Vancouver-based Nü Sensae like nothing more than causing a stir – be it by screaming straight into your ear at one of their mental gigs or having a few dogs casually lick peanut butter and jelly off their faces. Andrea Lukic, one third of Nü Sensae, talks about how she, Brody and Daniel are actually embracing silence for a change
Interview by Brenda Bosma, photos shot by David Zilber in Vancouver
‘It’s easy to keep doing something loud because it fills space, but I think there’s so much more space to occupy when things mellow out’
What are you hoping to experience on your upcoming tour?
‘So far, this tour is kind of stressful. Our van broke down on us in Washington on our second day. Luckily we didn’t die, but we had to cancel our San Francisco show and gun it to LA in just under 24 hours. It felt helpless but whatever; we’re still here. We’re going to SXSW, which from what I’ve heard sounds like a real nightmare. I hope that our European tour can be somewhat less stressful, and at the end of the trek there’s a cheese plate and some wine. Like, a lot of wine. I am really, really looking forward to it.’
How did you all meet?
‘Daniel and I went to high school together. We met Brody when we first started playing music together; he rented a jam space next to ours in another warehouse. I started jamming with Brody separately and did so till we finally asked him to join Nü Sensae. We tease each other A LOT, but we’re not cruel. We love each other very much. They tease me a lot because I speak before I think a lot, especially when I’m tired.’
Nü Sensae obviously deals well with loudness, but what about quietness? Are there moments when you take a step back and just enjoy a little bit of silence?
‘You know, I’m actually really quiet in person a lot of the time. I think quietness is the direction we are moving in creatively – or at least I am, for sure. Brody is a pretty quiet guy, his solo endeavours are quite calming. I can’t speak for the rest of the band but for me, if we are playing really loud the energy surfaces naturally: you’ve gotta compete with the volume and it’s sort of transcending. I think we can all be quite loud together, but separately we are mellower. It’s easy to keep doing something loud because it fills space, but I think there’s so much more space to occupy when things mellow out.’
‘I’m not striving to scream at everbody…it’s just the way that things end up sounding’
Some things just need to sound loud – like cars exploding and mothers in labour. What are some sounds that you definitely think need to be loud?
‘I guess it depends. Things don’t always need to be loud. I would say 95 per cent of my life is pretty quiet. I do visual art first and foremost and feel weird in big groups. The sounds I make aren’t intentionally loud; I’m not striving to scream at everybody all the time, it’s just the way that things end up sounding.’
I saw a toddler have a tantrum today. He cried and sat on the pavement and refused to stand up when his dad picked him up. He just made his legs go all limp so he slumped back to the ground. Sometimes I wish adults were allowed to pull that shit too.
‘Ha-ha! I felt like that emotionally all day yesterday. Leaving my nest is getting harder. I definitely let myself pull that shit, I let myself go a lot and freak out and cry: the whole nine yards. I could care less about what is socially acceptable about pent-up emotions. I cry a lot and over really dumb stuff that I can easily get over, but it’s cathartic that way. Maybe because I don’t dance, I cry instead, that’s how I get it out. It feels healthier than bottling it up.’
You say it’s harder to leave your nest. Does that refer to your house or Vancouver or something else?
‘It’s a bit of everything. I like to have my comforts, they’re really simple but they are important to me, that’s why it’s essential that I bring good books with me on tour. If I can read in the van it saves me from talking and potentially losing my voice. It also gives me an alter micro-universe which makes the bustle of travel disappear. I’m taking some murder mysteries and true crime with me on our upcoming tour.’
You know that moment when you listen to music so loud that your eardrums feel like they’re going to explode? What if they did explode and you could never hear anything again – what sounds would you miss the most?
‘I would miss the weird droney, out-in-the-distance sounds, weird construction from far away and docking boats. I need to go do some laundry now.’
Nü Sensae play OCCII in Amsterdam with Berliners Camera on 13 April.