Note: All this month Second Stage is featuring artists from the RPM Challenge, 'The Wire' magazine's annual open invitation for musicians to produce an entire album in just one month. All songs featured are from CDs written and recorded in Feb.
The Governess is an electro-pop and rock duo from Porstmouth, NH featuring the gorgeous voice of singer Nicole Speidel, with Nathaniel Raymond on guitars and computer wizardry. The two describe their music as "underwater, seaside, airborne, wanderlust sounds." When The Governess set out to write and record an entire album in February, their only game plan was to "have some fun, make some sounds, eat girl scout cookies and instant soup and hope some music resulted from the process." Their album is called Ashen Sea and includes the cryptic and ethereal cut "Level One."
"Nicole wrote the words (to "Level One") as a means to convey some personal problems she was going through," says Raymond. "I recorded her a cappella one night around three in the morning — we were both wired and exhausted and a mess. She didn't want to hear it again, but I realized that I had some absolutely beautiful recordings of nicole singing just for herself, (so) I took what she gave me and ran with it. I love the sound of her voice, and it's a huge inspiration for me to make music. It's actually kind of an honor to have her sing over the sounds I make."
Speidel ad Raymond have been dating for a couple of years and have a shared love for music. Raymond has played in a number of bands, from an acoustic rock group to a grindcore band; Speidel has sung most of her life and says her speciality is freestyle rap.
"We just ended up pulling a few all-nighters at the end of the month (for the album)," says Raymond. "We spanned a slew of genres, pulling together a lot of styles we liked to create some final, feverish mix of electronica, blues, and indie music."