Nic Nassuet, critically acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and rocker, has just had his debut album Eleutherios, listed among Global Music Awards' Top Ten Albums of 2015, alongside current Grammy nominees. His studio effort that was released in April of this year, houses a dynamic collection of sounds drawing inspiration from folk, acoustic, Gothic, and other genres. Thus, the album has been lauded for its immensely creative direction, lyrical prowess, and instrumental tact.
Your music is very personal. Tell us about the soul of your music.
I really don't know how to describe the soul of this music. I should start by saying that I don't really write music and I don't consider myself a musician in the classical sense. The music comes to me randomly at times, mostly in dreams and then words start to form in the dark regions of my mind and those become titles and lyrics. It is more of an exercise in listening than anything else. The soul of the music, or source of inspiration, remains a mystery to me. A mystic would say that the source is external, a materialist would attribute it to my subconscious communicating with my consciousness. I try not to judge or evaluate but simply accept it and try to provide the best outlet and vehicle for the music that I can.
Your music seems lyrics driven. Talk about your lyrics.
I think that as a singer from a very early age my mind tends to focus on lyrics more than anything else in a song. If I can't sing along to it then I don't usually listen to it. Similarly, if the lyrics are not meaningful to me then I cannot connect to a piece, regardless of how well-crafted the song is. There are many artists whose voices, or songs, I was not particularly fond of until I heard the lyrics and then fell in love with the artist and their message.
The lyrics part of my process comes after I hear the song. The way the whole thing usually works is that I hear a snippet of a song in my head, most often in a dream, but sometimes while moving about the house at random throughout the day. When I hear the music I have to rush to my phone, even in the middle of the night, to hum the song into my voice recorder app or else I will lose it. However, there have been a few instances where a song has been persistent and has haunted me until I gave it life.
Later I revisit the song and plunk it out on a guitar. I cannot read music and do not know notes, chords, scales or even string names so I cannot write it out, everything has to be auditory. While plunking it out I really get to know the song and it starts to communicate with me in depth. Most often it gives me a word which becomes the title or theme of the song. From there other words form around that original word those words become the lyrics and the song comes to life.
Review Fix said of your music, If Edgar Allen Poe was in a band, he’d be in one with Nic Nassuet. What do you think they mean by that observation?
I think that Review Fix was comparing the darker poetic themes of Eleutherios to the works of Edgar Allen Poe, which is very high praise. Some of the songs on Eleutherios are stories with characters and a plot so the comparison to a storyteller is not inaccurate. I never expected to be compared to such a great artist though, I find it very humbling.
As your music matures, its likely to change. It has been said that your music echoes genres such as horror punk and garage. Perhaps it is an impossible question, but in your mind’s eye what sound and meaning do you want your music to have in fifteen years?
You are correct, that is an impossible question. I am not a person with many wants. I think it would be more fair to say that I do what the music wants, and as long as the music wants me I will continue to do my best to bring it into being. What form the music will choose to take in the future is a mystery to me. At present, the music tells me to purchase new instruments because it wants to speak through the tones and notes of Ancient Greece and India for now, so I have acquired a number of strange and exotic instruments to better serve the music.
I trust that the music knows what is best. I had never even held a mandolin, but the music told me to buy one. I ordered one on the internet and She Rides Moonlight came out of the instrument when I held it. That song has gone on to be placed in movies, won awards, added to compilations and played on many radio stations around the world. I had no idea what I was doing. The music can, and probably will, take many forms in the future. I will not know them until they happen.
Tell us about the fellow musicians with whom you play. How do they influence your sound?
It's a very strange collaboration live. Our sound changes depending on who is in the backing band. Many times it is just me and a guitar. Other times we will have bass, Cajon guitar and hand percussion. It just depends on who is available. In the studio I sometimes find musicians who have an interesting instrument and ask them to contribute to the sound. Sometimes it works better than I had imagined. Other times, it doesn't sound as good as I had hoped and so we scrap that instrument's track.
If your music is a gift to your fans, what do you want them to say about that gift?
I don't know that it is a gift to fans but the songs are intended for others as much as, if not more than, the songs provide catharsis for me. I feel very strongly that the people who are supposed to hear these songs will hear them and resonate with them as long as I do my best to provide the right sounds, people, work ethic, and publicity to the music. However, I am keenly aware that this music is not for everyone. There are people who need it and I hope that they find it.
I don't want people to say anything about the music other than what they want to say. If you enjoy it and it is meaningful to you, I am happy that I was able to help facilitate your pleasure in some small way. If it is not to your liking, that's alright too.
This award winning singer songwriter’s rise to prominence in the independent community has been a long time coming ever since his debut on the stage, where he initially got to stretch his vocal chops. Soon, though, Nassuet pioneered a style of his own, combining vibrant, dramatic performances with a myriad of influences. Everything from traditional Celtic music to grunge, folk, punk, and blues makes of Nassuet’s unique sound.
To learn more about Nassuet: LINK