(Photo credit: Nina Jordan)

While we’ve recently covered So Below’s “Ruin,” we were curious to learn a little bit more about the New Zealander’s art and creative process. Read what she had to say about her influences, the natural tones in her music, and the fine art of collaboration.

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“…I feel like that’s what makes good music, when it has those quiet and intense moments”

We’re going to rewind a little bit – New Zealand is, to a lot of various places, a bit isolated. In terms of influences and what you were inspired by coming up there, what were you listening to, who were you into, and what was hitting the shores of New Zealand… or at least your ears?

New Zealand has a great music scene, as well as we get all the best music from the UK and the US. I would say two of my biggest influences are Radiohead and NIN.

We know things are so connected globally now, but does the geography seem to influence artists there differently? Do you think that separation pushes people differently there?

I suppose so? I love writing with other New Zealanders because I feel we are on the same wave length and pretty laid back as people. The New Zealand government also offers lots of music grants for artists which I think besides Canada we are one of the only countries that offers that, which is pretty darn cool!

And how about just the environment of the country – New Zealand is known for its various natural beauty on both major islands. Were you inspired by those settings at all?

I’m not much of a hiking beach kinda gal, but in saying that, pretty much all my artwork and visuals so far for my project are nature based! It is a very beautiful place to grow up.

Your sound tends to veer towards the darker shadows of sound. Is there something you feel particularly drawn to when it comes to those elements? It makes for some damn alluring tracks honestly.

Yeah I suppose I listen to a lot of darker electronic music so when I go to make music it’s what I’m drawn to. I want to make music that I, or someone like me, would listen to (smiles).

Your first single, “Drift,” was a real piece of art that had so many textures to it, so many climbs and descents. Is it difficult to balance extremes like that during the songwriting and creation process?

Thank you!  Well I feel like that’s what makes good music, when it has those quiet and intense moments, otherwise it gets a bit stagnant.

Then you take a track like “Sleep,” and it’s so intimate, lyrically separating partners by inches. Was there something personal to the creation of that single, or do you tend to write more from the perspective of a witness, an outside party?

A bit of both I think! I usually have something intimate and personal in mind when writing – sometimes I may just write about a dream I had. That single was written when I had a lot of changes happen in my life, and they weren’t all fantastic, so “Sleep” is sort of about how we deal with change.

When it comes to having your work remixed, do you usually have a relationship with the person doing that work, or is it from someone who takes it, hears it differently, and then reaches out to you?

Most of them my manager and I would reach out. But we’re always happy to have people reach out to us!

So can you walk us through “Ruin” more – what was it like collaborating with so many different brains? How did the sessions come together with everyone involved, and was it difficult to temper the production when it seems so easy to let it fly off the handles and become one full of explosions rather than being a slow burn?

Super easy! I usually just write with one other person in the room, but it was nice to mix it up for “Ruin” and be a group of three. With two people you can sometimes hit a brick wall, but with three things can run a lot smoother.

Collaborating with a variety of artists like this, is this something we can expect more of going forward, or was this more of a one-off?

Well every song I’ve done so far has been written with another artist, sometimes two. This is the first song I’ve released with Brad Hale though… won’t be the last!

“I want to make music that I, or someone like me, would listen to…”

Looking at the future – do you have a vision for where you’re hoping to go artistically, or are you just letting it happen organically?

In terms of my sound? Organically for sure, I just want to continue to make music that I like and think other people will like.

Finally – what’s in store for 2017? Any EPs, LPs, tours, features, etc.?

Yes an EP this year, and I’ll hopefully be done with my album early next year. As for tours nothing is lined up, but we are looking at Europe end of this year and NZ AUS festivals for Jan Feb!