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            We got a chance to catch up with Nico Rivers, a folk solo singer and songwriter who brings his roots from the Northeast to Los Angeles, where he’s currently brewing up his upcoming debut solo EP, Thicker Than Water.  Expect to hear personal and raw music recorded at home with a few guitars and a kick drum that’ll take you to the northeast sandpits, throwing molotovs at wrecked car whilst enjoying a bottle of whiskey. We had a chance to pull at Nico River’s heartstrings as we talked about where his sound comes from.

Tunage: You’ve traveled a lot as a songwriter and solo artist, how has that affected your work?

Nico Rivers: Well, I’ve seen a lot throughout America, I haven’t been out of the country yet. But, I’ve pulled influence from all over the place, from New Orleans streets to places like Native American ruins in New Mexico mountains, all the way up to Montana, and all that stuff is influential when it comes to writing my music. A lot of the scenery that I depict in my songs, the bayous, the mountains have all played a huge role.

T: Tell us a crazy story you’ve experienced in your travels.

NR: One time, my brother and I when we were in Longview, Texas, we were staying in this hotel room and we had all our gear in the car and we took our guitars inside. We got a phone call at 4 in the morning, so I hopped up and said hello, and no one said anything so I hung up. I thought it was strange, but I went back to sleep thinking someone probably just had the wrong number. About two minutes someone just pounded on our door. We had my brother’s dog with us, she’s a Boxer Pitbull, and she just hopped up and started barking. I jumped out of bed to see through the peephole to see who was there, but by the time I even got to the door there was a car in the parking lot just pulling out and speeding away. So we probably dodged a bullet there, who knows.

T: What part of the U.S. is your favorite place to perform and why?

NR: Anywhere that has a real stage. You know, it’s hard to pick a favorite place. One thing I’ve always loved about the Northeast (I grew up there) is that there’s this real authentic folk scene going on in the Northeast. While working at a radio station in Boston, I was lucky enough to experience a lot of it first hand, recording a lot of great acts coming through. Growing up with that, that’s always been so influential for me, and it’s always a blast to play in your hometown. Playing in Boston in particular, I love the whole Northeast in general.

T: Where there any defining moment in your life when you decided music is what you wanted to do?

NR: Well my first concert ever was Weird Al Yankovic; that was a blast. But I’ve always been drawn to music. I’ve always loved singing; straight back to as long as I can remember when I was 5 years old, singing to Michael Jackson. I think the first ultimate thing that made me decide it was something I wanted to do with my life is probably the first time I heard “Speak of the Devil” by Ozzy Osbourne and something just clicked in me. Right after I heard “War Pigs” pretty much was just “Holy Shit! I wanna make noises like that!”

T: With your debut solo EP coming around the corner, what can listeners expect to hear?

 

NR: The “Thicker Than Water” EP is five or six songs, and one of them is kind of on the fence right now, but all of the songs are all songs that deal with relationships, whether it’s a romantic relationship, a friendship, or a family member. So all the songs pull from relationships that are thicker than water, that whole kind of concept.

T: After you release the EP, I’d imagine you’re going to be touring, what are some places you’d like to perform at?

 

NR:  This being my first EP as a solo artist, I’m not planning anything too crazy just yet. Once it’s done, released, and available online, I’m going to be running a southwest tour, hitting Arizona, California, Nevada. I’m hoping to make it up the northwest, make it at least to Oregon, hopefully up to Washington. Meanwhile I’ll be working on the album, so once that’s out; a bigger tour will be put together.

T: What’s your favorite song off your EP and why?

NR: I would have to say “Molotov’s and Medicine”, just because that’s a very personal song. Growing up in a small town, being kids we’d find placed to find things to do, and there were these sand pits, in our hometown, that once you’re in the sandpits, you can do whatever, and as long as no one’s screaming bloody murder, you’re not going to be bothered. So we used to go out there a lot and once in a while my buddy Brenden would being five bucks worth of gasoline, so we’d just drink beers, pour a little gas in the bottles and make a Molotov. There just sp happened to always be a car out there that was already burnt out, so what better target? So that tune makes me look back at my past and childhood, and overall good times.

T: You have a distinct southern folk sound to your songs that you’ve released so far, who’s been your biggest influence in your music?

NR: My parents have always been very influential to my creativity. A lot of the things I  listened to growing up, were influenced by them, listening to The Beatles, Bob Dylan… It crosses over to Gram Parsons, Neil Young, and a lot of the things going on like Bright Eyes, Connor Oberst, Delta Spirit. I’ve always just loved blues.

T: If you had any choice to play with any musician in the world (dead or alive) who would it be?

NR: Weird Al would be a blast! I think I would go with Weird Al, just cause he could play any song by anybody and put some good lyrics with it. But I would absolutely love to play with Neil Young, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, just about any of the legends from the 60’s on.

            Nico Rivers’ Thicker Than Water will be released on March 27th. Till then, here’s where you can get the singles he’s released for free. And don't forget to give him a thumb on his facebook page here where you can keep up on his feed.

Check out the exclusive poster design by yours truly at Tunage magazine in the media page!

Keep strumming those heartstring, friends.
     -Tunage


Written by Deanna Trombley
 


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