LA-based musician, Ramona Gonzalez, otherwise known as Nite Jewel, is quite literally going it alone with her latest album: ‘Liquid Cool’. Since making her way onto the music scene in 2008, creating songs with her husband using a portable eight-track cassette recorder, Gonzalez has caught the attention and imagination of many, including director Noah Baumbach who selected her track ‘Suburbia’ to appear in his film Greenberg.
Now, as she embarks on the road to play her brand new material in Europe, Twin caught up with the much-hyped electro artist to discover how solitude can be one of the best things to ever happen to someone.
You have said that you recorded much, if not all, of your latest album ‘Liquid Cool’ in various closets. How? Why?
Well, it just so turned out that the two places I ended up living in in Los Angeles over the course of recording ‘Liquid Cool’ had these large walk-in closets. I wanted the sound of the record to be very intimate, so I decided to set up shop in these spaces with just a few instruments, in order have privacy and go deep into that fantasy world I was creating.
Was there a specific event that lead you into leaving your previous label? And how did you feel, both creatively and personally, to go solo?
No specific event, but just a general feeling of a poor fit over the course of our relationship. It’s a big commitment to get into a relationship with a label, not only a financial partnership, but a creative partnership as well. If you aren’t feeling like the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts, then it’s probably best to get out while you can. There’s nothing worse than giving away 50% of your rights/ownership/and profits to an entity you can’t get behind.
I’ve been releasing my music independently since 2008. ‘One second of love’ was the only release done with a label other than my own. The main thing Secretly Canadian [record label] and I agreed upon was perhaps I did a better job at releasing my music on my own independently. So it felt great to get that kind of reassurance. And generally it’s been a better experience doing it on my own, albeit more of a personal expense.
There is an oft-mentioned sensuality to your music, is this deliberate? If so, how do you achieve it?
Definitely not deliberate but perhaps just the way that I sing, coupled with the prominence of the bass and rhythm section.
How has your style and sound progressed over the past ten years? What do you want to say now, in comparison to what you wanted to say then?
It’s progressed immensely and honed itself, but always been very much Nite Jewel. I think I’ve always toyed with similar themes throughout my career. The cross-section of love and technology has always interested me from the very beginning, and continues to be a theme in my work.
Your sound has also been described as “dreamlike” – what was the last thing you dreamt of?
I have very vivid dreams, but the last one I can remember being woken up by, was one where I was doing some sort of very dangerous aerial gymnastics à la Cirque d’Soleil. I’m afraid of heights but have consistent dreams of daredevil type mid-air acrobatics.
‘Liquid Cool’ is said to look a lot at the idea of being alone, is this something you are, or previously have been, afraid of? Have your perceptions of being on your own changed over the years?
I think aloneness is something I have always cherished, but at times it has been something I’ve grappled with being an artist. Aloneness is always directly linked to productivity/creativity. If that isn’t going well one day, aloneness can seem daunting, but most of the time it is a great thing. For ‘Liquid Cool’ I was more exploring the pervasive feeling of aloneness in a world where we are also so virtually interconnected. The internet can prove claustrophobic and crowded, but in reality we are experiencing that alone. That somewhat paradoxical dichotomy was what drove the concept of the album.
This album has been described as a “stripping back the pieces of our own lives until we can really see one another again” – is there anything in particular that you feel is particularly obstructive when it comes to communicating with those around you?
Yes, our online lives/personas.
You’ve done almost everything on this album yourself, how does the feeling of seeing it finished and out there now compare with previous work?
It’s refreshing! But also familiar. I have always done everything on my own, so it’s nothing new. Even when I have worked with other people, in the end, it’s my work, my voice.
What is the rest of the year looking like? What are you up to next?
Our UK and European tour starts on the 15th September. Come see us!
For a full list of Nite Jewel’s upcoming tour dates, click HERE.