Hailing from New Zealand, electronic trio Groeni have been releasing a minimal and textural form of techno music, performing their fantasy sounds live across their native country. Over the past couple of years, they’ve released several acclaimed EPs including ‘Hewn’ and ‘Hinde’ and now releasing their debut album ‘Nihx’ via Project:Mooncircle on the 30th March. Originally a solo project, Groeni transitioned into an electronic outfit and have grown into their immersive hardware live sets. We caught up with Mike, James and Al to find out the story behind ‘Nihx’, why they decided to move from software to hardware performances and how living in New Zealand has impacted their sound.
Hey guys, you’ve just announced the release of your debut album ‘Nihx’. What is the story behind it?
Thematically Nihx is an examination of opposing forces. Exploring the middle ground…the interaction and relationship between two polar ways of thinking and dealing with situations.
In a previous interview, it was mentioned that creativity is a fantasy world. How would you describe the fantasy world of your album?
I think it’s different again from the mindset of that particular EP. This album was a lot more analytical and considered metaphorically and lyrically as opposed to some form of escapism or inward dialogue. Intrinsically that world will always exist for us as an escape or source of calm but maybe less so thematically for Nihx.
The album was two years in the making, what challenges did you face during the process?
Using predominantly analog gear this time there was a lot of back and forth, of tweaking sounds and patches and then re-recording. Finding time between day jobs was also a challenge…Other than that it was a really enjoyable experience.
It’s an incredibly beautiful piece of work, what would you say inspired the album and the eclectic sounds that are prevalent throughout?
Thank you. I’m not really sure haha… maybe it was the process of writing and recording that we’ve developed together over the last few years. There’s a real emphasis on letting go of something even if you’re really attached. This often leads to finding unexpected common sonic ground between the three of us.
Has growing up and living in New Zealand had any profound effects on the music that you produce?
Yeah I think so, our surroundings definitely have an impact… Nature is prevalent both within and surrounding the city we live in. Population also plays a big part in both a positive and negative way. I’d say the clearest evidence of this link is in some of the visual work which accompanies some of the earlier tracks.
You’re signed to the German album Project: Mooncircle, how did that relationship begin?
We released our second EP with Project: Mooncircle after a friend here in NZ introduced us. We were set on putting out the third EP ourselves as both an experiment in self management and because we wanted it out asap. Having our music on vinyl is important to us and I think we share similar values with Mooncircle. They are understanding and reciprocal towards our attention to detail.
Your live shows have transitioned from software to hardware, why did you decide to change the format and what are the benefits of performing with hardware?
We’ve had a lot of technical issues playing with software but for the most part we initially couldn’t play with hardware due to financial restrictions. The concept of providing the audience with a unique and uncertain performance experience really appeals to us and we want to be at a point where we understand our instruments enough to improvise to some extent on them. This perhaps requires some of the limitations that hardware provides. There is a whole discussion about sound quality that isn’t worth touching but for various reasons we prefer hardware.
Groeni has grown a lot over the years and has gone from a solo project to a highly collaborative outfit. What have you each learned the most from this project?
Mike: How to sweet talk my way out of re-recording a patch.
James: How to accidentally delete the album.
Al: That men can love one another platonically.
How did all of your relationships begin with music and what has your journey been like to building it into a full-time career?
We all studied music, together and separately. It has always been near the forefront of any of our creative or life choices. Full time career? Haha we make sandwiches and teach kids for a living.
Now with an album under your sleeves, do you plan to tour the work internationally?
Would love to, just need a couple of bones thrown our way to make it happen. We recently played a show in a planetarium which was nice, maybe we’ll do something with that?
‘Nihx’ by Groeni is released on the 30th March