1.) We’re happy to be here today with renowned actor and musician Nicholas Hamilton! Before getting the show on the road, how has your 2021 been treating you so far, Nicholas?
I’ve been doing well! Staying sane as much as I can. 2020 took away practically all of my sanity so I’m just trying to slowly regain it this year by working on and releasing some projects I’m really proud of.
2.) Congrats and major kudos for the release of your new single In Line! How’s it feel to be making news for your music after such a string of great acting roles in some pretty notable films?
It feels incredible. Feels mine, mainly, and I love that. The creative control I have over my music, what I write about, when and how I release it, is something I’ve never felt in my other job. A film is created by its crew. The director, the writer, the producers, they all have the control of what the movie looks like, from beginning to end. We, as actors, just have to turn up and read their words, in a manner they like, into a camera being held by someone else. Then we go home and hope it turns out good. It’s still a super gratifying process, and I love every minute of being on a set, but releasing your own music and having the be-all-end-all say in how it sounds, is one of the more special feelings I’ve ever felt.
3.) What can you tell us about the genesis of the single In Line? How did this particular catchy tune come about?
I wrote In Line with my main Australian collaborator and guitarist, Ben Kuhl, about my hesitations around moving to the US, when I was 18. It started as a funky love song, based around a relationship on the brink of a break-up, but I eventually realised that there were no relationships in my life that followed that storyline, nothing I could personally relate to. So it then turned into a song where I battle with my head instead, detailing all my trepidations about getting on that plane.
4.) The song In Line is obviously such a piece of your heart and soul. Were you comfortable skirting so close to your own life in the lyrics of the song?
I’d say I love to more than skirt close to my own life in my lyrics, as a general rule. I love being honest in my songs and to tell true stories about experiences I’ve had in my life, or the people I’ve had them with. Every song on this upcoming EP is completely candid, no-holds-barred, and I’m very excited about that.
5.) You’re akin to a sighting of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster in the music world – i.e. you’re that rare breed of creature known as a singer-songwriter. Why is it important for you as an artist to actively write most if not all of your own material?
I love writing music, it’s really where my passion lies. Whether I’m writing with other like-minded people or sitting behind a piano alone, crying about the tiniest things, I feel comfy there. Safe. I’d also say that’s not where my kinship to Bigfoot stops, I have incredibly hairy legs too. Twins innit.
6.) Can you talk a little bit about what the production of In Line was like? Who was your producer on the song and what was that collaborative process like for you?
In Line is easily the oldest song on the EP, I wrote it almost 2 years before we started production on it. I’d already been out in the states for one and a half years, half of that being 2020, where nothing was getting done because of obvious reasons. I got to a point, in the middle of last year, where I decided to knuckle down and record some of the hundreds of songs I’d written over the years. I flew out to New York and linked up with Arthur Pingrey, a legendary producer who’s been working in the industry longer than I’ve been alive, and we recorded and produced three songs from the EP in three days’ work. I couldn’t be more grateful for him, he’s fully taken me under his wing and put me in rooms I never could’ve dreamed of being in this early in my music career, I love the guy.
7.) You come from a renowned musical town called Byron Bay which is in Australia. How did growing up in Byron Bay inform the music that you create?
I grew up in a suburb just off of Byron called Alstonville. Truly a tiny town, so the only place you can really go out and have fun and do exciting young person things near Alstonville is Byron. It’s a regret of mine that I didn’t start making music sooner before I moved to the US because, in turn, I didn’t really ever experience being a musician in one of the most prolific music towns in Australia. So I’m glad to be back in Australia now, I can finally do that, amongst other exciting music things.
8.) The inevitable question now arises: When might fans expect a full-fledged LP from you?
I don’t know! I’ve got such a massive catalogue of songs that I’ve written over the years and I’ve been toying with whether I make an album out of those or write a long, entirely new list of songs for an LP. I don’t know yet, but it’s soon I’m sure!
9.) Are there plans afoot at the moment to promote In Line via touring?
I’m back in Australia almost specifically for that reason. Covid has dominated the live music industry in the states, so I’m really very excited to be back in a country that I can play shows in, whether that’s ticketed shows or just busking on the street. I’ve never played my music live for a crowd before, and I can’t wait to.
10.) Musically, who inspires you? What artists would we see in your own record collection?
I love listening to styles similar to what I write, naturally. Artists who land in the chill pop, bedroom vibe I feel like I land in. Quinn XCII, Jordan Mackampa, Yebba, Ruel, Lewis Capaldi, Aloe Blacc. My love of music was formed by listening to my parents’ and brother’s tastes, but my specific genre preferences were created by listening to my favourite songs on repeat on my mp3 players and phones growing up.
11.) You’re obviously well-known also as an accomplished actor, starring in such films as It, Captain Fantastic and Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan. Is it a matter of picking and choosing between your acting or your music, or do you plan on doing both?
I’d love to do both! But they both share an equal percentage of my brain, it’s really 50/50, so if I had to sacrifice one in order to improve or specialise in the other, I don’t think I’d be upset, I love them both equally.
12.) You played a young Private in Danger Close. Did you have to undergo any sort of a simulated boot camp prior to filming?
We did! That whole movie was the best experience. 50 Australian blokey dudes and an 18-year-old gay kid getting up at 4am every morning to get soaked in fake rain and shoot fake guns for a month, I loved every minute of it. The boot camp was pretty standard, learning how to move in formations and talk like real soldiers, but the majority of it was just bonding time. Getting to know the boys over a pint at the local RSL wherever we were filming.
13.) You join a long and distinguished line of thespians that have successfully parlayed a career in acting into a rich musical career – River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, Billy Bob Thornton, Russel Crowe and Kevin Costner are but a few actors who have been known at one time or another to ply their crafts in both acting and music. What is it about these two art forms that invite’s so much crossover do you think?
What a list to be a part of, wow. I think it’s less of a crossover thing, to be honest. Like I said, the creative control an artist has over their art is integral to the enjoyment in creating it. I can write a song about whatever I want, decide to record it whenever and wherever I want, and release it whenever and however I want. It’s a special kind of creating that, unless you’re writing, directing, producing and starring in a project, you don’t get in the film industry.
14.) Musically who would you fancy collaborating with in the future?
Anyone! I love collaborating with people. Writing with talented writers is an incredible feeling. Specifically, I really respect people like Ed Sheeran. People who, if they don’t have a song in the top 10, they’ve likely written a song that’s in the current charts. The way he can put himself in someone else’s shoes so seamlessly, and write a song for them that feels like they wrote it themselves, is a skill I aspire to have one day, if even in the smallest way.
15.) Final – SILLY! – Question: You’re having a dinner party where you can invite any five people – famous or not – as guests. Who do you choose and why?
Not silly at all! Classic. Assuming they have to be alive, my five would be Barack Obama, Steve Carell, Téa Leoni, Ed Sheeran and Lil Nas X. Nas may seem like the wildcard in there, but I have tremendous respect for what all 5 of those people have done for their respective subsections of the world. I’d just fawn over all of them the whole dinner.