Q&A: Rising synth-pop group Nation of Language discusses new album and upcoming tour

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Language nation is transforming the indie-pop music scene with genre tracks. The Brooklyn-based band is led by Ian Richard Devaney with his wife Aidan Devaney on synth and Michael Sue-Poi on bass. Their new album, “A Way Forward”, inspired by the experimental Krautrock 1970s will be released on November 5.

After releasing their debut album in the midst of a global pandemic, Nation of Language is excited to take the stage and meet many of their fans for the first time. The Chronicle caught up with the band’s singer, Ian Devaney, for an interview.

The Chronicle : It’s great to hear that you are coming to North Carolina on October 30! Let’s start with a brief introduction to your group. How would you describe your sound?

Ian Devaney: I would describe our sound as new wave and post-punk inspired synth music that draws heavily on electronic music from the late 1970s and early 1980s as well as 2000s indies.

TC: I read a bit about the process of creating your first album, “Introduction, Presence”. Amazing how it all came together in a pandemic. I would like to know a little more about the process of your next album, “A Way Forward”. What was it like, making another album during a pandemic?

IDENTIFIER: The recording process for the two albums was very different. The first album was put together over a much longer period. We did a couple of singles and when our synth player Aidan and I got married we asked people for money, instead of things from a ledger, which we then used to finish the album. While during the pandemic he was confined to a much shorter period of time but also felt much more free and relaxed.

TC: How does it feel to be able to go on tour again?

IDENTIFIER: [Live performance] means everything to us. That’s really the reason why we felt so sad and gloomy about the first album, since we couldn’t shoot it. Traditionally, this is what attracted the most people to the universe of our group. Now can [tour], it’s like every night is a party. People come to tell us that this is their first show since the pandemic and to be able to be that for someone is a real honor.

TC: In discussing this album, Ian, you say that you wanted this album to “look further back to find a way forward” because you reinterpret your influences in a modern context. Could you talk about it a little more?

IDENTIFIER: Something I enjoyed is when I meet other bands out there today who share our influences and the way we each seem to pull off slightly different things. What I see in New Order may not be the same as my friend sees in New Order. I was curious to look at the influences of the influences from the first album. Where there is a lot of Human League or Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark on the first album, [those bands] I absolutely loved Kraftwork. So what if I took a deep look at Kraftwork and saw if I came up with something different from what they did.

TC: Are there any songs from this new album that you are particularly fond of?

IDENTIFIER: The opening song and the last song; they’re not part of the mix of singles that came out before the album, but they both have that special place of coming into the studio with just a faint sketch of what the song was and allowing us to follow every instinct. Most of the first album was defined by us needing things to be very specific and planned. So, with this one, we wanted to leave a little room for exploration.

TC: I have to say my favorite song from the album is “This Fractured Mind”. It reminds me of something of the Pet Shop Boys, OMD or Soft Cell. Can you tell me a bit about that particular song?

IDENTIFIER: This one is interesting because a lot of the music in it is from years ago. It was one of the first things I wrote for the band before the band really was a band, when it was just an exercise in writing music that wasn’t guitar music. And I just rediscovered it while we were recording. I felt like it had hit some brands that were really talking about what I was trying to do with the second album.

TC: What’s coming up for all of you?

IDENTIFIER: Right now we are halfway through this tour. I think, for now, it’s just to be on the road as much as possible to celebrate the fact that we can do it.

Nation of Language will be at Cat’s Cradle on October 30. Tickets can be purchased in line.


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