Nick Nuisance and the Delinquents: Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary
With an abstract and off-beat take on the mundanity of everyday life, Nick Nuisance and the Delinquents are a fresh perspective with a killer sound, leaving the boredom of everyday life behind one tune at a time.
The combination of a garage rock sound as well as a minimalistic approach so eloquently conducted, is what makes the sound of Nick Nuisance and the Delinquents so appealing to us and many others. When watching the band open for Drunk Mums on their Denim release tour, alongside Satanic Togas as well at The Landsdowne, we got a chance to chat with the front man Nick Nuisance himself.
Beginning this chat, we were eager to find out the origins of Nick Nuisance and the Delinquents. We asked Nick to run us through how his band came to be:
“I made Nick Nuisance first because I used to play in all these shitty bands. I’m from up the coast near Byron bay, I used to play in heaps of bands when I was around 16-17 and I hated all the bands, because I think all the people sucked a little bit so I taught myself guitar and just made my own band.
“I’m from about half an hour away from Byron Bay in a place called Tweed Heads — a ghetto on the sea. All you could do there was smoke bongs and surf. I did a lot of that but I got over it, so I had to come here [to Sydney]. I had to do something with myself.”
When discussing the origin of Nick Nuisance, we were interested to find out that it was his first long-term musical venture. He is also part of Bleeding Knees Club and Flight to Dubai.
“I started Nick Nuisance when I was 17 by myself. I have early recordings that are really bad because I was teaching myself guitar. I think I’m okay now; I’m still not good, but I’m okay,” he said laughing.
With Nick being the front man of Nick Nuisance band, as opposed to being the drummer for other band he plays in, we asked him what the dichotomy between the two roles was like.
“Everyone looks at you more which is a bit weird. Usually when you’re on drums no one really pays attention to you, no one looks at you, so if you stuff up it’s fine. But when you’re at the front of everyone and you stuff up, everyone knows.”
The first time we had seen Nick Nuisance and the Delinquents perform in all their glory was in a small house in Petersham. They were headlining the night with Neighbourhood Void and Bland as supports.
It was the first time we had been to see a set in a house; the overall vibe was so inviting. All kinds of smoke filled the small unregulated room, everyone was laughing and dancing, condensation dripped from the rattling windows.
Of course, there was no security as it was a house but it simply wasn’t needed. We both had a great time. Clueless as to who actually owned the house, we were convinced that Nick Nuisance himself had put on a killer set with his amazing band and was in fact a very graceful home owner letting us dopey twins in to peek the action! It wasn’t until later we realised it wasn’t the Nuisance’s house.
We were curious to hear Nick’s take on playing in a house setting and the difference it has in comparison to playing more traditional venues like a pub.
“I prefer house shows for sure! It’s just hard with them because they will always get shut down. We’ve really only played Psyched As (the Petersham gig) for a house show. That was like the best show we’ve ever played. It was so sick.”
Nick then comments on traditional venues like the one we were at during the time of the interview.
“Tonight’s show was sick because there was heaps of people there and everyone was getting close, but usually at venues you’ve gotta play early and there’s limits and people kind of stand back and are a bit shy to get into it because they might get kicked out. At a house show everyone’s friends and they’d pick each other up and stuff — I think our music works better in that space.”
We were really intrigued after giving Nick Nuisance and the Delinquents a good listening too. Their sound is so wonderfully unique! They are a fantastic combination of the conventional and the unconventional. It’s hard to compare them to anything else or even explain their sound, so definitely give their EP a listen.
We wanted to know what the inspiration behind their sound was.
“I really like The Pixies. There’s this one song called Vamos, and there’s a live version of it from 1986, and Joey Santiago does a feedback solo. He sits the guitar down in the guitar stand and lets the guitar do its own solo, instead of doing shredding solos we leave it minimal. I kinda like it that way.”
Nick also cited Straight Arrows as a strong inspiration for the band’s sound.
“Owen Penglis [from Straight Arrows], I used to love all his stuff he used to do. I moved to Sydney and heard Straight Arrows; I never thought anyone else did garage music. I thought it was only a 60s thing so I heard Straight Arrows and I was like wow someone else actually does that! And then a friend introduced me to Owen.”
Nick Nuisance and the Delinquents released their first EP Cheap Things in 2017. In addition to it being interesting because of its offhand sound, the album was recorded in the space of two days, live to tape. Nick told us how this came to be:
“We just went, hey let’s just fucking play the set heaps of times until we’re really tight and then just do it like that. So we did only about three takes of each song and just picked the best one and then on the night of the second day, everyone went home except for Owen [of Straight Arrows] and I. And we sat there and live mixed it, which means you play the songs through the desk and if there’s bad bits in the recording you have to fade them out. So I had ten fingers on the desk and he had ten fingers on the desk, so what you hear is literally me and Owen making a little mixture of the songs together.”
The songs in Cheap Things are fun and thoughtful. Nick sings of experiences everyone has had or can relate to. Our favourites from the album are ‘Cheap Things’ and ‘Grocery Store’. We asked for Nick’s take on the two songs and the overall vibe of the album.
“I just find mundane things interesting. Most of your life is pretty much mundane, let’s face it. You have little glints of all this nice stuff that happens but it’s not like movies. The mundane things are quite nice. I’m just trying to make the mundane things kind of more interesting because I don’t want to be bored all the time.
“‘Grocery Store’ and ‘Cheap Things’, they’re like shit things to think about, but why not try to make them interesting with a funny song or something.”
Nick Nuisance and the Delinquents are refreshingly witty and insightful. Nick gave us whispers of big things coming up, but nothing has been announced yet, so we will have to keep our eyes peeled. We look forward to seeing where these guys go, and just as the EP was a delight to listen to, Nick was a delight to interview.