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- Posted on Mar 2nd 2010 12:10PM by Darlene Dela Cruz
Describe your sound in your own words.
Snow songs? Inuit indie? [Laughs] I don't know. We sound like singing and dancing little Eskimos lingering in front of the fireplace after making snow angels under the Northern Lights. Ooh, and there's ukuleles too! Yup!
How did your band form?
I met Jan at a party back home in Nuuk, Greenland. We started talking and decided we'd make a band, because bands are, well... cool. I had never played an instrument before, but that didn't matter. Then I moved to Canada to study. He got me my ukulele and so we did, in fact, start making songs.
What are your musical influences?
Greenlandic music, for sure. I listen a lot to old music -- really old blues and stuff. I've been listening a lot to Giant Sand and JJ Cale, Lightnin' Hopkins, Arthur Russell, Townes Van Zandt and Michael Hurley. Those six artists are possibly who I've spent most time with. There's rock, too: Pixies, the Clean, Cardinal, stuff like that. Folky things, like Eleni Mandell, Cat Power and PJ Harvey. There was a grunge phase when I was 12. I still love metal guitars. And Michael Jackson. [Laughs]
Do you plan on coming up with a name for your band or will you stick to performing under your solo name?
[Laughs] Well, I do have a band name: the Deer Children. Nowadays, I'm playing as Nive Nielsen & the Deer Children. The Deer Children is a whole bunch of cool musicians, whomever can come to a concert or on tour is in the band. We can be three or four or 12. For SXSW, we're gonna be a whole bunch -- it's going to be wild!
What is your musical guilty pleasure?
I love the Bee Gees. That seems to surprise many people, but their first three records are wicked! Also, I like a lot of today's R&B. I'll sing along with Kylie Minogue's 'Tears on my Pillow' if nobody watches. And I'll always, always love Guns N' Roses and Metallica. Nirvana is way cooler and what not, but whatever. [Laughs] Nothing is more fun than Sunday morning headbanging sessions.
Beatles or Stones?
That's been the subject of some heavy domestic debate. I love the Beatles. A lot. Jan loves the Stones. I think, mostly the for the attitude -- they're, like, guys, right? But well, I really love 'Sticky Fingers' and 'Exile on Main Street.' This will make Jan very happy. Yay!
What is the craziest thing you've seen or experienced on tour?
My very first concert was for the Queen of Denmark, live on national TV. I played and was really, really nervous: It was my very first performance after all. I was dressed up real nicely, had my little red ukulele and in the midst of my song, I whipped out my kazoo for a kazoo solo. [Laughs] I looked up and saw the queen looking straight at me, right in my eyes, probably wondering what the hell I was doing with a kazoo! I almost swallowed the kazoo, so scared was I. I turned away as quickly as I could and saw her husband. He was smiling and tapping his foot with a totally wrong rhythm which confused me even more. That could really count as a debut. Also, we played a show in England, where Jan got food poisoning. He went onstage, played an intro, ran off to puke, came back on for a solo, ran back off to puke some more and so on, but he played the whole show!
Who was your first celebrity crush?
That must have been Brad Pitt. I wish it was someone cooler, like one of the guys from Kraftwerk. Or Kris Kristofferson. [Laughs] Just kidding. But nope, it was Mr. Pitt. For Jan, I'm pretty sure it was Julia Roberts. Still is, in fact. But don't tell anyone -- he'll just blush and get all shy. And imagine if she'd ever come to my show! He might actually freeze onstage.
What's it like growing up in Greenland? Is there a lot to do there?
It's super. I grew up in Nuuk, the tiny capital of Greenland, alone with my mom. The rest of our family is huge -- I think my mom counted her cousins up to 29? Something like that. I really like Greenland a lot. It's really beautiful and quiet. I feel safe here and the people are just my kind of people. [Laughs] Well, in general, people seem well-grounded here and really know how to laugh. Growing up on the North Pole is pretty different, I guess, due to geographical reality and restrictions. In the winters, it's dead dark for months in a row and really cold, too. In the summertime it's light 24 hours a day, also for months in a row.
What is the story behind your pink ukulele?
[Jan] picked it up in Montreal while I was studying in Ottawa a couple years ago. I was totally bored back then and he decided I needed a hobby. So he entered me in a casting call for a Hollywood movie behind my back and he bought that toy ukulele. A couple months later, when he came to visit from Greenland again, I was flown into Los Angeles and eventually got a part in that film, playing opposite Colin Farrell! I've played my little uke ever since.
Darlene Dela Cruz is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.