A view from Down under…

Albumcover NIKOS Atlantis - Beitragsbild

A view from Down under…

An interview with multiinstrumentalist Nikos (Nik) from New Zealand.

Hey everybody. Today, we from metal-heads.de hooked up with Nikos (or Nik) from the other side of the globe. He ist based in New Zealand and a YouTube algorithm got me in touch with this music. Read more below…

MH: I´m Amir from the German music magazine www.metal-heads.de! We are based in the Ruhr area, that you might know or have heard of with venues like the Zeche in Bochum, the Turock in Essen or Westfallenhalle in Dortmund.

First of all, I have to tell you honestly, that I had not heard from you, before I got to listen to „Atlantis“ as a recommendation. But hey, the worldwide scene is huge and there is so much music released all the time. Then especially, if someone does it all by himself, not having a lable behind him. It´s really hard to keep track. Anyway, I´m always interested to learn about „new“ bands/projects/musicians and their music, especially if it´s prog oriented somehow. So I listened to your album, wrote a review and now I want to hear more about it…

A view from Down under…

N: There’s definitely a lot of people out there releasing music, I’m coming across interesting projects all the time! It’s amazing that thanks to the Youtube algorithm my little corner of the world can be shared with all sorts of people. Likewise, I hadn’t heard of any German venues, but now I have.

MH: So I´d like to begin with the question, what got you into composing and playing music?

NIKOS - Promofoto 03

Starting as a drummer, then picking up a guitar…

N: I’ve always been musically inclined, first starting out with the drums at a young age, then picking up a guitar a little later. Throughout high school I jammed with friends all the time. And I played in the school orchestra, but didn’t really start doing any composing until university. My composing was mostly to learn how to mix, because at the time I found that quite interesting, but out of that came all sorts of short riff ideas, that I eventually expanded into song projects.

MH: Regarding „Atlantis“, how did you come to the decision to finally get your debut album ready? As far as I understand, you had composed some music before that already, right? 

N: Yeah I released an EP a year earlier called „Pastel Voyage“, which is only 4 songs long and has a fair few issues musically, haha. I learnt a lot when making it, and wanted my next project to be longer and at least somewhat compositionally better. „Atlantis“ was the product of much more focus and care, compared to how roughly and thoughtlessly „Pastel Voyage“ was made. I also had a lot more free time, since it was after Uni and the pandemic had hit, so 2020 was basically an open year with tons of time to put into my projects.

People always talk about debut albums being really important, there are some incredible ones out there! Since my ‚fanbase‘ was only friends and family, the only thing I wanted to do with it, was finish and be happy with it myself. I think it turned out ok.

NIKOS - Promofoto 01

MH: As a drummer, that cannot play any other instrument, I´m really impressed, that you played all the instruments by yourself. Why is it , that you don’t gather other musicians around you, but play it all by yourself?

Forced to rely on yourself in Corona times

N: Thanks! It’s handy being a drummer, who also knows guitar. With that it’s easy enough to add bass, and practice to do all the other stuff too. I live in a small town in New Zealand, and despite having a handful of musical friends the opportunities to expand haven’t been there. Being able to rely on only myself to shape a song into what I want is great. Especially from the comfort of home, although it can be tough because you’ve got no-one else to help with ideas. Seeing successful solo projects online gave me the confidence to write music by myself and release it though.

MH: Let´s talk about influences! I guess, when someone writes songs, there is always a musical input from somewhere? What are your musical influences these days and in the past months?

N: I guess in terms of taste I’m your typical prog/djent enthusiast. I listen to a lot of old Intervals, David Maxim Micic, Helix Nebula, Plini, Modern Day Babylon etc.! And while I love the more technical side of the genre, I’m nowhere near skilled enough to be able to write (or perform) music like them. So they may influence some of my decisions when songwriting. But I think my true influences are in the much tamer realm with projects like Widek or Distant Dream, which have some heavy elements but tend to be more ambient or ‚post-rock‘. Since I can’t shred or play crazy technical riffs, I’m content with keeping my songs on the simpler side like them.

Musical development…

MH: How would you describe your personal development regarding the music in the last years? 

N: I think my music has come a long way. Sometimes I listen to old demos and the difference is really clear, especially in my mixing. Although, some of my short old ideas are super creative and I sometimes wonder if I’ve lost any of that while trying to finish tracks. Songwriting is hard, and even now after having released an album, I can sit at my PC and think that a song I’m writing sounds like a toddler made it. But at the end of the day, if I trust my ear and cast all my worries and expectations away, I’m pretty happy with the things I create.

Albumcover NIKOS Atlantis

MH: Are you planning to keep it that way or are you thinking about getting in touch with other musicians to create more music as a band or at least a „project“??

N: Honestly I have no idea where I’d start if I wanted to expand the project. For my second album I’m wanting to ask some people for guest solos, because I think that some really nice shredding would fit great on some of my new songs! Having a guest solo really ups the vibe. And seems like a great way to get the flavour of another musician into your work without a full on collab. I’d also like to experiment with vocals once in a while, but don’t worry because I’m staying instrumental mainly – haha.

A look into the future…

MH: A look in the future – where do you see yourself in 10 years – regarding the music and life in general?

N: 10 years is pretty far. Realistically as far as music goes I’m doubting it takes off anywhere. I’m happy with writing and releasing stuff whenever I have the motivation! And knowing that the handful of people who stumble across it should enjoy it. As long as I’m happy with what I release, that’s all that matters. As for life in general, just your standard goals I think! A wife, kids, and a house with a dedicated studio room would be pretty cool. 😊 I’m a professional video game animator by trade. So it’ll be interesting to see how that industry develops over time.

NIKOS - Promofoto 02

MH: That was a lot of interesting info about you and your music. Now we slowly come to an end. It´s a tradition for us to leave the last words to our interview partners. Do you have a final message for our readers out there? About yourself, music in generell or the new album…whatever…

N: Thank you! It’s been a pleasure answering these questions. As „Atlantis“ is taking off of Youtube, I just want to thank everyone who has expressed their enjoyment of it. For a first album by a mediocre bedroom musician, I’m really glad that there are people who like my music! I’m always wanting to release more stuff, and sometimes quite experimental or genre fluid, so keep an eye out. Album #2 is coming when it’s ready, and I hope that people will enjoy it as well. Thank you.

MH: Thanx for your time and hope to see you on some stage some time in the future! And feel free to get in touch, when the next release is up! I’d be very interested to hear that!!

A review will soon be online in the review-section of metal-heads.de!

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  • NIKOS – Promofoto 03: Nikos - Photo by Glenn Fredric
  • NIKOS – Promofoto 01: Nikos - Photo by Glenn Fredric
  • Albumcover NIKOS Atlantis: Nikos - Artwork by Samuele Bandini
  • NIKOS – Promofoto 02: Nikos - Photo by Glenn Fredric
  • Albumcover NIKOS Atlantis – Beitragsbild: Nikos - Artwork by Samuele Bandini

Doc Rock

Meine erste Metal-Platte liegt lange zurück: LIVE AFTER DEATH von IRON MAIDEN war´s. Ansonsten fühle ich mich in der Progressive Metal-Ecke wohl!

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