“The digital age has offered us a window to each other’s lives. Some of us open the window and say hello, some simply sit and look out of it as an idle spectator and others throw rocks. Our story is about someone who deals with, and does, all three.” -Niteppl

Maybe I should have been a child of the 80’s.

Or at least that’s what my ears seem to think. If there was any doubt about that before, the latest release from the bay area duo Niteppl firmly cements it as fact. It’s called ‘Nu Flesh’, it explores the burgeoning area between the synth excess of yesterday and production techniques of tomorrow, and it’s without a doubt going down as one of my favorite albums of 2015.

For those that don’t know, Niteppl is not particularly new to the scene, in fact the first track on this release ‘Shout’ came out last year (albeit in a bit of a different version) and made waves across the indie dance scene. The track originally was cited featuring crooner Her Favorite Flavor; from this collaboration a new, improved, and more appropriately ‘ppl’-ey band was born.

There are a couple of reasons why my hype is so high for this album. Firstly, as is no secret, I love polished indie dance and deep vocals and synths that at times skirt the edge of excessive. All of which this album provides in droves. Second, is that it is just that: an album. Underground dance has not escaped the EP-ization of today’s music industry by any measure, so I love getting a full release of shiny new material to chew into. Finally, it’s not just an album but a concept album, a story told through music. Something that hasn’t been achieved to this level of success, in my eyes, since The M Machine’s ‘Metropolis’. And what a story they weave, it’s a tale of the dangers that lie embedded into our digital age, in the band’s own words:

“The album is a cautionary tale depicting the life of X, a young man searching for meaning across the Internet. He stumbles upon a strange, secretive group: the Church of the Nu Flesh. The Church of the Nu Flesh believe that the purest form of existence is digital; to leave as much trace of yourself in as many places as possible across the Net. Little by little X falls heavily into the group, leaving behind many of his social ties and friendships, only to slowly discover that the Church holds a terrible and deadly secret.”

Now I could harp for ages about particulars in the album like how ‘Under Your Thumb’ like if TV On The Radio decided to try and make some DnB; or how ‘Whispers’ had damned well be your go to “driving with the windows down” tune for this fall, or how ‘The Young and The Reckless’ contains an astonishing amount of pop sensibilities for an emerging band. But, I’d rather let the tunes speak for themselves.

Niteppl - Nu Flesh

Clickthrough to support the band and purchase ‘Nu Flesh’

Now, into the good stuff.

I had a change to catch up with the members of Niteppl, Alton and Sawyer to learn a little bit more about what went into the making of this emergent album, and what we can hope to see next.

SIA: You went from collaborating on a pre-album release of ‘Shout’ with Sawyer James (aka Her Favorite Flavor) to joining forces more formally and releasing a full studio album together. How did that take shape?

Niteppl: While creating ‘Shout’ we figured out that we vibe and worked together really well. Often during sessions we would take a break from ‘Shout’ and just start up something brand new. That essentially laid the groundwork for ‘Nu Flesh.’ Songs ‘Under Your Thumb’ ‘Shadows’ and ‘Whispers’ were all essentially created within days of each other simply from our downtime during sessions. Before we knew it we had an album’s worth of work.

‘Nu Flesh’ is written as the story of a young man in the modern age and as a cautionary tale of the dangers in digital life, where did the concept for this story come from?

It comes from both of us growing up with and experiencing the evolution of the internet. We both think it’s remarkable that at this stage people have never been more interconnected while at the same time remaining so physically and emotionally distant. The digital age has offered us a window to each other’s lives. Some of us open the window and say hello, some simply sit and look out of it as an idle spectator and others throw rocks. Our story is about someone who deals with and does all three.

How did you guys work to weave the story into all of the songs? Did some pieces just fall into place or was each song written as a specific ‘chapter’ in the story?

The arc began to form after we realized that the playlist and order that we wrote the songs was beginning to take on a particular narrative. Not exactly a direct narrative but a thematic one, each song has its meaning and ties to the digital age we live in. We want everyone to make up their own minds up about Nu Flesh, the narrative we chose to introduce is simply one meaning behind it.

“We plan to add more and more as time goes on to make our sets truly dynamic…”

The divergence from your past productions is quite clear with this release, how will this album change the way your live sets take shape?

We’ve begun to add more and more elements to our live act. Along with mixing our instrumentals live, we’ve added live vocals, sampling, keyboards, and guitar, all performed by the two of us. We both come from band backgrounds, and one thing we feel is kind of lacking in electronic music live performance is the simple act of playing instruments. We plan to add more and more as time goes on to make our sets truly dynamic on the level of some of our heroes like Hermitude, Chet Faker, or Soulwax.

While the whole album tells a story it seems like you guys really saved something for the last track with ‘The Young and The Restless’, what do you hope people take away from listening to the album capped off by such an anthemic finale?

For us an album should be like a movie, something you can experience from start to finish and has a beginning, middle, and end. We chose The Young and the Reckless as our conclusion because we felt it was a strong, optimistic statement and summation of the album. In many ways the real final track of the album is My Friends, yet we felt we wanted an epilogue, something to send the listener off feeling inspired.

Now that you guys have put together this full release, what’s next? Any plans to tour in support of the release?

Like we had previously mentioned, our live set is still building up and we hope to get perfectly acclimated to it before we take things on the road. There are definitely plans to take Niteppl to other states and cities but as of now we are gonna continue to be putting on gigs locally in San Francisco. We plan to give the city a round of great performances following the release of ‘Nu Flesh’ and then spread the message as far as we can. We plan on continuing to promote Nu Flesh, as well write more music both as Niteppl and within our own respective individual careers.

For us an album should be like a movie, something you can experience from start to finish.”

So there you have it, two seasoned producers have teamed up to become more than the sum of their parts, and San Francisco is about to get a wave of awesome shows…lucky dogs. In any case we’ll be keeping our eyes on Niteppl for years to come and will be sure to keep you updated on any new developments. Who knows, maybe we’ll even convince them to head out to the mile high.

Be sure to support the band!

Follow ’em on SoundCloud

Grab yourself a copy of ‘Nu Flesh’