Say hello to Nanu Nanu!
Laura Sheeran is one half of Nanu Nanu, a new electro pop duo in which the other half is Marc Aubele, who plays live shows with Bell XI. They play the NOISE Weekender this Friday. Experimental musician Laura tells Brian Hayes Curtin about her hopes for their first album and the downside of being Ed Sheeran’s cousin
Some of the most interesting bands are created when an artist does something totally different to what they normally do. Experimental, avant-garde musician Laura Sheeran’s new project is the alien-pop band Nanu Nanu.
For her, Nanu Nanu represents “real freedom”. “You’re still controlled to a degree by what people think of what you will do. To have complete freedom, sometimes you have to do something that your audience won’t like. It’s one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had. It’s changed my whole perspective on music.”
Nanu Nanu got together last summer after they started messing around in his studio with new instruments. They clicked musically and “loads of songs came out”, Laura says.
“They were weird but a lot more poppy and beat driven. They harness the weird aspect but separate it a lot.”
Laura describes their music as “alien-pop to emphasize the weirdness” and says that they have also developed a very distinctive image that is constantly evolving.
“The songs are such that if we brought them to a producer, they could be very radio-friendly. Instead though, they keep them raw.
“Nearly every gig, by the end everyone is up and dancing. That type of music lets people lose their inhibitions and it’s very freeing.”
The contrast with her solo music, which is often very dark, is striking. She jokes that her solo music is “depression central”, but says, “inside, I’m not a very dark person”.
“A lot of music that I’ve loved has been pop”, but she adds that her parents always exposed her to a lot of experimental music. “Often pop provides light relief. It’s been really liberating with Nanu Nanu to explore something else.”
Adopting the personae of cosmic explorers Glitterface and Marc II, the visually striking pair are aliens who have come to earth to learn about the planet. “We created this whole thing for the album exploring human themes, like existing on the planet earth,” she explains.
“We’ve had great visuals for our shows but visual artist Jane Cassidy is going to America. We are trying to get her to do it from America!” Laura thinks that it should be possible once the venue has a high-speed broadband connection and the time suits Jane in America.
Getting Mark Kirwan to produce the album was a coup, as he has worked with PJ Harvey, Bell XI and 30 Seconds to Mars. He is currently working on the new Depeche Mode album but he produced ‘Unit One’ during a break from the Depeche Mode album.
The album will be released early next year. “There is a lot to be said for bringing something to a mainstream audience that is slightly left of centre, especially with a strong visual aspect.
“2013 is the year of Nanu Nanu!” she laughs. Despite her natural modesty, there is no doubt that she has big hopes for the duo, and so she should. Their very striking image and their music, a brand of electronica that is very dance-friendly should appeal to a broad range of music fans. With their excellent live show, they have many of the building blocks needed for real success. Of course, the album will have to have the tunes too, but that is well within their capabilities, as songs like ‘Skin’ and ‘Sonic State’ have shown.
When the Cork Independent first heard of Ed Sheeran, it was because he was the cousin of Laura Sheeran. Now, he is the better known, having enjoyed a meteoric rise to success although both Laura and Ed played Electric Picnic this year.
“He is back in January. We might do something together in January at the O2. Sometimes these things work out and sometimes they don’t.
“It’s fun to hook up. Our music is so different but we’ve been friends since we were kids,” she says. She did play with Ed when he played Vicar Street last November.
“We might have played together in Electric Picnic,” she says but explains that a 20 minute long live song in his short festival set may have put paid to that!
There is a downside to being his cousin however. “I’ve had Ed Sheeran fans tweeting me and it’s usually been positive but some people get really negative", probably because her music is so different to his, she feels.
“On ‘X Factor’ you have Simon Cowell saying someone is really shit. Younger people think they can say anything to someone.” Catch Nanu Nanu’s great live show this Friday.
Nanu Nanu are playing Gulpd Café in the Triskel on Firday 28 September at 11.30pm as part of the NOISE Weekender which runs until Sunday 30 September. Headliners over the weekend will be No Spill Blood, Windings and special guests Dead Skeletons. More details can be found on www.wearenoise.com.