If you grew up in the 2000’s dance music era, when Ministry of Sound compilation albums influenced the taste of just about every electronic music fan in Australia, then Ninajirachi’s new EP, 4×4, is for you.
At its centre are the bass-driven EDM sonics and big drops of that golden era, but there’s also a sprinkling of newly-formed and booming genres like hyperpop throughout the EP.
“I’ve been pulling more inspiration from the dance music that got me into producing as a child,” the producer says while citing artists like Russian-German producer Zedd and American DJ Porter Robinson as influences. “All of these songs were made in the last few months with my good friends and they were made very quickly, mostly in under a day, they’re not that serious or deep, they felt fulfilling and easy to write and produce.”
Since bursting onto the scene in the late 2010’s as a teenager, Ninajirachi – born Nina Wilson – has established herself as one of the most appreciated Australian electronic producers, simultaneously garnering respect from the experimental underground and the mainstream. Her music is effortlessly consumable while crucially remaining innovative in its approach. It’s a sonic direction that’s landed her slots at renowned festivals like Lollapalooza, Beyond the Valley, and Spilt Milk, as well as support slots with the likes of Charli XCX.
Ninajirachi’s new EP fondly recalls 2000’s electro-house and dance-pop, reminding listeners of a time of carefree fun that existed before electronic music became prone to excessive seriousness and gatekeeping. The tracks on 4×4 are inviting and warm, bolstered by appearances from Ravenna Golden on the opening track “1×1” and Kota Banks on “Kota on the Plane”.
“The opportunity to work with Nina was such a privilege. Working with other women in music, especially producers, is always so exciting, but beyond that, the song is an absolute banger and I’m thrilled to have it out in the world,” says Ravenna.
Unironically named 4×4 – after a uniformed rhythm popularly used in dance music which sees the beat burst on every count – the EP is Ninajirachi’s most effortless release yet that sees her “becoming the producer I dreamed of being.”
“Sometimes it takes a while to release music after it’s made, and by the time it comes out, you’ve mentally moved on from it. This is not the case with 4×4 EP, it’s totally where my head is at right now and I’m really proud of it,” she adds.
To celebrate the release of 4×4, Ninajirachi took Rolling Stone AU/NZ through each track on the EP, discussing the stories behind each one’s conception, working with Ravenna and Kota, and why this is one of her favourite releases to date.
Ninajirachi’s 4×4 EP is out now via NLV Records.
“1×1” (ft. Ravenna Golden)
This is kinda the style of music that raised me. All of my first productions when I was 12 were stabs at big 2010’s dance-pop/EDM songs. I think I’ve improved a bit since then, so it’s been fun to try that style again a literal decade later. I loved working with Ravenna too, she is so charismatic and fun to be with in the studio. We’ve been online mutuals for probably around five years, so it was really cool to meet in LA in 2022 and I’m stoked that she was able to come and play the Dark Crystal shows with me in Australia this year.
This song also kinda inspired the whole EP. My last release, Second Nature, was much less DJ-friendly and didn’t have any straight-down-the-line 4×4 dance songs on it, even though some of my most popular songs have been in that style. After I had that realisation and made “1×1” with Ravenna, I thought it would be funny if “1×1” was track one on an EP called 4×4, made up of 4x 4×4 songs.
People who have followed me for a while know that I usually make my music alone, but this year I spent so much time in America touring and making music collaboratively and I learned a lot from observing my collaborators in the studio. “Undo U” is one of my favourite songs that came from my travels this year because it was basically done in a day, it was so fun and easy.
I made it with my friend Jack Laboz, it was the first time we had ever met and the song came together in just a few hours. It’s a made up story about accidentally witnessing a crime and knowing that you could bring someone undone with what you saw.
After we made “Undo U” together so quickly, Jack and I were like, ‘We need to do this again as soon as possible.’ So we planned another studio day, and “Wayside” was the second song we made together. Jack really gets me and we will definitely make more music together.
“Wayside” was probably the song that took the longest to finish in terms of time spent on it – I spent weeks on it after our session doing the finishing touches and some restructuring. It does actually sound quite different from the first version. I really love it though.
There’s a video for “Wayside” too. I made it with Passive Kneeling in LA the day after I played Lollapalooza and Hard Summer. We were pretty rekt from the shows and travelling and kinda fed our delirium into the video. It was really fun and silly.
“Kota on the Plane” (Kota Banks)
We literally made the song on a plane over two years ago. She [Kota] thought I was gonna change the title but I think it’s cute as is. We love to joke that we could make a song together under any circumstances, so we made this on a flight from Sydney to Hobart in 2021 when she was going there to play a festival.
I forgot about it for a while and then unearthed it a few months ago. I needed one more song for my EP and it was perfect. The original version is very short and rough and much slower, plus we recorded new vocals because the original ones were literally recorded on the plane and full of background noise. Kota is one of my best friends for life, and I think we could make a song together anywhere.