INTERVIEW with Nic Rollo; Just Focus On Improving Your Music


Nic Rollo would have to be one of the most talented artists I’ve seen of late. With super cool new music that’s incredibly catchy with the driving beat behind his latest single, ‘Monster’, showcasing his effortless vocals and producing skills with a sound that is new, yet familiar.   

Hailing from Perth, Australia, why am I not surprised. As I’ve said before, there must be something in the water over in the west. 

Rollo’s personal musical tastes include acts such as The Weeknd and Drake and shows determination and dedication to his art which is apparent throughout our interview.

 

 

Australian Indie Artist


Enchanting, Beautiful & Delicate Music from Young Indie Artist, Sage

MT: Hi Nic, how long have you been singing for and who are some of your musical influences? When did you know music was your calling and when did you figure out why you needed to pursue music as your career?

Nic: Hello hello.  I’ve been singing since I was 15 and have been really focusing on improving for the past 2-3 years after getting a good vocal coach.  It’s been those last few years that I’ve seen the most progress.  Musical influence wise there’s quite a lot, ranging from Tears for Fears, Bonobo, The Weeknd, Drake, etc etc.  I like to listen to as much music as I can to expand those musical horizons.  Ever since I started getting into recording and producing I loved the idea of being a musician, and I think the further I got into it the more it became clear that this was what I was going to do with my life. 

 

MT: Was it a conscious decision to pursue a music career or was it something you just loved, and fell into?

Nic:  It was definitely just something I did a lot of as a hobby that started becoming more and more a pathway I wanted to pursue as a career.  It was about halfway through my uni degree that I really decided I was going to commit to music after recording an EP that sounded better than anything I’d done before.

 

MT: Who do you enjoy listening to as a fan?

Nic: There’s a few, acts like The Weeknd and Drake have been huge inspirations of mine for the longest time.  More recently I’ve been really enjoying Conan Gray and Kacey Musgraves.  These questions are always tricky, I feel like I listen to new stuff every week so my favourite tracks are typically just that week/months findings.

 

MT: When was your very first recording and release?

Nic: Well there were a few tracks back from when I was 15 that I uploaded to my soundcloud and shared with my friends (it sucks).  Here have a listen if you want to hear a poorly recorded, produced, written and mixed song from young Nic.  Aside from those early attempts at music, I recorded a song with my previous band Deli Days (Time-Bomb, which is still on Spotify etc).  It was super exciting going into a proper recording studio for that for the first time, and hearing back a polished song was amazing.  I think those first few times will stay with me forever, there was something magical about it.

 

MT: Can you explain more about the meaning of the ‘Monster’ and how it ties into your music goals?

Nic: Monster is about saying things that you regret, essentially.  It was written during a turbulent time in a previous relationship where it felt like I kept saying petty things that would slowly cause more and more conflict.  The song is about trying to watch those inner demons.  I guess Monster was one of the first songs that I started writing with more of a commercial sound in mind, not that it’s even that hifi.  So I guess it stands as the starting point to a more refined sound from my music. 

 

MT: Do you perform live? Where can people see you perform?

NicI do perform live, although I’ve been taking a break for the past few months to focus on other areas of music like writing songs.  They can see me perform around Perth, and perhaps over East later in the year!

 

MT: I love how the video clip is shot, there looks to be a lot digging going on; how long did you have to dig for and how long did it take to shoot the video?

Nic: Thanks!  Yeah there was certainly a fair amount of digging, although not as much as you might think for a human sized hole.  I was probably only digging for 10 minutes to get it reasonably sized.  The video itself was shot over 2 nights and probably took somewhere between 10-15 hours in total (including driving to scenes, setting up etc ec).  It was a lot of fun!

MT: I see that you are also a producer, so I’m assuming you produced ‘Monster’; How did you begin producing and have you produced other artists’ tracks?

Nic: I sure did.  Producing was never a conscious thought or decision to pursue, I’ve always done it ever since I started writing my own songs.  Over the years (I like to think) I’ve honed the craft to a point where I’m pretty happy with it, although I actively try and improve all the time.  At this stage I have not produced for other artists, but I’d love to at some point in the future!

 

MT: I see that ‘Monster was mastered by Chris Gehringer (Harry Styles, Rihanna and Halsey); what was the experience like working with a person of this calibre?

Nic: Mastering is a bit of a dark art, you send the track to them and they sort of magic it up and send it back.  So in that sense I had very little contact with Chris, but he did a fantastic job.  It’s cool working with people of such high calibres, largely because you don’t have to worry too much about if they’re doing a good or bad job (since they typically do a good job).

 

MT: What’s the best piece of advice that you have received in which you stand by?

Nic: It’s probably some iteration of ‘ be so good that they can’t ignore you’.  I feel like in the music industry you really do have to be creating fantastic music to stand out, so that’s what I try to do.  I’m not saying I’m fantastic, but that’s the goal one day.

 

MT: What has been your biggest challenge in your music career so far? How did you overcome that obstacle?

Nic: It’s probably just the resistance at times I’ve faced from other people in the Perth scene to get around the music I’m creating, both industry people and artists.  I think back when I was starting I had this expectation of everyone jumping on board the Nic Rollo train and saying ‘wow this is incredible’, but obviously that didn’t happen (probably for good reasons).  It was a good thing though, it forced me to focus and work harder on improving the music which I think is the most critical task anyway.

 

MT: From what you have learned about your challenges in the music business?

Nic: You just have to keep going and ignore the others around you.  Everyone is on a different timeline/trajectory, so there’s often no point in comparing yourself to other artists who are doing well.  I think the music industry is one of the industries that can be kind of fickle sometimes, so it’s a good strategy to just focus on improving your music as much as you can and hopefully the industry/scenes will get around it at some point.

Australian Indie Artist

 

MT: I saw on Instagram that you can cook up a pretty mean Chocolate cake! What’s a typical day for you? Do you work on your music every day? What other activities or hobbies besides music do you like to do that your fans may like to know about?

Nic: Hahaha thank you, it’s some of my finest work.  A typical day often revolves around music, I’ll try to do a bit of writing/producing every day, as well as practicing instruments.  Lately I’ve been teaching music lessons so that will often occupy a few hours in the afternoon.  In terms of other hobbies, I spend a lot of time trying to craft social media content (lately the focus has been TikTok), so that can take up a disgusting amount of time sometimes.  Aside from that I like hanging with my cat Tiggy.

 

MT: Just curious to know about your cat, Tiggy; What on earth is he lying in, were you preparing him for the ‘Monster’ clip or something? Lol

Nic: Tiggy is my favourite and least favourite creature on the planet.  She’s amazing, but she also has a love of peeing on my bed occasionally which isn’t my favourite thing in the world.  She’s probably lying in this big tunnel toy that I got her, she loves to play in it.  Yeah… Monster is actually about Tiggy, she’s evil.

  

MT: Can you tell us why it took so long to release ‘Monster’? 

Nic: I’ve been running on a timeline roughly a year ahead of schedule.  I recorded an EP a few years ago, and an album at the start of last year.  So when I started releasing the EP I was finishing the album.  Monster was always going to be one of the first singles for the end of 2019 / beginning of 2020, and by the time I released it I’d been sitting on the song for pretty much a year.  It was a little bit painful holding onto one of my favourite tracks for so long, but it was worth it.

 

MT:   What are your music plans for 2020? Will we see an EP or Album?

Nic: Lots of releases!  I’ve got a tonne of songs to release over the next few months, and an album that will hopefully drop by the end of this year or beginning of next year.  I’m also looking forward to setting up a few collaborations with other artists this year, as well as ideally a bit of touring later in the year.  All in all it’s looking to be a pretty exciting year.

 

MT: Thank you so much for your time Nic, wishing you all the best! 

INTERVIEW with Nic Rollo; Just Focus On Improving Your Music

INTERVIEW with Nic Rollo; Just Focus On Improving Your Music

Captivating Dark Eerie New Pop Music Monster from Perth’s Nic Rollo


 

Australian Indie Artist

Perth based producer and songwriter Nic Rollo has announced his driving, eerie new single Monster, about identifying and quelling the monster within us all. Accompanying the track is a dark, revolving film clip, directed by Alex Montanari (Cub Sport, What So Not, Khalid) and Matthew James. Monster follows the 2019 release of Nic’s brilliant, iridescent EP What Happened to the Kid.

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Monster will feel familiar to anyone who has said something in frustration or anger that they regret after the fact – the track is an introspective interrogation of that remorse, and what it’ll take to tame the inner monster who is responsible for those biting remarks. Reminiscent of synth-pop auteurs M83 and indie rockers The Wombats, and mastered by pop royalty Chris Gehringer (Harry Styles, Rihanna, Halsey), the track is buoyed by glistening synths, hooky guitar and driving percussion – while Nic’s gentle vocals and arresting lyrics take centre stage.  

Reflecting on the inspiration behind the track, Nic explains, 

Monster was written during a previous relationship of mine when things were a bit shaky.  There were a few times that I’d said something to my ex that had started to cause fractures in the relationship and unnecessary conflict.  Monster is about that side of myself that I don’t always like  – the part that is impulsive and lashes out when I should just hold my tongue.”The video for Monster feels like the beginning of a horror film – there’s a sense of suspense, as though the calm atmosphere of the night-driving scenes will not last for much longer.  It’s a beautiful watch too – the lights passing in the night as the song plays out feels like a perfect representation of the moody nature of the music. Speaking about the clip, Nic says, “The video for Monster is a narrative based video that features a lot of driving and aims to be aesthetically pleasing.  Matthew James, Alex Montanari and I came together to think about the video a few months back and we all had this vibe of the song revolving around driving and having dark colours. The story itself is supposed to be slightly confusing – am I driving to the burial or from the burial?  Am I burying the monster or is the monster burying me?”

The release of Monster is a killer way to kick off 2020 for this exciting young artist, as he enthuses, “It feels fantastic to finally be releasing Monster.  I wrote the song over a year ago and have been sitting on it for what feels like forever now.  To date, it is probably my favourite song that I’ve written, and I’m super stoked to finally be able to share it with people.”

STREAM MONSTER

Captivating Dark Eerie New Pop Music Monster from Perth’s Nic Rollo

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