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INTERVIEW: Nick Black

Can you talk to us more about your song “Summer + Spring”?

– Sure! “Summer + Spring” is about finding someone or something that makes you feel like a kid and a grownup at the same time. As a kid, I always looked forward to that time of year, not because of the weather, but because of the love! The birds come out, the bees are buzzing, and everybody’s smiling just hoping to fall in love!

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

– Definitely! I actually wrote “Summer + Spring” in the middle of random snowstorm in Memphis a couple of years back. Just so you know, we don’t EVER get snow in Memphis, but I’m a fan of cold weather, so I loved it! There is one person that absolutely hates cold weather, though, and that’s my wife Lena. She can barely handle a light breeze, much less a snowstorm. So as we’re sitting on the couch next to each other, I start singing about warm weather to try and cheer her up. As much as I don’t like the beach, warm weather means that Lena’s happy, so she’s always been my summer and spring!

Any plans to release a video for the track?

– Yes, the video will be out on September 28th! And it’s animated!

Why naming the album after this song in particular?

– When we were finished recording everything, each song on the album seemed to take place at some point during the course of a summer-long love story. Even “When You Say Love”, which is a somber song about a marriage gone wrong, felt like it happened on a hot day just before a summer storm hits.

How was the recording and writing process?

– We went into the studio with the intention of making some sort of socio-economic commentary on everything that was happening in the world, but about 2 days into recording, we all looked at each other and all had the same realization: we needed to make music that makes people happy! From there, everything went like clockwork. We had an absolute blast making this album, and I’m excited for folks to hear it!

What was it like to work with Brad Blackwood and how did that relationship develop?

– Brad is an incredible mastering engineer and it’s awesome to have him on any project. My coproducer James Bennett and I love the way his music sounds, so we had to go with him!!

How much did he influence the album?

His work with Maroon 5 and Allison Krause stands on its own, but mastering does come at the end of our whole process, so a lot of our influence was drawn from my band and from our mixing engineer Scott Hardin. James Bennett and I have always had a saying in the studio: “The best idea wins”. It doesn’t matter where it comes from. If somebody brings an idea to the table that’s better than what is already there, then you better believe  we’re putting it in there!

What role does Memphis play in your writing?

– Memphis is my home. Soul, gospel, blues. It’s all there. So when it comes time to write and perform, all of those influences can’t help but come out in our music. We’re on a mission to take Memphis music to the next level!

After the success from your previous records, were you any nervous while working on this new material?

– There’s always a nervous energy that permeates the recording studio. You want to top yourself and constantly grow. It’s always a struggle to overcome that just make the music you need to make. I have to remind myself to make the music I want to make and the rest will fall into place.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

– I’ve always found inspiration in new people and music that have come into my life. I usually find something I’ve had for a long time: an old lyric, a melody I’ve had for a while, and it somehow pairs with the new idea. “Diamonds” for example, was musically inspired by an interpretation of another song I heard, and I liked the mood that it set. But the lyrics were in a memo on my phone from 2012! It’s like pairing a freshly cooked dish with an old bottle of wine. Separately they do just fine, but when you put them together, something completely new is born. Man, I’m hungry…

Any plans to hit the road?

– You bet! We’ll be touring the US beginning in the fall and all of 2018. Come out to a show, I wanna meet ya!

What else is happening next in Nick Black’s world?

– Besides touring and constantly working on new music, you can catch me on Americana and Roots music channel DittyTV! I host a show called SoulSide, where we explore the soul side of Americana and Roots music. There’s something for everyone on the show, so check it out at DittyTV.com! And be on the lookout for the SUMMER + SPRING tour coming your way soon! Tour dates available at nickblackmusic.com!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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