SoManyBands Flashback: Nicole Atkins - 03.08.2005

Someone had posted about Nicole on Livejournal. I checked out her music on myspace and was just blown away. Great talent here.

KD: When did you first realized you wanted to play music?

Nicole: I guess there were two different moments. The first being when I was in 8th grade. These boys in my class had a band and they practiced everyday after school. I was in the back seat of my parents car listening to Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker," on my walkman. I just imagined myself walking into their band practice and ripping the Heartbreaker guitar solo. Ha ha. Then the other moment was when I saw Madder Rose open up for the Sundays when I was in 9th grade. Mary Lorson's veins were popping out of her arm when she played guitar. I wanted that.

KD: What inspires you to write your music?

Nicole: Lots of stuff. I guess the inspiration comes in phases. At first I was writing about thoughts on suburban life, then after NYC I was inspired to write about the fall out of a lot of my friends after we began to experience the deaths of some of our friends. Now lots of things insire my songs. Boats, old people, ghosts, cars, men, ya know, stuff.

KD: You just finished the "Party's Over" LP, how did you feel when you realized the cd was ready to go?

Nicole: I felt really excited and a bit scared. David Muller (the producer) and I worked really hard all summer on "Party's Over." It was fun, suprising, a bit tense at times. Then after it was finished we were like, "Man, this sounds epic. Now how the fuck are we gonna pull this off live."

KD: How was recording the LP like? Any memorable moments to share?

Nicole: Well, the places we recorded the record were pretty interesting. We recorded a bit of it in David's closet sized bedroom on Avenue C. We did almost all the drum sounds in there, sitting on a bed, playing a floor tom and snare. Another funny moment was right after we finished recording Neptune City," at the Dietch Space in Brooklyn. We worked for about 15 hours that day. After it was finished we were on our way to a party full of rich folk and David looked at me and said, "Funny, after all that work and we still have nothing." In a way, that moment made me feel better than I had in years.

KD: Now you have a full band, how did you find everyone? Do you like performing with a full band or by yourself the most?

Nicole: Dan Chen (keys) found my songs on and sent me a message saying he wanted to be in my band. We had some mutual friends and when I met him and Dan Mintzer (drums) they already knew all the songs. I met Damien a day later. Casey also found us on a month after that. Not only is he a great guitarist but he gave me his childhood ALF doll on first rehearsal. That definitely scored him some points. I guess I got lucky. It's rare to meet people who are talented, creative and super cool to hang out with right off the bat, if ever. I definitely prefer playing with a band. I like writing with a band. It takes the songs so much further. Especially this band. Railroad to the moon type of band.

KD: Neptune City is one of my favorite songs of yours. How did you go about writing that song?

Nicole: I wrote the melody while I was making pasta with my sister Courtney and then I wrote the words on the train to the city to record the music. Two weeks after that I rewrote the words maybe four times. The songs was originally about the widow of a Puerto Rican knife fight victim.

KD: Which one of your songs has the most meaning to you and why?

Nicole: Probably, "Great Idea," This was the first song that David and I recorded almost a year before the rest of the songs on this record. This song was originally a romantic lament about the smoking ban on bars in NYC. When we were in the middle of recording this song, we learned that one of our good friends had just passed away. After that, the whole song took on a new meaning.

KD: What upcoming projects do you have going on?

Nicole: I'm getting ready to go down to North Carolina to open up for my friend, Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers. We're doing a two night stand at the Old Courthouse Theatre in Concord, NC. After that, I move to Brooklyn, iron out a few line-up things with the band (i.e, backup singers!!) and hopefully get on to recording some of the new songs the band and I have recently written.

KD: What would people be surprised to know about you?

Nicole: I usually wear glasses, I know how to play the guitar solos to more than one Slayer song (thanks paul) and no, i don't want to go to your house and see your record collection.