Interview by Kayla Ayala & Yising Kao, Photos by Yising Kao 3/9/19
Nico's featured in our March issue!: www.galaxy-mag.com/issues
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Youtube: Nico the frog dad
At only 15 years old, Nico is a rising artist based in Los Angeles, who writes her own songs with imaginative titles-“glitter glue,” “rolling up my rectangles,” and “melancholy déjà vu,” to name a few. Over the past year, she has gained a large audience by covering songs through YouTube and social media by her favorite bands such as As It Is, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, Twenty One Pilots, Super Whatevr, With Confidence, and Waterparks. Some instruments Nico’s proficient in playing are the ukulele, guitar and flute. Recently, Nico produced a soft cover album of The Great Depression by As It Is (which you can find on her Twitter), where she covered each song in her own acoustic and unique way, with her delicate yet powerful voice. Nico and I met through Vans Warped Tour and our favorite bands, and I genuinely believe that she’s going to achieve her goals as an artist through her talent, hard work, and passion!
Who or what inspires you and your music?
Even though my parents work in the music industry, I never really liked bands and stuff like that until I was 12 or 13, when I found Twenty One Pilots. They're inspired me start playing the ukulele, the first instrument that I was really passionate about, so I kind of went from there. Currently, my biggest inspirations are Patty Walters and Dallon Weekes. They’re such sweet guys and they manage to create meaningful lyrics and do what they want, and also Twenty One Pilots because of their passion.
How would you describe your style? What’s your songwriting process like?
I can’t imagine writing a song that’s not completely from something I’ve experienced. Its mostly from personal experiences and ideas of being human. Sometimes things in my English class will inspire me, like a book we read; it just sparks an idea and I just go from there. I try to center it around a theme.
What are your biggest challenges with music?
Currently, it’s learning how to use the physical equipment because I got a microphone and an interface for instruments about a year ago. I used to do my songs on Final Cut Pro and layer the harmonies one by one on there. But now that I have garage band, which is specifically for music and not video, I have a lot more options and have to learn how to use the microphone and stuff.
Are you planning to use Logic?
Yeah, I want to eventually, but I wanted to start with garage band since its easier. With video editing, I started on my iPhone, then iMovie and once I mastered that, I moved to Final Cut Pro, so I'm hoping to do the same thing with music software.
For your cover album of The Great Depression by As It Is, what was your recording process like?
I started many weeks before the show and I was like, “I’m going to do this and it’s going to be so good, and I'm going to spend time and work on it.” Then, I recorded the title track, “The Great Depression,” and for some reason, I just hated it and how it turned out. So, I stopped until literally Tuesday, before As It Is’ Anaheim show on Friday. Basically, what I did was set up Garage Band and I recorded the vocals and the main instrument, ‘cause I'm too lazy to put the instrument in and then sing over it. I do one take and then just put all the harmonies on it, and different instrumental parts if I want to. What I really love about garage band is that since I have an interface that can plug my ukulele directly into my computer, I can change the ukulele to sound like a heavy metal guitar if you want, so its super fun. I did all that stuff afterwards. I used the ukulele as the main instrument and then changed it to guitar sounds for overdubs and stuff like that. I did like, 4 songs everyday after school to try to finish it.
I’m so glad it worked out and you pushed through!
Thanks, me too! If it didn’t, I would’ve been very disappointed with myself.
What are some of your goals as an artist? Do you want to eventually work with a record label?
My mom and I have been planning to make a small label, like Dallon Weekes did with the Brobecks when he created the None You Jerks label so he could release his stuff on iTunes. It wasn’t like a real label, but it was something he went under. So, maybe I’d start with that just because I don’t want to sign too many deals. My main goal right now is just to be able to get some sort of EP or album out and play shows.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
Halloween. I’m like that all year round, but I get really dark.
Favorite ice cream?
There’s this place near me called Jeni’s Ice Cream and there’s this flavor called Gooey Butter Cake. It’s so good.
First show you traveled to for an artist/band?
I went to Columbus, Ohio to see Twenty One Pilots 2 years ago, for their last show for their Blurry Face Tour. So, I sobbed a lot.
Last song you crowd surfed to?
“Wounded World” by As It Is in Anaheim. That was stressful! It was right before all the opening bands came on stage to do that big thing. I went up and held my white flag and was sinking into the crowd, but it was so fun.
Dream venue to play at?
It’s not going to be an arena or something because those are overrated. I want to play at the Troubadour so bad because everyone plays there and that was like, the first small venue I ever went to. I saw Frank Iero and the Patience 2 years ago, and I didn’t go to the pit because I was scared, but I want to play there.
One of Nico's original songs, "fingerprints last"