Based out of London, nudista are the duo of Robbie Carman and Pilar Matji Cabello. The pair met when studying at the same University and quickly bonded over a shared love of the likes of Yo La Tengo, Phoebe Bridgers and Neil Young. While Robbie has been performing in bands since he was a teenager, Pilar’s musical background is somewhat different, starting off singing in choirs in her native Spain, before picking up the guitar and teaching herself to play. Having been active on the London DIY-scene for a few years, the band recently teamed up with the fantastic Sad Club Records to release their debut EP, Halfway Here.
Discussing the inspiration behind Halfway Here, Pilar has suggested it’s a record about sharing your struggles, “we want to transmit the feeling that we all go through down times in one way or another, and that sharing that experience can be liberating, even when you can’t see the end”. The EP opens with the previous single Confess, an exploration of the overwhelming pace of modern living resplendent with slide-guitar and Pilar’s repeated refrain, “I must confess that I don’t know the rules”. From there the record slides easily into inasmuch, a song about following your own path, set to a blend of Americana and lo-fi folk. The penultimate track Window is a melodic wonder reminiscent of Emmy The Great or Freschard, which slides beautifully into closing track Morning. Morning is a song about indecision and the pressure to always share your emotions and sets it to the record’s most expansive backing as layered guitars and electronic flourishes swell and contract as Robbie and Pilar trade lead-vocal duties. There’s a sense throughout Halfway Here of processing difficult feelings, yet ultimately it is a celebration of learning to sit with those emotions and find creativity within them, a fabulous first step on a journey that could take nudista as far as their imagination dares to go.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are nudista?
nudista was a project started by Pilar who then asked Robbie to play guitar for and has since blossomed into a collaboration between the two of them and now has a 5 piece band. We are based in London but Pilar comes from Spain and Robbie from Devon.
The music is honest and intimate. We try to avoid overthinking things and just express what comes out by playing music together. The music can be sad but we have fun playing it.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Our first show was a very stripped back (just Pilar and Robbie) in the Lock Tavern in Camden. Everyone was sat on the floor which made the evening very chilled and not too intimidating. It was a very sunny Sunday afternoon hanging out with our friends.
Our set consisted of some old songs Pilar wrote that we’ve never recorded and we don’t play anymore but we still love. It was the very beginning of our collaboration so we were still finding our sound as a band. It also helped us get more comfortable with playing our songs in front of people.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Pilar: I’ve always loved singing and how it makes me feel when you get into the song. Since very small, music was my way of escaping and having something that was very personal and intimate, that made me feel connected with myself. Once I started writing songs it was my way of expressing what I had inside in order to understand my emotions, so kind of like a therapy.
Robbie: it is a much more immediate and collaborative art form than painting, for example, which it’s great too but a much more isolated process. When you make music with someone you don’t know where the song is going to go because each has their own preferences or way of playing an instrument. It also means you let go of creative control, it’s always better when you are not too attached to a fixed outcome.
FTR: What can people expect from the nudista live show?
No expectations from anyone, we just like to have a chill time, playing our songs with our friends, which can be sad at times but enjoyable. Pilar also likes to interact with the crowd in between songs.
FTR: What’s next for nudista?
After finally putting out our 1st EP via ‘Sad Club Records’, we want to start recording a second EP. At the moment we have the songs ready to be recorded, so we are just getting them into shape. We want to have everything prepared before we go to the studio but leave enough room to experiment with some stuff in there. You can expect a variety of genres as we are keeping our sound as open as possible.
They Listen To…
Bedouine – Dusty Eyes
Jay Som – I Think You’re Alright
Snail Mail – Forever (Sailing)
Slow Pulp – Falling Apart
MUNA Ft. Phoebe Bridgers – Silk Chiffon