Interview: Nalyssa Green

Nalyssa Green
is a new talent emerging from the vibrant independent Greek scene. We spoke with her about her last album, the situation and the difficulties new artist face during the crisis and much more.

LSD: How are things in Athens during the crisis for an artist like you?

NG: First of all I think that the crisis is a good opportunity for discards, to get rid of what is not working from the existing situation and it is also a good opportunity to create new things. In addition, crisis brings several difficulties in the everyday life. In order to overcome them we have to become smarter, more efficient and creative. All this facilitates art to blossom, but we still have to struggle in order to survive and it’s getting worse year after year. Especially for the artists, you cannot just play music and make money, unless you’re very lucky. You have to find another way to support your living. That’s why you have to love what you do and be devoted to it otherwise you give up with the first obstacle. I would also like to say that despite the crisis we have numerous bands and independent artists playing music in Athens much more and better than before.

LSD: You play various musical instruments..

NG: Yes, I play the keyboards, guitar, theremin and I sing.

LSD: Did you have any music education or are you self-taught?

NG: I am self-taught, I just had a few lessons of accordion during primary school, something that helped me to start 3 years ago and nothing more since then. This was my choice, as I wanted to be very spontaneous with what comes out of me.

LSD: How did you come up with this name?

NG: I was using Nalyssa as an avatar for an online game I used to play, then used it on social media and it ended up to be my artist name.

LSD: You already released two albums. Are you brewing something new right now?

NG: I am in the process of gathering ideas and beginning to think how they can become a whole. I also want to change my sound, to experiment with other musical forms. It is too early to say that of course and until the time a new album comes out, maybe everything is upside down again, but in general I want to raise the tempo and the feeling in a way. I have borrowed a drum machine and I’m experimenting with it. I kind of want to leave behind the very acoustic folk sound and move on to a more electronic/synth sound.

LSD: How would you describe your music to someone that has never heard you and what are your influences?

NG: When I get asked this question I say it’s English spoken indie pop rock folk. Ok, the range is a bit wide but all these are basic elements. My influences are what I listen to. I’ve been listening to Radiohead, but I also like new stuff like St Vincent and Bon Iver. Girls like Cat Power, Pj Harvey and Warpaint also can be added in the list. Lately I listen to bands like Of Montreal, Goldfrapp etc, which are closer to this more electronic side that I’m exploring.

LSD: How do you promote your music?

NG: Mainly via Facebook where I inform about new live shows. Youtube is also a good tool. I’m online all the time. There is also much support from web radio stations and this year I have support even from more mainstream media, mainly the radio. My label – Inner Ear – plays a big part too, by arranging interviews etc. At this time it is the most active label in the field of alternative music in Greece, with at least three releases per month. Their roster consists of various Greek-speaking artists like Thanasis Papakonstantinou, Fivos Delivorias, Lena Platonos, Konstantinos B., Pavlos Pavlidis etc, and the majority of the English-speaking bands that are active right now in Greece like Baby Guru, His Majesty The King of Spain, LogOut, Berlin Brides and Tango With Lions.

LSD: You are also djing now, right?

NG: Yes even though not so often. Mainly when I’m asked to. Only recently I started playing once a week. I like doing it, although I cannot consider myself a dj. I’m not playing electronic music and I can’t say that I’m mixing or scratching. I just choose my favorite songs.

LSD: Are you trying to create a special atmosphere?

NG: This depends on the place and time, the audience, what songs I want to showcase. At the end of the day I try to create a beautiful atmosphere so people will enjoy.

LSD: How and where was your album recorded?

NG: It’s been recorded mainly in home environment, because we are fans of homemade sound. It’s almost, but not completely, DIY. Because of the first album being completely low fi – DIY, the second album needed to have this homemade warmth and atmosphere. Apart from the drums, everything is recorded at home. Most of the recordings were done in my producer’s terrific house on the mountains during last winter surrounded by snow. We’ve been locked in for two weeks and recorded something that pulled out all this energy of being connected to the people I live and work with.

LSD: How did the Seed emerge as a title for the album?

NG: There is a song in the album called “A Seed'” and seemed to be the most appropriate title. After much thinking about how the album will be called, at the end we understood that the seed is a symbol showing something which may not be seen right now, but will give something in the future, in other words it’s a hope for a brighter future.

LSD: Who is the editor of the artwork?

NG: The artist is db (Dimitris Borsis), who is the graphic designer of my label.

LSD: Is that you on the cover?

NG: Yes it’s taken from a photograph of mine. The concept of the painting came from a tarot card, the Star. There is a girl pouring water off a jug. It has to do with the symbol of Aquarius. Anyway this is very close to what I was telling you, the symbolism of this card is a fortunate future.

LSD: Tell me about the lyrics you write

NG: The lyrics are a basic element of my songs, perhaps the most basic. I initially started writing verses, way before writing music three years ago, and as a natural evolution to that, I started singing and one thing led to another. Each song has a different subject. So far I rarely talk about love in my songs, although there is always some, but not as a key element. The lyrics might have a social appeal, without being political in any way. Thoughts about everyday life and society, our way of living, the mistakes we make. For example, “The Seed” talks about our relationship with nature. That all is one. Maybe all this virulence that exists in contemporary societies emerges from the fact that we have completely lost our equilibrium. the knowledge that we ourselves are a part of nature and not something distinct and separate. The lyrics of the album talk about this and the beauty of nature we ignore.

Listen to “The Seed” here

Snow” video:

My kind of girl” video:

What is love” cover:

And her new track “Love Expires“:

Photo credit: Kakia Konstantinaki

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