INTERVIEW: Kaya & the Science of the Lamps

Hi Kaya, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

It certainly has been the weirdest year for many reasons, but  I am fine overall.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Nightmarine”?

It’s been three years in the making from the song arrived in my head late 2017 and we debuted it with Science of the Lamps at Spectra Festival of Lights in Aberdeen in February 2018, so it is great to see it finally released including a full choir arrangement and the creepy cello. It was finished much earlier this year, but it hasn’t felt right to release it with all the stuff that’s been going on with the global pandemic. 

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

It’s about losing my dad and the strange journey of grief that follows such a rite of passage in life. Everything changes, from family dynamics to priorities in your own life when you lose a loved one, especially so surprisingly. He died of a heart attack at 63, seemingly healthy and without forewarning. Nightmarine is a melancholic and vulnerable journey through the stages of grief, and the title  is a wordplay on “nightmare”, and the darkest marine blue in combination with the fact that my dad was a marine biologist. 

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Nightmarine’s music video by Portuguese multimedia  artist Beatriz Leonardo is a rotoscope animation, which paints a bleak landscape of the emotional depths and suffocation of grief through stark yet graceful motion imagery. Rotoscoping is a technique that animators use to trace over motion picture footage, frame by frame, to produce realistic action. Beatriz Leonardo is a multimedia artist focusing on relief printmaking, illustration and animation. Her themes revolve around mythology and storytelling. She is interested in the symbiosis between analogue and digital formats, exploring the boundaries of story-telling. She creates physical objects and then transfers them into the digital realm, giving static images new life while maintaining the unique qualities that can only come through human interference.

Beatriz’s body of work references mythologies and histories from around the world and brings them together to show our collective humanity and relationship to the natural world.” – Brooklyn Art Library

How was the recording and writing process?

As I alluded to earlier, the song pretty much arrived in my head after I came up with the title. It had probably been baking and milling around in there since my father died, but I am truly proud of the lyrics and melody. Having such wonderful people involved in the recording made it a very enjoyable process, yet challenging logistically as I have been sharing my time between Liverpool, London and my native Norway since September 2018 doing various musical adventures from gigging with the band and solo, delivering masterclasses and artist development projects to lecturing in singing and songwriting. We developed the arrangements through the rehearsals and gigs, and then went into the studio and recorded a demo version. Since then we have been adding elements such as the full choir arrangement featuring ACM Electron and one of the original Lamp Scientists (what I call the musicians who perform with the collective), Luke Moore, playing a moody cello to lift the piece further. It’s become almost cinematic in its overall sound, and I have really enjoyed the production in collaboration with Ryan Griffiths of Big Smoke Studios; the final months entirely over the internet because of lockdown!

What role does Liverpool play in your music?

I am a “Scousewegian” and have been living mostly in Liverpool ever since I came over to study at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. We have run Threshold Festival there for the past ten years and bought a flat there last year, so we are certainly committed to the city that I love so much, although we did a stint of trying living in London.  I really do love working across borders including Norway, even though that is increasingly difficult at the time, I have learned a lot about remote collaborations! 

What aspect of vaudeville did you get to explore on your music and how did you go on balancing with your much modern sensibilities?

I like the theatricality of vaudeville, the storytelling, close harmonies and the esthetics. The songwriting techniques and production is certainly more modern, and it’s all a little tongue in cheek, really. 

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Although there are some songs that are in the process that I have been performing with Science of the Lamps, the past few years of constant relocation has made it hard to keep a collective together (not to mention touring with 9 people is absolutely impossible to make profitable, even without a pandemic!). This is the reason why this, and any future of those songs will be released under Kaya & The Science of the Lamps, as I will be doing more solo projects. I certainly will be connecting with the wonderful musicians that performed on this track, but without the logistic of keeping a band together. 

Any tentative release date or title in mind? What else is happening next in Kaya & The Science of the Lamps’ world?

I am in the process of compiling a collective of female musicians to release a track we’ve performed with Science of the Lamps called ‘Invisible, Invincible Women’, and that will be out later this year.  I am also playing around with slightly more electronic sounds at the moment and have been featuring on a few other projects I can’t tell you about just yet. Lockdown has fostered some creativity at times, even if a rollercoaster of emotions. 

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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