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Interview: NOPRISM share lockdown synth-pop galore

Andrew Young and Mark Nelson, the masterminds behind the electronic duo NOPRISM have released their new euphoric single ‘Happiness’.

Inspired by the events of 2020, a time that has seen us impatiently wait for the pandemic to be over; ‘Happiness’ is a song that we can all connect with and will keep you dancing through your lockdown.

Discussing the single, NOPRISM say: “It was a time when we were getting daily briefings from idiots scaremongering the people, as if those daily briefings were some kind of rallying call to the great British ‘keep calm and carry on’ spirit. It was nonsense.”

NOPRISM sat down with GIGsoup to discuss their new single and more.

Hey NOPRISM, thanks for chatting to us here at GigSoup! How’s it going?

All good here, thanks for having us!

First up, tell us a bit about yourselves. Who are NOPRISM, and what were you doing before music?

We’re Mark, Andrew, and now, Phil. We’ve been in bands before NOPRISM, and done our fair share of touring, talking, and pouting, but with this, we have a clear idea of where we’re going and what we want to do.

Before music, we did all the things young folk do… football, work, pigeon fancying.

Who do you take musical inspirations from?

We love a bit of dance-punk. Bands like !!!, The Rapture and the bands that pioneered it in the late 70’s/early 80s like ESG, New Order, and Talking Heads. We’re also really into French pop and disco, from the likes of Justice, Daft Punk, Carpenter Brut through to M83, L’imperatrice, and Charlotte Gainsbourg. 


We’re here to make an unholy noise.

Why the name ‘NOPRISM’, where did it come from?

A few years ago I created a funk mashup mixing the theme tune from Boss N*gger, (a blaxploitation film from the 70s) with some Donald Trump election soundbites when he was promising to build the wall on the Mexican border (where’s your wall, Donald?). I uploaded it to Soundcloud and needed a name so came up with NOPRISM. I liked it because it had no meaning, but sounded like some kind of movement or belief system. A belief system that means nothing. Which I thought was quite fitting.

When we started doing these songs and putting an act together, we thought the name suited us really well. 

Anyway. Check out the theme tune, because it’s amazing.

Can you talk to us about the inspiration behind your latest single, “Happiness”?

We wrote Happiness when the cabin fever of the first lockdown was at its peak. I think the mindset is pretty obvious in the lyrics, but also the way the song builds into a frenzy in the middle. We had a lot of frustration to get out.

It’s a track we can all resonate with. Has the Global pandemic affected your productivity in a positive or negative way?

Apart from the soul-crushing, Truman Show-like prison we’ve all been forced to live inside, the pandemic allowed us to push the songwriting side and keep pushing out material, but it’s also meant it’s been really difficult to grow our reputation, not being able to play live or tour. We could try the whole ‘live stream’ thing, but it’s not really the same is it? We’re really keen to start playing live. You’ll see why next year.

Do you have any lockdown hacks that you can share with us?

Not necessarily a hack, but whenever you find yourself moonwalking around your house in full snorkel and dressing gown ensemble, ripped to the nines on your 5th bottle of Morrison’s Best Pinot Noir, never attempt to enter a Zoom call. Those calls can be recorded.

What was your music-making process with “Happiness”? How did you work together?

Our music-making process hasn’t really been affected by the lockdowns. We tend to work on ideas independently and spend a lot of time passing files back and forth. Happiness came about by messing about with an arpeggiator and we built the song up from that, but we don’t really have a formula other than we delete a lot more than we save.

And finally, what’s next on the agenda for NOPRISM?

Our next single, Pantherbeat, is coming out in January, and we have a couple more lined up for the start of next year. We’re planning to compile all of our releases this year into some kind of EP, before starting chapter two. Also, we’re looking to tour next year and starting to put some dates together. So far, we have a date at Think Tank? in Newcastle booked for 25th June. It’s on Glastonbury weekend, but it shouldn’t interfere with our headline slot.


You can find more information about NOPRISM at...