INTERVIEW: NoKillShelter

Hi Nick, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey thanks for having me! Everything has been really amazing. Its great to release songs and see such an amazing response to them.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Just See the Coast”?

Absolutely. It’s the second single we’re putting out from a 5 song EP titled Just See the Coast coming out on Atoned Music, a new record label from Thomas Dreux and Bill Armstrong. I recorded it with Mariah Priddy, a friend of mine from Boise Idaho who recently just moved to San Diego.

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

I had just come home from work on my birthday, and was literally reading a card from my grandmother when I received a call that she had a stroke. That was, luckily, the first close family death I had to face so naturally writing a song about it was a way for me to process the situation. I left for Maine to say goodbye that same day and started this song while waiting for a ride to the airport.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

For this one I’m releasing a lyric video in the style of the graphic I do. I love the idea of symmetry an images converging on themselves. That should be out sometime later this week!

How was the recording and writing process?

It was definitely a cathartic experience. I wrote the progression and recorded all the guitar parts while I was waiting to be picked up for the airport, laid down the drums on the plane ride over, and finished the track at the hospital while my grandmother was bedside. When I flew back, I showed this song to Mariah Priddy, and we created a juxtaposition by blending her lyrics about the ending of a relationship which can often feel like the death of someone close.

Why naming the record after this song in particular?

Among having a special place to me, I felt like Just See the Coast was a good name for an opening EP because it’s a horizon or a new beginning. Its also the most personal song for me and the first song I pitched to the label.

How has Steely Dan and Nick Cave influenced your writing?

I grew up listening to a lot of Steely Dan, but mainly their studio abilities are what I took away from them. As producers Becker and Fagen we’re at the forefront of doing what bands like Nine Inch Nails and Trent does, combining the best musicians to fit that specific song.  As for Nick Cave, the ability to have such a long sustaining career and the willingness to change and develop new and uncharted sounds for oneself is always something to look up to in any artist.

What aspect of your own life did you get to explore on this record?

I worked with four different singers and writers on this EP, so my favorite thing to explore was empathy as a whole and the universal feelings and situations that we all go through. Connecting to people as a whole really. Its really essential as a producer to be conscious of what the lyrics are trying to say to match the chords and create the right kind of harmony to tell the singer’s story.

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

All of the songs were written in collaboration with the singer. The first part of each session is a time to kick back and catch up and usually from that conversation you can see where the song is going to come from that day. The record has songs about finding yourself, loving yourself, and blocking out a lot of the noise and anxiety that comes with having a career as an artist, or really just anyone going through the crazy world we’re living in currently.

Any plans to hit the road?

Hopefully soon! Right now I’m working on building an LA fan base close to home and have a ton of shows we’re lining up here.

What else is happening next in NoKillShelter’s world?

We’re gearing up for the next single titled ‘Sweetheart’ with singer Clear Mortifee from Canada and playing shows around the LA area.  We have September 5th at Genghis Cohen, September 19th at ROVE’s new rooftop series, and then one more October 10th at Sayers Club in Hollywood. Catch me on DubLab on the 16th as well. Things are piling up pretty well!

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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