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Interview: Neive Strang - 'Living In Two' Tour of Aotearoa

Interview: Neive Strang - 'Living In Two' Tour of Aotearoa

Interview by Charlotte Lovrin / C.C. / Tuesday 21st March, 2023 10:45AM

Ōtepoti songwriter Neive Strang is celebrating her resplendent new single 'Living in Two' (recorded with SJD aka Sean Donnelly) with an extensive nationwide tour of Aotearoa this month and next, kicked off just over a week ago at Cafe Santosha in Port Chalmers. Recently invited by Shayne P. Carter to be a member of Dimmer's all-star live band for last year's I Believe You Are A Star tour, Strang kindly squeezed in time between practises to answer new UTR editorial assistant Charlotte Lovrin's queries about her own ongoing tour via the magic of the internet. Read their chat below, hit play on Bailey Gardner and Matilda Macandrew's dreamlike visuals for 'Living in Two' if you haven't already, and go catch Strang with band at the following dates...

Neive Strang - Living in Two Tour 

Saturday 25th March - Southland Musicians Club, Invercargill
Saturday 1st April - Sherwood, Queenstown
Friday 14th April - Grainstore Gallery, Oamaru
Friday 28th April - Meow, Wellington
Saturday 29th April - Whammy Backroom, Auckland

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Charlotte Lovrin: First of all, congratulations on the single and for kicking off the tour! How does it feel to be out with your band, touring the new material? How was the first show in Port Chalmers?

Neive Strang: Thank you! It feels really good to be playing with the band again, they’re all very chill and encouraging people and I’m not so much so right before I perform haha so I’m very thankful for that… the show on Friday was super lovely, nice and intimate wee venue with a great crowd of people that came out... if the rest go like that I’ll be very very happy! We’re really enjoying playing the new material and are happy with how we’ve got them sounding live, they’re a little different to the recordings but I tend to find that a bit more exciting with live shows.

I read that the new single 'Living In Two' arose from "feeling divided within yourself." How difficult was it to sit with that feeling and write about it?

I had been pushing and pulling between two different parts of myself for a while before writing this song, so I think by the time I sat down and wrote it, it felt like more of a relief to just sit with the feelings, address them and acknowledge they weren’t going away anytime soon.

In what ways has your band been involved with your creative process?

With these new songs, I’ve been putting demos together, sending them to the band and getting their feedback as we learn to play them together. They’re all creative people and put their own spin on parts where they can.

The accompanying video is beautifully directed. Can you tell me a little bit about the collaborative process behind the video?

Bailey, Matilda and I initially met up a few times to discuss the meaning behind the song and after that I gave them complete freedom to create a concept, interpreting that meaning however they liked. I loved their ideas and when watching the final video felt they captured the inner turmoil I was feeling at the time super well.

The narrative in the video seems to call upon a large amount of symbolic imagery (ribbons, flowers, the two figures in the woods). Without giving the game away — could you share your intentions behind some of these images and what they might symbolise?

I want to try and keep as much of it up to self-interpretation as possible! But the ribbons and flowers are both ways of helping me find my way back and the figures are how I got lost.

The Dimmer tour that you were a part of wrapped up in September last year. Did you learn anything from that experience? How did you come to be involved with Dimmer?

Yes, I loved the experience of being a part of someone else’s band. I learnt a lot around how artists should and shouldn’t be treated in the music industry and I think a higher level of professionalism as a musician. I came to be involved through Natasha (Shayne’s Sister) from who I knew in Dunedin and she put my name forward to Shayne! I think Shayne then remembered me from Logan Park High School when he did some songwriting mentoring there.

In contrast to that experience, do you prepare differently when preparing for a show or tour that consists of your own material?

I find it quite hard to keep running the same song of mine over and over while practising without ruining it for myself, so I think I tend to circle back to songs more often rather than keeping on playing them til they’re right. I also have more frequent practises rather than long ones, which is luckily doable since we all live so close together.


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Neive Strang - Living in Two Tour Aotearoa 2023
Sat 25th Mar 8:00pm
Southland Musicians Club, Invercargill
Neive Strang - Living in Two Tour Aotearoa 2023
Sat 1st Apr 8:00pm
Sherwood, Queenstown
Neive Strang - Living in Two Tour Aotearoa 2023
Fri 14th Apr 8:00pm
Grainstore Gallery, Oamaru
Neive Strang - Living in Two Tour Aotearoa 2023
Fri 28th Apr 8:00pm
Meow, Wellington
Neive Strang - Living in Two Tour Aotearoa 2023
Sat 29th Apr 8:00pm
Whammy Backroom, Auckland