Non Tiq – Music is not about perfection
Back in ancient times, in autumn 2010, I stumbled upon a fantastic track which came with a beautiful video. The song was called “Quiet” and the girl who performed it went by the name “Non Tiq”. I just thought: “Wow, this sounds like the beginning of a big career!”
Some weeks ago, when I listened to “Quiet” again, which is still one of my favorite tracks on my playlist, I was wondering what happened to “Non Tiq” and did a little research. I was more than surprised that the album, which had been announced for 2011, hasn’t been released yet and that there wasn’t even another track out in the meantime. What the heck was going on there? Maybe the lyrics of “Quiet” were too prophetic?
“Even if I run
I’m never running fast
Even in my dreams
I couldn’t make it there”
Guessing is useless, so I decided to talk to Nora Lindkvist a.k.a. “Non Tiq” directly and ask her about the current status of her career. She agreed immediately and we had a long and charming chat about how it all started with her music, her childhood in Northern Sweden, the decision to become “Non Tiq”, how it feels to be bespattered with paint and why life is a fight.
And, well, you should better not ask her to take care of your keys or your wallet, but just read on …
Nora, great to welcome you here on bushwah! Let’s start with telling us a little bit about your first steps in music, please. Has there been a specific point at which you realized that you wanted to become a professional musician? Did your family support you on this way?
I’ve always been interested in different forms of art. From the age of five I was writing lots of stories and was painting and singing. When me and my siblings were small, my dad used to play the piano and we used to sing along. One day I wanted to learn how to play the piano myself. And so I did. But I have never been interested in the technical parts of playing instruments or singing. All of my music teachers have always been like “Why are you always writing your own songs instead of practising ‘The Moonlight Sonata!?’” Still I don’t know all the names of the chords I’m using. I’m just interested in the feelings one can express with music. My family has always been very supportive, but my dad is sometimes worried that the industry is going to break me down.
It’s not like I took a decision to become a professional musician. It sort of just happened, and I still don’t feel like I’m that much of a professional. I mean, I’m not really rehearsing for eight hours a day, like other people. I’m more of a “live and tell”-person, if you see what I mean.
Many artitsts I talk to, come from the countryside. Mostly they started with their arts to escape the boredom of their surroundings. You say that “Music turns the most boring days into ecstasy trips.” What do think how the place where you grew up influenced the way of your songwriting and the mood and contents of songs?
I grew up in very small village in the northern parts of Sweden. One might think that sounds boring. But I was never allowed to sit around and do nothing. My parents always came up with things to do, mainly outdoors. When you grow up in an environment where there is basically nothing to do, you have to use your imagination and come up with things to do instead.
Now when I’m living in a big city, I actually strive to be in places where I feel somewhat bored. That’s when my imagination kicks in and I become creative. I generally think that it’s hard to write songs if you have too many distractions around you. At the same time it’s important not to isolate yourself too much. I need a balance between my social life and my time spent alone, to function as a songwriter.
The mood of my songs are definitely influenced by the place where I grew up, since I tend to write a lot of dark songs. I always felt that I grew up close to the Universe, since we basically stared right up into it for at least twelve hours a day, six months of the year. As a kid, that made me extremely existential.
I generally think that there is too much pressure on musicians today. Among the ones I have met, famous or unfamous, artists seem to feel bad about themselves.
My hope is that the music industry would become more of a playground, instead of a life-and-death competition. I saw this documentary with a former swedish pop star who said that “When I started, no one cared, if I made mistakes, that was just part of my development”. Today I think that artists have become too afraid to make mistakes, which is sad. That is also a result of the lack of money in the business. It’s very much a “survival of the fittest”- atmosphere.
Therefore I think I’m influenced by artists and people who have decided not to give a shit. Music is not about perfection, it’s about having fun and expressing yourself. Pressure does have a bad effect on that.
In 2008 you met your producer Karol Machata in Stockholm and you started recording songs together. How did your working approach change with this collaboration? Did it also change your sound?
Me and Karol met at a course in music production. He was my teacher. Then, me and my brother produced a couple of demos and Karol asked if he could produce them. One of these songs were “Quiet”, and after a couple of months we had a deal with a recording company. So it all went very fast. Before all this, I actually had a dream of becoming a folk pop singer, and suddenly I was in this electronic pop project.
In the start we focused on the electronic sound but over the years we have developed a sound which is less electronic, and more based on guitars and other live instruments. Now I feel like I am my music. In the beginning it felt more like “Non Tiq” and I were two different persons.
Well, this is an interesting point. Just tell us little bit more about your transformation to “Non Tiq”, please. What was it inspired by and what does the name mean?
For the release of “Quiet” I needed a name, and I didn’t feel like my real name was right for it. For a while I was really interested in what time is and what time means to us. People often build up their life around time, and how much time they estimate that there “is”. Non Tiq stands for “no time”. Music is one of the things that I think can make me lose track of time.
“Quiet” has been released in September 2010 as your first official single, together with an amazing video. Please tell us a little bit about the video. Who had the idea for it? Where did the recordings for the video take place? How does it feel to be bespattered with loads of paint?
Thank you! The director Mats “Kniven” Udd came up with the idea. He had seen some old rock video where the band members had been throwing paint all around them, and thought that it would be cool to develop that, thus drench me in paint.
The recordings took place in a parking garage in Stockholm, which you actually can’t tell just by looking at it. But people were driving by all the time, probably wondering what the heck was going on. I wasn’t worried about the paint before we shot it. The paint was actually colored sour milk, and I thought it would feel something like being showered in body lotion. But it turned out to be ice cold and really unpleasant. After a couple of hours I started to feel really grumpy. Watching the video today, I clearly see how angry I am, especially at the end, haha. But it was definitely a cool experience though.
“Quiet” was also announced as the first single of your debut album “Love machine” which should have been released in 2011. What happened to the album? We’re waiting desperately for it! On 4th of november 2011 you posted on Facebook “so many questions about whats going on. i can just tell you that my eyes are wider than ever and that this record is on its way, through big windows.” So, what are the plans?
Well. What happened was that I felt really confused for a while. After “Quiet” we started to produce a lot of songs for the album. Really fast! And sometimes without thinking about what we wanted the songs to sound like. I became so stressed out during this period, that I actually lost my voice for a while. And then Karol was really ill for a long period. After all this time, I feel like we (me and Karol) have finally realized what we want to do. And at that point, it’s actually not that hard to work fast. Saying this, I know that the album will be finished and released this year. Personally, I think this time has been good for me. When “Quiet” came out, I was new to the whole concept of being an artist, and now I feel 1000 times calmer.
Then there is also the fear of letting go of the record. I think that all musicians sometimes feel like they don’t need the attention from the audience and the media. When we released the video for “Quiet”, I used to cry every time someone left me a mean comment on Youtube. Now I try not to focus on what people say or think. In this industry, one has to realize that not everyone is going to like you. Life’s too short. Who cares, really?
I definitely think that life is like a fight. And sometime you have to fight more than other times.
For several years, I had a really troubling head ache. I was convinced that I was going to die from it. And at the age of 17 I lost my mum. Right now I feel like I don´t have to fight as much as back then. But I’m still fighting.
Right now I’m desperately fighting to make my dog like other dogs. And to become a nicer person. And of course to finish the album. But that’s a good fight. There is a clear difference between a good and a bad fight. A fight for survival is a harder fight.
Speaking of good fights: what are your plans for the next couple of months?
The plan is simple. Finish the album. Release the album. Have a big party to congratulate myself. Get a visa for my dog, and then we set out for the road.
Finally, I would like to ask you to complete the following sentences:
- If I could record only one last song … it would be the song I´m working on right now, called “No water”.
- A world without music … would be a colder world.
- My biggest fear … is to die. Especially in a scary disease. Diseases are my biggest fear.
- Last night I dreamed … that I had to work together with a person that I really dislike. An awful dream.
- Please never ask me to … take care of your keys/wallet/cell phone/travel money. I will probably drop it.
- If I wasn’t a musician … I would probably not oversleep as often as I do.
Nora, thanks a lot! It was a pleasure talking to you and we’re looking forward to the album.
Good luck and kind regards to your dog!
all photos by knotan