Earlier this year, NVDES dropped volume one of an EP series called La Nvdité, and they did not waste any time getting to volume two. Josh Ocean is the mastermind of the project, bringing his worldly and generous spirit to life through his music. He has been quite busy over the past year, cramming in a few collabs, two EP releases, and a joint tour with Pierce Fulton which the band is still traveling for. As you’ll see from our chat, Ocean doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. Listen to La Nvdité vol. 2 today.
See NVDES and Pierce Fulton perform at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana next Wednesday!
Grimy Goods: On your website, you describe NVDES as “laptop punk,” which creates a great image, but the sound is much more chill than what some may associate with ‘punk.’ Can you explain the term from your perspective?
Josh Ocean: I have always been greatly inspired by the attitude and energy of punk rock and the D.I.Y. ethos that comes along with it. Part of the punk spirit that has always resonated with me is the feeling to unabashedly do whatever you want. That is exactly what I do when I make NVDES music on my laptop and I feel like this all comes together when I play live. My intention is for the audience to feel like they are at a techno club punk show!
GG: You wrote a song about Amsterdam on this release. You have a track about Berlin on your Life with Lobsters EP. You’ve said in interviews and at live shows that you enjoyed living in Europe; do you miss it?
JO: I love being able to travel and be inspired by lots of places. Over the past few years, traveling in Europe has inspired me a lot and I like to refer to that inspiration in my music. I also really like to experience both polarities of Europe and LA. For me it’s a great combination to bounce back and forth. I met my wife while I was in France and she is French… so I have it close to my heart.
GG: In the spring, you collaborated with Pierce Fulton on his single “Better Places,” and now you’re on a national tour with him. Since the song, you’ve put out an EP and recorded another which is out today. Do you plan on taking a break after the tour?
JO: No! Making music is my life and pleasure. I’m very excited for what I have planned for early 2018. It will be my most ambitious work yet.
GG: You once told Earmilk that you look for inspiration from “Alan Chin to Amsterdam.” What was the spark behind “This High,” off of volume two?
JO: “This High” was inspired by Native American chants and my desire to use fast paced breakbeats. This track was made at the time of the Standing Rock protests were in full force and we were trying to lend our spirit to that struggle by raising the vibrations around us.
GG: Remmi provides guest vocals on your latest single, “DYT.” You both share a similar pop aesthetic, which works well on the single. How did this collaboration come about?
JO: Remmi and I met through our mutual friend Lemon Girl. We only had three hours to jam and we got right down to it messing with lots of ideas. The lyrics of DYT were recorded in 15 minutes. (Author’s note: Then, “we could take a blueberry pancake break” was a stroke of clear genius.)
GG: When you play live, you always dedicate a song to Bernie Sanders, and you told the Line of Best Fit that you were sad about the election last year. How political is NVDES?
JO: I think it’s impossible to live in the world right now and not be influenced by the political situations going on. It’s just a matter of how we channel that influence. I try to have slight political undertones sometimes with double meanings and certain lyrics. For example it was always my perspective that “Don’t Fvck Your Neighbor” was as much about being good to the people around you as it was about having sex with someone who lives next to you. My goal with NVDES is to inspire and push people to think different, be NVDE and learn something new about themselves. I feel like we are living in an incredible time of social change and I want to play and be a part of that progress.
GG: Are there plans for visual accompaniment for the tracks, like with volume one? You had a great team led by Jenna Josepher & Giulia Marsico for those animations, and I can’t be the only one who wants more.
JO: Absolutely! There is a second installment of collabs with Jenna for Vol. 2!
GG: How many volumes of La Nvdité jams can we expect? Do you have anything planned for a debut LP?
JO: I plan on releasing lots of music in 2018. My problem is I have too many songs, but I try to select only my favorites for release. I’m thinking about a b-sides and demo collection at some point but no plans for an album. Just singles and EPs in the near future.
GG: What’s with the melons?
JO: I am obsessed with their aesthetic. I adopted the cantaloupe to be the representation of the universe in which NVDES exists. With every release I slice the cantaloupe to reveal more and more about the sounds in the world of NVDES. I also love the fact that Melon is usually a fruit that is shared, like the NVDES music experience when i make it with other artists.
GG: When all’s said and done, being nvde is more than just the music; it’s about being true to yourself. Other than through your music, how do you stay nvde?
JO: Meditation is probably my favorite thing to do to connect with myself. It sounds cliché but I think that is the best way to connect with yourself. There are a lot of cool mediation apps on your phone that use tones and frequencies. I highly recommend everyone experimenting with different frequencies.
words: Zoë Elaine