A few e-mailed questions to Robin Dann of Bernice, slightly edited here.

Photo: Claire Harvie

Photo: Claire Harvie

I’ve read you describe Bernice as “indie R&B”, could you describe the road leading to this style you've created? 

Thom [Gill] and I met in jazz school and our love of softness and melody and vibe and imperfection in music connected us. I started bringing him my songs, and together we started to shape this thing! Whether our sound is indie r&b, I question... but it has something of both in it, for sure. Mostly, lately, we talk a lot about space, making room for the sounds we choose, and I think about how to make sure the words are heard in a way that feels safe and free.

Can you tell me about your process now? Inspiration, working in isolation or playing off of people ...

Right now I'm writing in a pretty isolated way... I tend to come up with my best stuff when I'm truly alone. I also love to write with people, though, and have some collaborations coming up that I'm excited about (one with Ben Gunning coming soon under the name 'pool'). The best moment is when I bring a new song to the band as a very dirty demo, and they make it sound like a new world. 

...

Could you tell me more about the 'imperfection in music' and making sure 'the words are heard in a way that feels safe and free' ?

imperfection: lots of stuff, like when a voice is sitting just nicely out of tune over a track, like this one Thom showed me called boyfriend by Kitty: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=rTMg0uglaps  or when a mistake becomes an important part of a song... one of the songs on our new record was accidentally pitched up about a semitone during the recording session and we decided to leave it because it sounded so magically wonky.

safe & free: feeling supported by the other instruments and the roles they're playing, and being sure that we've left enough space for the words to be heard in a way that is clear and easy.

Please elaborate on your new collab 'pool'! 

pool = me & Ben gunning writing songs in his basement studio after his amazing daughters Mimi and Alice go to bed! we hope to release an EP soon :)

Posted
AuthorLeslie Ting