Q & A

NABI­HAH IQBAL talks to RU­PERT HOWE about how iden­tity, teen jams and An­cient Egypt shaped her first LP.

Q (UK) - - Q Review -

Why did you choose to use your real name for this al­bum?

“I guess what it comes down to is think­ing about iden­tity. I know that the place I oc­cupy is quite spe­cial. Over the past few years I’ve re­ceived a lot of mes­sages from eth­nic mi­nor­ity peo­ple say­ing that it was in­spi­ra­tional to see me do­ing what I’m do­ing. It got me think­ing that maybe I should just be re­ally up­front about who I am be­cause it could be quite a pow­er­ful thing.”

You sing and play all the in­stru­ments – was that mak­ing a state­ment, too?

“When I was writ­ing and record­ing it was just me – there was no other op­tion. I like col­lab­o­rat­ing, but with this project, I wanted to do it all my­self. I re­ally wanted my de­but al­bum to be a tes­ta­ment to that.”

There’s a post-punk feel, which is quite dif­fer­ent for you – how did that come about?

“When I first went into the stu­dio I was con­scious of not think­ing too much about how I wanted it to sound. I knew I wanted to in­cor­po­rate the gui­tar more, but it took me by sur­prise when it started sound­ing like the mu­sic I was in­flu­enced by as a teenager.”

Where does the ti­tle’s Egyp­tian ref­er­ence fit in?

“I’m in­ter­ested in an­cient be­lief sys­tems in gen­eral, al­though I didn’t come up with the ti­tle till the last day. One rea­son I wanted the weigh­ing scales as the art­work is be­cause the old­est ex­am­ple of those scales was found at an arche­o­log­i­cal site in Pak­istan, which is my her­itage. They’re from 10,000BC or some­thing, which is pretty crazy.”

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