No one does ice cool quite like Nite Jewel. Ramona Gonzalez’s brand of glacial synth-pop has won her fans the world over, and she seems set to do the same with her new album Real High (releasing this week). We fired over some questions to find out more about the album as well as her various side-projects…
Hello Ramona! We’ve been enjoying your new record, Real High. Tell us: what is life’s real high for you?
Ah there’s so many. When I was writing this song I was in many ways in the early stages of my career. I had just begun performing extensively and meeting people and partying and getting accolades, etc. There were so many highs ricocheting in my mind – I remember at one point I told someone that performing was better than sex. I don’t know if I believe that anymore, but you can imagine the impetus for saying so. But what happens right after a performance? Or a drug binge? Or a sexual encounter? Well, usually you’re alone with your thoughts, coming down from the experience. That was what i was trying to express.
Is that what you’re hoping people take from this new record?
I don’t hope in that way. I just hope people hear it, however they take it is totally out of my hands.
In the Nite and 2 Good 2 Be True are particularly fantastic. Where was your headspace when putting together this record, and specifically these two songs?
Those songs are newer. So basically I had this backlog of material from the label days (songs like Real High and The Answer) and when I was done touring my last record and ready to re-approach that music. Cole [M. Greif-Neill, Ramona’s partner and a producer] said you should write some more tunes to flesh out the record, let’s go into the studio together. I was super confident in my abilities and my mindset at the moment. So I just let it flow as they say. For both those tracks, I started with a chord progression and a lyrical concept. Cole wrote the drums underneath, and then the song fleshed itself out within an hour. I added synths afterwards and tweaked the arrangements, but it was pretty much instantaneous.
We’ve got to mention Nite Funk, which we love. Has some of that informed the new music?
In the sense that I went in to the writing sessions super confident, did not overthink, and forced myself to write very quickly and with abandon. Just letting your influences flow through you into the music and not trying to couch them in any way.
Let Me Be Me was an absolute jam. Just saying. How did that one come about, and are we going to see more Nite-Funk output in future?
Like i said before, just very quickly and easily. I know that seems glib, but it’s true. I’d like to do more Nite-Funk music, just waiting for the right time.
Going back to Real High: is there a moment on there that you’re particular proud of?
I’m proud of the whole product. From the tiniest moments in the music, to the artwork that I designed, to the release that I am in charge of. The whole thing makes me very proud.
You do collaborate occasionally, but is there anyone out there you’d love to work with?
I always let collaborations happen organically, but if I was to somehow cross paths with Syd i’d love to play some music with her.
Bloody great choice. What else are you listening to at the moment?
Smerz! And Huerco S.
Final question we ask everyone: what’s your favourite Beyonce song?
1+1 – but the live version that she did on The View.