Singer, songwriter, producer and full time cold-shouldered-name-takin-ass-shakin-BIOTCH (her words) Tia Rabinovitz releases music under the name Nymphlord. Check out her song Bougainvillea which, to our ears, perfectly melds 90's alt-rock, Strokes-esque guitars and a touch of melancholy.
What's the inspiration behind your song 'Bougainvillea'? Can you talk a bit about how you wrote it?
I used to live in LA, and when I left I really didn’t think it was somewhere I’d ever move back, because I just didn’t feel quite like myself there. But a few snowy Brooklyn seasons and one sun-seeking partner later there I was, gearing up for a move back to Southern California.
I wrote Bougainvillea on the plane ride back from touring apartments in LA. We’d gone to some old haunts and I felt like I was moving backwards. It felt kind of like running into an ex, so that’s loosely the approach the song takes. I love writing on airplanes, or in any vehicle really (car, bike, bus, you name it) because no one can hear you and there’s no where else you could possibly be - it’s like a hall pass to do whatever you want! I wrote the song a cappella (just the melody and lyrics) in aisle 30 and then fit a guitar part to it when I got back to New York.
In addition to the song being great, the production on 'Bougainvillea' is so energetic and fun. Is that self-produced? What are your guiding principles behind producing a song? Are you doing all/some of the instrumentation as well?
Thank you so much!! For the debut Nymphlord EP “Mothers Cry And Then We Die.” my friend Jeff Peters and I co-produced all of the songs. When he heard the first demo of Bougainvillea, I think his head instantly went to The Beach Boys and The Strokes, and mine to Cults, Pale Saints, and Grimes, and we pieced things together from there. When Jeff and I work together we almost always work via email, sending stems back and forth, which is fun because it means we end up with a record of all the sharp turns the song takes throughout the production process. Jeff is a badass producer and has incredible instincts when it comes to building up a wall of sound from TONS of tiny parts, and he plays a huge assortment of instruments on the record - drums, bass, guitar, keys, synth, you name it. I jump in on guitar, synth, percussion, textures, vocals, and my favorite part, the ‘little bits’ that carry you from one section of a song into another or hide in the corner of the room waiting to be noticed. On this song I love the “heys” in the chorus that poke fun at the whole thing, and the post-punk inspired drum machine we brought in to bring a little bit of the bleakness I was feeling at the time of writing back in.
I read online that you studied applied mathematics. Do you see songwriting/music production as continuous with that part of your creativity or quite different? Are you still doing math? If not, are there things you miss about it?
Definitely! There is a lot of overlap. I remember learning about imaginary numbers in a complex analysis class and feeling like wow, here’s this subject I had previously believed to be black and white sprawled out in front of me like a rainbow. When I first started writing songs as a kid I had a hard time sharing them because I thought if they weren’t a hundred percent true it would make me a liar and a bad person.. but thank god I got over that. Truth is so much more than just facts and I’m so happy to have the freedom that comes with knowing that. Trying to wrap my brain around imaginary numbers helped me to see that. And coincidentally, imaginary numbers also play a key role in the underlying equations that mp3 files possible!!!
What were some early musical experiences that drew you to take music making seriously?
I grew up playing the violin, worshipping Taylor Swift and Chris Brown, and calling Radio Disney once a day to request songs (but usually just 1985 by Bowling For Soup). My taste has evolved a little since then (lol) but the one thing that hasn’t changed is how emotional music makes me. And as full time cold-shouldered-name-takin-ass-shakin-BIOTCH, not much else in my life has that same power!!! So chasing that is what’s kept me motivated to make and endlessly inspired by music.
What's the best way people can keep up with what you're doing musically?
Follow me on Spotify and Instagram/TikTok (@nymphlord_) for all the infooo :)