Aimée Nash formed her band The Black Ryder with Scott Von Ryper back in 2007. The band name evokes imagery of the dark time in which the band was created. Little did Aimée know that her band title would continue to be apropos of her creative and personal journey beyond the band’s formation. Over the years, Aimée and Scott have been married, divorced, and their sound has continually shifted and evolved. Their last album, The Door Behind the Door, is comprised of their most experimental group of songs yet and received international acclaim. Compared to their first album, Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride, in 2009, their latest is much less vocally centric and rather focuses on creating a dark-toned, mainly instrumental ambience. The musical journey with The Black Ryder is reflective of the changes in Aimée’s own life, as if the music she created is pulling and leading her and she’s just along for the ride. However, with such out-of-the-box, multidimensional music being produced as a result, maybe the dark journey is actually pulling her toward the light.
Has your background played any crucial part in finding your sound?
I was raised by a single mother and was an only child. My mother raised me solely on her own, and although money was tight, she was always very supportive of me exploring my creative side through music and drama. She bought me a piano and guitar, she encouraged me to get music lessons and drama classes. She has always been very strong and independent in the way she worked and how she ran our house, so I think that also had a very positive influence on my creative process. I think being an only child, I was used to spending a lot of time on my own, which helped with having the focus on learning to play instruments and using my imagination. I was able to get lost in my own world of discovery and learning.
Your album, The Door Behind the Door, is a big departure from your previous album and it’s dominated by instrumental experimentation. It sounds almost like a transitional experience.
I think all of our music is autobiographical in a sense because it’s a part of where you are at a certain moment in time. When we started writing The Door Behind The Door there had been so many changes since we wrote the first album. After being together for 11+ years, Scott and I had separated and divorced, we moved from Australia to Los Angeles, moving away from family and friends and everything that was familiar. The relocation process was an intense, strange and isolating experience, so I think that certainly influenced the atmosphere and content of the record.
What’s your process of overcoming your critical inner voices and fear?
For me, the process is that you commit to making something and do the best that you can. I have to be all in, head first and wanting to make whatever idea it is into the best that it can be. Fear can be a great motivator too because then it becomes your personal challenge to beat it. You have to try and make the volume of whatever it is you’re working on be louder than the sound of those inner voices, or the inner critic(s). Just do it and keep refining it until you’re satisfied with the result. No risk, no reward. I place a great amount of pressure on myself in whatever it is that I’m working on. If you’re lucky you’ll pleasantly surprise yourself and make something that you’re proud of, which helps inspire you to want to keep going and make some more. When in doubt, get inspired by seeing what other people can achieve, and keep raising the bar for your own work.
Text by Zee Chang
Photograph by Darian Zahedi
Hair by Michael Quinn
Makeup by Yasuo Shapiro
Assistant Eduardo Whaite