Photo courtesy of 8123.
BestFan blogger Sharon Bhella had the chance to chat with singer-songwriter Nick Santino, most known for being the frontman of band A Rocket to the Moon. He is currently a solo act! Read the full interview below!
Sharon: Thanks so much for meeting with me Nick! So you just got back from the 8123 tour in the UK, what did you like the most about the shows there?
Nick: It’s different, but it’s also a little bit like the States, where I’m used to playing shows. The difference for me was, the age difference for drinking. It’s such a small thing but for me it’s like, here I’m not used to all of our fans drinking because it’s 21+ in the states. In the UK everyone seems so old, and actually even in Canada too, because our fans are all 18 or 19 and they’re all drinking beers, so I feel intimidated because I feel like I’m playing in a room for a bunch of adults. I guess that’s the difference [laughs]. But no over in the UK its cool, it’s really cool. It’s very similar to the states. It was my first time there as a solo artist, so I think it went over alright. I had a good time.
Sharon: That’s good that it went well! Since you started working on your own, you’ve done a lot. Two EP’s in 2013 and Big Skies in 2014. Was it something you had been working on for a while? How were you able to put that all together so quickly?
Nick: Yeah, for the EP’s I wrote most of those songs while I was still in my last band (A Rocket To The Moon). I kind of had them on standby and ready to go for when I was gonna release stuff. So the first two EP’s were like that. I wrote a few, you know, I had some time so I wrote the songs. And Big Skies a lot of them were, maybe two or three were old ones, but most of them were all new ones that I wrote going into writing for a new record so they were brand new. So that’s why when you listen to the EP’s and listen to the full length, the EP’s are a little bit more acoustic and a little bit more country-ish, folk-ish because that’s kinda what I was writing like when I was writing those songs because they’re so old. And then Big Skies is a little bit more like rock n roll kind of sounding because that’s kind of my influence today.
Sharon: What have you found to be some of the best and hardest parts of transitioning from being in a signed band to being an independent artist?
Nick: I guess you don’t have the big team of people, like at a label. But I guess that’s a good thing because sometimes when you have a big team of people like at a label, it gets too confusing, and there’s too many people involved. Just having one manager like right now, is the easiest thing because it just goes from my brain to his brain and then we’re done. Where with the label, it would go from mine to the three other people in the band, to the manger, to then like nine people at the label, and then sometimes ideas that we would have would just dissolve because they would get lost in the shuffle. Where now it’s much slower paced and so easy going that it’s almost better now I think.
Sharon: Yeah that’s definitely better. What would you say is your favourite song that you’ve written since becoming an independent artist and why?
Nick: I think I’m just proud of everything that I’ve released on Big Skies because it was like my first thing, kind of like to show myself that I could do it. Umm, there is a handful of tunes on there. “It Is What It Is” is a cool one telling that whole story of not knowing what you want to do, but just knowing you want to be happy with what you do. There’s also a song that’s not on Big Skies, it’s on the EP, called “Sold My Soul” which tells kind ofthe story of what went on with the band, and where I’m at today and how I’m still happy with doing what I’m doing. And I guess there’s just a lot of those kinda more honest and sincere songs that I’ve written.
Sharon: If you could write or tour with any artist/band who would it be?
Nick: Umm, I mean obviously Tom Petty would be amazing, but it will probably never happen. Tom Petty or Ryan Adams could be amazing, but it doesn’t mean that they’re gonna happen [laughs]. It would be my cross my fingers on those guys!
Sharon: That would be cool! So you’ve toured with This Century twice now, what would you say would be one of the most enjoyable/ memorable parts about touring with them?
Nick: We laugh so much. Every single day there’s something new about it. And we’re still saying inside jokes from last year’s tour that we did together. So everyday is a new experience being with these guys, and that’s what the best part about being on tour with all your good friends is, that you can make those memories, and just pick up where you left off, you know. I can’t really think of one in particular because it’s like every single day is like a whole new thing and we’re just cracking up about something totally new. It’s great being able to tour with them.
Sharon: “Long Way Home” you did in collaboration with John O’Callaghan from The Maine. Do you think you’d ever do any more collaborations with other 8123 artists?
Nick: Probably. I think that’s kind of the whole vibe with 8123, we’re all helping each other out, and we’re all kind of involved in each other’s projects and stuff. So I would totally love to. It would be cool.
Sharon: Since BestFan is a Toronto based blog, I have to ask what’s your favourite part about Toronto?
Nick: Toronto, it’s cool because it’s a place that we come to a lot but not enough. So the shows are always really awesome when we come here. And honestly, it’s kind of a break when we don’t have to use our phones, and turn off our cell service for the day. We don’t really have to tweet and worry about looking at our phones. But yeah Toronto feels cool because we are going international but it doesn’t really feel like it. It’s like a two-hour drive across the border and we’re here. But it’s just like completely different than what we’re used to in the states so we always look forward to coming to Toronto for the two days.
Sharon: Okay so my last question for you is our typical BestFan question, what would you say you are a best fan of?
Nick: I love cooking, which is really weird, well not weird but just unexpected I guess. I got it from my dad, I just kind of make up recipes as I go, he kind of does the same thing. Like “oh I want to make Chili” or something, and just put a bunch of stuff in a pot and it tastes pretty good [laughs]. So I love doing that. I also love art and graphic design, and I do a ton of that when I’m not making music.
Sharon: That’s cool, yeah your album artwork for Big Skies looked great.
Nick: Yeah I had a friend of mine that drew it and we put it all together ourselves which was cool.
Sharon: Well thanks so much for meeting with me, it was nice chatting with you!
Nick: Yeah of course! Thank you.
Check out some pictures from the show below and also be sure to get your copy of Big Skies available on iTunes!