NERiMA - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview NERiMA. We discussed how they have gone from playing covers to creating their own original songs, working with Spuds Records, their Valentine’s Day cover, writing their new song “Home” in one day, why it’s such a special song to them, their new merch, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview. 

Of course, thank you so much for the opportunity! We’re always happy to talk, and your interviews are always great. 

Can you tell me how you got together and formed the group for those who may be unfamiliar? How did you initially become interested in music?

Alexi: We formed the band in October 2019, but it had been a long time coming. Alex and I had been planning to start a band for about two years before it went anywhere, when we finally found someone else our age who wanted to join. I met Connor in school, who then came over to meet Alex, and we all hit it off pretty instantly. We started playing covers, which were all so much fun, and so we tried out originals, and NERiMA was born. 

Our interest had been around for a while - we’d already had a name, a setlist, stuff like that. Alex and I are cousins, best friends, and have have been music lovers since we could talk, so wanting to start a band was inevitable. Our family is musical in general, but the first time we were properly interested was playing Rockband on the Wii (which is also where our initial taste came from). At first, this just caused us to fall in love with other bands, until just listening wasn’t enough, and finally, we started a band of our own. 

You announced signing to Spuds Records earlier this year. Why did this seem like a good fit for you and how’s it going so far? 

As a small band with minimal connections and next to no funding, we were always interested in opportunities to be picked up by a management/label of some sort, not because of recognition or exposure or anything, but genuinely just for resources. We spent the first year or so self-managing and working with a friend, until Spuds Records reached out and offered us an amazing deal to finally allow us opportunities to grow, perform, and produce music as a band.

So far, it's been going well! They've given us a lot of great information and resources to help promote Home, and they've already applied to grants for us - something we had no clue how to do, so that was a godsend! They've been doing great for the short amount of time we've been with them, and we can't wait to see where this’ll go in the future!

You recently shared a cover performance for Valentine’s Day. Tell us about choosing this and recording it.

Alex: We've been pretty busy recently with promoting Home, so we sort of forgot to plan anything for Valentine's Day. Then I think, like, two days before, Alexi texted me and asked if we should cover anything for it, both to provide some light-hearted content in some pretty dark times, and to be able to cover something we wouldn’t usually. Since we're still not able to meet in person, we came up with the idea of playing a song on our respective instruments, and then editing it together to form a compilation of all of the perspectives. It's very DIY but we thought it could be fun, so we went for it! The song we chose is "Your Reality" by Dan Salvato; it's a simple, cutesy love song from a game we all love called Doki Doki Literature Club, so we thought it was perfect!

Speaking of your new song, “Home”, I’ve read that you wrote it in one day. Can you tell us about the writing process? Why do you think the song came together so quickly? 

Alexi: Home originally was just the lead and rhythm riffs in the intro that I’d found by playing around on my acoustic. I sent them to Alex (which is what I do when I like something but have no clue if anyone else will) and she did like it, and since this was the first time I’d actually sat down and wanted to write something for the band rather than reworking an old idea, I was pretty excited. Usually I’ll start with a bit and come back for the rest, sleep on it a bit, but as soon as I started, I kind of just didn’t stop. 

The chord progressions I found naturally by just playing what felt right, and I’m not even sure how I found the lyrics or melody - I just started playing the chords and sung what I heard over them in my head. Bridges are scarier for me since I want them to be different while still fitting the vibe, but with Home, I think I was just excited to be able to write more for this song. It was the first time a piece had come together so smoothly for me, so it’s a really special one. 

You’ve said “Home” is one of your favorite songs that you’ve written for the band. What makes it special to you? 

Alexi: Of course there’s the whole writing process that was really unique and a bit of a stepping stone for writing for the band. But there was something about the lyrics and the way they came about that made me feel a lot more connected to this song than others. 

There’s the memory of how they came along so easily - I just started singing the melody that sounded right and the words immediately followed. And then I think I just felt connected to the meaning of the song overall, since I’d always been interested in the grey area between right and wrong and where those lines are drawn. As for the sound, Home was inspired pretty heavily from my all-time favourite album, Paramore’s brand new eyes, so I can’t help but feel especially attached. 

You also mentioned how it was a dream for you to record in a studio. What was the recording experience like? 

It was such an awesome experience and super exciting recording in an actual studio! It wasn't exactly a professional studio like what we had imagined, and we were a bit tight on time at moments, so it was a bit different than the dream that we had built up in our heads - we’re still looking forward to fulfilling that dream in the future. But despite all that, it was really cozy, fun, and chill, something great for us as new artists, and we had an awesome time! It was definitely a good step for us as a new band and much more professional than any recording we'd done before. We'd like to thank Ryan Fitz for the awesome opportunity, and if any other small bands get one like this, they should definitely take it! 

You also recently announced a merch drop. You worked with Logowear House and the designs were created by your drummer. Tell us about creating these designs and the concept behind them. 

We were really excited to be able to design our own merch while still having it be quality, so we were really happy with this merch drop! A few of our designs include cherry blossoms and light pink, because part of our aesthetic is inspired by Nerima City in Tokyo, Japan. Evidently, our name is also inspired by it! We are primarily an alt-rock band, but we like to keep a soft side to ourselves also, and we thought some cuter, softer designs would fit that. We of course offer black colour options for our merch too, to tie in the punker side of soft-punk, as black adds a nice edge to everything!

The beanie features your logo. How did you initially come up with the logo design? What was your inspiration? 

Alex: Our logo (named Muffle by our ex-guitarist) was based off of our lead singer Alexi's dog, Muffin. When we went to create our logo, we wanted something simple and sort of cute, but still with that edginess we like. We practice in Alexi’s basement, so Muffin’s always hanging around our practices and basically a member at this point, so we thought she would be a good base to get the cute factor! She’s kind of like our unofficial mascot. 

To make it edgy, we turned her into a sort of Coraline-esque plush with button eyes. Our ex-guitarist and I both worked on sketches, and in the end we mixed our ideas and I drew the final digital copy.

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for asking, these questions have been really fun and genuinely interesting to answer! We just want to say thank you to everyone for the support, and that you're all really cool! We can't wait to show everyone what we have in store. Stay creative!

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