INDIANA is one of those Nottingham artists who’s making it at the moment. She’s had a great year, and she’s got big things planned for 2015. I was lucky enough to get to have a chat with the artist herself, and it went something like this.
Hey Indiana, thanks for having this interview with me. So, you’ve been on tour recently. How has that been for you?
Amazing. Every night has been different, depending on the crowds. It’s opened my eyes a little bit to the fact I have fans. Some people in Birmingham were screaming “Indiana Indiana!” whilst I was mid set, and I just went “yeah?” and they just started screaming. I felt like One Direction or something!
Has it been interesting seeing how people react to your music in different places?
Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised with London. I’ve played there before when there’s been just a lot of industry people, and they talk and just clap a little bit, but this crowd went silent when I was doing a ballad, and were really enthusiastic too. It was really surprising, I didn’t expect that. But then I thought, well, I’ve sold 300 tickets, so that must have been my fans. I’ve also noticed I have quite a big lesbian following, which I didn’t expect. It’s fully awesome. Last night, oh no wait, Bristol, I was attacked by a group of 8 women who were all gay, and they were coming up to me and touching me and saying “I just want to touch you, I love you so much” like they were coming on to me, as well as being lovely about the show. If it’d been a group of men coming up to me I’d have been like “call the police!” *laughs* No, I don’t want to sound bad about men. But I do like having a lesbian following!
It must be interesting to discover the people that your music is reaching, that you might not have expected?
My music is a little bit left field, but my audiences have been so diverse. I’ve had like a young teeny-bopper emo crowd, we’ve had parents coming with their children, we had builders from Sheffield who were like proper blokes, and that was the second time they’d seen me play. Gay guys, gay women, couples getting off with each other when I’m singing. It’s so diverse, so many people from different backgrounds and stuff. It’s great to see.
I find your style of music really interesting, I think I described it in my review as ‘sleepy dance’, and I’m just interested in how you put it together?
Ah, thanks. Well, I think it’s in limbo between being fast enough to dance to, and not fast enough. So you end up in a place in between where you’re like “I don’t know what to do”! *laughs* I’m influenced by everything around me but I like to become a story teller and immerse myself into a role, and become something that I’m not. I draw on personal experiences, but my music isn’t a biography, it’s fiction. I just love creative writing. Most of my video treatments me and my boyfriend write together, he comes up with some ideas, I come up with some ideas. I love scripting it out, and when I’m writing music, I can picture everything in my head, like I’m thinking about the video. Then when I’m becoming this person, it’s like “why am I doing this? Why am I saying this?”. I’ll think of a line, even before I’ve written the song, and I won’t just be like “oh that’s a cool line”, I’ll be asking; “Who’s saying that? Why are they saying it? Where have they been? What have they been doing? And what do they want to do?”. Also I’m always reading Thesauruses, because I want to be able to say something, but say it in a way that nobody has ever said it before. I just like to be interesting.
I think you are very much an interesting artist! You’ve returned back to Nottingham after your tour, does it feel nice to come back and play your last show here?
Ah thanks. Yeah, but my friends are coming to see me, and my friends from high school with have never seen me play, so I’m really nervous to play in front of them. So yeah, I am quite nervous about tonight!
Aw, I don’t think you should be. So you live in Long Eaton, are there any favourite places you have in and around Nottingham?
I like Spanky’s. And Suede bar, but I kind of have to be a fan! [Her boyfriend James owns Suede] They do the best pizza in Nottingham.
What’s your favourite pizza ever?
The Indiana. *laughs* It is though! I had it in France, and a brought the recipe home and made James cook it. It’s walnuts, honey and goats cheese.
2014 has been a kind of crazy year for you, you’ve had a lot happening.
I don’t see it like that at all.
Oh really? How do you see it?
I’ve still got a lot to do and a way to go. At the moment my next goal is to support someone on an arena tour. I was looking at Callum’s [Saint Raymond] photos and thought that looked really cool, so I’d love to do that. And yeah I’ve got my album coming out in January.
Yeah, I really enjoyed your album.
Have you ever seen me live before?
Yes, I saw you perform at the No Tomorrow festival, but not in a venue. Do you feel different performing at a festival?
Yeah, because people don’t really know who you are. I find it difficult talking at the best of times, I have to kind of force it out of myself to talk in between songs. I know it’s a key time to be like “I’m Indiana”, but I just want to sing the songs. I struggle in between. I just get all nervous and mess up my words a bit, and make a fool out of myself. I don’t think I could be a public speaker unless I sang everything I was meant to say.
That would be great. You should do that anyway.
Yeah? Be a singing MP. But I don’t know anything about politics. *laughs*
Well they don’t either so…
Haha! Well that would be perfect.
Thank you so much for talking to me Indiana!
Sliding us into the evening with a quietly dramatic start are SHELTER POINT, whose extended electronic opening shifts and warps in quite a spooky way. It’s absorbing and a low key, interesting way to open the evening. It’s almost like Robin is painting the soundscape, and navigating around his equipment on stage in a focused and attentive way. When the bass kicks in, it becomes a whole new experience, and you feel it in your chest, and I even felt it on the end of my nose. The music just feels like it has depth. It feels fluid, and echoes round the room, filling the space. Liam’s vocals are mesmerising, with a hugely impressive range and a falsetto to die for, he sings drawn out melodies with angst and intensity. Shelter Point are subtle, and their music twists and turns into weird spaces. It’s fairly downbeat really, and I think you have to be in a certain mindset to listen to them. There’s an element of being sucked in to the experience, and if you’re prepared for that, and I totally was, it’s quite special. It’s fairly melancholy, with some dark tones and an intimacy which I don’t experience that often, and I’m always pleased to be shaken up a bit, and that’s exactly what they did.
INDIANA kicked off her set with Blurred Lines, which is in no reference to Robin Thicke in case you were wondering. It is in fact reference to how when you’re driving fast, the white lines on the road go blurry, along with the trees. Indiana has cleared this up with me a couple of times now since I wrote the album review, which you can read here. Instantly her vocals are captivating, and she seems so utterly comfortable on stage. There’s a lovely moment towards the end of the song where she points to the guitarist with both her arms, and he launches into a solo which he nails, and it follows through to end the song. It’s a brilliant, brooding opener. Now that she has everyone’s attention, she busts out Heart on Fire, her recent single from the album. This song really showcases her vocals in the higher register, and although the melodies are gentle and feel delicate, she has total control over them and performs with passion. Unfortunately there were some irritating hecklers towards the back of the room, but if you managed to ignore them, it was a beautiful number. She contrasts this head-voice delicacy by performing Play Dead next, which is dark and dramatic and one of my favourites. I really love watching her band work around her too. They’re totally on it, it’s seamless and professional and Indiana obviously feels totally comfortable on stage, interacting with them and really going for it.
After the darker nature of Play Dead, Indiana strips it right back, playing hardcore fan favourite Blind As I Am. As one of her oldest songs, she plays it with some truth to the original, by singing purely with a piano accompaniment, played beautifully by Angelo. She also sings a capella, and as she sings on her own, she has the entire audience captivated as she owns the stage and the room. After stripping it back, she turns it up a few notches with the most ‘dance-y’ track of the evening No Romeo. This is definitely one to move to, as the rhythm picks up and the pace increases, reiterating her repeated point that she “don’t need no Romeo”. Maybe this could be one of the reasons for that lesbian following she was talking to me about? An unintended anthem maybe? It makes me smile to think that could be the case anyway. She mentioned in her interview about taking on a role as she sings, it feels very much like she does this on stage. At the same time it also feels like she’s actually coming out of her shell. She’s great to watch. I honestly felt sad at the end of the song, because I wanted it to keep going. It could have played all over again and still been just as awesome. Jack was next on the bill, which is a dark reworking of the classic fairytale ‘Jack and Jill’. I loved watching her sort of act/dance out the lyrics on stage. This one is so catchy, and also really fun to sing. The vocal melody in the chorus feels timeless, brooding and gritty. I also want to mention the drummer at this point, as he is totally on point, and the arrangement of the tracks means he switches between playing an acoustic kit and electronic drums, which creates that dance aesthetic, but also maintains a rock-esque feel to the performance.
The final track of the set is Only The Lonely, which is another track you can’t help but move to. It’s upbeat, and actually probably one of my least favourite tracks of hers, but she did ever so well ending the set on a bang. Although of course she did an encore, leaving the stage then humourously popping her head round the side of the door before coming out, which really displays her personality, and shows her in a different light to how she is when she performs on stage. Mess Around is her encore, and it’s everything you want to bring the show to a close. It’s dark, sexy and haunting. It connects you with those more carnal parts of yourself, and it really taunts and teases, as the song asks “don’t you wanna mess around?”. We’ve messed around with you for an entire gig Indiana, but to be honest I could see the whole thing again and be totally happy. Her second encore needed no introduction, as the opening few bars of Solo Dancing fill Rescue Rooms with that classic rumbling rhythm. This evokes a massive reaction in the audience, and they scream as she begins to sing those gentle few notes. She also has the audience singing along with her too. The show was musically on point throughout, and her performance was incredibly watchable. She’s often straight faced and intense as she’s singing, but as the songs end, she can’t help but smile. It’s like she doesn’t quite believe it’s happening, and it warms me to her. This is a gig I won’t forget in a while, and I can’t wait to see her perform again.
Written by Cassia Helme
Photos by Cassia Helme