Brighton duo Nierra Creek have announced themselves with debut single, Born a Child, a beguiling combination of modern folk songwriting and left-field electronic production.
The band is the collaborative work of Somerset songwriter Ryan Deag and Swiss producer Sebastian Müller, a musical partnership that has been some time in the making. The duo have most recently spent lockdown putting the finishing touches on their debut record, of which Born a Child is the world’s first taste.
Discussing this behind the scenes work, Ryan said: “We recorded Born a Child in January at Abbey Road Studios with Theo Byrd. Prior we’ve been making music together for a few years. We’ve been through the motions, getting to grips with who we are, what we are, where we are. I think we’re there now?”
The single itself is the band as snapshot, an intimate piece of folk songwriting presented through a prism of ambient electronica. This sonic eclecticism is evident from the off, with layers of vocal samples pitched and modulated to wrap around a single-string guitar refrain, the combined instrumentation never overbearing the core lyrical performance.
“We kinda just smash together our influences head first and see what happens. Coming from different backgrounds allows us to experiment with ideas outside of our comfort zones, we push each other’s boundaries in a good way. Writing is always refreshing, we learn a lot from each other,” commented Sebastian.
A steady hand of restraint can be felt throughout the production, with new synth lines, drum patterns and dramatic crashes of reverb-laden guitars never stepping too far out of line. Even as Born a Child finally breaks into crescendo the tender honesty of the track’s subject matter is never overshadowed.
“As children it is mind blowing how little we are taught about emotional imbalance. Even within times like these, people stay silent. But for people being born today, I hope it’s just a generational thing. If I have children I want them to see me cry, I want to ask them for help and to feel strength in doing so,” Ryan added.
“The lyric ‘I will die child, don’t forget, soft at the heart, tender and red’ really encapsulates the whole meaning of the track. I have become more aware that every movement I make is a gesture from my childhood. I realise that I won’t ever become an ‘adult’. Nobody does.”
The band had begun to generate attention with a number of live performances in Brighton and London before the imposition of lockdown measures shut the sector down, but even these fleeting experiences have proven valuable, according to Ryan.
“We learnt to grow fast. We jumped straight in the deep end after our first show in Brighton, going on to support MarthaGunn at a sold out show in London. It’s all still a process, we are constantly learning and bettering how we perform live, you have to,” he said.
Since lockdown began Nierra Creek have hosted a number of living room livestreams and even sold out an intimate event at London’s Amersham Arms in the brief respite of summer. Such has allowed the duo to further hone their live show ready for the eventual (fingers crossed) return of regular gigs.
“Our live setup was temperamental then, it kind of still is… but that’s the beauty of it. People sometimes think having computers or electronics makes life easy, when actually more stuff can go wrong. The anxiety is the excitement. Come to our next live show, maybe there will be unintentional pyrotechnics,” Sebastian (hopefully) joked.
Whilst neither member is a Brighton native, both see themselves as locals, having earned their stripes performing in various musical and artistic projects across the city.
“Brighton is great, it’s very “free the mind, free the soul”. Life seems easier here, slower maybe. There are creatives coming out of every crevice. Being around like minded people is always good. We bounce off of the people and ideas that the city brings, that’s why we are still here. Brighton is home, well for now at least,” commented Ryan.
The band already have plans for the coming year, with second single slated for early 2021 before the eventual release of the full record and a subsequent tour. Whilst many may look ahead with a rosier view than perhaps two months ago, there are still naturally many hurdles to clear before music as we know it returns.
“In terms of looking forward, the key thing is first to, well… get the vaccine. Just in case we can tour again. Speaking of which, we are going on tour in 2021, but we can’t delve into that yet. We are under a strict silencing act. That said we have many songs, they will be regularly released in 2021 and we look forward to performing them live for everyone. Our plan for the future is to just get better and better at what we do and hopefully people will join us along the way. Our next release will be 5th February,” Ryan finished.