NCOUNTERS invites the Sicilian duo NVMNR to share their musical journey – from making waves in their hometown’s scene, to diving into a new life in Berlin.
NCOUNTERS: Where did you grow up?
NVMNR: We grew up in Sicily, the island in the south of Italy – more precisely, from Catania.
How was the music scene there, and how did you come into contact with it? Did an alternative/underground music scene already exist there – if so, to what extent were you part of it?
There are different communities of music organisations and event planners who are involved in making parties and electronic music events. Little attention is given to the underground techno scene; you might find an artist from that scene (performing) about once a month. The music scene is quite rich though, because all genres of music are taken care of. There is a festival once a year with about 20,000 people where the whole electronic music scene is represented.
Luckily, we came to know these little pieces of underground music four years ago, through a friend who was already interested in that scene. On one of many bored nights he suggested a different alternative for the night - so this is how we were introduced. It was one of the best nights ever and since that day we kept going dancing and listening to more and more music [of that scene].
Because of our dedication and hard work, one of the greatest event planners of the island (one of the few promoters of the underground scene) got in touch with us, which gave us a lot of confidence. For two years now we have been residents of Afrobar, a dance floor in front of the sea, which is known internationally.
Taken by Ece Sanin for NCOUNTERS, 2019
´Above all, our challenges lie with ourselves – to pull out what we have inside, The greatest challenge for us is to wake up in the morning and go back to sleep in the evening having kept within yourself something that the day has given to you´
Can you point to any changes regarding the evolution of the music scene back home? What were the challenges for emerging artists?
The challenge for emerging artists in Sicily is that (almost non-existent) musical attention is turned to the most “commercial” forms, such as tech house. The problem is that there is no dynamism,they are all fossilised with their existing “roles”and are satisfied with playing their pre-rehearsed DJ set once a month.
Down in Sicily there are some beautiful places, full of emotions and sounds from which to take inspiration. The encouragement was not missing, but people unfortunately didn't speak the same language as us, and didn't want to get involved like us, so, here we are!
When did you move to the new city? How is your experience with the music scene so far, as emerging artists and migrants?
We moved to Berlin exactly five months ago. We’re very excited to live it – the techno scene here is completely unique. But, it took us a while to get a good understanding of the music industry in the city. Even now we realise and understand that city and its music movement was born a long time ago and evolved during many years and generations of artists, and through different ideas to approaching music.
Taken by Ece Sanin for NCOUNTERS, 2019
´The city gives us a lot – if we don’t go out and collect it, what is the point of us coming here?´
How did the mobility affect your artistic productions – in which ways? What are the challenges now in the new city, and the advantages?
Moving out of our country was based on the decision for taking the right way and right ideas for music production. Now we live constantly in contact with people and places who speak the same language as us. Places where thereis more knowledge, culture and respect. Places where this is not just music when you go to dance, but where this itself is considered as real art.
Our goals are simple and humble, we like the underground scene also for this reason. Above all, our challenges lie with ourselves – to pull out what we have inside, what we carry behind us from our country. This is the sound that we have begun to make our own over the years. The greatest challenge for us is to wake up in the morning and go back to sleep in the evening having kept within yourself something that the day has given to you, both in a music and human/physical sense.
We are starting to share our music productions (so far unreleased) with local labels, asking them to listen – and so far we’ve been receiving positive feedback. As soon as possible we will find a label family that publishes some of our tracks and welcomes us amongst them. We’ve also already started conversations with some of our musical figures of inspiration – it’s great not only to meet the artistic side of them, but also get to know the person inside. We’re people connected by the same music and it’s interesting for us understand what people like us are doing during their daily life.
What are your plans and expectations for the future?
Make new music, explore new sounds, listen and discover “new faces” like us. We have faith in the “little” artists – technically they are our “rivals” but music is created to build bridges between people, so it’s not a challenge but a pleasant conversation. Encountering new people and new talents inspires us to not make a competition with others but instead to push ourselves.
Expectations? Only of ourselves.The city gives us a lot – if we don’t go out and collect it, what is the point of us coming here?But this idea never really crossed our minds. We know what to do, a little less what capability we have inside – but most importantly we know where we want to go, or rather where we want our music to go.
Photos: Ece Sanin
Edit: Charlotte Collins
Graphic Layout: Gorkem Yilmaz
NCOUNTERS, Berlin (2019)