Artist Spotlight: NVO
NVO (or Night Vision Odyssey, if you wanna get fancy) is a San Francisco based live-electronic band that mixes analog and digital to create the dirty sci-fi funk of your wildest dreams.
"There’s always been a push and pull between the rigidity of electronic music and the fluid nature of playing live. It’s been a learning process.” — Greg
You guys played the inaugural Bear Music Fest last year. How did the experience compare to other festivals you’ve played?
Greg: “It was pretty amazing for the fact that it was their first year. It would have been amazing for a veteran festival, to be honest. I really had a blast. I grew up camping at the Lair, and I worked there for a few years as well. So for me, it’s like coming home. And seeing the Lair in this totally different light… it was like a merging of realities.”
Mike: “I would also say that the creature comforts at Bear Music Fest are pretty top-notch. Not all festivals come with the ability to take a shower, and to eat a hot meal. That made it a really, really great experience. At big festivals, you need the VIP wrist band to interact with the musicians at all, and there’s none of that at Bear Music Fest. It’s a community.”
Chuck: “I would say, if you hate fun, don’t come.”
On how science fiction influences their music:
Greg: “All of us have always been pretty big sci-fi nerds. So when we started making music together, the sci-fi thing just started creeping in, and felt really natural. Chuck has dug through old sci-fi movies and found a lot of samples, all these weird little vocal snippets. We’re all super on board with that. Books like Hyperion we can all get behind, and Dune, and Neuromancer.”
On their songwriting process:
Chuck: “For most of the history of the band, Mike has been sort of the principal composer. So he’ll bring an idea to us, and we’ll add instrumentation on top of it. Then Charles, our vocalist, will take those compositions and lyrically riff off the working title. So for the most part, we start with computer compositions, and then bring those other elements in."
How do you incorporate the live and electronic elements of your music when you play live?
Greg: “There’s always been a push and pull between the rigidity of electronic music and the fluid nature of playing live. It’s been a learning process.”
Mike: “We’ve definitely played festivals that are almost all DJs spinning EDM. And we usually go over pretty well, because it breaks up the cadence of that. People have seen the 11th DJ in a row, and then all of a sudden there’s this kind of curveball of a live electronic act. It’s been a really good contrast in those kinds of contexts.”
Greg: “It’s more interactive, too. I think people get into this zone when they’re listening to DJs for hours, and now there’s somebody actually talking to them. And Charles, our front man, will get all the way into the crowd, fully immersed. The fourth wall is completely shattered. So I think it’s a fun change of pace.”