Dark electro-pop pair Bernard & Edith are emerging from Manchester to dance and disturb.
Having just released their debut album, Jem, Greta ‘Edith’ Carroll and Nick ‘Bernard’ Delap are ready to disturb you and make you dance as they take to touring. They first came to our attention last year with the single, “Poppy”, a collection of of dark beats clumped around awkward minor melodies and witchcraft chanting with Nick’s vocals deep below Greta’s. It’s a strange sound but all the more understandable once you realise Nick was part of Egyptian Hip Hop and Greta is a jazz fan.
Named after Greta’s Cocker Spaniel (“He’s always living in the moment, never the past or future, which a lot more people should do”), we’ve fallen for Jem and its mysterious sound. We met with the duo to discover how they formed, their favourite tracks and what the future holds for Bernard & Edith.
You met at a Wu Lyf gig (very cool) how did you know you wanted to work together? What drew you towards each other?
Greta: Its a bit of a blur how we met because it was so long ago, but we think it was at a Vagina Wulf gig (their name before they became Wu Lyf), Nick was in a band called Copy Cats at that point, we had a mutual friend and we just got chatting and found each other really interesting. I wanted to learn how to use some new music software as I was making my own stuff at the time, and nick showed me how and taught me how to make full songs. Then we just ended up falling in to making music together, it was completely natural.
Your debut album Jem came out this year, can you tell us about the recording process, when did it all start to feel like it was coming together?
Nick: The album was built up slowly over a couple of years at home. Everything happened very spontaneously and it all felt like a work in progress until we took it to the studio. Bella Union have a studio in London so they arranged for us to go down and spend a few weeks there – we got access to stuff we had never experimented with before and we made a lot of progress there. That’s when everything really took off for us.
What’s your favourite song on the record?
Greta: I love “China”, it is a live recording of me and Nick in our own world. It was a moment I felt everything stopped and we were just so happy and still making music. I feel like part of me is in that song floating around in a magical world of no worries.
You’ve been likened to London Grammar but described as disturbing, is this intentional?
Greta: I really didn’t know who they where at the time we got compared to them so I looked them up and really liked their stuff, but I don’t think we sound like them. I guess people do like to try and find reference points in music so they can understand it better. Our interests in music lie in Twin Peaks/Fever Ray/Massive Attack/Portishead/The Knife/Cocteau Twins.
You are a little unsettling (in the best way!) What do you imagine to be the best time and place to listen to your music to be?
On a car journey through the countryside in the dark, or a walking home after a night out.
Do you feel very much of the Manchester scene? Are there are any new bands you can recommend to us?
There are some good bands in manchester at the moment yeah. Manage a Trois are our favourite Manchester band. Shield Pattterns and Acre Tarn are doing stuff we really like too. There are lots of hidden diamonds in Manchester but no so much of a cohesive music scene. People are on the same page ideologically but not sonically, which is really interesting.
You’re about to go on the road, what’s been your favourite performance so far? What can we expect from a Bernard & Edith show?
Greta: My favourite performance so far has been our album launch. We put it on ourselves in a church on the street I grew up on in Whalley Range, Manchester. Theres nothing in there so we had to get a sound system, a stage and make our own bar. We decorated it with projections, lights-boxes, smoke and some of my Dad’s large canvas paintings. It was a really amazing night, the atmosphere was really free, people were dancing and enjoying the venue, which is what we want when we perform. We only performed a short set but it was really fun and special, you can expect a lot of creative energy in our performances we truly love performing, we live for it.
What can we expect from Bernard & Edith next?
Lots of secrets, lots of songs, lots of friends, dancing lots of drinks and lots of parties, lots and lots to come! We are working on new things developing our self and having the best time ever, music is not just for Christmas, it’s for life! NEVER STOP NEVER!! Actually maybe we will make a Christmas song, yeah forget what we said before. Expect a Christmas song about my dog Jem.
Bernard & Edith play live 7th September at Electrowerks, London.