It’s been 30 years since twin brothers Klive and Nigel Humberstone made their debut as In The Nursery, and over the years they have never failed to innovate and surprise. Their new album, “Blind Sound,” is an extremely dark collection of songs that introduces an increased emphasis on vocals. In some ways, it is reminiscent of very early In The Nursery, but the overall sound ends up being something entirely new. In an email interview, Klive and Nigel explained a bit about the release.
To what extent was “Blind Sound” influenced by that fact that 2011 marks the 30 year anniversary of your first performance?
NH: It wasn’t part of a big master plan, more fortunate timing than anything else. We’d planned to have the new album finished for the start of 2011 and so the eventual release date fitted in nicely with the 30th anniversary. It felt really good to be releasing a studio album of new works rather than resorting to a retrospective compilation or ‘best of’.
KH: I suppose when you get marker stones like these, you reflect on what has gone before. Recently, I have been asked to contribute to quite a few books and publications on post-punk music and the emergence of the gothic scene. In doing so,i have had to ‘delve’ into the past and collate my thoughts and memories. It’s amazing what you remember and the ideals that i have today are clearly visible in the early musical experiences of over 30 years ago. We knew we wanted to make an album that championed all the reasons that inspired us to make music in the beginning.
The first thing that struck me about “Blind Sound” was that it’s very vocal-driven, and that in addition to Dolores, you’re handling lead vocals on some songs. In this respect, is really brings to mind the music collected on ‘Aubade.’ What made you decide to use your own vocals again? Also, who is singing in which track?
NH: I think compiling Aubade had a small influence towards inspiring us to step up to the mic again for Blind Sound – it definitely felt like the right thing to do and appropriate, two factors that always determine the arrangement of our tracks.
I sing on Artisans of Civilisation, Past Glory and Trial By Error, Klive sings on Blind Sound and Lectern and we both sing on Crave.
How did your recent hometown performance go?
NH: It was a long time in the planning and a lot of hard work to put together but we were really pleased with the show and how many people came to see us. Despite being our hometown, we very rarely play Sheffield and this was the opportunity to show Sheffield exactly what we do.
I saw the “Artisans of Civilisation” video, and on your site you refer to it as a ‘rare promotional video.’ Thinking about it, I’m actually surprised that you haven’t done more videos, given the cinematic feel of a lot of your music and your success with the silent film soundtracks. Have you considered doing more, and if so what has held you back?
NH: Strangely enough we haven’t considered doing more videos – once again this just felt right and opportune. Although we have strong cinematic interests and our music is both visually inspired and suggestive, we prefer to master and perfect what we know best.
The “Blind Sound” cover is very striking – could you comment on how you came to choose that imagery?
KH: The images on the new album are multi-layered in meaning. Quite a few ‘hidden’ references to the braille system, which incidentally was the first digital form of writing and sits well with the notion of ‘Blind Sound’. Guy J Brown is the photographer we worked with on this album and he has created a stunning set of ‘bespoke’ images that evoke the mood of both the music and the album title. Guy was inspired by the idea of the braille pattern concept. The photographs convey that ‘blind sound’ / ‘noise’ is all around us, we choose what we want to hear sometimes.
Do you have any further plans for the Les Jumeaux side project? Or has that perhaps been absorbed into what you’re doing as In The Nursery?
NH: No, no immediate plans to resurrect Les Jumeaux. With some distance between then and now, I see the 2 albums Feathercut and Cobalt as products of that period and a creative response that would be meaningless to pursue again. That’s not to say we won’t do other side projects – I’m quite tempted.
‘Blind Sound’ will be getting a North American release on July 12th (distribution is with Candlelight Records USA via EMI.) Be sure to also check out the Chaos Control archives for several past interviews with the group.