Rebel Noise

Interview with Nic Nassuet

by Jen Dan Jul 24, 2015

 
Interview with Nic Nassuet 
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Passionate gothic folk-rock singer-songwriter Nic Nassuet drops details about his recent album, song creation, music awards, and much more.

 

Hey there, Nic!  Great to meet you and find out more about your unique gothic folk-rock style of music.  Your striking new album Eleutherios has been out since April and you’ve been playing a lot of gigs around California, particularly in the Hollywood area where you reside.  What has the reception been like to your new songs?

Hi Jen!  Thanks for having me.  The reception has been really great among fans from many different genres.  Some people tend to gravitate toward the heavier, throatier, songs, and others have said that they prefer the light vocals and strings, but everybody has found something to like on the album.

I read that you had to go to the hospital in April after playing onstage one night (maybe at the album release party?)!  What happened and are you fully recovered now?

Ah, well… That’s a weird situation.  I host an open mic night and concert series on Hollywood Boulevard.  I was singing “Down”, a song about opiates, when I got a searing headache that felt like I had been hit by four semi-trucks simultaneously.  I started to lose vision, and audio perception, and then I felt myself going down, so I was taken to the ER. They gave me a bunch of IV opiates (ironically) and a spinal tap along with some other tests and came up with nothing.

They checked me into the hospital.  I got angry, tore out a couple of IVs, and ended up staying there for about a week before things just started to get better on their own.  At that point I went home. 

There is some residual dizziness, and pain, but nothing like it was.  This body has some issues from military training, an underlying autoimmune disorder, etc…  Sometimes it just attacks itself and that’s why we carry a wheelchair in the trunk.

Oh, sorry to hear about all that!  On a happier note, you’ve also just been nominated for a slew of awards at the Indie Music Channel Awards (and won for Best Male Alternative Artist), Hollywood Music in Media Award, and Akadamia Music Awards (and won for Best Alternative Acoustic Song and Best Album).  Congrats on your wins!  What is the process for trying to get nominated at these types of events?  Do you have to apply and submit song samples or do other people vote you in?  Just wondering how it all works!

Thanks!  Every award requires you to submit, or pay a membership fee - even the Grammys.  To submit material for consideration in the Grammys you have to be an academy member, and that requires applying, being accepted, and paying annual dues of $95. I fully expect songs from Eleutherios to be on the Grammy ballot this year, and I am working to make that happen.  IMC Awards are very similar to that, but there is a fee associated with the submission of materials as well.  The Hollywood Music in Media Awards doesn’t require membership, but does require submission fees.

In all of these organizations, either an individual or a panel of judges will review your submission and decide if you warrant a nomination.  From there, an individual category judge, or panel of judges, decides if you are the best in that category.

There are some awards that ask for a public vote, but I generally avoid those.  They strike me as popularity contests, and I am more interested in what industry professionals think.  It’s not like music is a contest, or competition; these things are mostly for PR, or for fun if you like that sort of thing.  It’s just one person’s, or a group’s, opinion, so you take any win or loss with a grain of salt.  I had never done it before, and wanted to understand the process, and thought it could help the music to be heard by more potential listeners.

Your voice is very powerful and I think there is an intriguing contrast between your passionate exclamations and deeper tone and the acoustic guitar arrangements that are augmented by strings and female vocals.  How did you dream up this unusual musical style? 

Dream is the right word.  Most of the songs come to me in dreams, and stay with me after I wake.  Some of them forcefully inject themselves into my waking thoughts.  When either of these things happens, I hum the song into a recorder.  I’ve even gotten up in the middle of meetings and gone to the bathroom to hum into my phone some song that has forced its way into my head.

Sometimes the songs come with words, but often they don’t.  After I record the humming version of it, I sit down on the guitar and plunk it out.  After hearing it, a word appears in my mind.  That becomes the title.  From there, words appear, and I record them.  Those become the lyrics.  Sometimes I don’t know what the song is even about until it is completed, and then I am able to interpret what the voices were telling me.

Some, like “Immured”, are the result of a strange flash of conversation in song that seems to come from somewhere outside of me.  That song really felt like a ghost and the man she haunted needed to have their story told, so I wrote out what I heard them saying.

Of the 9 songs on Eleutherios, which one is closest to your heart?  I feel the deepest track lyrically and emotionally is “The Nothing”, which combines gentle verses with dramatic chorus sections.  The lyrics are bleak “I am nothing / I have gone away / I stand before you / but I am so far away.”  What experience did you base this song on?

Every song on the album is close to my heart.  Each one has a theme, and an essence, with deep personal meaning.  Together, the way they are placed on the album, tells a story about loss, addiction, suicide, and redemption in death.

When lyrics come to me, I use them.  It feels more like the song is telling me what to say, rather than me coming up with lyrics.  They obviously come from somewhere deep within. 

“I am nothing” is pretty straightforward.  We are all nothing.  One thousand years from now nothing we do will have mattered.  I don’t see this as a reason to be unhappy though; it just means that you should do what makes you happy right now, and not worry so much about what others think.

I remember one time that I was in bed with a lover when she said to me “Where are you?  You’re so far away.”  I was right next to her, but she was correct.  The fact that she noticed I was far away, in spite of being next to her, caused me to admire her deeply.  I think that may be the part of my mind that this verse came from.

One of my favorite tracks off Eleutherious is “When It Falls”.  It has a distinctive groove to it; possibly the only song off the album with a drum beat.  It feels like an acoustic version of a rock song, but given some percussive swagger from the drums.  Can you go into the details of how you created this song?

“When It Falls” probably took about five to ten minutes to create.  It really wrote itself.   I just flipped my switch internally, made myself receptive to whatever is within and without that brings the music, and then recorded what I heard.

Who is singing the female vocal parts on the album?  Who is playing the stringed instruments like mandolin, cello, upright bass, and violin?

Both live and in studio, Catrina Grimm is the female vocalist.  I play the mandolin and guitar.  William Stewart played the upright bass, cello, viola, and violins.  William lives in France and has led some of the most prestigious orchestras in Europe.  He’s also a hell of a great guy.  You should check out his work.

Where does the album’s title Eleutherios come from?  Besides your album, the only reference I can find online is to a design by Serge-Stiles.  Who did the eye-catching, foreboding cover artwork?

I am not familiar with Serge-Stiles, but I am going to look this up.

Eleutherios means “Liberator” in ancient Greek.  It was a name for Dionysus.  Dionysus Eleutherios liberated through wine, song, and madness.  Followers of Dionysus Eleutherios made sacrifices to the dead, believing that Dionysus was the arbiter between the living and the dead.  They worshipped him through mad, drunken orgies in the forests on the outskirts of society.

I bought this album cover, and the rights to it, from a Russian man named Vlad.  I don’t think he was the actual artist though.  I think he was just the middleman.  I have no idea who did the actual artwork on the cover.

Are you signed to Dirtshack Records and/or Tate Music Record Label? Which company put out your album or did you self-release it?

I was with Dirtshack, but we only recorded one song.  I never released that song.  Tate contacted me and offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse.  The next full length LP will be through Tate Music.  They are paying for the recording, the studio musicians, and publicity, and I get to keep the masters.  Unbeatable deal.

I created Dolor Records to own the rights to all of the music and act as publisher through the performing rights organizations, although I don’t manage it.  I leave that to more competent people. I released Eleutherios through Dolor, and will probably release the next EP, Torment - An Acoustic Tribute to Danzig, through Dolor as well, but the next LP will be through Tate since they have more money, and a wider reach, than Dolor.

You traveled to Nashville in March to further your connections in the music industry in the U.S. and possibly internationally.  How did all that go?

It went really well.  I had the chance to attend a workshop with Tom Jackson, a live music producer who has worked with all of the biggest names.  As a result of that interaction, our live shows have improved immensely.  If you saw us before I went to Nashville, then you haven’t really seen us yet.

I met a lot of really good people and musicians.  I’m actually booking a few of the musicians that I met there for shows at the café on Hollywood Boulevard where I book acoustic acts, and setting up dates in Denver, LA, and Mexico for a tour promoter I met with in Nashville.  Now that I think about it, it seems like my trip to Nashville was really good for *them* -hahaha!

I’ve got some friends in Japan who are looking at venues, and some other tour promoters looking to fill dates around the US.  Not sure if anything will come from that or not.

As far as record labels go, I learned that I have zero interest in working with the majors, or even most of the indie labels, at this point.  I think it is absurd that anyone would demand that you give them the rights to your music in exchange for a loan to produce an album.  That’s ridiculous.  You don’t give the bank the rights to use your home as they see fit in exchange for a mortgage.  That’s stupid.

You grew up on stage, playing main roles in musicals like Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Side Show, and Doomsday Cabaret.  And then you fronted various metal and punk bands.  What made you decide to strike out on your own as a singer-songwriter instead of staying in the theater stage environment or a rock band?

In 2013 we lost a child, so I sat and thought about what was important to me, and what life was really about for me.  I decided that life was about enjoyment, and if you aren’t enjoying your brief time on this Earth, then you’re doing something wrong.  I wasn’t enjoying life.  I was trying to be who others wanted me to be in order to get roles in film and television.  I was going out for major roles on major networks, but they were all stereotypes.  What made me happy, and what theater critics and patrons all seemed to like about me, was singing.

I set out to sing.  I didn’t want to sing other people’s music, so I had no choice but to write my own.  The music that I heard in my head wasn’t necessarily rock music, and I was limited in who I knew who could play well enough to make it worth the money spent on the studio.  I wrote the guitar, mandolin, bass, and vocal lines with the intention of playing them all in the studio. 

Also, rock bands are notorious for creating drama, and I don’t have the patience to chase five guys around to make sure they can get to rehearsal, and have time off of work to travel, so I wanted an act that I could do with just me and an acoustic guitar, or that could be modified to include a line-up of stellar musicians.

Now we have The Society of Sorrow as our backing band and it sounds amazing live.  Really high energy with lots of great moments, but if one of them gets fed up with me, or I get fed up with them, or someone moves out of town, or is in the hospital, I can still bring the show with just me and my guitar.

What’s next up for you in relation to your album?  Do you have more shows lined up and/or will you be putting out any videos?

We have a killer show lined up for July at the Viper Room.  That will be our last show for a little while.  I have to have surgery on my wrist, and that will take time to recover from.

I am planning to record several videos, but I am having a difficult time finding someone who is worth what they charge.  In Hollywood, everybody thinks that they are the next Steven Spielberg, and charges according to their warped self image, so I will probably shoot most of it out of state, if not out of the country.

Lastly, can you please list your official site(s) where we can find out more about you and your music?

Absolutely.  My home on the web is at www.nicnassuet.com.  I’m on Bandcamp at www.nicnassuet.bandcamp.com, on CD baby athttp://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/NicNassuet, and you can search my name on iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay, and Spotify to find the music.

- See more at: http://www.rebelnoi.se/articles/interview-with-nic-nassuet#sthash.PXG91ptt.dpuf

ET Entertwine Interview

“There is a tendency in audiences to try to assimilate and compare something powerful and original to another – to grasp or hold onto the known. But with Nic Nassuet, this tendency won’t hold. Nassuet rewrites the singer-songwriter user’s manual like Ritchie Havens, Ryan Adams, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake and other legendary artists did before him. His gothic aesthetics and nocturnal atmospheres allow Nic to explore with his sound and extend far beyond the vocals / guitar format that is the staple of the singer / songwriter genre.”
 

Entertwine: Nic! Thanks for joining us, and allowing us to get to know you as a person and artist all around! Could you tell us a bit about your background? Where did you grow up, and what has brought you to where you are now in life?

Sure! I was born in Oklahoma where I started doing musical theater as a child, then moved to Colorado at around 10 years old. I hated it and became very depressed. I was constantly harassed as the new kid. Music was my “go to”, the only thing that helped relieve the pain. At around 16 years old I joined the Guardian Angels and started doing street patrols. I dropped out of high school and got my GED at around 17. Worked jobs until I was about 19 and then joined the army. After I got out of the army I moved back to Denver, joined a punk-metal band as a singer, and started acting again with professional representation. I then went to college for psychology and acting. In January 2012 I left everything behind and move to Hollywood to study at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, the Upright Citizens Brigade, and started going on TV and movie auditions due to my awesome agent and manager.

You’ve starred on stage in critically-acclaimed musicals and have worked as a private investigator and a Counterintelligence Special Agent for the US Army; what type of influence do these life experiences have on what you write and record?

I completed my training, and graduated the CI Agent course as a CI special agent in the Army, but I was never deployed in that capacity. Most of the intelligence work that I have done was for animal rights groups, or in the private sector – planting spies in companies and organizations that are cruel to animals, getting intel/video and audio recordings/employee manuals from people on the inside, etc.

I think that these experiences have influenced my music because it forces me to confront my emotions and be open to whatever is lurking down there inside of my mind. You can only see so many horrific things before you have to either stop feeling, or find a way to be okay with what you feel. I see lots of people choose the former. I chose the latter.

What encouraged you to pursue a career in music in the first place?

My mother likes to tell a story about when I was four years old and she went into the ladies room. When she came out I had amassed an audience and was singing “Tomorrow” from the musical Annie. Singing, and music, are the only things that have been a constant in my life, and that I have continued to feel truly passionate about from childhood up until now.

I don’t think that it’s really fair to say that I chose music. Singing, even alone in a dark room, brings me pleasure. It’s not a choice, its just part of what I am I suppose.

What is it like living in Los Angeles, California?

LA is the greatest place on Earth. Once you weave yourself into the fabric of Hollywood, it’s like nothing else. So many good people, kind people, talented people, amazing art venues, fantastic museums, beaches, people freely expressing themselves in all ways conceivable, great weather. LA rocks.

Definitely a great scene for anything entertainment, I would have to agree! What are some of your favorite venues to frequent in the area?

I really like the vibe at the House of Blues, and the stage area at Boardner’s is one of my favorite places in the entire world. It’s gorgeous.

Could you tell us about some of the most interesting performances you’ve been a part of in Los Angeles?

Back when I was doing open mic nights they let a “comedian” on stage. He started by talking about watching his grandfather masturbate, then made a bunch of homophobic slurs, which pissed a lot of us off, so he started asking us to come on stage and punch him, then threatened to blow the venue up with a bomb and left. That was pretty interesting.

What experiences and events inspired the recording of your three single (‘The Nothing’, ‘Immured’, and ‘Black Dress’)? Could you tell us a bit about each track?

I wish I knew where inspiration came from so I could find it when I need it, but the music just happens. Often I wake up with a riff in my head. That also happens just at random during the day. I hum the tune into my phone, then play it on the guitar, and a word comes into my head to describe it. That word forms the basis of the lyrics and the title of the song, and it grows organically from there.

“Black Dress” is about Santa Muerte (Holy Death, petitioned and sometimes worshiped in Mexico). I have been spending a lot of time in Mexico, and I’ve studied first hand almost every obscure religious sect that there is, so I was fascinated with Santa Muerte and wanted to understand the phenomenon better. As a result of my experimentation, this song came into my head one day as I was walking through the house. As I wrote it down, I realized that it was about Santa Muerte.10635981_713376055424592_8996174766817873456_n

What experiences and events inspired the recording of your three single (‘The Nothing’, ‘Immured’, and ‘Black Dress’)? Could you tell us a bit about each track?

“The Nothing” was the second song that I ever wrote. It is autobiographical, and that’s all that I really feel comfortable saying about that. I was very nervous about releasing it because it is so personal.

“Immured” is a retelling of an ancient legend about a woman immured in a stone wall on her wedding day. As I was going through the house one day a female voice came into my head and started singing about it from a first person perspective. I wrote it down as the female lyrics, and I wrote my response to her voice as the male vocal line.

How are you able to blend so many different genres and styles of music into your original compositions and sound so fluently?

I honestly don’t know. The songs just happen. None of these songs were intentional. They just happened.

What a great gift that is, so very jealous over here, hah! So what’s next? What does 2015 hold in store for Nic Nassuet? Do you have any plans to write, record, and release a full-length album in the near future?

I am very close to completing a full length LP. The bare bones are recorded, but there’s still a long way to go. I think it should be completed by April. May at the latest.

Indie Band Guru Interview

Anyone who has been in any of the artistic businesses for a short time realizes early that no one is going to step up and do all the work for you.  It is only the talented artists that are willing to put in the hard work and long hours that have any chance of success.  There may be some “managers” that come along and make all kinds of promises but the unfortunate reality is that most of them are full of crap.  An artist we discovered recently that seems to have this all figured out and is working hard to blaze his own path is Nic Nassuet.

Nic Nassuet

The Los Angeles based artist began his journey on stage as an actor in such well known parts as Sweeney Todd and Doomsday Cabaret.  The stage presence and powerful voice of Nic Nassuet was a natural fit for his transformation into a musician.  During his development he fronted several punk and metal bands gaining experiences that aided in his creative route to singer/songwriter.  The sound of Nic Nassuet is not easy to describe as it borrows from multiple genres such as blues, rock, grunge, and folk and adds a darkness to it setting his music apart from the masses.  Listeners seemed to connect to him naturally and the word started spreading rapidly of this rising star.  To further this Nic signed with indie label, Dirtshack Records, was accepted into the Recording Academy (Grammys academy), and won an Akademia Music Award for Best Folk/Alternative Rock song.

Recently Nic Nassuet released a string of singles as an accumulation of his life experiences.  On “Black Dress” there is a dark country music influence that is taken to a raw and emotional level by the gritty vocal style and lyrical content.  The acoustic instrumentation sets the tone to keep the song grounded.  There is a more atmospheric and gothic feel on “Immured”.  The use of a violin creates a dark yet beautiful melody that welcomes the listener into Nassuet’s underworld.  The dark tone continues on “The Nothing”.  This one is led by the strong vocals that show a dramatic flair that brought flashes of 80’s Axl Rose to my mind.  This is serious music for serious thought.  Nic Nassuet is already hard at work once again, readying new material & pushing the boundaries of music for a new album release in Spring of 2015 and a tour in the Summer and Fall of 2015.

Indie Band Guru was lucky enough to get a chance to chat with Nic Nassuet and get into the interesting mind of this genre breaking artist.  Enjoy the interview below:

Nassuet

You have been a successful dramatic actor, what pushed you more toward the musical side?

They’ll tell you that acting professionally is about being yourself, and that bringing yourself to the audition is what makes you unique and what gets you booked. Sadly, this isn’t true. If you have to pay your bills, and you are a professional actor, you have to sell what producers are buying, and if they aren’t buying you, then you have to change. In my case, they wanted stereotypes and buffoon characters. One manager with very famous clients wanted to sign me on the condition that I wear glasses and a moustache with a shitty haircut all of the time because “I can get you seen by NBC tomorrow with that look!”.

I am not a comedic actor, but everyone wanted me to be because of my look. Film and television market stereotypes to the lowest common denominator. That’s not my scene. We had a family tragedy in the fall of 2013 that really shook us to our foundations. I always wanted to write and sing my own music, but something had been preventing me from doing it. On the heels of this tragedy I had no more excuses and began to write.

What similarities and differences do you see from the acting and singer/songwriter worlds?

They are completely different. An actor sinks or swims based upon the decisions of others. A professional actor can’t get seen for livable wage work without an intermediary. A singer/songwriter can create their own work, and put it out the the world at large. There is no longer a need for an intermediary. You book your show, record you track, and sink or swim on your own.

The only similarity that I see is on the marketing/business/administration end of things. Pitching yourself to booking agents, venues, networking with other acts, long term financial strategy, following up in a timely manner with radio stations and media, avoiding shitty publicists, fake managers, and smarmy “agents” who can’t live up to their promises – that’s all pretty similar.

How would you describe your sound?

Honestly, I don’t. When I have to describe it to someone that I want to work with I usually just quote reviews, and, to be honest, I am almost entirely unfamiliar with the genres and artists that I get compared to. It is kind of embarrassing, but I don’t really understand the concepts of “genre” and “style”. Those kinds of things go over my head. I’ll leave it to the music journalists, and what remains of the record stores, to categorize sound into easily definable, and consumable, quantities.

What influences you to create this dark and dramatic music?

Again, this probably sounds like a cop-out answer, but I have no idea. Sometimes notes just come into my head, and then words form around them. It is usually a very fast process. I can open, or close, myself to the influence – in other words, I can mostly shut it off to work on other things, but when I open myself to its influence it is entirely subconscious, and I have no control over when it comes, or what it sounds like. I select what to record, but there are dozens, if not hundreds, of unreleased tracks that I have the bare bones to; marches, ballads, heavy metal, classical orchestra – I just listen and try to get it out before it goes away, but there are some songs that won’t go away until I record them. They’ll haunt me for months, even years. This album contains several of those kinds songs.

How has the Hollywood, California scene accepted your music? How have you seen that music scene change through the years?

I don’t know how to answer that. I’m sure that there are plenty of people who hate my music, and there seem to be some people who genuinely resonate with it. I don’t really concern myself with “acceptance”, a “scene”, or what general audiences do or do not like about what I put out. People come out to our shows, and people buy the music, so I guess that’s a good thing. If they didn’t, I don’t think that much would really change. I would probably still be doing the same thing.

As far as the music scene changing, to be honest, I didn’t really pay attention to the music scene in Hollywood until October of 2014 when I started performing my own material. I was engrossed in the acting, script writing, theater, and film production end of Hollywood before that.

You recently signed with Dirtshack Records, How did that come to fruition?

That was pretty straightforward. I emailed them from their website, Dave Osti replied to my email, we met up at his studio, and we got along. Dave is a really cool guy with a great set up. He’s been doing this a long time, and really knows his stuff.

Your listeners seem to connect quickly with your songs. Tell us a story of a memorable fan interaction.

The most memorable interactions were in musical theater. I had the lead in a romantic operetta and middle aged women would hit on me in the lobby afterward. I was recognized at the bookstore and in the grocery store. One of them told me “I’ll bet you are an amazing kisser” and then ran away – literally. She had to be in her mid-50s. Another woman, in her 60s, wouldn’t stop talking about how she was going to fantasize about me when she got home. It was completely surreal.

What is next for Nic Nassuet?

If all goes according to plan, the album will be out in April or May of this year. We are planning on touring in support of it.
The newest track “She Rides Moonlight” is scheduled to be released next week too.  Keep up with more music and exploits at: http://www.nicnassuet.com/

 
Category: featuredInterviewReview

Publications

Interviews have appeared in the following publications, radio stations, and websites:

Crossradar
Model on a Mission Magazine
ET Entertwine
The Bandcamp Diaries
Indie Band Guru
Music Existence
XRP Radio (UK, live on air)
NeuFutur Magazine
The Quinn Spin (On air, syndicated)
WROM Radio
Before It's News
Reviewfix
Marquix TV
Rebel Noise
Carpe Nocturne Magazine

And many more...

Robert J. R. Graham Interview

UP CLOSE WITH SINGER AND SONGWRITER NIC NASSUET

Thank you! I grew up doing theater and musicals so working professionally in the industry felt somewhat natural to me. After I got out of the Army I joined a few punk and metal bands, but I was getting more money and better work in musical theater. Later on I did more film and television, got my union cards and moved to Hollywood. After a couple of years of trying to be who casting directors, agents, and managers wanted me to be in order to make a buck and pay some bills I got sick of it and dropped the pretense then moved full time into writing and playing music.

I was having fun, other people seemed to really enjoy my work, and it paid the bills, so I just kept on doing it. That and the fact that I have problems with authority, hate being told what to so, and I can’t work in an office for very long without losing my mind in a very real way.

How did you start combining so many different, and wonderful genres together?

I wish I could take credit for that. The music just kind of finds its way into my head while I’m sleeping, or wandering the house, and then I try to get it out into three dimensions. There’s nothing intentional about it.

I personally love violin music, especially as it’s combined with more modern sounds. How do you know what to fuse together?

Another thing I wish I could take credit for. I just hear things in my head and try to record them. There isn’t a whole lot of thought to it. Sometimes it sounds like a cajon, a shaker, a violin, an electric guitar, a synth, or a piano. I have no control over it.

Who would you say is your major artist you’ve modeled yourself after?

I don’t look at artists in that way. I’ve never though about modelling myself after anybody else. I’ve always wanted to be me.

You’ve been playing some awesome Hollywood venues, can you name some of your highlights?

Playing the House of Blues as one of my first shows was awesome. I hadn’t been in that place since I was an 18 year old private investigator. I snuck into the foundation room with my boss and got shit faced while still underage. It was awesome to be back as a performer.

Another highlight was playing Boardner’s. When I first moved to Hollywood I saw that stage area and said “Man, this would be such a perfect venue to play, too bad I don’t write music.” A couple of years later and I’m performing my original music on that stage. That was really a good feeling.

Music is not your only talent, you’ve also played in some critically-acclaimed musicals, can you tell us about your experience?

Some of them were big shows that won high accolades. Those were a lot of fun to do. They really helped me to find my voice and gave me confidence early on, but the work I really enjoyed doing was new, original, rock musicals. That was a rush. There’s a guy in Hollywood named Michael Shaw Fisher, he writes these amazing horror rock musicals. I was lucky enough to be cast in one of his shows and that was really the icing on the cake for me. I had never felt so fulfilled in musical theater. I grew up watching horror movies, listening to the misfits, and performing musicals. It was like someone crawled into my head and created works that were designed for my twisted mind. If you ever get a chance to see something he’s created don’t miss it.

What’s one thing you can share with other up and coming artists to help them get as far as you have?

The people who say that they want to see you succeed may actually be hoping that you fail. Be ruthless in identifying them and cutting them out of your life. It may seem harsh, or heartless, and you may end up without the companionship and company of people who you once loved dearly, but it is vital to your survival as an artist to find them and get them out of your life.

Crossradar Interview

Interview – Nic Nassuet

We ran a few questions past Nic Nassuet to find out a little more about the man behind the music.

 

IMG_4608_2croppedSo, tell us what drives Nic Nassuet to make music?

I wish I knew so I could tap into it at will. As it stands the songs come, I hear them, record them, and release them and play them live. I can’t do anything else. I’m not the type of person who can work a regular job, so it had to be this I guess.

Who would you say are your main influences?

I don’t have any *main* influences, but I have a lot of musicians whose work I find inspiring. Current 93, Skinny Puppy, Samhain, Blaqk Audio, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Peter Murphy, David Bowie, Sisters of Mercy, How to Destroy Angels, Frank Sinatra, Soley, Bjork, The Cult, Pascal Pinion, Nine Inch Nails, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, The Electric Hellfire Club, VNV Nation, Sea Oleena, Genitorturers… this is a long list, and it could take pages if I list everyone. I think I’ll stop here.

What is your proudest moment?

I’m not really a prideful person, but if you put a gun to my head and told me that I had to be proud of something and forced me to do it I guess it would be the guy’s life I was credited with saving. I figure that there isn’t much in the world more important than creating or sustaining life, you know? He had his neck slit and was left under a bridge to die, but we patched him up and got him to the hospital and he survived.

If you could play a gig anywhere in the world, where would you choose?

Wherever my friends and family could all gather. Its no fun having fun if the people you care about aren’t there to share it with you.

Are there any interesting facts about you that hardly anyone else knows?

Yes, but I can’t tell you. I had a Top Secret clearance, worked investigations for animal rights groups, led a street patrol, and my only hobbies are joining cults and obscure political factions. I’m full of secrets.

How do you go about the songwriting process?

Most often I hear a tune as I’m waking up, but sometimes the music comes when I’m wandering from one room to the other. When the music comes I try to hum it into my phone right away. Later I’ll sit down and pluck it out on a guitar and hear the other parts of the song. At that point a word comes into my head and that becomes both the song title and the subject of the song, and then its pretty much done. I usually don’t know what the song is about until I’ve finished writing it and analyze it like I would a dream.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenges have been physical. I deal with some pretty serious medical stuff that has really been hard to work through. Sometimes I just can’t walk, and other times even sitting is too painful to endure. At one point I was in the ER at least once every six weeks. That makes it tough to stick to a schedule, to muster up the energy to play a set, to travel from a parking space to the venue, and to carry equipment. Luckily I have some awesome people around me that help with a lot of that. I have nothing but love for them.

What do you have coming up next?

The LP, “Eleutherious” (pronounced Eh-Loo-Thi-Rhee-Us) should be out within the next couple of months, I just signed with Dirtshack Records so I’ll have some music coming out through them pretty soon. The dirtshack release will be separate from the LP release and the two should sound very different. I’ll also be on the cover of Jamsphere magazine’s print edition in April. After that we will be touring in support of the releases.

How can we keep up to date with what you are up to?

Reverbnation, facebook, twitter, and the email list via my website at www.nicnassuet.com. I’m not very good about keeping my website updated, but I keep the mailing list up to date and I announce everything on social media, so if you add me on reverbnation, twitter or the book of face you should get the latest news and releases.

… and finally, what was the last record you bought and what did you think of it?

The last full album I acquired was AFI’s “Burials” and I really loved it. I thought It really captured the essence of their music in a way that I haven’t heard in years.

The Bandcamp Diaries Interview

  • Nic Nassuet (Interview)

     

    Nic Nassuet is a singer / songwriter that offers something truly unique. His music is as dark, hauntingly beautiful and minimal as artists the likes of Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley or Nick Drake. Nonetheless, there is a more direct feel to his sound; a grit that echoes genres such as horror punk and garage.

    His gothic aesthetics and nocturnal atmospheres allow Nic to explore with his sound and extend far beyond the vocals / guitar format that is the staple of the singer / songwriter genre.

    songs like “Immured” showcase the essentialist core of Nic’s songs, but this very core is enhanced and embellished by stunning string sections and lush atmospheric sounds. We had a chat with Nic, who gave us more insights on his song-writing process…find out more and read on!

     

    I love how you manage to render your tracks so personal and organic. Does the music come first, or do you focus on the lyrics the most?

    The music usually comes first.  Often in a dream, or as a burst of thought in the middle of some daily activity.  When that occurs I rush to hum the melody I hear into my phone.  When I listen to the melody a word usually comes to mind.  I use that word as the title, and plant it as a seed in my mind.  The lyrics to the song blossom organically from there.  I never know ahead of time what the song will sound like, or what the lyrics will be about.

    Do you perform live? If so, do you feel more comfortable on a stage or within the walls of the recording studio?

     We perform live pretty frequently.  I love the energy of a good live performance when the audience is enthusiastic.  It also gives me the opportunity to meet new people with whom I share an interest; music, and it allows me to catch up with old friends that I may not have been able to see in a while.  


    I find the studio very intimidating.  Small audiences intimidate me terribly, and the studio is a very small audience.  I hate the sound of my own voice, and I become hyper-critical of every nuance of every song, to a point where I simply can’t function.  In a venue with several hundred people I feel as if I can get lost in the crowd, even if I am center stage, and I think that helps me relax and get into the performance.

    In all sincerity though, I don’t really feel comfortable anywhere.  I am afraid of people for the most part, which may seem like a strange thing to hear from someone whose life has been spent on stage.  Well attended live shows decrease my sense of social anxiety slightly since there is the “lost in the crowd” sensation, and we all automatically have a common bond through our musical tastes.

    If you could only pick one song to make a “first impression” on a new listener, which song would you pick and why?

    That’s a difficult question.  I really enjoy “Black Dress”, but most people seem to really like “Immured”.  For the sake of the listener, I would probably play “Immured” since it is a very engaging song.  The female vocalist who performs that duet with me has an enchanting voice, and it is really highlighted on “Immured”.  

    However, if someone wanted to get an impression of me and how I operate, I would choose to play the song “The Nothing”, which will be released in either December 2014, or January 2015.

    What does it take to be “innovative” in music?

     Answer:  I have no idea. I have no concept of context in regard to how I relate to the world around me and others’ perceptions of me.  Therefore, I do not know if I am innovative, nor do I know that I could identify innovation if confronted with it.


    Some people have called our music “Innovative”, but all that I do is listen to the sounds and voices that drift through me and blend them with instruments that I find appealing.  For instance, I wanted the sound of a mandolin, so I bought one.  A song came out of the instrument when I picked it up, and people really like that song.  I still don’t know the first thing about mandolins though.  I don’t even know the names of the strings, but people like the song.  

    I wouldn’t really call our blend of gothic, folk, punk, blues, rock, and celtic music “innovative”, since to me innovation implies thoughtful construction and intention, and I am neither thoughtfully constructive, nor intentional in my compositions.  Our music is merely a combination of sounds and words that find their way through me.  It isn’t as if I invent them, or construct them.  They exist on their own either deep beneath my conscious awareness, or somewhere outside of me in the ether, and then find their way to me.  I can’t even really take any credit for it, so I can’t claim any right to the concept of “Innovation”.

    Any upcoming release or tour your way?

     Yes.  We have a very big show coming up on December 11th at Hollywood’s famous “Boardner’s”.  It is the last date of our local tour that started at the House of Blues on Sunset Strip in September, and it is going to be a blast.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to catch us live yet, this may be your last, and best, chance to experience our live show in Los Angeles.  Our CD will be released on the Winter Solstice of 2014, and we have been approached about the possibility of an East Coast tour in 2015.

    Anywhere online where curious fans can listen to your music and find out more about you?

    We are everywhere!  iTunes, spotify, reverbnation, soundcloud, rdio, facebook, twitter, youtube, pandora, and at our home on the web: www.nicnassuet.com.  

    We are most active on facebook and reverbnation, so if you want to engage with us, that’s your best bet.  If you’ve ever been to a show you should check the website since I take pictures of most of the people who attend and post them on my site for posterity.

     

Nora Gouma, Model on a Mission Magazine Interview

INTERVIEW WITH SINGER AND SONGWRITER NIC NASSUET

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If someone tells you that they know the secret to success in any form of art or entertainment then they’re probably going to follow that statement up with a sales pitch for their book, classes, or seminars

What do you like most about your profession?
There’s so much to love that I don’t know where to start. The challenge of creating a track in the studio, the challenge of being at the top of your game for every show, and the awesome people who live and work in Hollywood are all some of my favorite things about this profession.

What’s your favorite album from another artist?
Another tough question. If I only had one album to listen to until the end of time it would be a toss up between Danzig’s “Danzig II” and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult’s “13 Above the Night”.

What song of yours are you most proud of?
I’m really pleased with “The Nothing”. I think that it came out really well.

What is the formula for success in the music industry?
I have no idea. Nobody does. I see unknowns make one good song and get representation and a record deal, although that’s a rare thing. More often though I see brilliantly talented musicians with sharp minds who are never able to break into the professional side of things. If someone tells you that they know the secret to success in any form of art or entertainment then they’re probably going to follow that statement up with a sales pitch for their book, classes, or seminars.

Where can our readers find your music?
My music can be purchased at bandcamp, itunes, amazon, and google play, or you can listen for free on spotify and pandora. You can also visit www.reverbnation.com/nicnassuet,www.soundcloud.com/nic-nassuet, or www.nicnassuet.com.

Music Existence Interview

What is Nic Nassuet all about?
I am driven by a lust for knowledge, a drive to experience everything, and a quest for fun.

 

When did you start singing and writing?
I wrote my first song when I was four years old. I didn’t write another song until decades later. It will be on the album coming out this March/April.

What drives you to create & perform music?
I don’t know what it is, but there’s something there that pushes me. Maybe a mental illness, or some faulty wiring in the machine. It makes its own noises, and hears things from other places. This creates tension, and the tension is not relieved until there is some expression in three (sometimes four) dimensions. It was always there, I’ve heard it and felt it since I was a small child not even old enough to speak, but I ignored it and pursued other things as I got older. After our baby died the sounds and tension grew to the point that they threatened to destroy me unless they got what they wanted and were released into the world. I couldn’t contain it any longer and it drove me to write and perform.

Do you have any upcoming releases?

We have released four singles off of the upcoming CD “Eleutherious” so far. They have been well received and were nominated for, and won, awards. We will release one more single, a crowd favorite; “She Rides Moonlight”, later this month, and then the full CD will be released around the end of April. You can get updates on our webpage, as well as twitter, and facebook.

What can we expect to see from this new release?

You’ll hear some very unique music on the album – gravelly rock tenor vocals, crooning gothic duets, shining violin solos, crisp mandolins, and unique percussive sounds. It will be unlike anything you have ever heard before. After the release, we plan to tour in support of the album so keep an eye on our website for tour dates, or use the contact box there to let us know you want us to come to your town so that we can include your city, or one nearby.

Where can we find this release and your music?

Radio stations all across the US, and even some in Canada, Thailand, and the UK are playing the four singles that we have out right now. I put a list of the stations that I know are playing our music up on the main page of our website so you can check there for where to tune in. You can also request our music if your station isn’t playing it. In addition, you can listen for free on Spotify, or download from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Bandcamp, and at our website: http://www.nicnassuet.com

Will you be doing any performances?

Our official CD release party is April 29th at the State Social House on Sunset Strip. It is 100% free, so there’s no excuse to not come out and hear the album played live. We will be playing early enough to get everyone home before 10pm, so it won’t interfere with the schedules of working folks.

We’ve got a great lineup with an amazing violinist, Edward Hong, who will be coming fresh off of a recital at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, and a truly awesome bassist, Cat Arthur, who also writes music for a variety of well known projects in and around Los Angeles. Of course, the always astounding, Catrina Grimm will be lending us her angelic voice and playing hand percussion. It is really going to be an amazing show at a great venue right in the heart of the entertainment capital of the world, and you won’t have to pay anything to come and experience it.

We have a followup show at the world famous Dresden in Hollywood on June 1st. It is also free, and we should be announcing our tour dates at that show. That’s going to be a killer show too.

What is your recording process like?
I go into the studio with the music and lyrics. After I lay down those tracks we try to see what works and what doesn’t. Things don’t sound the same in the studio as they do live, so each song creates different obstacles that require different solutions. For instance, Josh at Sing Engine records where we recorded the album threw bongos in on “When it Falls”. I generally hate the sound of bongos, but it sounded great and fit the track really well. Totally different from how it sounds live.

Once I have the skeleton recorded I send the tracks to this amazing musician in France for the strings. Michael came into the picture on the first track. I had the lyrics and music recorded but I felt like something was missing. I was just scrolling through pages of musicians and I thought “Man, I love violins and upright basses, let’s see what that would sound like”. I had no idea who he was and knew nothing of his accomplishments at the time – like the fact that he’s led some of Europe’s most famous orchestras. When he returned the track my heart stopped. That was the sound I was looking for. Since then we’ve used Michael on almost every track.

What is your music about?
I’m not driven by one specific topic. Often times I don’t know what a song is about until after it is written. On this album there is a song about Santa Muerte, another one is a duet between a ghost and the man haunted by her voice night after night, one song is about a man who sells his soul at the crossroads. I don’t really have any control over it. Whatever comes out is what gets written about.

Is there a story behind your lyrics?
Each song is its own story, and has its own life. Each one comes from someplace different, gets put together differently, and takes on a different personality than the ones before and after, so yes, there is a story to every song.

NeuFutur interview

Nic Nassuet Interview

What artists possess the greatest influence on your music?
I’m sure that the music I listen to has some sort of influence over my mind, which influences what gets written, but I have no conscious awareness of any specific influences.

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You are also an actor. How does your time in front of the screen prepare you as a musical performer?

Acting on screen teaches you patience, discipline, the necessity of a positive attitude, and how to work together as a team.  That’s good preparation for anything in life.

 

Can you describe your creative process and your recording set up for us?
I switch my mind into receptive mode and then go about my day.  Sometimes a song will come immediately, other times it takes a few days.  Often I just wake up with the melody playing in my head.  Most of the songs are things that I first heard in dreams, then recorded upon awakening, but a few have come at very inopportune times and I have had to run to the bathroom to hum them into my phone before I lost them.

 

After the melody is out I upload it to the cloud, unless it is insistent and desires to be born immediately, then I must stop everything and give birth to the song.  I listen to the melody, then a word, or phrase, comes to mind.  Then I listen to that word, and the lyrics come out.  It is a very fast process.

 

How can interested readers listen to your music?
All of my music is on my website, and a few unreleased songs appear there unannounced for brief periods of time.  You can also listen to, and purchase, the music at iTunes and Bandcamp, or stream it on Spotify.

 

What has been your most memorable experience as a performer?

A rehearsal for a very large musical at a very large venue in a very theater oriented city.  I had kidney surgery and they had given me an epidural, so I couldn’t feel below the legs.  The second that I could feel my legs again, my friend wheeled me out to his car, then drove me to the rehearsal that was in process, and I rolled myself out onto stage straight out of surgery.  I don’t remember much of it since I was on a lot of prescription drugs, but it was still probably my most memorable experience as a performer since it taught me a lot about myself.

 

What goals do you still have left to accomplish in 2015 and over your career?

We are releasing the full album in late April.  We are also working on a music video, which may not see the light of day, but it is an experience that I would like to have.

I am not a goal oriented person.  I don’t think in that way.  I look at what needs to be done and I set to work laying the foundation for it to come into being, or I think about what I would like to experience then set to work making it happen.  Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, and sometimes I change my mind.  Goals seem very silly to me.

Thank you for your time. Do you have anything else that you would like to say to our readers?

Anyone who starts a sentence with the phrase “music is”, or ”music isn’t”, is probably a fraud.  Music means many things to many people.  Don’t let anyone else define your parameters.

Nic Nassuet is active on a number of social media services, including Facebook and Twitter . His main domain is located at www.nicnassuet.com/

Reviewfix

Review Fix Exclusive: Nic Nassuet Talks ‘Eleutherios’

Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Nic Nassuet, who discusses his new album, “Eleutherios.”

Combining poetic lyrics and solid and deep musicianship thanks to a slew of solid musicians behind him, Nassuet is able to put a definable face on the Gothic Rock genre for anyone who either had no idea what it was or had prior predispositions.

Eerily charming, soft and silky, yet powerful and dark, Nassuet’s work would fit in perfectly in a video game the likes of “Castlevania” or “Silent Hill.”

Review Fix: What is Gothic Rock?

Nic Nassuet: I don’t think in terms of genre, so this is a difficult question for me to answer.  Rock is pretty well defined, and the gothic aesthetic is also pretty well defined, so I suppose that Gothic Rock would be rock with gothic themes and tonal qualities that evoke images of the gothic aesthetic.

Review Fix: What inspires you?

Nassuet: I wish I knew so that I could tap into it at will!  As it stands, I sort of flip a switch inside and make myself receptive to whatever comes into my thoughts.  I don’t try, and the harder I try, the worse the song sounds, so I just let it be.  Whatever sounds, images, and lyrics come into my head end up on paper or sung into a recorder, and the music grows out of that.

Review Fix: What makes this album special?

Nassuet: Many things make it special to me.  We had a miscarriage back in 2013.  Prior to that, I had been working as a professional actor in Hollywood.  I was really unhappy as an actor playing stereotypes in order to pay the rent.  After our child died I asked myself what it really is that I always wanted to do, what is it that makes me truly happy, and what is it that allows me to really connect with others… the answer was “music.”  So I tapped into that part of my mind that answered “music” and gave it full permission to hear, write, record, and perform music.  This album was the result.

Since then we have won several awards, played the major venues on Sunset Strip, and reached out to many people who resonate with our sound.

It is also special because it isn’t like anything else that you are likely to hear.  It was not created with intention, or according to a formula.  It is natural, and organic, and free flowing from my subconscious to your ears, without a filter.

Review Fix: How does your background in theatre help you?

Nassuet: Getting over nerves, for one.  You can’t be an actor and worry about rejection, or what an audience will think.  There’s a real strength and warrior spirit to the performing arts that those outside of the arts don’t normally acknowledge.  I think that a background in theater also helped me to learn to be punctual, work well with others under duress, and think on my feet.

It also helped me learn how to apply stage makeup, which we use often.

Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?

Nassuet: When asked, I usually mutter something about folk, gothic, acoustic rock and end up with saying “It’s weird, you really have to hear it in order to understand.” Haha.  Given the bewildered looks I get when I stammer like that, I should probably come up with a canned response.

Review Fix: The addition of a female backup vocalist and violinist adds another layer to the gothic sound. Have you thought of adding other instruments to the mix as well?

Nassuet: Absolutely.  I have my eye on some Eastern instruments that I really want to make music with.  I plan to pick up a couple of traditional Indian, Chinese, and Mongolian stringed instruments to see what comes out.

Review Fix: What song on this album do you think best encapsulates your message?

I don’t know that I have a message, but I am sure that my subconscious is communicating something through this music.  The album as a whole tells a story when listened to from start to finish, much like an opera.  If there was one song that I though really captured the essence of the album, it would probably be “When It Falls,” as it represents a sort of transition point in the album.  From there the songs get slower and descend into a lullaby until “Black Dress” crescendos.

Review Fix: How do you want this album to be remembered?

Nassuet: As something real, and original, that touched the people who needed to hear it.

Review Fix: What’s next?

Nassuet: We’ve got some great shows coming up at the Dresden, and the Viper Room.  We’re also heading out to Nashville to meet with tour promoters to see if we can’t get something going on a bigger scale.  Definitely going to work as much as possible with the great folks over at the Indie Music Channel, and at XRP Radio.  I haven’t said anything to anyone about this yet, but I’ve got some studio time lined up with Josh Riccio at Sing Engine Records and I hope to record some old horror punk cover songs as part of a Glenn Danzig tribute EP in singer-songwriter style with just an acoustic guitar and voice.  I think that will bring out some elements of the songs that haven’t been heard before.

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Patrick Hickey Jr.

Editor-in-Chief, Founder at Review Fix
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com. He is currently a full-time Journalism and English Professor at Kingsborough Community College and a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media. He also teaches Multimedia Journalism at Brooklyn College and has had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News and The Syracuse Post Standard. Love him. Read him.

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