negative thoughts to people, we have too many anyway, we just wanna share our love for the music, the groove, the heat, the sun, the good times, being consciously naïf, and have some genuine five minutes of fun in our imaginarily tropical jungle!
How did you develop your tropical electronic sound? Have you always preferred electronic music?
We have a deep love for every music that expresses electronic and organic sounding elements. This is a period in time where we can really mix the two experiences together, lo-fi and hi fi, analogue with electric, real played with sequence-based elements all of these contrasts really interest us. We find it quite stimulating when a sound has different layers. Both Marc and I have different backgrounds as DJs, producers and also as musicians as being part of pop and rock bands, having different roles too. So I guess that helps as well, to be open towards a sort of contaminated sound where you can really swap intentions when playing a different source of sound.
Did you have any projects prior to Naives? How did Naives begin and why do you think that it worked?
Yep, we were both in different bands, playing guitar, bass or even drumming. N-A-I-V-E-S started totally by chance in late 2012 in a club in Paris, where we met for the first time. Both of us were playing with different bands. Soon after we join forces in London and started to work on some remixes. At first, we shared an interest in the French painter Henri Rosseau and his tropical forests. The imagery, the energy of the forests and yet the naivety of that hidden world connected with us so that we decided to call the project N-A-I-V-E-S, that was a sort of a “manifesto”. We haven’t had any expectations as we were just composing music for fun and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it!
You often get others to remix your tracks. What makes it so enjoyable about having others reinterpret your tracks?
It brings the track to a new level and sometimes even to a better level. We love to see how new colours are added to the song!
Do you have any live shows in the pipeline? What can people expect?
Yes, if you guys are in London we are performing the 25th of Feb at The Finsbury for our album release show. It’s free but be sure to get your free admission in advance. If you are in Bristol we will be at the Stag and Hounds on the 24th Feb for yet another free show. We will announce a European tour soon.
N-A-I-V-E-S’ debut album is available now.