Hi Nick, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I live in a world of complete craziness, but all positive craziness! My world is like the worlds biggest carousel of energy and stimulation at all times. I’m super pumped on a lot of things if you couldn’t tell, but most excited about the re-birth of my Alternative Pop Rock passion project, Half the Animal, and of course excited to keep releasing these cover videos on Youtube of my drumming.
So what led you to become a drummer?
Drums came to me at a really young age. I was an only child growing up, so my Mom and Dad were cool enough to keep me busy with music. I started on the piano, but then realized as a 5 year old that I needed to hit things and play to the records that inspired me most, which at the time were a lot of the Dave Mathews Band records, Everclear, and Blink 182.
Did you ever think about playing other instruments?
I grew up playing a lot of instruments. I think it’s so important to have a rooted core on the piano if you have the opportunity to. Learning the basics on piano can do wonders for a music career. The more knowledge you have, the easier it is to really succeed. I used to spend a lot of time playing guitar in High School as well and coming up with guitar riffs for my band, Open Air Stereo and then teaching them to our guitar player. It’s just fun to experiment with different sounds and different approaches towards songs outside of the drums.
How did you get started doing these drum covers?
Open Air Stereo has had a lot of down time the past 2 years as we’ve really tried to figure out how to restructure our brand and our music into something different and great. During that downtime we decided to completely re-brand the band into Half the Animal with a completely new twist on our music and our approach, and a new member. It’s always been so important for me to always be playing my drums and nourishing my soul with the energy I get from when I play. I can never stop doing what I love. It gives me a really great creative outlet as well when I play over these songs. I like to add my own twists to them and create a new vibe that people might not think would be possible over these songs.
Do you randomly choose a song to cover or does the track need to have something in particular in order for you do your own rendition?
I really just choose the tracks that I feel I can have the most fun over. I’m going to start playing to tracks that aren’t always the top 40 tracks as well. I’d like to experiment with jazz songs and other styles of music as well to keep things really interesting.
How was the remaking process for your latest cover, “Candyman”?
Candyman is a great track. Zedd happens to be one of my favorite DJ’s so I had to make sure to knock one of these out! Honestly, I don’t really go in to these videos having rehearsed the parts. It’s a lot of what comes naturally. We shoot these things on the fly and see what comes of it, and most of the time I’m really happy with the outcome. We have a great team behind my playing as well that help these videos come to life here at our studio, STRZ Studios.
Do you take a different approach depending on the genre or you have some sort of working formula?
It’s always just “go with the flow” for me and see what comes out. I wouldn’t say there are any particular formulas to these.
Any plans to hit the road?
Half the Animal will be hitting the road hopefully this Fall. We’re wrapping up a lot of new material right now and just solidified a new team, so we will for sure have a strong focus on getting on the road as soon as possible!
What else is happening next in the Nick Gross world?
Our studio, STRZ Studios, is having a complete remodel this year which we are all really excited about. We’re building probably one of the most world-class studios in Los Angeles over the next few months so I’m really excited to share that with the world. I just partnered up with an amazing creative, branding and business development agency and re-branded it “Milky Agency” top of the year and we are working with some amazing brands and influencers in the world of fashion, music, and entertainment. It’s a constant flow of creative energy, which I love to be around. It feeds into the music side of things for sure. In addition to all of this I am really focused on our philanthropy, the Find Your Grind Foundation, which helps to provide youth tools they need to become future leaders through the arts and entertainment industries. We provide experience, mentorship, and education to aspiring youth throughout the country to help them learn more and find the things they are truly passionate about. For me, finding purpose at such a young age through drums helped me become a better person and a better businessman and gave me a vision for my future, so I feel the younger these kids can find their passions, we’ll eventually have a world were people can do what they love and do it successfully.
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