Camille Michelle Gray and Teddy Aitkins are the D.C. based indie duo NUEX. Their explorations into electronic sounds are somber, joyful and carry a sense of rebirth. They just released five new emotionally nuanced songs for their Affectus EP. The journey started when they met four years ago and started making music together within days of meeting each other. Aitkins’ transcendent production and Gray’s celestial vocals are part of a sonic world that is open and full of intensely layered feelings. In the interview below, they talk about their origins, the Affectus EP and why they call themselves NUEX.
“Revenge, hopefulness, melancholy, hubris, enjoyment”-Camille
Are both of you from D.C.?
Teddy: I am from many places. I was born in Liberia West Africa. My family came here as refugees in the ’90s and we lived in the D.C. area (Silver Spring). I ended up getting heavy into music in my early teen years and played in several punk and Go-Go bands which got be involved in the D.C. music scene. I moved to other places after high school and after being away from home for about 10 years, I moved back to the area. Home sweet home.
Camille: I am!
Is there anything about D.C. that influences your music?
Teddy: I think we are naturally influenced by all of our experiences and surroundings, so inherently, yes.
Camille: Not anything inherent to D.C., no. But the city has always been a backdrop to a lot of my experiences, some of which I write about on the EP. So in that way it has a passive influence.
How did you find your way into music making?
Teddy: My first instruments were, tuba and trumpet but that was mandatory at the time..this was in fourth and fifth grade, so eons ago. Then sometime in sixth grade, the snare drummer for the school concert band wasn’t in attendance and I was asked to fill-in for some reason and I ended up having a lot of fun. It just came natural for me. I became the permanent snare drummer, then the marching band drummer, then I upgraded to becoming the marching bandleader, then high school (and college) jazz drummer until I started my own bands. Did a bunch of fun goofy talent show stuff in high school for my hip-hop band, Go-Go band, and punk band. During my college years, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a few regional and national touring bands where I really developed my chops in the studio and playing live. I like to think that all of that was getting me ready for now. Being the co-founder for this wonderful band that Camille and I call NUEX. Watch Out World!
Camille: I’ve been music-ing for 20 years. So I think it found its way into me rather than the other way around (hahahahahahaa, cheesy). I wrote my first song at eight. I was enrolled in violin early on, always in some orchestra or performance group. Dabbled in the keyboard. Then I graduated into guitar and honing my singing-songwriting that way, later doing YouTube covers and features with hip-hop artists. And 20 years later I am who I am now. Music was the foundation of my life. Always will be.