Ramona Gonzalez – the LA recording artist who you know as Nite Jewel – has just released her sophomore album, One Second Of Love.
It arrives a long four years after her 2008 debut, Good Evening, and is a markedly more confident and accomplished record. If Good Evening was a “pop” album, then One Second Of Love is every inch a pop album; its writing and production bold and direct enough for us to dispense with the inverted commas.
FACT’s Trilby Foxx grabbed five minutes with Gonzalez – who is also behind the latest FACT mix – at SXSW to talk about the making of One Second Of Love, and to find out if that long-mooted album collaboration with Dam-Funk is ever going to see the light of day.
“I didn’t record with any thought of how it would be released; I recorded for pleasure.”
There’s no doubt that the new album is the punchiest set of Nite Jewel songs yet. How did you approach the writing and recording of it?
“We initially recorded on 2-inch tape in northern California, to create something that was high fidelity, every inch out of the sound, we didn’t want to shy away from boldness, both musically and production-wise.
“I’d recorded in studios before Good Evening so it was very enjoyable actually – recording in a studio with other people at the helm of a mixing desk is ultimately the best way for me to record. Some of the best songs I’ve written have come this way. It gives me more space to be creative without having to worry about the technical side.”
Did you have a strong sense of the concept and lyrical themes you wanted to address with the album before you began recording?
“It came shortly after we began recording the initial instrumentals, it came about from people in the world having rapid powerful connections with one another, hence the title One Second of Love. This happened several days into the recording process.”
Do you feel you’ve now arrived at a sure sense of what Nite Jewel “is”, or does the project still have a fluid identity?
“It’s definitely fluid in that it can’t be solidified outside of a context, our context is constantly changing as a project.”
Can you tell us about the key contributors to the album and what they brought to the project?
“There was Cole [MGN, Gonzalez’s husband and producer] and of course he and I worked very closely. The two others on tape were the engineers at Brick Forty, our studio. They allowed us to improvise for long periods and would painstakingly capture our ideas and collaborate with us on the use of unconventional instruments.”
“I’m an intense person!”
Did you feel much pressure – either from yourself or from others – when making this record? It feels like quite an anxious record, even though it features some of your most confident songwriting and singing.
“No, I didn’t record with any sort of thought of how it would be released; I recorded for pleasure, and only later did it seem like it was going to be released. The sense of anxiety might just be because I’m an intense person!”
“I think many of these songs work better live and they were designed as a fantasy of what a live band could play. It’s been very enjoyable to see them manifest themselves in a live context. I have a four-piece band who are all very talented musicians, including an amazing drummer who brings the songs to life in a direct and simple way. The songs have been really bolstered by great musicians who know what they’re doing. As a result I get a hands-free approach.
What are you looking forward to in the remainder of 2012? Any future plans you can tell us about? Is that Nitefunk album still happening?
“I’m most looking forward to performing- I’ve never been able to tour a record before so its really exciting. Very excited by the idea of new material too. I’ve been recording for a while since completing this album so am very much hoping to get into the studio again in the next few months. And yes, the Nitefunk album is still happening…”