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Interview: Nick Deutsch
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
- Because my mom was a teaching pianist, I grew up witnessing the example that you could thrive as a musician, the access to a concert grand piano was literally always steps away. I was really lucky because I essentially grew up dancing to Scott Joplin Tunes and falling asleep to Beethoven and Bill Evans. I saw how music was able to calm many nerves, and I wanted to be able to have that effect on the world. The discipline really focuses the mind and provides so much relief and joy in the community. If I wasn’t working with music, I’d definitely be working with animals. I’d have loved a career training dolphins or working with wildlife in some capacity.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Meditation, walks in nature and video games are my go to escape routes. Meditation brings me closer to myself, walks in nature allow me to feel connected to the earth and video games are almost like living movies. The narratives are so rich these days that you end up feeling really connected to the storytelling. I definitely get a lot of ideas when my brain is calm, and walking in nature allows the space for different melodies or song lyrics to flow freely. I often have to keep my voice memo app open just to capture any ideas that come along the path. Video games really just expand my horizons of reality these days. They also remind me of being a kid - and I think that innocence is helpful to reach to when writing. It’s a good way to calm the adult critic.
How long have you been around as an artist?
I recorded my first album at Hinge Studios in Chicago when I was 13 - so over 20 years now.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I grew up in the suburbs of chicago. Ben Folds early work really speaks about the American suburb experience. I think for me, I had so many different styles of music embedded within my own writing that I just have to narrow down what genre and style I’m trying to fit into.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
Because I am primarily a solo artist, I just go by my birth name. I’ve thought of changing it or having an Alias, but because my music is pretty personal I feel it’s better that I just stay as close to me as possible.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Having lived in NYC for about 13 years you end up playing a ton of odd venues. I once was asked to play at an arts festival that had no sound set up, just an empty space with strange artwork and almost painted black lights. It was absolutely bizarre. They were running like 3 hours behind and it was almost 3 am by the time I went on. It was definitely an experience. One of my favorite shows is playing the New York Songwriter’s Circle Holiday Showcase. This past December I got to sing alongside Judy Gold and Joey McIntyre and being around that star energy makes you reach for the stars. I was really happy with my performance that night.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Rockwood Music Hall is probably my favorite in the city. I love the ambience and dedication to the music. No one is hounding you, the space is beautiful and people come because they know they will hear great music. I’ve always wanted to play the Listening Room Cafe in Nashville. That’s like the ultimate space dedicated to songwriting.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Kacey Musgraves, Calum Scott, Jane Monheit, One Republic, The Fray and Mariah Carey. If Amy Winehouse was still alive, I would forgo all of them for her. Quite a diverse line up, but each has played a role in shaping aspects of my sound.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
You have to join songwriting/music organizations and begin to build a team. Networking is crucial for long term success. \ Find good people who you can trust to help shape your image, sound and story. Success is a team effort - even as a solo artist there’s countless people behind the scenes helping to shape the narrative.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
The Music will always be there. Take time to do other things that help nurture you as a human. Your time isn’t as limited as you think.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Off the new record, I really can’t say. This is the first record where each song stands on its own and tells a different story. It feels like asking to pick a child. I am very excited about some of the later tracks specifically, Still You and Oasis because the few people that have heard them have raved about them. Off later tracks I always love playing Crazy Ride because that song just ropes everything in with the melody and piano.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I’m testing songs out on this new record, so it’s hard for me to say. During my live streams people are asking for songs of my first EP, Crazy Ride a lot because of the energy. It will probably take some time before everyone hears the entire new record and picks a favorite.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Life. I’ve never been someone who needs inspiration to write. I feel like my life is just offering up the lyric material constantly. Not every idea will become a song or hook me - but I feel like the major themes I write about, love, heartbreak and self discovery will forever be written about. They are the cornerstones of our existence.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I try to share personal joy/pain to hopefully connect with people and let them know they aren’t alone in their own life experiences. I definitely heavily write about relationships, but I also feel that as humans and social beings - we are all in relation to someone or something all the time. I really just try to share the message that I understand what you’re going through, and it’s part of being
Do you ever have disagreements in collaborations, and how do you get past them?
Sometimes only in that I tend to go very detailed, and that doesn’t work for all genres of music. Some pop songs just can’t be as lyrical as country or folk vice versa. I tend to go very narrative because that’s what personally moves me, so I try to reach a compromise when cowriting goes awry.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I’ll be releasing new music every month for the next 5 months so we have a lot coming up! I would say stay tuned for the Monsters Music Video set to debut June 12th and the New York Songwriter’s Circle Showcase for Monday June 15th. Definitely take a look at my website and feel free to request a song for my livestream cover series as well.