Another one on our series of interviews and this time we managed to get the brilliant Neeq Serene to answer a few of our questions about her new project.
Neeq Serene is a London based experimental artist who debuted her first single “The Others” back in May.
An EP was meant to come out later in the summer but unfortunately the current emergency slowed down the process but we are still very excited to share with you what she had to say to our questions.
UK born and Kashmiri by origin, Neeq has been a writer since her early teens, particularly
interested in exploring themes of identity, culture and the dimensions of existence.
2019 saw her launch the dream-pop song-writing collaboration, PINERO|SERENE, with bass player, Cheryl Pinero. Their debut single, ‘Take My Soul’ was premiered by Clash Magazine and released to acclaim.
In this new sonic chapter, Neeq reveals a self-reflective journey through minimal, electronic music and deep lyricism, drawing on influences such as Radiohead, Unkle, Portishead, Sevdaliza and Bjork.
Listen to her song ‘The Others’ here while you read the interview:
Here’s our Question(s) Time with Neeq Serene:
We are very pleased to be chatting with you about your new music so to start with, please tell us a bit more about your musical journey, when and how you started getting involved with music?
I started writing poetry in my early teens and as the years went on, I attended various open-mic nights in London and loved watching people perform. I plucked up the courage to try spoken-word and it was a great but short-lived experience. I didn’t feel I had the confidence for it.
But as my musical tastes started to develop, I found a sense of companionship in the alternative music world, where abstract expression was welcomed. I became fascinated with the idea of creating soundscapes and using my voice as an instrument. So, over the years I collaborated with friends and like-minded musicians, experimenting with various sounds and after much trial and error, I finally arrived at a place that resonated well.
What is your main goal with your project? I am sure taking over the world is somewhere on the list but if you could name one single thing you’d like to achieve what would that be?
I honestly (and purposefully) have not set myself any specific goals for this project other than keeping up the momentum of writing. I love creating music, it’s so cathartic. I just want to focus on this for now and let the responses to the music guide the next steps.
How are you finding the first reactions to a month on? I hope it’s already being well received. What’s your feeling?
It’s been great – I’m so grateful to have received the support I have so far. I wasn’t sure where this track could sit exactly, but the dynamics of the digital world and multi-genre playlisting has allowed a far greater reach than expected. I guess one positive thing to come out of this coronavirus pandemic, is that more people have been listening to music!
How do you see your music right now, in the current situation and how/why do you see it being relevant in the future?
Right now, I see the music as a channel that allows me to release thoughts and emotions and escape the pressures of reality. I wrote ‘The Others’ in the midst of UK lockdown, when confronted with multiple aspects of myself, so it felt relevant to the time. The honest answer is that I don’t really think about future relevance. I create what feels right in the moment and I hope people can connect in their own unique way.
About being relevant, who are the artists you follow at the moment and you believe being the most relevant right now and why? Can be more than one of course.
Hmm I’m not sure how to answer this one. Relevant can mean many things. I listen to Radiohead a lot. They aren’t a new band of course, but to me they are as relevant today as they were twenty years ago because of how their music makes me feel.
More recently, I have loved listening to Loma, Sevdaliza and Josin. They are all experimental artists that allow the listener to connect on a deep, emotional level which I think will always keep their sound relevant.
How have you been spending the lockdown? Were you in London? Obviously hoping you and your family didn’t have to deal with the virus at all. Have you been more or less creative and productive during the last 3 months? We heard from many artists this hasn’t been the most productive of times for them as they felt they “had to” produce just because they had more time on their hands rather than feeling “naturally” more creative and it didn’t quite work out as they hoped. What’s your take on this?
I moved out of London to be closer to my family and no one has suffered from ill-health as a result of the virus, so I’m really fortunate in this respect. I was writing a lot at the start and keeping myself occupied with my photography, but some days I just couldn’t. I had to learn to accept that it really is okay to do “nothing” sometimes and just be in the moment.
I can definitely understand why many artists have been feeling this pressure. We live in such a fast-paced world and normally have very little time to do things, so perhaps we end up using it more wisely. It’s been overwhelming for many to suddenly have all of these hours dumped on them.
Routine helps me massively. I try my best to change course throughout the day and do something “new” or set small targets for myself. Sometimes it’s a really productive day, other days it’s not. I just try and accept this and stay appreciative of all that I do have. My heart goes out to all of those who have lost loved one’s in this period. I can’t imagine how difficult that has been.
How do you see your musical project in a post-lockdown world?
Releasing music during a lockdown has not been the easiest of times, without being able to support it live. Are you already thinking about live dates or are you just living in the moment and working on your recordings?
Definitely the latter. Until we have a clearer idea of where we are, I think it’s best to manage expectations and work on things I can control. My focus will remain on writing and recording until it’s possible to start playing live again!
Have you been writing new music? I know The Others has just come out but wondering what your plans are, release wise, in 2020?
I have an EP to drop which unfortunately will be delayed as a result of lockdown. I’m hoping at the latest it may be out by Winter this year.
Before we let you go, can you recommend a couple of great new bands/artists you are into at the moment?
Yes! As well as those I mentioned earlier, I have really enjoyed listening to Clann, Public Memory and Darkher.
Follow Neeq Serene here: