Double celebration

Twins celebrate their 50th birthdays: In The Nursery's Nigel and Klive Humberstone
Twins celebrate their 50th birthdays: In The Nursery's Nigel and Klive Humberstone
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FEW band members can say they have clocked up a century together.

Then there surely aren’t that many musical concerns entirely fuelled by twin brothers.

Sheffield’s In The Nursery are currently celebrating 30 years since their first gig – a month after Nigel and Klive Humberstone toasted their 50th birthday.

With such landmarks it is timely they’ve not only released a new album but have received some of the strongest reviews of their career.

“People seem pretty amazed we were celebrating 100 years together,” quips Nigel. “And it seems like we’re doing something right with the music because the reviews we’ve had have been amazing.

“Maybe we’ve finally put together all we’ve learned over the past 30 years and produced something that we’re going to be remembered for because people are saying it’s our best album yet. It’s funny it’s taken us this long to do it, but it’s good we still can.”

Certainly Blind Sound harnesses many of the traits that have made ITN stand out among not only a Sheffield scene but also on an international scale which has embraced their knack for dramatic music for films not yet made.

“That’s often the direction we aim for,” says Nigel. “That’s what inspires us to make music – the images we get when we’re writing music. This all culminated from the work we’ve done in films, TV and trailers.”

That includes soundtracking the trailer for Interview With A Vampire, a piece of music recently picked up again for fellow Sheffield Sean Bean’s new blockbuster Game Of Thrones.

While Nigel admits that is good profile and quite lucrative it doesn’t quite lead people to find their music because of the lack of credits, unlike the three tracks featured in US series La Femme Nikita which has people still purchasing their tunes on iTunes.

In a career that incorporates 28 albums, ITN have worked as Les Jumeaux as well as bringing new musical life to some classic old silent films.

Blind Sound is just as big on drama and features more vocals from the twins beside their trademark big timpani and symphonic sound.

“This album is heavily rhythm and drum based because we wanted something we could perform live. We wanted quite a striking and dominant album.

“People have described it as bleak and dark which I suppose is one interpretation but it’s very... dramatic, is probably a better way of putting it.

“There’s a lot of bass guitar on the album too and a bit of guitar, a little harking back to our beginnings.

“It’s not a retrospective album, though. We feel it’s a culmination of everything we’ve learnt.

“Blind Sound for us represents our relationship with music. There’s no real boundaries when you produce a piece of audio. If you play it in the air it doesn’t stop, it goes through buildings, glass and metal.

“While we didn’t have a concept album when we started we knew what type of album we wanted it to be. So there’s a lot of vocals from myself and Klive – the tracks did feel like they needed that and I suppose we’ve got a bit more confident.”

Live demands have taken them far and wide, building a strong fanbase in Italy, Mexico and Germany.

“They got it in the 1980s and kept hold of it,” he says of the Europeans, “whereas the Brits got it and then something else came along and they disregarded it. Rather than change with fashion we kept on doing what we’ve been inspired to do.”

And they further mark their milestone year and 30 years since the live debut at Psalter Lane Art College with their first hometown headliner in 10 years at the City Hall Ballroom on Thursday as part of the Sensoria festival of film and music, part organised by Nigel.

“It’s interesting to look back at how we worked then, what we were producing, and now. There’s not a lot different, we’re just using different sounds and we’re a bit more accomplished.

“We’ve tuned our ears a bit more to what we want to do but we’ve kept along the same route with our unique sound. We haven’t compromised or gone off track. We’ve stayed true to what we wanted to do with music.”

And they remain a prime example of a cottage industry, still doing everything from writing and producing the albums to designing artwork and mailing finished CDs to customers. Blind Sound has kept them busy.

“We’ve been stunned by the number of pre-sales at a time when people aren’t buying CDs – it’s been our best ever release.”