Considering her voice is so familiar, we’ve heard surprisingly little of Nicole Marie.
That’s not meant as a slight, but rather as a credit to her versatility. As half of indie electronic duo Stereo Telescope, Marie’s vocals were often just one element in Kurt Schneider’s larger sonic vision. She sings front and center as part of Doom Lover, but the alt-rock band’s sound was already established by the time she joined. For all her obvious talent as a singer, the depths of her skills as a songwriter and creative lead have, until recently, only been hinted at.
When it finally came time to find an outlet for the intensely personal songs and ideas Marie couldn’t shoehorn into her other projects, ORCHIDS came into bloom.
“Moving forward, I wanted to do something new and something that resonated with me personally,” says Marie, taking a break from recording vocals to chat on the phone, ahead of her second-ever show as ORCHIDS which went down this past Thursday at Brighton Music Hall. “I needed something that is collaborative, but sometimes it’s hard when there’s a direction and it’s not necessarily yours.”
The material was already there: ORCHIDS’ forthcoming single “Fleur de Sel” was written back in 2008, and was exactly the kind of intensely personal and emotional song that wasn’t adaptable to Marie’s other projects. In L’duke (DJ Leah V), she found someone with whom she could develop a free-flowing creative partnership that didn’t compromise her own sonic vision.
“[L’duke] and I ended up hanging out and talking about collaborating,” Marie explains. “And I said, ‘I’m not doing anything musically, I don’t know what the next step is, but have all these ideas. I don’t know if they suck, I don’t know what I want to do with them. All I know is I want them to be electronic and I want to sound like Purity Ring but with more energy.’”
With L’duke and co-producer Alex Fiorentino (of The Organ Beats), Marie began to find the right balance for what she describes as a “solo project with a rotating cast of collaborators.” Yet even with their contributions, ORCHIDS, at its core, belongs to Marie. Speaking someone else’s words, she still manages to inject her first release, a cover of “Say Something” by A Great Big World, with a raw emotional intensity that fuels her work.
“With the original material, you will hear a lot of bare bones feelings that I’ve been carrying around with me for a couple years that I really have to get out,” she says. “Almost every song is referring to the journey that I’ve been on for the last couple years, sifting through the pain of what’s happened, the love and the loss. I’ve never been able to write any other way unless someone tells me to. If I’m working with somebody else, I can mold myself to whatever fits that situation. But alone, I write from a very personal place. With ORCHIDS, everything is personal.”
After playing the background for this long, how could it be any other way?
“It is really hard to be sifting through all these emotions,” she admits. “It dredges a lot of things up, but it’s going to be worthwhile in the end, I think.”
ORCHIDS. For more information visit facebook.com/orchids.band.music