Naima Bock Talks Fans, Touring, and “rock-solid acoustic sounds” (3/4 at WCL)

Earlier this month London-based singer/songwriter Naima Bock (formerly of Goat Girl) released “Lines,” a stand-alone single on Sub Pop/Memorials of Distinction.  The track was engineered and produced by Ali...

Earlier this month London-based singer/songwriter Naima Bock (formerly of Goat Girl) released “Lines,” a stand-alone single on Sub Pop/Memorials of Distinction.  The track was engineered and produced by Ali Chant in 2022, and is the follow-up to Bock’s solo debut, Giant Palm (released last year on Sub Pop), which Brooklyn Vegan called, “quietly dazzling, drawing from a wide range of influences including ’70s British folk, jazz, and Tropicalia.”  This Friday Naima Bock kicks off a run of five US dates, which will have her headlining The Lounge at World Café Live this Saturday, March 4th.  I recently got a chance to chat with the musician about her first album cycle and what’s to come.

Izzy Cihak: You released Giant Palm last year and it’s received a ton of praise and also seems to have earned you a lot of fans.  Have you had any favorite responses to it?

Naima Bock: I’m not sure I could say that I’ve had any particular response that I’ve preferred.  Overall, if people have said that it has helped them in some way, this is more than I could have ever imagined to achieve in music.

Izzy: On a related note, have you started to notice patterns amongst your fans yet?  Do you feel like there is a certain type of person who best “gets” your music?

Naima: All shapes and sizes, but they all seem nice.  No particular, “pattern.”  The age varies loads.

Izzy: You just released “Lines,” a stand-alone single.  How did this particular song come about, and how do you feel it fits with or compares to the songs on Giant Palm?

Naima: “Lines” is what it is because the song has been played live dozens of times.  The songs on Giant Palm however, had never been played live prior to recording the album (not in the form that they ended up in anyway).  I think this can be heard in the single.  We also did record “Lines” live in Ali’s studio in Bristol (vocals too), which added to the feel of the song and made sense to do it like that, as that is how it had been conceived.  As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end.

Izzy: You also released a really cool music video for the single, directed by Kit Harwood.  How did the idea for the video come about?

Naima: The video is totally Kit’s creation!  The only input I had was the dancing scene, which sounded very cheesy on paper but I think worked out in the end.  I was initially going to try and make a video myself, as the budget was low but everything I tried looked pretty bad, so I thought it was best to ask Kit as I and my manager Josh Cohen (Memorials of Distinction) knew that he was great at pulling something high quality together quickly.  I think he had a week to film and edit the whole thing.  He did an amazing job and I’m very happy with it, he’s a talented man.

Izzy: This is a really big question, but considering that your solo career is relatively new, what have been some of the personal highlights for you, so far?

Naima: Every tour has been very special.  Our album headline tour with the full band was maybe the most I’ve ever laughed in a period of two weeks — much of that thanks to Sam Tucker of Yuppies Music who was tour managing us, as well as Ronan (Junior Brother) who supported us through the tour.  Another highlight was the support tour I did with Dana Gavanksi, as it was my first solo tour, it taught me a lot but also the group of people; Clementine March, James Howard, Dimi Dnontis, Thoma Brody, Dana Gavanski and of course Sam Tucker (tour manager) were so incredible and inspiring that I feel very lucky to have made such loving, funny friends.  I think that’s the biggest part about doing music as a job, the connections you make on the way with the people you’re playing around.  Another would be the Rodrigo Amarante tour I did straight afterward.  My best friend Flo White (painter) came with me — partly for fun, partly for emotional support — and we had the best time.  We rode on trains through Switzerland and drank a lot of coffees in ten different countries.

Izzy: And is there anything that you think is especially important for fans and potential fans to know about you?

Naima: It’s important for anyone to know that I’m half deaf so a lot of the time I miss what someone has said, and they interpret it as rudeness, it is not!

Izzy: Instead of asking artists about their biggest influences, I prefer to ask them about some of their favorite albums.  So, what are a few of your favorite albums, whether things you grew up loving or stuff that you’ve discovered more recently?

Naima: Albums I’ve discovered recently (not meaning that they are recent):

Joanna Newsom – Divers

Lisa O’Neill- All of This is Chance

Various Artists (compilation)- Music from Saharan WhatsApp

Izzy: You’re about to embark on a short US tour and will be headlining The Lounge at World Café Live next month.  What can be expected of the live experience?

Naima: Some rock-solid acoustic sounds.

Izzy: Your upcoming dates have you at a pretty wide variety of venues.  You’re playing some really intimate spaces and listening rooms in the US, you’re playing some bigger rooms in the UK with Orlando Weeks, and then also some UK festivals.  Do you have a favorite setting to play or one that seems best suited to your music?

Naima: I think I’ve discovered that any room that doesn’t have a bar in it is where I am happy to play.  Literally anywhere can be transformed into a space that one can create an atmosphere unless there are a bunch of people chatting, most of the time because there’s a bar in there.  Big or small alike I’m still just as nervous.

Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you?  What do you have planned for the rest of 2023?

Naima: Get off my ass and do another record!

*Get your tickets here.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.