Nicole Atkins Interview!

I reviewed Nicole Atkins single ‘Girl You Look Amazing’ from her latest album Slow Phaser back in March and now she’s answered some questions for me on song ideas, recording her latest album and her upcoming dates with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

For those who don’t know, who is Nicole Atkins and how would you describe your sound?

I am musician from the shores of New Jersey and I like to make desert disco progressive rock.


Who or what are the main influencing factors to your music?

kraut and progressive rock, jesus christ superstar and couch faint inducing crooner rock.


Several people have compared you to Roy Orbison; do you see that as a help or a hindrance?

i see it as neither. it’s a compliment. roy was the man.


You’ve talked of how the idea for you’re first rate single ‘Girl You Look Amazing’ came to you in a dream, have you had any other song ideas that have arrived out of the blue like that?

there are many of my songs that get delivered to me in dreams. it’s also a good way to rationalize my sleeping in… i’m working. 


How would you describe the process of making your recent album Slow Phaser? Does it differ from how your previous albums came to fruition? 

slow phaser was a slow process. i took a really long time writing this one. if i had rushed it i wouldve released a very different, or rather two very different records. my first record, “neptune city,” took most of my life up until 26 to write. my second, “mondo amore,” was written in a fever after a bad breakup. “slow phaser,” i let myself wander around the world, meeting people and looking for inspiration. paying attention to my dream life and finding good writing foils in jim sclavunos from the bad seeds and tore johannson as well as my time in the joshua tree desert and writing in an LA porn studio with my buddy glen. 


You’ve recently announced that you’re opening for Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for some of his shows, how do you find that? He seems like a laudable enigma of sorts, has he gave his opinion on your music or offered up any Nick Cave wisdom? 

I haven’t met him yet but I’m looking forward to it. his drummer Jim Sclavunos helped me write a few of the songs on this album and really helped me figure out how to break a particularly long bout of writers block. he’s also playing drums with us on my own UK dates this week. I’m sure i owe him a fruit basket.


You’ll be arriving in the U.K very soon, where are you heading and what can people expect from your live shows?

we are playing in London, Nottingham, Bristol, Manchester and Scotland. also an instore at rough trade on may 5th. Lately our shows have been more raw and electric than they’ve ever been.


Do you have a favourite venue when you’re playing gigs? A place you always come back to? 

we always come back to the bowery ballroom in nyc. it was my first big venue i ever played and the room, sound and staff always feel like home.


I’ve seen some of your performances on Letterman and The Craig Ferguson Show, does having a few million people watching ramp up the nerves a bit? Would you do it again?

it ramps up the nerves in a good way. i love the rush. i was always terrible at sports so i guess maybe it’s comparable to playing a big game. i love to do it when ever given the chance.


I’m unreliably informed that Brooklyn is a city solely inhabited by musicians… Whether or not that’s the case, is it easy to get things done as a musician in Brooklyn?

there are tons of musicians in brooklyn and yes, it’s a great place to meet likeminded people and get inspired and make great things, but is it easy? not really. you have to have a buttload of cash money to live there these days. that’s why i live in asbury park, nj right now. not too many musicians, but there are some really great ones. and you can pay the rent and look at the ocean and feed seagulls french fries.


What do you have planned after you’ve stopped off in the U.K?

we come home and have a bunch of festivals, some dates with our friends the avett brothers, a tour with nick cave and the bad seeds and i’m releasing a record i produced from this badass teenage girl band, the glycerine queens. i’m also recording with my other project, Very Night. we make 80’s stalker film music.

Thanks to Nicole for some great answers!

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