Imagine you were given free rein and the resources to write a song – an anthem, really – about self expression. Imagine the possibilities, where would you even begin? Well, that’s exactly what musician Niko Walters got up to when Dell tasked artists from across Australia and New Zealand to unleash their creativity to the max.
PEDESTRIAN.TV chatted to Niko about the process of writing a song with Christiaan and Brandon, and what self expression means to him – especially as an artist currently living in lockdown (bleugh) in Auckland, New Zealand.
P.TV: What were your initial thoughts when you were told about the Dell XPS Open Studio Self Expression Anthem brief?
Niko Walters: I was excited about it. It’s not often you get to do a brand collab with such an open brief. Being able to write a song and showcase the process – I was all in!
Did you have an idea in mind for a song concept from the get-go, or did it take some time to form?
Not really. We talked on a few Zoom calls about things we’d been experiencing, and some obvious ideas came out. I tried not to overthink things and let our conversations guide the song-writing process in an unfiltered way. Sometimes, simplicity is more and that feels like what we are doing here – at least in the songwriting stage.
How are you, Christiaan and Brandon tackling the brief?
We’ve sort of divided the roles based on our individual strengths and have given each other freedom to go wherever we want in that role. Brandon and I are more experienced in song-writing than Christiaan, so we’ve taken a lead for this role to get things moving and find the crux of a song that we can all relate to. From now, we’re keen to see Christiaan flourish in production with guidance from Brandon and I, without being at all prescriptive. Self-expression has no limits, and we’re wanting to be as open as possible in the early stages to see what comes up – you can always pull back and refine later.
How did you approach the topic of self-expression and what did each of you want to bring to the tune?
We talked about what self-expression meant to each of us, which ultimately boiled down to authenticity and being vulnerable enough to tell your truth.
How has the Dell XPS enabled you to continue creating music, connect with inner passion, and connect with others on a usual day during NZ lockdown?
The Dell XPS has made collaborating online super easy! We all use different DAWs for our music production, which can slow things down – but the Dell XPS is very fast and seamless when it comes to exporting and sharing files, so we can work quickly and efficiently.
What inspiration did you use for the song ideation?
We’re going through a very strenuous and difficult lockdown in Auckland, New Zealand at the moment, which is affecting Brandon, Christiaan and myself. It was something that we could all relate to and draw inspiration from when writing this song, each bringing our own perspective of the situation from our individual experiences and circumstances.