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Ninshū: “We should always remember that the present is all we have right now”

Meet Levan, better known as Ninshū, an accomplished live instrumentalist, singer, and DJ/Producer from Tbilisi, Georgia.

Photo credit: Ninshū – Facebook

Ninshū has graced stages across Western to Eastern Europe, sharing the limelight with renowned artists like Ben Böhmer, Worakls, Fatima Yamaha, Einmusik, Dusty Kid, Madmotormiquel, and many more.

Ninshū’s journey into music began in his childhood, marked by lessons in piano, guitar, and vocals. He later lent his talents to an indie rock band, The Fact, before embarking on his solo career. Through years of practice and exploration, he developed a unique sound that marries live performance and hybrid DJ sets, characterized by a multi-instrumental setup and the addition of improvised Georgian ethnic vocals. His sound stands out in today’s musical landscape, breaking away from “Fashion” styles and conventional sub-genres of electronic music.

Ninshū’s music has been released through a multitude of labels, including Traum Schallplatten, Otake Records, SP Recordings, Smiley Fingers, Vintage Music Label, Blessed Cross Records, Stoneddogs Records, Moonster Music, and Soul Shift Music.

In this exclusive interview with EG, Ninshū shares insights about his latest release, his creative process, the challenges faced, and exciting future projects.

EG: Hi, Ninshū! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? What have you been up to?

Ninshū: Hi Electronic Groove team, I’m glad to be your guest. It’s been a while since our last chat! I’m doing great, dedicating and prioritizing all of my time to my music career, as this is what makes me who I am for more than 6 years.

EG: First of all, congratulations on the release of your new LP, ‘Presence’! You must be thrilled. What has the initial reception been like so far? What are some of your initial feelings?

Ninshū: Thank you! No words can truly describe how satisfied I am that finally, this LP album is released! Now it feels like I can take one big breath and stay totally relieved from music production for some time and focus more on spreading the content and planning shows. At the beginning of the writing process, the feelings were not really clear; the clarity came later. Sometimes I want to forget how much I worked for this album as I spent so many hours working on a daily basis, going to the studio in the morning and coming back home after midnight. You may not believe me, but during the last 10 months, I didn’t miss more than 20 days of not going to work in the studio, and nearly most of the days that were out of the studio I spent on playing gigs in Europe and Georgia.

Just imagine how risky it was for mental health to work alone all day long in a non-stop regime with 60+ hours in a week and then keep the music networking going during the weekends, imagine also not caring about free days and holidays, just you, yourself, your goals, your honesty, your emotions, and your creativity to express your truth through music. I think you have to be crazy enough to do all of that with this kind of discipline and care, also you need to say no to so many other things that are distracting you from your goals, but I guess that’s how the universe works, to get something valuable, special and unique you need to give something back and sacrifice. Be faithful that one day it will definitely pay off, you just really need to show to the universe how much you would go for something you truly love.

EG: Musically speaking, what can your fans expect to find on ‘Presence’? In which ways is this one different from ‘Eri Madlieri’?

Ninshū: It’s a bit more than two years since my last LP ‘Eri Madlieri’ was released, so during all of this time so many things happened in my life like meeting new and like-minded people from different art industries, starting a new job, traveling, discovering more music, learning new skills and new instruments, improving old skills in music production, playing more and more gigs, being more open to new genres and making lots of musical experiments. So, I think this album is more diverse by the genres, emotionally it’s more clear, direct, and honest, technically it sounds much better, also the BPM range of the tracks is wider, starting from 85 all the way to 148! So, in the ‘Presence’ album, you’ll definitely hear more experiments, more groove, more synths, more lyrics, more guitar, more effects, more field recordings, a bit more Georgian flavor in some tracks, and more conceptual work around the main idea of the album. Even though the tracks are so much different from each other, you will still notice that they are coming from one whole album.

EG: Is there a thread or concept interconnecting these 12 tracks? What was the creative process for ‘Presence’ like?

Ninshū: Sure, there is a concept and special sequencing that opens up the whole album track by track. I thought a lot about names and how each track can contribute to the idea of the album. Well, I started to work on this album in February of 2023 and the overall creative process of album writing was quite satisfying, a partly horrible, long, and unpredictable journey to take! I would say nearly half of the music writing process I just spent on dancing in the studio after some good parts of the tracks were made!

Before starting the production I spent 10-15 minutes for daily mindful meditations and it helped a lot to stay more focused. For creating this album I was constantly listening to tons of new artists and albums, also taking my audio recorder everywhere I went to capture various creative sounds and voices of nature, cities, people, and turning that into many different types of sounds, so most of the percussions, some vocals, guitar and ambient elements of the tracks were recorded in 5 countries while I was traveling and performing throughout the last year, so I hope the listeners will enjoy the whole album!

“I guess that’s how the universe works, to get something valuable, special and unique you need to give something back and sacrifice”

EG: ‘Presence’ feels like such a strong word. What does it mean to you, particularly? How did you come to settle on the name for this album?

Ninshū: The name ‘Presence’ could be quite abstract and indirect to understand and it naturally came to me from overthinking and losing the connection between reality and illusion as sometimes our mind could get so much occupied by unwanted & horrific thoughts, by planning, imagining or just worrying about the future that we are not enjoying the present moments and you could feel like you are stuck in one non-stop loop and keep on self-sabotaging yourself, but no matter what, we should always remember that the present is all we have right now and we need to appreciate the process of being at this moment, the present is a miracle and that’s where a true life pleasure and common sense could be found. So that is one of the main messages of this album.

EG: And ‘Presence’ is out via the Italian imprint Blessed Cross Records. Why did you decide to go with Blessed Cross for this release? What’s your relationship with the label like by now?

Ninshū: Well, I have quite a good relationship with this label as my first LP album ‘Eri Madlieri’ went well with them in many terms and I was satisfied with the work they did. So for this new album, they were also supportive, because they just liked the music and the concept. So that’s why we collaborated again!

EG: By the way, last time we spoke back in 2021, you were starting a new job at P60 music venue in the Netherlands, which you were very excited about. How did that pan out?

Ninshū: It’s great that you mentioned P60! I love everything about this musical venue, because of its professional and cool crew. There is no doubt that working at this venue was one of the best life experiences that I ever had. It had a huge impact on my life and my music career. I am more than sure some crew members gonna read this interview, so I am sending greetings from here! Hope I will play soon again with this new album in the Netherlands!

EG: Now, let’s step outside of the studio for a bit…what’s your take on the use of AI in music? Has any form of AI been used on  ‘Presence’?

Ninshū: That’s an interesting and quite relevant question nowadays! First things first, I didn’t use AI for making the album, as I wanted it to be as authentic, humanized, and soulful as I could, but I tried using it in totally different ways. I asked it to check all of my past music releases and to write down 10 artists whose music could be the closest to mine, so 4 artists out of 10 were the ones that truly inspired me during most of my music career and this task was done just in a couple of seconds, that is both impressive and scary, isn’t it?! I think in general AI is a powerful tool in the hands of smart people and it could save a lot of time and energy in many technical subjects, but it could have its own pros and cons. I’ve checked some AI websites where you can generate music based on your all kind of detailed preferences, the music it made was way better than I thought it could make, and most definitely in 2-3 years it will be on a totally new level for sure and sooner or later it could be almost impossible to guess if the music is written by a human or AI.

So after imagining this scenario in my head, I am not really supportive in terms of using AI in music production, as it could be hard to control the percentage of integration in the writing process where true magic and miracle is happening through our creativity or through other senses. I believe that all kinds of real art should be made by humans and by their honest feelings and for me it’s a matter of principle. I also think what makes true artists great are not only their achievements and music, but also their stories and what they have been through, what they felt in a certain period of time, and how all of that led to create art in their own way. In my opinion, all of these human experiences construct the process of living and developing the soul that AI should never have.

“The present is a miracle and that’s where a true life pleasure and common sense could be found”

EG: Finally, can you provide some insights into what’s next for Ninshū? What can we expect from you in the coming months?

Ninshū: I think some big news should not be said before you are 100% sure that they will happen, so what I know now is that summer is close and I’ll have shows at a couple of festivals and music venues that I will share on my profile later. I’ll record a full live set video with my new music, then record a video clip for one of the tracks from the LP, and yes, while I was working on this album there were many other tracks finished that will be released by the end of summer. There are way bigger news coming till the end of this year, which I also prefer to share later!

EG: Thank you so much for your time, Ninshū! We wish you all the best for the future. See you on the dancefloor!

Ninshū: Thank you Electronic Groove team, I am sure we will chat again in the future! Best wishes!

Ninshū’s ‘Presence’ is now available via Blessed Cross Records. Stream and download here.

Follow Ninshū: Spotify | Soundcloud | Instagram | Facebook

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