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Audrey Nuna on Making Music in the Simulation

Audrey Nuna on Making Music in the Simulation

Stepping on Audrey Nuna’s photoshoot set, the studio has an atypical calm because the glam workforce and stylists assemble the primary look of the day. Nuna appears to have this impact on folks—a heat and unhurried composure that units the emotional temperature of the room. Strolling into the backstage prep space, I see Nuna within the make-up chair, piles of hair extensions to her left, as her mom hand-plaits extra hair right into a braid that’s already six toes lengthy. The gesture of a mom braiding her baby’s hair evokes the nostalgia of preparing for college, however—like most of Nuna’s artistic output—there is a component of surreality that accompanies all sentiment.

At 24, the New Jersey native has already constructed a formidable profession in music. She started auditioning for musicals in Manhattan at age 12, began independently recording at 17, and was signed to Arista Data by age 20. These efforts culminated in her first studio album, a liquid breakfast, in 2021. Once we sat down for our interview, Nuna was mere days away from the discharge of her newest track, “Ravenous” that includes Teezo. Though I deliberate to steer the dialog towards her upcoming musical initiatives, Nuna’s contagious curiosity and mental musings derailed these concepts, and shortly we have been speaking about all the things from simulation concept to Catholicism.

Mid-interview, she remarked on how humorous it was we’d landed on these subjects: “I really feel like each interview I’ve turns into an existential disaster dialog.” And the way boring wouldn’t it be if it didn’t? Beneath, Nuna shares her ideas on synchronicity, musical theater, villains, and dressing like a “futuristic grandpa.”

Prime: Mortica; Skirt: Banzo; Pants: Purgatory; Footwear: Salomon; CHoker: Ayana Designs; Necklace: Ayana Designs; Ring: Uncommon Romance

What’s the idea behind the braids?

Audrey Nuna: That is a part of a personality that has been actually current in my subsequent venture. This idea of, “The place have I been this complete time?” and rising pains, the consequence being somebody who hasn’t minimize their hair shortly. I’m fascinated with hair on the whole. Rising up Catholic, surrounded by a variety of biblical symbolism, just like the story of Samson and Delilah, I like the thought of hair as a supply of energy.

I’ve learn that you just as soon as described LA as “simulation-y.” After dwelling right here for just a few years, has that opinion modified?

I believe the simulation nonetheless stands, however after touring a bit, I’ve realized that it exists regardless of the place you go. Perhaps I’m only a huge simulation-theory gal, however I simply generally have a tough time believing that every one that is actual. I believe LA is the place it’s most potent. Perhaps we’re close to the core chip programming.

Are there any cities that really feel much less like a simulation?

I might say New York and possibly Seoul. I do know which cities undoubtedly really feel like a simulation; after I went to Ohio, I used to be like, “Wow, that is one other core chip proximity second.” I went to Columbus and Cleveland on this final tour, and all of the synchronicity was insane.

If you discuss synchronicity, do this stuff stand out to you as coincidences with that means, or do they simply really feel random?

I believe it’s a mixture of each—possibly each on the identical time. I at all times attempt to give issues that means. As people it’s pure, however I actually don’t know if there’s any that means on the finish of the day.

Prime: Classic Jean Paul Gaultier (Courtesy of Crazi Choice); Vest: Sonia Carrasco; Skirt: Mortica; Footwear: Grounds; Necklace: Ayana Designs

Or it’s simply the that means you give it, you recognize?

Precisely. It’s all subjective, and also you get to determine as a result of there’s such an enormous abyss which you could take what’s round you and make it what you need it to be—I believe that basically is the that means on the finish of the day. It’s as much as you if there’s no that means. You may travel between the 2. There’s realism and optimism on the identical time, which is complicated. I believe that’s one thing I actually began to consider after this venture. The primary venture [a liquid breakfast] virtually had an air of innocence and bliss, and for this subsequent one, there are cracks and issues seeping by way of. Navigating on a regular basis life as a younger grownup.

How would you describe the cracks on this upcoming album?

The cracks have been the cruel realities of what it means to be alive on this time of the human race. I’m extra educated about what’s occurring on the planet, whether or not that was by selection or not. The free entry and democratization of knowledge and platforms like TikTok have uncovered us to the world we reside in. On a private stage, the cracks have been the lack of friendships and realizing that not each individual, whether or not in LA or any metropolis, is your buddy since you exist in the identical house. That has been a extremely formative expertise going by way of the music trade. These issues have actually woken me up in ways in which, at instances, felt painful however undoubtedly are a obligatory a part of life. Sonically, there’s a bit extra darkness and it’s thrilling and liberating, however it undoubtedly roots from a darker place than the primary one.

What relationship do you might have together with your group or—for lack of a greater phrase—your followers? Has that shifted over time?

I really feel like folks used to find your music after which study extra about you, and now we’re in an age the place folks are inclined to gravitate in the direction of who you might be as a human and uncover the branches of your work later. Being a multi-hyphenate is the brand new normal for each artist. We’re all turning into bionic, and attempting to maintain the human inside us intact is the problem. Going ahead, everybody born after this sure mark in time goes to be born half iPhone and half themselves. That’s virtually unavoidable.

After studying a few of your interviews, I get the sense that you just’re a little bit of an undercover theater child—is that true?

I truly was. What gave that away?

Gown: J. Kim; Prime: Classic Balenciaga (Courtesy of Crazi Choice); Skirt: J.Kim, Footwear,: Floor; Rings: Karo Karu; Earring: Uncommon Romance

You talked about listening to the Depraved soundtrack—did you wish to be on Broadway as a child?

I truly did wish to be on Broadway. I grew up in choir, which was my first publicity to music, after which I began doing musicals at school. I performed Millie in Completely Fashionable Millie—Korean Millie, however let’s go. I used to be additionally Mayzie LaBird in Seussical. It was an enormous a part of me popping out of my shell rising up. I even did auditions in Manhattan for musicals and commercials.

How outdated have been you?

Between the ages of 8 and 12, possibly. I believe I received out on the proper time as a result of the thought of going right into a room of strangers and competing to show that I’m adequate is essentially the most whack concept of all time. I might by no means see myself taking that critically anymore. I’ve damaged out of any semblance of attempting to be one thing for another person.

When did you transition from singing to rapping?

It actually simply occurred at some point. I believe the track “Comedian Sans” that I made with my buddy Anwar was my first or second time rapping. I did it as virtually a joke in that session however I discovered after that it was such an effective way to specific myself with phrases and never be restricted to a phrase rely.

You’ve beforehand likened your artistic course of to portray and pottery—do you might have any artistic rituals? Something that places you in a movement state?

The discipline-freedom steadiness has been attention-grabbing to navigate. I’m at my most artistic after I’m taking good care of myself and I’m round individuals who perceive me. My producer and I say that our methodology is simply the “sit-around” methodology the place we await inspiration to hit. Time, vitality, and intention is actually all it takes.

My therapist informed me, “You may’t get artistic except you get bored.” It’s tough whenever you’re busy to have the luxurious of losing interest and ready for one thing to strike.

Quite a lot of my creativity was birthed from boredom as a child, simply being within the suburbs and never having shit to do. I like Rick Rubin’s theories on creativity that it’s extra vitality than it’s muscle, which is why self-discipline is so attention-grabbing. You must hydroplane between the 2 consistently, and it’s enjoyable.

You only in the near past got here out with a brand new track known as “Ravenous” in collaboration with Teezo. Are you able to inform me how that collab got here collectively?

I’ve at all times been a fan, and I believe we’re on related frequencies when it comes to the kind of artists we’re. This track was one thing completely different for each of us and it was so enjoyable breaking out of the simulation for a second, doing one thing we each really feel is recent but additionally nostalgic. I like the thought of “ravenous” proper now—there’s a variety of ravenous occurring on the planet in each a literal sense and within the lack of humanness.

Quite a lot of the that means of the track got here after we wrote the lyrics. I’m a reasonably emotionally constipated individual, so I normally perceive how I really feel looking back after creating one thing. I’ve at all times felt like an outsider, rising up within the suburbs with only a few different folks of shade, and I believe the track mirrored these emotions—being an outsider and ravenous for connection.

Jacket: Purgatory; Skirt: Purgatory; Shorts: Praying; Pants: Mortica; Footwear: Praying; Necklace: Uncommon Romance; Sun shades: Akila; Earring: Uncommon Romance; Ring: Uncommon Romance

How did you two affect one another?

He gave me a variety of knowledge within the brief time we had collectively on set. We spoke in regards to the saturation of content material and the way “content material” feels extra vital than creativity proper now—we each hate that. His perspective aligns with mine in that we’re each actively combating in opposition to that and placing creativity first. With all the professionals and cons of technological advances, there’s a variety of magnificence and a variety of fakeness, too. I’m personally clinging to creativity for expensive life as a result of it isn’t fulfilling to me every other approach.

On this track and in a few of your earlier works, you might have the recurring motif of those horns. How did that come about?

It’s a personality that’s been creating alongside the music. The second venture actually explores the thought of villainy and the darker sides of your self—the experiences that conjure that facet of you. I like desirous about what makes a villain: are they simply damage folks? The origin story of a villain is likely one of the extra attention-grabbing issues to discover. For the horns themselves, I noticed a photograph of those Vivienne Westwood horns from the nineties. She created this headband with horns on it, and I labored with a make-up artist from Paris named Lisa who took the inspiration and ran with it. It turned part of the look to go alongside the sonic world.

Who’re your favourite villains?

Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, and I sort of fuck with Cruella. I like antagonistic characters just like the grandpa in Braveness the Cowardly Canine. However my favourite villain is the outdated girl from Spirited Away, Yubaba.

I really feel such as you strategy your initiatives virtually as a director—creating the characters, the set, and the overarching theme of the album—does that resonate with you?

One hundred percent. I’m very a lot a world-builder sort of individual. I like the method of constructing out a storyline and approaching initiatives as if I have been scoring a movie. I like artists that decide to a sure oxygen in a sure universe. I like Missy Elliott from a visible perspective. Radiohead, too. I believe The Weeknd and Infantile Gambino do an amazing job of worldbuilding when it comes to the sonics and visuals. And clearly Frank Ocean.

You may have very distinctive private type. How would you describe your strategy to clothes?

I at all times say, “futuristic grandpa.” That’s at all times been my core. My grandpa was truly in clothes manufacturing, and that was my first publicity to style. He was at all times so swaggy and will rock Outdated Navy vests and make it look hearth. Rising up actually knowledgeable me that you just don’t want luxurious. Luxurious isn’t creativity, and it isn’t style. To me, the excessive/low is actually vital to really feel a way of freedom. If I wish to purchase gardening gloves off eBay, that may be style.

When you might swap a wardrobe with anyone, who would you select?

Faye Wong. Björk as effectively. They’re at all times on my temper boards. They’re simply the OGs; they have been experimenting with style in a time when it was not inspired. As an Asian girl, it wasn’t widespread to make one thing of your self or be loud, and Faye Wong actually paved the way in which.

They have been true originals. I really feel like that’s one thing we’ve misplaced a bit to this over-saturation of celeb and the homogeneity of the algorithm. I’m not likely positive the place we’re at within the tradition, however I’m hoping Gen Z will breathe some originality again into it as they arrive up.

I believe there’s an enormous wave coming. I really feel it within the air, discovering an increasing number of artists who get it. Even simply because we’re turning into bionic and you may simply study something on YouTube. There’s at all times turbulence on the way in which up, however I believe we’re about to hit a candy spot, an actual golden period of artwork and creativity. I genuinely do imagine that.


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