When France’s post-impressionist Henri Rousseau coined the term “naïve” at the beginning of the 20th Century, he probably never would have expected that it would someday be used as the name of an electro-pop band. Nevertheless, the term has been picked up by Britain’s Anglo/French/Italian trio, N-A-I-V-E-S, aka Marco, Lap and Jamie, who decided that it would be a fitting title for their experimental project.
In addition to being championed by BBC Introducing, the boys have played a number of gigs around London supporting bands like Friendly Fires, Mystery Jets, Goldie and Is Tropical. Having just toured through Paris and Rome, N-A-I-V-E-S decided the best way to start off the new year was with a new single. After giving the song a couple of spins, we took some time to ask the band’s drummer, Jamie, about their glitchy, idiosyncratic new single “W.I.G.O” and the meaning behind their name.
Indie Current: First start by telling us a bit about yourselves and your background.
N.A.I.V.E.S (Jamie): I joined the band last year after meeting and playing with the rest of the boys at The Nest in East London. We hit it off right away and soon realized that we had similar influences and musical ideas. Soon after, I became a permanent feature in the band’s lineup, where I was placed behind the kit. Marco and Lapo both met in Paris. At the time, they each had their own musical projects, but began playing together after remixing each other’s respective bands. It was this that really helped form our sound.
IC: Who created and conceptualized the video for “W.I.G.O”? Is there a message behind the song? What does “W.I.G.O” mean and/or stand for? And how did the song come to fruition?
N: “W.I.G.O” or “When I Grow Old.” Well, I guess it’s about living life and making the most of opportunities, taking risks rather than regretting the things you didn’t take a shot at. Marco was the real mastermind behind the video; he worked on creating a visual atmosphere that would capture our sound and creative influences.
IC: What has been the most memorable performance for you? Has there been any embarrassing moments on stage?
N: Err… Well, there’s never actually been anything really “embarrassing.” Although, there was quite a lot of booze consumed onstage during our recent mini tour through Italy—specifically when playing at SONAR in Siena. This made for quite an energetic performance by all three of us. Our most memorable performance so far would have to be the launch party for our new single, “W.I.G.O,” which we held in London. It was an amazing gig, we had so much fun; the crowd and support were amazing! Honestly, though, every gig in which we perform our music for an appreciative audience is a good one.
IC: What are your plans at the moment and for the future? Do you have a new album or tour planned?
N: We’ll be on a European tour over the next few months promoting our first single “W.I.G.O.” That will include gigs in Spain, Italy, France and Sweden, with a couple here and there in London. We’re also working on new material and have been recording in the studio—so watch this space for future releases!
IC: What’s the story behind the name N-A-I-V-E-S?
N: Henri Rousseau was a French artist who had an amazingly simplistic, yet detailed style of painting which helped to coin the term “naïve.” We draw a lot of inspiration from him in terms of approach, particularly because he loved painting afro-jungles for the city folk; this is something we love to create in our music.
IC: Who or what influences you musically?
N: All three of us have a really wide range of musical influences, which I think is reflected in our music. We all love afro-rhythms and are deeply influenced by anything ethnic. As you might have guessed, we also have a strong love for electronic dance music. I could give you a long list of cool bands and artists, but all it really comes down to is good music; stuff that moves you… in every sense.
IC: What is your creative process like?
N: Marco and Lapo have been collaborating and writing songs together for a while now. The only thing that’s changed for them is that I’ve joined the band and began playing drums in new songs and any of their existing material. The process is really varied, with ideas flowing between the three of us. It usually starts with a simple beat which we collectively create in the studio. Marco will then arrive at a vocal hook whilst on the bus and Lapo will finish it off by working on a synth line.
IC: If you had to pick a musician or band to collaborate with, who would it be?
N: Wow that’s a difficult one… We have been collaborating with a few signed artists recently, working on productions and remixes of tracks, but we’ll have to see how much of that pans out. I can’t really say anything more at the moment, but exciting stuff. Who knows what the future will bring. I think the most important thing for all three of us is to always be working with people who are as passionate and committed to making good music as we are.