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Meet the BOTW: Indiana

There’s something inherently sinister about the music of Nottingham singer Indiana. Part of Notion’s Poptimism 2014 picks and current Radio 1 staple, her new single ‘Solo Dancing’, released next week (April 20th), is a creeping, 80s-leaning bijou of a slowburner that offers a refreshing break from the contemporary crop of upbeat, garage-influenced pop stars. It’s bleak, it’s uncompromising, its video is disconcerting, and as we find out in the course of our chat, it’s actually a song of empowerment.

The musician has just been up and down the country, having a lollygag (read: touring) with maddeningly cool RnB singer Bipolar Sunshine—when we give her a call, she’s pulled over at a service station on the M1 en route to Newcastle—and she’s just played her biggest ever headline show at Notts’ Rescue Rooms. Still on a high, here’s what she had to say about the single, innuendos and boozing.



Planet Notion: Hey Indiana, you played XOYO the other night. How was that?

Indiana: Yeah, really good. It was a really good crowd as well. It’s always a bit different when you’re supporting somebody and the crowd is there to see them. You kind of have to win them over because they’re not coming to see you. But it’s been pretty successful every night.

PN: ‘Solo Dancing’ is out next week. What’s it all about?
I: It’s a song about empowerment, really. Not necessarily about dancing. It could be a metaphor for anything, really. Just being comfortable in your own skin, and being able to go out, and not need anyone else. And yeah, just do it alone.

PN: When did that idea first pop into your head?
I: I wanted to do something a little bit more up tempo, and yeah, I really liked the pulsating bass-line and so we started off with that. It actually took quite a long time from start to finish. It was a 9-month journey, from coming up with the idea on guitar to it being a fully polished product. It was probably the one song I struggled most with, and up until the point I had to give it to my radio plugger, it wasn’t really finished in my eyes. I’ve kind of put it to bed now obviously, because everyone’s listened to it, but I could have spent a lot longer on it on the production. I’m always thinking that I can do better.

PN: My favourite part of that song is the bridge at 2 minutes (‘How I move…’) There are hints of Depeche Mode.
I: In the original, it’s 16 bars. It’s a lot longer than the radio edit… I love that bit too.

PN: The video which goes alongside the song is appropriately spooky. What’s with all the random objects and foods being thrown about the place?
I: The director took the concept of ‘Solo Dancing’ and made it into something else, so everything that is in the video is actually an innuendo. I was obviously there to shoot the video, but I didn’t have anything to do with the writing of it. Up until then, though, I had had a massive part in writing and directing all of my videos, but not that one.

PN: But the jars of gherkins… The tacos…
I: [Laughs] It’s all an innuendo for something. They’re all different. Read the comments on YouTube. Someone has named loads and loads and loads of them.

PN: It’s pretty surreal, anyway.
I: I quite like it, yeah. I was never really taken with the idea for the video, because it was taken away from being a song of empowerment. But I do quite like that most people don’t get what it’s about, and they just think it’s random, because that’s more like me anyway: just a random weirdo.

PN: So, what’s your next release going to be?
I: Well, it’s a toss-up between two. I’m not going to say anything more than that.

PN: When do you think we’re going to get an Indiana album?
I: It depends. It could be anywhere between July and October.

PN: At this point in time, how do you imagine it’ll sound?
I: Amazing, all killer, no filler.

PN: You’re playing some festivals this year, aren’t you?
I: Yeah. Last year I did Secret Garden Party and people were singing the words back to me then, which was pretty cool. But hopefully this time, more people will have heard my music. That’s what it’s all about. When people are like, ‘Oh, I’m doing this for the music’ and stuff, which of course I am, but they also look forward to having a big house and good car, but the one thing I’m really looking forward to is that moment when you drop the mic because you don’t need to sing because the crowd is singing for you. That’s my dream.

PN: How do you think it compares going to a festival as a punter, and going to a festival as an artist?
I: Not being able to get pissed as soon as you get there, because you’ve got a gig to do and you’ve got to wait until it’s over. That’s about it, really. It’s still really, really fun.

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