A little while back we introduced Girls In Uniform, the musical project of Brooklyn-based Nicole Brenny (photo: left, with artist and collaborator Danica Olders, right. photo credit: Raul Coto-Batres). Her Fortune Tapes release blew us away and we couldn’t wait to hear more. With new material just around the corner, we asked Girls In Uniform to record a mix to hold us over in the meantime. From Chinese pop to 70s horror soundtracks, this is one of the most diverse podcasts in the series so far. Let’s dive right in to the world of Girls In Uniform…
Can you tell us a bit more about…
yourself and what prompted you to start making music?
I’m a pop and experimental electronic music producer living in Brooklyn. As a teenager I was super obsessed with pop music and the way it was performed. I always knew I wanted to be a performer, but as I got older my musical tastes broadened. Artists like Elliott Smith, Lou Reed, Steve Reich, Stereolab, Gram Parsons, Neil Young and Memphis Minnie entered my realm and showed me that other musical possibilities existed. The artists I was most drawn to were typically those that were the first to do what they did. I love innovation and experimentation. After college I finally had the free time to explore my own musical ideas. So I started recording music on a Hi-8 video camera and took it step by step from there.
the story behind the Fortune Tapes release – was this your first release as Girls in Uniform? What was the creative process like for you? How can people purchase a copy, if it’s still available?
The Fortune Tapes is the first release by Girls in Uniform. GIU is actually a fairly new project. I moved to Montreal just about a year ago and decided to try making music a little bit further from the pop music I had been producing (as Vague-à-bonde). I settled on a nice mixture of vintage hardware and newer software synths. I soaked in the local inspiration- which was abundant and started producing tracks.
The Fortune Tapes as a release was born out of necessity. I was playing shows and getting asked to play bigger ones. I was already sending songs to venues to book shows so it made sense to have something out. My friend Danica made artwork in a week, I wrote up and hand painted all of the personalized fortunes inside of the tape and we self-released in September at a big launch party for Danica’s clothing line.
I have just a few tapes left! If anyone wants to grab one before they are gone you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. By the way the fortunes are creepily accurate.
you seem to work closely with visual artists. Does visual art inspire your musical creativity? Is it important to you to present your music with a visual element?
Some of my favorite songs have been introduced to me as music videos. I remember getting home from school and watching “Like a Prayer” on MTV and being just blown away. I had sort of forgotten about the power of visual imagery until I started Girls in Uniform. One of the important facets of this project for me is creating a visual world in which the music can exist. I experience my music very visually as I create it. I often can sort of feel or see how the music looks in my mind. Bringing in artists and developing my own visual skills is just a way to bring that subconscious element into my project in a more obvious way. The person I work with the most is one of my best friends Danica Olders who is an artist based in Montreal. Working with a friend creatively makes this project so much more fun. I definitely find inspiration in visual art, but I also find inspiration in the artists I am surrounded by. I love watching their processes and learning from them.
the idea behind the mix?
This mix was inspired by a 3 week trip I took to the Midwest, where I am originally from. It was a really rejuvenating and fun time for me. I find it is always good to escape NYC. I got to se my siblings, two of which speak Chinese, we hung out and made stop animations. I also had a gin soaked New Years Eve in the city and then spent 10 days alone in the woods writing music, meditating and doing yoga. The mix sort of spans those 3 weeks- the Chinese language influence, the dreamier sounds recalling hanging out in the city and the country pop (the other c-pop) vibe along with the horror movie soundtracks speak to being in my hometown and then being in the woods by myself. These are all songs I have been listening to on repeat for weeks, so I am excited to share them.
any future plans for Girls In Uniform?
Of course. I have six songs that I will be releasing on VHS tape (as well as digitally) this Spring with accompanying visuals. Right now Danica & I are finishing up the videos which are all animations. There is a real music video in the works, a bunch of remixes and a couple of collaborations underway. I have been quite busy. We are booking shows for Spring and I’ve already started writing for the next album.
Colin Towns / Full Circle (Everything Right Now)
Sky Ferreira / Sad Dream
Pure Bathing Culture / Lucky One
Vivi Jiang / Fashion Show
A-Lin / 920
Taylor Swift / Safe & Sound
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci / Christina
Digits / Rachel Marie
Goblin / Markos
Seven Sense / Yongchun