WITCHPOLICE RADIO: welcome to Witchpolice Radio. I'm here with a guest who is new to me. I'd heard the name before, definitely one of the things I like to do, I think, is a lot of people who listen to the show know is I like to kind of dig through Bandcamp and search for literally anything I can find that has Winnipeg or Manitoba as a tag. And then I have this kind of big, massive list of stuff to go through and I start following everyone I can find. And so the guest on this episode is one of the people that I first discovered sort of doing that Bandcamp digging. But you've been doing this for a little while and I think that you have some new stuff that is coming out that's exciting to talk about. So I think the best way to start this off is if you want to just introduce yourself and give a bit of background about what you do as an artist.
NICKYBABY: Hey, I'm Nicholas Goszer. I go by Nickybaby. Just released my first album back in April. It was awesome, super Empowering and fun to release. I'm currently writing my second album. I have about seven songs done. I want to have ten or twelve on the album. And I have a show coming up in December that hasn't officially been announced yet. So I think that'll be the 29th or 30th. That's quite exciting.
Yeah. I write songs, and then I am lucky enough to have some great friends that I bring the songs to when we make them into much bigger, more powerful songs.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO:: I noticed looking at the liner notes on your bandcamp of the previous album, and you have, like, a pretty exceptional list of players on the record. So are these all people you'd worked with in other projects before, or how did you get all of them to participate?
NICKYBABY: I'm very lucky that I grew up with Adam and Gil, who are in Living Hour, and we've been good friends since elementary school. And they really encouraged me to write songs when I started playing guitar. I only started playing guitar maybe ten years ago and encouraged me just to start writing immediately. So when I wrote these songs, COVID hit, and they were like, hey, we're in each other's bubble, let's record these. So I was really lucky to have the Living Hour guys just be friends with them. And then I've been friends with Corey and Brian for over a decade and they were happy to help out. And Brett through Living Hour, I know. And Sam through Living Hour, I know. And then when I reached out to Brady to mix the album, he was noticed some things on bass that he wants switched. So I think Brady Allard of Warming is a fantastic musician. So I said, hey, if you think that this would sound good, you play bass on it. You do, you. So it was really collaborative, and I'm just lucky to be friends with a lot of fantastic musicians.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: So this is the question that no one likes answering, and I understand why, but how do you define what you do? Because in listening to it, there's a lot of things, a lot of genres that could be thrown around, I guess. I mean, some of it's folky, some of it's more kind of indie rock, indie pop. Some of it has sort of real dreamy sort of vibes to it. Some of it could be classified, I guess, as Americana, maybe. What do you call it?
NICKYBABY: I call it indie rock Americana.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Okay.
NICKYBABY: Yeah. I don't go in with any, like, hey, this is what I'm going to want to label myself. I try not to put constraints on it. It's just whatever I write. If it sounds country, great, if it sounds more dreamy or shoegaze, perfect. I try not to put a label on it. But when people ask me, I just say indie rock Americana. That's generally. I try not to label it. I try and do a diverse amount of different things.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Is that just sort of naturally what comes out of you just based on what you've sort of grew up listening to and things like.
NICKYBABY: Exactly. A lot of it is just from who I take inspiration from. My favorite band is Silver Jews. It's David Berman. He also had a project called Purple Mountains, which was fantastic. I love the band Girls, and Elliot Smith is one of my all time favorites. So a lot of it's just drawing inspiration from those three musicians, and then just little bits I hear from here or there. Sometimes I'll write something and I'll point out to. I'll show it to a friend. They'll say, oh, that sounds like I just. A song a little bit ago, I showed it to a friend. He's like, oh, that sounds like the Mamas and Papas. And I was like, hey, I haven't listened to that band, since I was a kid. That's awesome. I must have been in my subconscious.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Yeah, that stuff sticks there, right? You get stuff that's been there for decades, and it finally just sort of worms its way out in the most bizarre ways.
NICKYBABY: Exactly. Yeah.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Well, I guess, I mean, the genre thing, I think you're right that most people don't want to pigeonhole themselves and stick to one thing. Do you think that having that kind of diversity of sound is helpful in terms of where your opportunities may be as far as where you're going to play, what kind of bands you're going to play with on the same bill? Maybe? What kind of audience is going to pick up your stuff?
NICKYBABY: I hope so. I certainly hope so. I found when I played live, because I was playing with some excellent musicians, it was really able to take a different sound than the album, so we were able to make it sound different enough, well, similar enough that you can obviously hear the songs in them, but it was different enough that it's like, oh, hey, we can adjust this to whatever bill we want to be on. And that was pretty cool. I've only played one live show, and that was back in June, and it was just like a dream come true. I recommend it. Anyone who's thinking about doing music, there's no harm in trying. Just, like, give it a go. You don't have to be the best in the world to have fun and make some good music if it impacts one person, and that person is you, great.
If you can make some good friends to play with, like I played with Sam Singer and DHID. That's Danny Hacking is Dead, and it was just, like, so cool to play with them. I feel like I'm a lot closer with those bands since then and those people. It's pretty cool. I don't know if that really answers your question.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: No, it does. And that's actually an awesome. I like that attitude, too. The idea of just, I think that we need more people to just go out and do whatever it is they want to do creatively without necessarily being worried about how people are going to react to it. I like what you said about whether it's just for you and you're enjoying it, then that should be enough, right? I think a lot of people are too constrained by, oh, how is this going to go over? And it's like, if you enjoy it, that's going to come through. Think regardless of what it sounds like or looks like or reads like, whatever it is, if the person who created it is obviously having fun with it and obviously is being genuine about it, I think that always shines through for sure.
NICKYBABY: This is a little bit off topic, but I saw Slow Leaves play this summer at Real Love, and he was saying how music to him is about self discovery. And that really resonated with me because it's like, you know what? Even if you just write something and it helps you find something out about yourself, that's power to it.
I would always kind of struggle to see where my music came from. Then when I heard Slow Leaves say it's about self discovery, I really hit home. I'm like, a lot of the songs I read, I don't really know what they're about until they're finished. I was like, oh, I guess I was feeling that way. I didn't even think of that.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Well, you described sort of earlier this. This is kind of almost a COVID project in the sense that you started, you know, getting more actively doing this during that time when you were in the bubble. How long have you been writing songs before the pandemic hit?
NICKYBABY: You know, I started playing guitar when I was 22, so that was ten years ago, and I instantly started writing. But a lot of them weren't stuff that I kept around. It was just stuff that I took kind of to learn to write. But I think my first song that I wrote, I wrote that was on this album I wrote when I was 23. So there was one song that was nine years old. There was also a song that wasn't even finished till we started recording. And it's like, okay, we need a 10th song. Pick one that's kind of ready, and we'll finish it as a group.
This whole album was nine years ago to, like, seven years ago of writing.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: How does that compare listening to those songs? I mean, obviously you've changed them over the years, I'm sure, and having the instrumentalists you had on the record, that's going to change it as well. But listening to something you wrote nine years ago versus something that is a lot more recent, is it obvious to you? I mean, when you're listening back to these songs, does it sort of have this vibe of, oh, this is something I wrote when I was much younger, or do you feel like it's still sort of similar enough that it fits?
NICKYBABY: I think it fit really well with this album because it was a very biographical album.
The subject matter lyrically was about my 20s, and I had some mental health struggles in my twenty s and some addiction struggles. So it was about my addiction struggles. And then I've been sober for a long time. So by the end of the album, it was about being sober. So it started with addiction struggles, and then it kind of went with overcoming them.
Life can be good sober. So it really worked out kind of naturally well, because it told a story, accidentally told a story of a seven year time period in my life where I was overcoming some challenges. So it wasn't intentional, but I think because of that, lyrically, it really goes together well.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Cool.
NICKYBABY: And because I played with such talented musicians, they were able to make it sound cohesive instrumentally.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Does dealing with that kind of subject matter, I mean, very autobiographical. And covering some tough times that you had, is it sort of cathartic to get that out? To get that out on record and to have it sort of especially playing it live, I imagine, too. That's got to give you some kind of a boost, I guess, to your soul or something, just to say that stuff out loud on stage. Is that a thing with you?
NICKYBABY: Yeah. I couldn't put it better myself. It's cathartic. It's like a boost to the soul. That's exactly how I couldn't think of the words, but that's what it is. It's like getting it out there, not bottling up. It's the opposite of that. It's shouting it out to the world that, hey, this is me. This is who I am.
This is what I've been through, and I'm better for it today. Definitely cathartic, and it was super empowering to actually do it. To write the songs was one thing. Until I started recording it, I never envisioned it becoming an actual album and then performing it. So it was really just a cathartic, empowering, just dream come true.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Well, and now you have.
NICKYBABY: Looking forward to more.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Well, and that's kind of what I wanted to go to next. I mean, you mentioned you have new music in the works. You got more shows coming up. At what point did this go from being sort of a project you were working on over the pandemic to now this thing where you're actively pursuing it? And there's more on the.
NICKYBABY: Just honestly, when COVID hit me, myself, Gil Carroll, and Adam Solloway of Living Hour, we used to jam my songs just for fun. And then COVID hit, and there was not a whole lot to do. We're in each other's bubbles. So they had a place to record, so they were nice enough to suggest that we record them. I was thrilled that they would do that with me. And then as soon as we started recording, I don't know what their thought process was, but my thought process was like, this sounds pretty darn good. Let's roll with this. Let's get it out. Let's record it all. Let's mix, let's master it.
Put my own money into it, and it was like, even if I don't get anything back, this is something I want to pursue, because even if I don't get anything back monetarily is what I meant, because there's so much that I gained from it, like you said, for the soul. So just COVID really put into front gear, and then once I started recording those songs, I was just like, hey, I've been working on these songs for the last, like I said, nine years. I got to start writing some new stuff.
So I started writing and then some new stuff. LIke I said, I think I have seven new songs written. And it's like once you release an album, you don't just want to put any song out there. You want to one up yourself. So it's really been fun to challenge myself and not just be like, oh, I'll write what comes to mind. It's like, okay, this might be good, but I'm going to work on it for another month because it's not where I want it to be. So the COVID really kicked it into front gear and then having the songs recorded inspired me to start writing songs.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Have you noticed any kind of major sonic difference in the new songs you're doing now compared to these previous ones? I mean, now you're sort of at a different stage. COvID is hopefully over. For all intents and purposes, it's not over, but you were able to play shows, you have the record out, you got new stuff. Has the sound changed?
NICKYBABY: I definitely think there's a few melancholy songs. Like the last album is pretty melancholic, but it's definitely a lot more upbeat. This album think at least a handful of the songs are a lot more kind of happy, and I feel like some of them have a bit of. At least two of them have kind of a country vibe to them, which I really like. I think that just comes from listening to a lot of Silver Jews, and I love Wilco. I'm not sure if this is their first album, but their album A.M. is very country and I just absolutely been blasting that a lot. So I'm just like, inspired by it. Trying to write more country songs and might only end up being one or two, but on the album. But I think the lyrics are more mature.
I think that it's going in a good direction. I'm really happy with it, with what I've been writing.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: That's good to hear.
NICKYBABY: Yeah, I'm excited to bring it to the guys I record with who are so talented and see how they can expand on it and make it sound so much better than I could ever do by myself.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Well, here's maybe a question related to that, then. Because you have this access to this kind of embarrassment of riches with players that you're working with, how do these songs work on their own? Is it possible for you to play some music, to play a show solo, or is it strictly going to be a band project sort of going forward?
NICKYBABY: I'd like it to be a band project. I could play a song solo. I just don't think it does it justice. I generally write the rhythm guitar and the melody and the vocals. And then, like you said, it has this embarrassment of riches to take your words again. I bring it to these guys and they help me. They more than help me. They take these songs and they transform rhythm, melody and vocals into this, to full songs. It really speaks to their talent that they can take these songs that I've written and make them so much larger.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: You may not be able to answer this, but what is the goal with this project at this point? Do you have sort of something that you have your sight set on for, whether it's next year or in the relatively near future?
NICKYBABY: I'd like to finish writing this album and start recording right away.
But my ultimate goal as a musician is I'd love to be at the point where I can justify printing vinyls for an album. I think it would be so cool to have my own vinyl. I couldn't justify it for the last album. It's just I knew they wouldn't sell like I wanted them to, and they're quite expensive to print. I think that that would be so cool to have Nickybaby vinyl one day.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: It would be cool. I think a lot of people are in that position where it's the dream, right? But it's prohibitively expensive. And then there's this whole backlog. You got to wait forever to get it pressed and everything. But, yeah, I think anyone in a band wants to see their record in an LP form. Yeah, for sure.
For people who are new to your music and hearing you for the first time on this podcast, what's the best way to find out what you're up to? Not only to hear your music that you have out now, but also just sort of follow you and find out when you have upcoming shows and stuff like that. Because as a podcast, someone could hear it the day it comes out, or they could hear it a year from now. And by then who knows what you're up to. You may have new music out, you may be playing a bunch of shows. So where does someone find the sounds and the information?
NICKYBABY: Awesome. Thank you for asking. Follow me on Instagram. That's @nickybaby4ever with a four.
Yes, Nickybaby the number four ever. That's where I post everything. I post about who I play with. I post about upcoming shows. I post about songs that I'm writing. I used to post acoustic videos but I don't want to post what I'm working on yet. So I want to wait till they're recorded at least. But I'm hoping to do a demo in December as well. Two song demo and then I'll probably post that on there. But yeah, follow my Instagram. I'll keep giving updates about shows I'm playing, music I'm recording and who I'm playing with.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: And then as far as hearing the actual stuff, I mean I listen to it on Bandcamp but I'm assuming it's on all the various ways people do music.
NICKYBABY: Yes. Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Bandcamp. I have CDs I'm willing to deliver and I charged I think $12 for them. But honestly, pay what you can. If someone wants to listen to my music, I am happy for them to listen to it.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Well, I'm glad you make CD. I mean, as someone who is, I'm stubbornly refusing to do the streaming thing. Like, all my music I listen to is physical. So I'm going to bug you after the show to arrange to get a copy of the CD because I'm always glad to see people releasing physical stuff. It's great. It's great.
NICKYBABY: That'd be awesome. I collect vinyls and cassettes myself.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Me too. Yeah, all of it.
NICKYBABY: I had a massive CD collection of local CDs. I had them all in like a CD binder. But a few years ago somebody broke into my car and with the few things they took, they took my CD collection. So now I'm just sticking to vinyls and cassettes. I'll buy the odd CD, but that was disappointing. I had quite an epic collection of local.
WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Yeah, that's brutal. I can't imagine. I keep all mine in the house and I never leave the house with it. But yeah, you never know what could happen. Hopefully it all stays safe. Yeah. Awesome. So I know you said you have a show coming up in December. You haven't been announced yet so people should just check out your Instagram I guess to find out what's happening there.