Some things are just meant to be. Whilk & Misky, for example. Nima and Charlie, to use their real names, met in November 2012. Within three months, they were living together, making music and tearing up the blogosphere with their first ever production, ‘Wing Clipper’. They’ve pursued an near-vertical upwards trajectory ever since, chased by major labels before they’d even played a gig. In short, it’s been a whirlwind.
The attraction is clear. Whilk & Misky’s music fuses Nima’s brooding electronics with Charlie’s pinwheeling guitar and throaty vocals to make something like you’ve never heard before, something from the previously uncharted interface of techno, folk, electronica and the blues. ‘Wing Clipper’ sees Charlie lamenting lost love over a techno pulse and mournful piano, while ‘Darklands’ folds some manic organ breakdowns and reverb-drenched guitar chords into the mix. Nima explains how they chanced upon this unique sound. “I’m into soulless, really cold sounds and he is into really soulful lyrics, really tortured,” he says. “It’s the meeting of those two things.”
Back to the start. Charlie grew up in Kent, obsessed with Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry. Nima was born in Iran, moved to Dubai as a teenager, where he was the only goth in town, before falling in love with avant grade electronica. They met in London. Charlie was working in a Shoreditch diner. On his first night, Nima came in with his old band. Sultry looks were exchanged between Charlie and the singer, who invited him to their gig the following night. He was late, missed the performance and found out she was married. So he went drinking with Nima instead. It was the start of a great friendship. Three months later, when Nima needed a new flatmate, Charlie moved in.
In April last year, they wrote ’Wing Clipper’, the product of a jam session. They sent it to some music blogs, just for the hell of it. Out of 50, 30 wrote about it. It was an instant reaction. “Not long after that numerous majors picked up on it and started contacting us,” says Charlie. “They were hunting us down and making us offers. We hadn’t even played a gig at this point. All we had was a Soundcloud page with one song. We didn’t even really consider ourselves a band. We’d just made a track together.”When ‘Darklands’, got the same reaction a couple of months later, they decided to focus exclusively on making music together. It just felt right. Plus there was a full-on label race to sign them. Island secured their signatures after Nima and Charlie played a scout some tracks in their living room.
An intense summer of hedonism and music making followed, crowned by a rite of passage trip to Berlin, where Nima found his spiritual home at the legendary Berghain nightclub. The pair have written over 25 tracks so far. Their debut EP The First Sip features four: ‘Babe I’m Yours’, ‘Clap Your Hands’, ‘Darklands’ and ‘Love Lost’. It’s released on their own label, Dirty Charm. One thing that strikes you is the combination of electronics with lyrics that actually mean something. “I respect people like Alex Turner because of his social commentary,” says Charlie. “That’s what I’m trying to do with Whilk & Misky: tell stories.” For Whilk and Misky, the story has only just begun. But what a first chapter.