Growing up in the same neighborhood helps to form bonds between band members, however, a stronger bond is the bloodline. The Nico Blues are a band made up of two sets of brothers and a longtime friend who is family regardless of genes. The quintet, who are originally from the Northern New Jersey area, have been tearing down the basic walls of the music scene and expanding them through their artist collective, Tiny Giants. Their loud, melodic blend of rock and folk has helped the band reach fans not only locally but all over. With some hard work and determination The Nico Blues beat out some tough competition and won a contest sponsored by mtvU and had their music video for one of the their most successful songs, “Living Proof” aired on the college channel.
2011 was a big year for the five-piece, however, 2012 is going to thrust this band into a new light with the plans to release two six track EPs, the first one being released in February. Below, the band talks about their releases, the CMJ Music Marathon and the Tiny Giants Artists Collection.
You guys have a new album coming out? When?
Eric Goldberg: Yes! It’s probably going to come out the end of February. It’s called Die Happy, it is a six song EP and we’re going to be releasing another six song EP later on this year, but we don’t know what that one’s going to be called.
How did you come up with the title for the EP?
EG: I think I said it to Reed (Adler) one day that I just want to die happy.
Reed Adler: I was just like ah!
EG: We also haven’t come up with anything better.
So what’s the deal with you guys and Killing Horse Records?
RA: They’re re-releasing our EP, Blame The Boredom, Blame The Basements. We didn’t “sign” a deal with them, that’s not how we work. We’re all part of the same collective, Tiny Giants Artist Collective, and we all want to help each other out. They wanted to help us out by not letting our old album die.
Where can people find Blame The Boredom, Blame The Basements other than through Killing Horse?
RA: thenicoblues.com is where our album is. That’s where any music, news, [and] video will be. Also Facebook. But yes, thenicoblues.com
EG: Killing Horse is just releasing our old album; we’re releasing the new one on our own. So it’s probably going to cost $5 on Bandcamp, or iTunes.
2011 was a huge year for the band, between all the hype through The Deli and playing the CMJ Music Marathon. How has it been for you guys?
EG: CMJ is great if you’re a band from Canada who has a lot of buzz. But if you’re a band who frequently plays New York City than no one cares about you.
RA: We have had a good year. We’ve made a lot of new fans and our artist collective, Tiny Giants, has gotten off the ground. Everybody is getting involved. We have our minions; it’s almost like Fight Club. You walk around and see members but don’t want to say anything so you wink. That’s what Tiny Giants is like.
Evan Campbell: It’s just showing that we’re doing something right. That we’re going in the right direction.
Where did the concept for the Tiny Giants Artist Collective come up?
EG: I always wanted to start a label called Tiny Giants Records but I don’t have the time or the resources to start a label so our friends in Holy City Zoo to make it a collective, an artist collective, so we started the Facebook group. We started adding bands that we play with here and there. There’s a lot of pockets of scenes in New Jersey so I figured why not just unite them under one banner.
RA: Instead of us just being in charge, we wanted to start something that everyone was in charge. It’s been working slowly but surely.
How did you guys react to your video for “Living Proof” airing on mtvU?
EC: We never thought we’d be on it.
It was a contest, so do you know how many votes you got?
RA: I know how many I put in. But I know we got thousands and thousands. It was the first step of Tiny Giants coming together—we needed man power. The others didn’t have collectives behind them.
EG: We were just ready. Plus our video was for our own merits—we don’t have a management company backing us up. It just got on because it’s good and the song is good.
EC: Or Chris Brown featured in our music video.
How are fans in different states?
RA: We played in Maryland recently. It was different but fun. We played a pizza place. We’ll play anywhere, even if the place doesn’t sell pizza. This place luckily did. There wasn’t a ton of people there but it’s fine because we don’t know a lot of people in Baltimore. We just hung out on the streets, handing out stickers and that’s how we do our out-of-state promotion.
EC: We’re looking forward to going back there in summer when there will be more people around and hopefully it won’t be as freezing.
How will Die Happy differ from your previous releases?
RA: It’s gonna kick more ass.
EC: It’s more us.
EG: Now we’re trying to be ourselves more. Me and Ev are writing better songs so it’s helping us write a better album. We had a better idea of what sound and style that we wanted going into it. We had a better vision going in than we did with the last album. Skylar, our drummer, is also our recording engineer and he’s doing this one too. He has more knowledge of what gives the right sound. We wanted it to sound like our own thing, like nothing we’ve ever done before.
RA: We have our influences but it sounds like us. I’m pretty proud of the way it’s coming.
What are your personal favorite songs off of the release?
RA: “Melodic Death Jam.”
Danny Goldberg: Mine is the first track. The structure is different, the delay effect that Skylar has on the vocals is really cool.
EV: Mine is probably “I Could Be Your Pet.”
SA: I like “I Could Be Your Pet” and the first track that Danny was talking about.
EC: Maybe “Mugshot In Princeton.” It has a really big chorus and is slightly autobiographical.
What else can people expect from The Nico Blues in 2012?
EG: They can expect overdoses, breakups, [and] make-ups.
RA: Sex, lies and videotapes. Nah, but there will be a bunch of live shows, new music. Just come out to a live show. We’ll be around Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Philly, well over a dozen times in the first half of the year.
EG: We’re just gonna kick ass.
You can see Nico Blues at Death By Audio in Brooklyn on Feb. 15, Maxwell’s in Hoboken on Feb. 16, Hard Rock Café in Philly on Feb. 17, Le Grand Fromage in Atlantic City on Feb. 18, and the Wayne Firehouse in Wayne on Feb. 19. For more upcoming shows check out thenicoblues.com.