'Musicians can also influence change by supporting and promoting their fellow artists' - Gefahrgeist
I am so excited to share our interview with duo Gefahrgeist also known as Niall Rae and Fiona Liddell! We chatted about their new single, how the duo started up and what we can do within society to create a more equal and diverse community!
Make sure to check out their new single 'Nukular' - https://open.spotify.com/track/2Y1nMeQPArPZXhGodD7lJU?si=CRppbtjbQsCn7BhF5mREdQ
Lets jump right into it...
I love your new single ‘Nukular’ and was wondering if you could tell me a bit about how the song came to be? Were there any specific influences that inspired you to write the song and what is your songwriting process like?
Thank you! The song was written around the time that our now ex-president was threatening to drop nuclear weapons on foreign countries over Twitter. I thought about how someone that egotistical and shallow would react if they could see the devastation that their actions would cause. The lyrics of ‘Nukular’ are from the perspective of such a person, leading to quite a selfish and materialistic narrator of an apocalyptic wasteland of their own creation. At the very start, they claim themselves to be a savior or messiah, and then walk around oblivious to the pain and destruction of human life they caused. It’s not a particularly cheery number, sadly! I remember I wrote it quite quickly - I sent a voice memo of it to my friend Jack Hinks who had been at mine and was still on the train back to Edinburgh!
I understand that both of you Fiona and Niall have been involved within the Scottish music scene for a few years and was wondering how the process of coming together to form Gefahrgeist began?
We actually met when we were both studying Popular Music at Edinburgh Napier University, but we didn’t properly get to know each other until we were both in the same wedding band (The Apollos). Niall would often show me tracks he’d been working on in the car during long drives to venues and I’d offer to provide vocals for them. I was told no many times! It was only when I sent him a demo of my ideas that he agreed to let me sing on a couple of them. As time went on, I sent him some of my songs and he produced them (e.g. Graceless, Nukular). Eventually, we realised we had a good ten or so songs ready to go and decided to form an actual band to release them under!
I am a big fan of electronic pop music, was this a genre that you both were intrigued with from the beginning of your career and visioned yourself creating?
I think that both of us aspired to become composers when we started higher education. We’re both really into video game and film music, so a big part of Gefahrgeist’s sound comes from our love of those composers. I think once Niall realised how expensive it was to hire an orchestra, he quickly shifted into making electronic music instead! It helped that we also love artists like Equador and Zero 7, and they definitely inspire our sound.
Is there a moment within your careers that you would say was your most rewarding experience or something that you are significantly proud of out of all your achievements?
Because we started releasing music during lockdown, our position is quite unique because we’ve now released more songs than we have played gigs! I’m proud that we were able to adapt to the necessary restrictions in place and have two fairly successful singles in spite of them. The lack of live performance has definitely impacted our ability to promote our music, but it’s also given us the gift of time to work on new music and concentrate on the PR side of it.
How do you think that we can improve the gender split within the music industries as a society and a community and influence positive changes?
There are obviously wider problems in the large companies that run the industry, but musicians can also influence change by supporting and promoting their fellow artists rather than viewing them as competition. Right now, we’re involved in a charity project for ‘Scottish Women Inventing Music’ called ‘Cover To Cover’. It’s an album of 13 female artists covering and adapting each others’ original songs. The hope for the album is to promote equal female representation in the industry and to support collaboration between female artists. Projects like these will hopefully spark change and alert people to the serious issues with gender equality in the music industry.
Is there a way that you think that as a society and a community that we can work towards creating a more equal and diverse environment within the Scottish music industries?
There’s a worrying trend of musicians on social media just sharing their news and not engaging with other artists. I love to see other musicians promote each other and support indie music. My advice would be to use your social media platforms to not only promote your own music, but also to share some indie artists you admire. Use it to connect with other artists, rather than viewing everybody as your competition and alienating yourself. This doesn’t work without artists coming together to make a more welcoming community.
Lastly, I was wondering what female or non-binary Scottish artists are you most excited about right now?
We’re loving listening to artists like Sarya who released a lot of excellent music last year! We really like TAAHLIAH’s latest release ‘Brave’ as well. We were saddened to hear of Sophie’s passing earlier this year, and we’ve been rediscovering their discography in their memory. Also make sure to check out the artists featured on the ‘Cover To Cover’ album!
A massive thank you to Fiona and Niall for answering all of my questions!
Make sure to check them out on social media!
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/gefahrgeist
Twitter - https://twitter.com/gefahrgeist
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/gefahrgeist/
Bandcamp - https://gefahrgeist.bandcamp.com/