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INTERVIEW: Nico Grund

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

Hi, thanks a lot for inviting me! I’m great, I hope so are you!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Give A Damn”?

So basically the song was inspired by a bunch of occasions where people told me that at some point they just stopped caring what other people think of them and that their life has gotten soooo much easier ever since. You also see it on Instagram, in every second caption and in every third piece of mental health advice they tell you, you shouldn’t care what the others say to actually be happy. And even if I’d really wish to say so, I can’t wholeheartedly claim that I’ve reached that stage yet. It’s gonna be a long and tough journey to learn how to not give a damn about others’ opinions anymore, but until I get there, writing songs such as this one about what bugs me will definitely do the job!

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

It was more an accumulation of similar events, but there was definitely a straw that broke the camel’s back. So I had this concert in a pub that I’d worked really hard for in order to make it happen (organizational stuff, practicing etc.), promoted it on social media like there was no tomorrow and in the end, exactly 2 of my friends showed up and the rest of the audience were people that just came there to drink. So I had this initial feeling of “nobody actually wants to listen to my stuff anyway” and I felt unwanted and superfluous. This was then confirmed when I played a couple songs and was literally invisible to people as they were just talking, looking on their phones and occasionally someone left, which caused my voice to become really thin and uncontrollable and in general I got super tense. And while deep down inside I know that the only thing that SHOULD matter to me is how I myself feel and think about my music, the involuntary physical reaction of my autonomic nervous system to the body language of the audience definitely says different. This also works in the positive direction, like when people actually listen and smile up to me my voice really widens up and gets so much more powerful!  So I couldn’t help but wonder why I was “listening to myself through the others’ ears”, and boom, there was the new song idea!

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Yes there are, but it’s quite hard to coordinate all the organizational stuff of it such as finding a date where EVERYONE is free and at the same time having good weather in terms of lighting etc, so it might probably take some time.

How was the recording and writing process?

So I have this massive database of melody frazzles that I record whenever inspiration strikes me, in the train, in the bathroom, in rehearsals etc., which has roughly a thousand pieces. So when at some point I have the feeling I have something to say and a vibe to go with it, I can just skim through the database and sometimes find exactly the kind of melody that fits. And fortunately in this case it did perfectly. Once I had the hook sorted out, the rest came naturally.

I do in fact have some home production experience, but recording in an actual studio was still an entirely new experience for me as this time I’ve had a properly acoustically treated room, super expensive gear and people to press the right buttons at the right time behind my back so I could just concentrate on the music! The coolest part was when the arranger Goncalo played that smashing e-guitar over it, since I’m a huge fan of that big, energetic guitar sound in pop punk and he played it as if he could read my mind!

How has signing to Dreamscope changed things for you?

It was probably the best decision I’ve ever made in my music career, as they gave me a holistic view on the music industry. They made it very clear to me that as an artist, you’re not only the guy standing on stage, playing his songs. You’re also the sound guy who has to know how the whole signal chain from the mic to the speaker works. You’re the marketing guy who finds the intersection between your interests and the audience’s needs and makes sure your social media feeds are neat and tidy and your website is updated. You’re the event manager who plans concerts from ticketing to the tiniest detail of the show. You’re the clerk who takes care of all the legal matters and financial stuff. And, most importantly, you’re a brand.

But, while showing me that all of this is stuff that needs to be done, they also took a great deal of that workload off of me by helping me as a team with diversely specialized individuals.

What role does Cologne play in your music?

Cologne is the city where I grew up and where it all started and thrived. If my teacher hadn’t handed me that guitar for a music school project at age 15, I don’t even know whether I’d ever gone into music in the first place! Also, through a series of happy accidents I got to know this dude Constantin who, in my opinion, is one of the greatest musicians I’ve ever met. And I’ve always been insecure about the quality of my singing, but once he said that I was one of the best singers he’s ever met, those insecurities were basically gone and I still use that as an anchor memory whenever I feel insecure again. So, if it weren’t for those people from Cologne and Dreamscope, I’d probably not be where I am right now.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Yes, absolutely! We have an EP in the starting blocks that is yearning to be launched! Right now we’re still taking care of all the organization and planning for the releases (Cologne and London), which is a lot, but we’re making good time!

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Yes, at least for the release shows! They’re not safe yet, but likely to be the final ones. It’s March 30th for the London one and April 6th for the Cologne one. The EP will be called “For the right reasons”.

Any plans to hit the road?

I do! Because of Dreamscope’s widespread contacts, I might have the chance of doing a South-East-Asia tour!

I might do a German one as well, but the additional workload of organizing it would exceed the limits now and I might approach it as soon as the release is over.

What else is happening next in Nico Grund’s world?

I’ve gotten a physicist’s job offer at an IT service provider in Hamburg the other day, which might be the start of the perfect tripod of work I’m trying to build. People kept telling me I have to decide for one thing and do it “right”, but deciding means dropping one’s dreams except for one, which is not an option for me. My dream is achieving a perfect balance between my music side (songwriting, playing concerts and singing at weddings), my health and fitness side (I’m working as a personal trainer at McFit right now, but will try to build my own brand) and my intellectually challenging physics side.

LISTEN HERE

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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