Chris: Hi Nicotine Dolls, nice to meet you. What's been happening over the past six months? Update us, please!
Nicotine Dolls: The past six months have been all over the place. We started work on our debut album with Greg Giorgio (The National, Interpol, Frightened Rabbit) and Eric Sanderson (Augustines). We also released our first single, ‘Fake’ along with a video that comes out on 1 March. Currently we are on tour in Texas before going back up to New York City to finish the record.
Where are you from and what’s the music scene like there?
We’re all based in NYC, the scene is pretty thin there. It feels like each group is either falling into pre-existing older scenes or creating their own new one around their specific sound. We tend to fall in the latter group
How long have you been making music?
All of us have been making music individually since we were kids. But as Nicotine Dolls we have been going since summer 2017.
What would be your dream venue to play and who else would be on the bill?
We rehearse in a little space next to Brooklyn Steel and playing there would definitely be a big moment for us as we’ve seen some of our favourite bands play there. As far as a dream line-up goes, The 1975, The Killers, Wolf Alice and Haim would be a crazy night of some seriously innovative bands.
And which are your favourite venues that you have played?
Rockwood Music Hall is a NYC staple, Quinn’s in Beacon NY has dope ramen, and DROM in the Lower East Side has solid sound.
Is there a story behind ‘Fake’?
Sam Cieri: The song came out of a bad date. We were out, and that overpowering drive to hide and throw smoke to avoid an actual connection started forming. This time I became very aware of it and started to watch it all happen in third person. Watching myself hand out fool’s gold as a form of survival.
What’s the best show you’ve been to this year?
Sam Cieri: I saw The Japanese House in Brooklyn and she blew me away.
John Merritt: I saw Freak Fingers in Texas and was floored.
John Hays: I got to see the amazing John Paul White.
What’s the process involved in your songwriting – who’s the driving force and how does it start?
Sam writes the songs acoustically and brings that to band to be rebuilt into what it comes to be, which can be close to the original or wildly different.
Is there any advice you can offer brand-new bands out there to help them on their way?
Because we have all been in the game for a while we came in pretty open-eyed about how much work goes into being a band. The best advice is what we always say to ourselves when approaching the music: always be honest, give everything over to the song, make something new, be fucking honest.
Do you have any gigs in the pipeline?
Currently we are wrapping up this tour before getting back to recording but we will be playing a lot of East Coast shows in the spring/summer.
Which five bands should we know about?
Bad Sons, The Penniless Wild, Snail Mail, Car Seat Headrest and, our personal favourite, Nicotine Dolls!