Parra for Cuva reflecting on inspiration behind “Mimose” and his work with orbit

German music producer Parra for Cuva, real name Nicolas Janco, returns to us with a new LP, Mimose, out last Friday. Nicolas is well known for his melodic, dream-pop compositions, and his latest body of work is influenced by his time spent in Liguria, Italy. The LP is a sonic odyssey done in collaboration with orbit (Marcel Heym) and promises to transport the listeners to the Italian coast. In lieu of this new release, we chatted with Parra for Cuva about all things inspiration, collaboration, and upcoming projects.

Nicolas and Marcel also provided some great imagery to set the scene. 

Kateryna Topol: Hello Nicolas, where are you now and how is it going?

Parra for Cuva: Hey everyone. I am sitting in Saarbrücken, Germany on our way home from the South of France where I worked on my live set. 

KT: Let’s talk about Pinie and your latest collaboration with orbit, how did that come about?

PFC: I was introduced to orbit’s music by my girlfriend. She randomly showed me a Reel that a friend had made, the song that I fell in love with was “Perspective“. I wrote to orbit just a few hours after that and it turned out that he knew me already. We met a day later in my Berlin studio where we started to make music instantly. After that, I invited him to join my trip to Liguria, Italy where I wanted to write my new record. In the end, we wrote four songs together which are all on my upcoming album.  

KT: Wow, instant connection, amazing. How did the production of this song look behind the scenes? 

PFC: We produced “Pinie” in a small garden hut with not much equipment. We basically had a computer, a keyboard, a cheap microphone, and a guitar. Marcel started with the guitar part and I was there for the drum programming and a lot of the arrangement. Marcel, on the other hand, came up with that catchy synth line that you hear in the middle. All in all, it was a very relaxed collaboration. 

Sometimes I worked on the songs for an hour on my own and when I felt uninspired, orbit took over. I always slept later in the morning and that’s where he did a lot of work too. We had a lot of fun nights bouncing our heads to the music. 

KT: Looking at the quotes from orbit, it seems like you became quite good friends?

PFC: Yes, it became a real friendship during our time in Liguria. Afterward, he joined me on tour and we have been seeing each other quite regularly at his place close to Bremen or around Berlin. Also, he is such a talented musician that I can always ask for advice. When I am stuck in a song or need an opinion on a production, I can always check with him and get honest feedback, which is amazing and hard to find. 

KT: As you mentioned, the song was inspired by an immersive retreat in Liguria, Italy. Can you please tell us about this experience, set the scene for your fans, and share how inspiration came to flourish? 

PFC: Liguria is a very hilly coastline located in the North of Italy. The place we stayed at was located in a small village up the mountain with a stunning sea view called Grimaldi. On the terrace, you could watch the sun set into France (the border was very close) and a great sunrise in the morning. As it was February, we thought it might get really rainy but instead, it was very sunny which helped a lot in terms of our moods after the long, gray winter months in Berlin. We also always had great food and good drinks.

KT: And you produced a few songs there?

PFC: We started writing music straight away. All in all, I made 30 to 40 sketches during two trips to Liguria. The best ended up on the album. 

KT: What was the vision behind the new release, was the idea to take the listener there, to Liguria?

PFC: Honestly, when we first went to Liguria it was still COVID-time. I needed to be somewhere nice with more light and nature. We came up with Liguria and I, myself, haven’t spent much time there but it immediately felt right for me.  We did not go out much as there was nothing around but in general, I loved the Italian way of life. That old village in all its beauty. Life was suddenly much better and I hope I can bring everybody who listens to my album, Mimose, a bit of that vibe. 

KT: Is travel a common source of inspiration for you?

PFC: For me, it was always the most enjoyable being at home in my cozy studio as this gave me a lot of protection. Now that I have been touring for ten years and as I have become more and more busy, I’ve had to get used to writing music outside of home. Nowadays I like to get a rental place to myself by just taking the essentials and writing for one month. When I do so, I feel forced to work and in turn, become more productive. As there is so much time in the winter to do that, it’s great going somewhere more beautiful than Berlin.

That being said, traveling is also a big source of inspiration as I often have more time to explore and experience new things. When we have holidays, we are always getting in our van and driving around Europe. When we do so I listen to much more music than usual, I am more relaxed, and my head is more open to becoming inspired. I can easily take my laptop and start working everywhere.

KT: Nice. Any personal trips coming up for you in 2024, aside from the tour that is?

PFC: As the year looks very busy with 60+ tour stops, I am excited to camp for three weeks in Bretagne this summer (close to Brest).

KT: That sounds like it will be pretty relaxing and isolated. What else do you have planned for this year?

PFC: I am always working on new music and I will be finished with my next EP in another few months. We will, of course, be touring the US again in October, which is very exciting as orbit will be coming along to play support!

KT: Amazing, looking forward to seeing the live show, thank you for your time!

PFC: Thank you 🙂 

All images courtesy of the artist

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