Q&A with Nikki Pryke on her debut LP, ‘Connection’

Stockholm’s Nikki Pryke released her debut album, Connection, via her own label Envelope Audio in November last year. In this interview we discussed the project and its influences, her life in the Swedish capital, her other Techno project The Lioness, and much more.

Listen to Connection and read our interview with the her below.

It’s an immersive listen made up of many different musical influences, can you describe to our readers how you interpret the project sonically?

Thank you, I’m glad you experienced it as immersive, as I was very much influenced by those kinds of sonic landscapes when writing it. I think I wanted to encapsulate a period of time I had growing up, and the music I was absorbing at the time was really this kind of “big” music emotionally that really drew you in, like Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. Also as a DJ, I always loved building these “journeys” so it felt very natural for me to try and manifest that sonically in the album. 

You’re a Swedish native, currently residing in Stockholm, could you tell us a little about your life there and what your homeland means to you?

I live a really privileged life here in Stockholm. The close access to nature and water in combination with the aesthetics of the city really gives a quality of life that is hard to beat in my opinion! Although I’ve had a bit of an ambivalent relationship with the city from time to time (it is quite expensive for example!), I really can’t think of another city (at least that I know of) that I would enjoy living in as much for a longer period of time. So my life here is really about making the most of the combination of city life and all it can offer musically and culturally, and the nearness to nature, the most luxurious combination I can imagine.

And extending to my relationship to my home country, that’s a more complex one. Growing up as a sort of a third culture kid (my dad has roots in other countries), I never felt 100% Swedish and could sometimes question aspects of the culture. With age, I have grown to really appreciate the advantages of living in this country, and also compensate for the things that appeal to me less by creating a life I love with the people I love. 

There’s a lot of storytelling going on in the lyrical songs on the album, some of which feel very personal. If you’re comfortable could you share with us the meaning behind some of the compositions?

You’re right, they definitely have backstories from my life. Apart from that, I think I’d rather not say so much more about them and leave the interpretation to the listener 🙂  

There’s also some ambient elements found in the LP, we’re of course a huge fan of this genre here at Chill Music. Could you please share with us something you would yourself define as something you would chill to or an ambient album that has stood out for you personally?

I definitely listen to a lot of music filed as “ambient” as well, everything from almost standstill music such as Chihei Hatakeyama’s ‘door to the cosmos’ to old New Age with more classic melodic elements like Emerald Web’s ‘Valley of the Birds’. To me, ambient is more in the quality of how the music makes me feel rather than the exact character of the music. One of the more recent ambient albums I’ve listened to a lot is Canadian producer Alaskan Tapes’ Who Tends A Garden from last year; a beautiful blend of ambient pads and acoustic instrumentation, highly recommended! 

Can you give us some tips on how to chill in Stockholm, where are the good spots to relax and take in the vibe of the Swedish capital?

When it comes to music I would say it’s definitely Hosoi, the number one spot for ambient, eclectic and (mostly) non-club music. The whole crew behind it are really passionate about what they do and it really extends to every detail of the venue, not least of all the sound system! They also organise a beautiful festival once a year since a couple of years back that is in and of itself worth coming to Stockholm for.

Apart from that, my preferred place to relax would be by the water in general, preferably in the Archipelago, a big cluster of islands big and small just outside the city. It’s a really stunning area really, with so many shifting environments and even cultures, hard to describe in words – it has to be experienced first hand! 

Listening to your back catalogue we discovered that you’re actually usually making a lot more electronic or techno sounding material. Now that this more indie focused album has been released, what does the future hold for Nikki Pryke, is the new direction for you musically or it was an experiment. What can we expect next? 

Yes, I’ve always listened to a broad range of music, it’s been challenging for me to stick with one genre, haha! I haven’t really decided, recording “real” songs was very rewarding and I will most likely pick that up again. Right now though, I have two more ambient-oriented collaborations in the making, one with Swedish ambient producer Clora (Christoffer Reichenberg) and another more Max Richter-inspired project with classical singer Anna Thunström. If it’s something I’ve learnt from some of my recent projects, I really love working with other musicians and am really excited about these ones! 

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us here at Chill Music, can you leave us with one song to chill out to from here…

Thank you so much, some of these questions really made me think! I think I’ll leave you with another fave genre of mine at the moment: The Breath’s stunning alt folk piece, ‘Land of my Other’.

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