BIINDS is an audiovisual collaborative project founded by Nicolo Sommer (vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass) and Christy Taylor (vocals, gadgets, field recordings) based in Germany, the United States, Peru and the United Kingdom. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2013 and involves various guest musicians with instruments such as the violin, percussion, cello, viola and drums. BIINDS’ atmospheric world is based on the soothing vocals of Nicolo and Christy, soaked in a luxurious trip-hop and light orchestral ambient mixture. The initial idea of the project is collaboration in any shape or form. The band’s name was created from the English word ‘to bind’, but in order to stress the idea of collaboration, another ’I’ was added to the word symbolizing that more than one individual is needed to collaborate. They released their remix and rework album ‘Antiphon’ last year and are about to release a live EP on April 16 entitled “Deadlocked: A Live Document”which captures the essence of live line-up of the project which varies greatly from the studio recordings.
Entertwine: How did the members of the band meet and begin writing music and performing together?
Christy : I began writing music with Nico when he contacted me through Soundcloud. I live in Kentucky, USA, so we have never been able to perform together.
Each of your three albums features visually-captivating imagery; how were these ideas conceptualized and executed?
Christy: I provided a lot of uncut video footage and photographs taken in forests around Kentucky that we use as needed. We work with other artists such as Castor and Christoph Heyden who are very talented directors. They were kind enough to direct videos for BIINDS. Nicolo does a large amount video editing for the band’s live shows as well as videos for our albums. He’s also quite talented with editing still images that we use in our album artwork.
What can you tell us about your hometown and its music scene? What is life like in Berlin?
Christy : I currently live in Monticello, Kentucky, USA where the most popular music is gospel, bluegrass, and country pop music. There is also a great number of classic rock fans as well. I’m definitely out of place since much of that music isn’t interesting to me. It is a very rare occasion that I meet someone around here who knows some of the bands I like. I try to introduce some of those bands to my friends, and sometimes they like it. I gave Mr. Bungle’s California to a guy I used to work with and he claimed it changed his life. I love it when that happens. On one occasion, a young lady that I also used to work with freaked out when she discovered that I’m a big Ween fan. It’s always a wonderful feeling finding a person who shares some of my musical interests because it happens so rarely. I’m sure if I lived somewhere more progressive I would find many people like myself in terms of musical taste.
Nico: My home town is Hamburg, Germany. There’s definitely a huge music scene in Hamburg , but I guess I have not lived there enough to know a whole lot about it. Life in Berlin is quite crazy at times.It’s a massive multi-cultural city with a saturated music scene with all kinds of genres..I guess electronic music is very big. Basically everyone in Berlin is an artist or at least thinks they are.
What is each member’s role, both live and in the studio? You collaborate with a number of other artists as well, correct?
Nico: The main studio line-up consists of me playing keyboards, synths, guitar, bass, more recently mandolin and I sing. Christy also sings and provides field recordings. She also makes videos that we have used for visuals or music videos. The artists we collaborate with vary a lot and we’re always looking for new people to record a part here and there; it’s a really interesting process but it doesn’t always work out. We have been very lucky to find talented people that like the project and have done amazing work for us. The live band is a whole different story since it’s not all of the people that recorded the album playing live. Christy cannot be there live on stage with us since she is located in the U.S. It was a difficult decision to recruit a different live singer, but also an interesting challenge.
What inspired the writing and recording of your albums “s/t” and “Antiphon”? Could you tell us about each album and the songs featured on these two releases? How do the albums differ, in your opinion? How are they similar?
Nico: Our self-titled debut album was the beginning of the project and it’s basically inspired by reaching out and collaborating with individuals you have never worked with before, making it work and creating new exciting things. “Antiphon“ is the “sister“ record of our self-titled album since it is the same album reworked, reinvented or remixed or whatever you’d like to call it by other artists. This process was another exciting journey since we reached out to more exciting artists that were up for the challenge of creating their very own versions of these tracks which turned out to be more than just remixes; they really feel like new songs.
Your new live album titled “Deadlocked: A Live Document” is slated for release later this week; could tell us about how this album was made? What does the remainder of 2015 hold in store for BIINDS? Do you have any upcoming performances?
Nico: “Deadlocked: A Live Document“ is a live EP that features the BIINDS live line-up from last year. It was quite important for us to capture these moments and give people an idea of how BIINDS sounds live and to make them realize that it’s a whole different experience, but also just the beginning.
We have a show coming up on May 21st in SO36 and another show on the 4th of July in Fluxbau, both of them in Berlin.
We’re currently working on new material, but it’s still in the very early stages. We’re trying to do something very different this time, but I don’t want to reveal much yet.