A Little Rock and/or Roll -Nickopotamus -Interview By: Liam Sweeny
Written by Staff on October 5, 2021
RRX: Nickopotamus has a pretty diverse sound. So it’s something to let people know, because they may only hear one of your songs, and not really get a full sense of your sound. If people could only hear one song, which one do you recommend and why?
AF: Wow, that’s a really hard question! I’ve been sitting here fifteen minutes thinking about it, going over all my songs in my head. I’d like to think that no two are alike and not one individual song would give a full sense of Nickopotamus’ sound. They’re all little snapshots of my whole musical spectrum, I guess, and I never seem to stick with the same sound, too boring. But the one song I would recommend is “BCBC (Brown-Chicken-Brown-Cow)” because people really seem to like it when we play it live and it’s lots of fun to play, which is what Nickopotamus is all about?
RRX: You describe your music as having rock, jam, funk, punk, groove, and zydeco elements. How have others outside of the band described it? Have they all been straightforward descriptions, or any funny ones? The least accurate way it’s been described.
AF: I don’t even know how to describe my music when I’m asked. rock and/or roll (a line from the Simpsons) is a phrase I always like to use. I guess rock fusion maybe? We’ll play a fast-paced two-step, then a disco beat, then a heavier song and everything in between. We’ve got about 90 songs in our repertoire between all the originals and covers that we play. The most straightforward description is when people have come up after a set/show and tell us that we’re a fun-time party band that they really enjoyed listening to, but that doesn’t seem to be a genre. Someone once told me we were just a jam band. We do have some of those elements, but I just can’t narrow it down like that.
RRX: No band is an island, except for island bands. We all have friends out there. Do you have a buddy-band? A band that you jam with, or get into street brawls with or maybe steal jewels with? If so, who is it? And how did you connect?
AF: I guess we are sort of an island band. We’re just out there doing our own thing. No real buddy bands and certainly none that we brawl with! I don’t mind opening for someone, I love the exposure, or playing an occasional showcase show but I prefer to play shows where it’s just us playing. The only reason is because I need to play for hours and I have a plethora of material that I love to perform. It’s the only way I feel completely satisfied and I got it ‘all out of my system’, so to speak. Don’t get me wrong, I know some musicians in other bands and I try to get out to see them when I can and I love seeing them at my shows as well.
RRX: When it comes to live music, a band is a part of the equation. The bigger part, for sure, but there’s another part of the experience, the venue. Venues have a huge hand in making a show what it is. If you could build your own venue, describe it. Flesh it our.
AF: I would have a venue that, somehow, it would be impossible for anyone in the audience who is standing to be blocking anybody else’s view behind them, regardless of the height/position of that person. Full bars on both sides and back, super circumference PA and light show. Plenty of room, some comfortable furniture, awesome green room, full local door to door/hotel shuttle service for ticket holders, with side walls that can open and a retractable roof.
RRX: You have an album out, Stone Chromozone. I listened and loved. Do you have any new music coming out on the horizon? Any albums or songs, even if they’re only on the practice room wall? And any shows, let’s say going out from now to six months?
AF: Thank you man, I appreciate that! Yes, I’ve had over an album’s worth of music written for a little bit now. The pandemic let me add a few more onto the pile. I started laying down the basics this past Spring and will continue to peck away at it and bring the other members in to record their parts. The material is very well polished from the good amount of rehearsing we did over the past year and our recent shows. We have been booking private parties and publicly playing at the 217 Café (Local 217). It’s got a great outdoor courtyard venue and is right up the street from my house. We’ll be playing The Hangar in Troy soon, just played Putnam Place not long ago and hope to get back out to some of those pre-COVID places like Dinosaur BBQ and my favorite bar the Excelsior Pub!
RRX: Here is where you answer the question I didn’t ask. Words of wisdom? Proper method for breaking bass strings? Educate, enlighten, emote – the floor is yours.
AF: Awwwwwwwwwwww man, I used to break a lot of bass strings in my youth. I’m serious! You know, it took me a long time to learn finesse. I habitually go at almost everything I do as hard as I can and eventually will ease back off the throttle. You can definitely hear this in my music. On the album High Tailin It I really come out attacking hard. Then with Stone Chromozone’ you can tell I’m loosening up and having more fun with it. This is mostly due to surrounding myself with great bandmates! Nickopotamus is by far the most fun, drama-free band I’ve ever been in and you can tell how much fun that we are having when you see us play live. It’s what we all live for…and our loved ones too!