Im März durfte ich den großartigen Nic Offer von !!! interviewen. Das komplette Interview könnt ihr jetzt hier lesen und drüben bei detektor.fm gibt’s meine Rezension zum neuen großartigen Album „Thr!!!er“.
You and your band mates live all across the States. You once said in an interview that the distance helps to keep the magic alive. Is it still like that?
Nic Offer: „Yeah, it’ still really fun to be together. One of the funniest parts to play is just hanging out which is important, because when you’re touring you only play an hour a night, the rest of the time is hanging out, you know. So, yeah, it is still fun, and it’s a situation that will never change, none of us are going to move back to Sacramento. Some of us had never lived there. People have families they don’t want to bring to New York. So it’s a situation that will stay. It’s fine with me.“
What is it about Sacramento? Is it not a fun place to hang out?
„Uh, yeah. It’s a bit quite, you know. It’s smaller. New York is New York and Sacramento is… I guess it’s like the difference between Cologne and Berlin I guess.“
How has the writing and creation process been for the new record? Is it difficult to work that way?
„Uh, it’s difficult, but I think that we’ve gotten good at it. Maybe it’s held other records back, but maybe it’s… the distance has been good, because it has allowed us to develop on it’s own, whereas other bands hold each other back, because they’re too together. This way we have grown apart from each other, and had to bring it back together, and had to make the new changes work within the structure of each other. Maybe, I don’t know.“
I always ask myself how bands choose their first single. Why did you choose “Syld” as your first single?
„I just let the record company choose. I think that’s best, because I made the songs, I’m done, the record’s there, anyone can choose it, you know. But a single is what they think they can sell, what they think people can be interested in. So, if they told me another song would have been the single I would have said ‚Yeah, that’s fine.'“
Has it always been like that?
„Pretty much. I mean, I think a single should be consensus. And everyone should kind of decide. The single is the pop hit, it’s supposed to be for mass consumption, what everyone likes. That’s my attitude about it. Maybe someday they’ll suggest something and I’ll be like ‚Nooo fucking way‘ and I do know, I’ve seen other bands, another friend’s band, and his record’s single, and he really thought they picked the wrong one, because they picked the song that sounded the most like his old songs.“
Which band was that?
„Uh, I can’t say. But I thought that he had written better songs. But I thought putting out the song that sounded the most like his old songs was the safe choice. But usually Warp [!!!s Label] doesn’t make safe choices, they’re still a daring label and Slyd was a daring first single. It’s not for everybody. You’re like ‚Wait, what?‘ It’s a strange song, so I was very excited to have it as first single.“
On “Louden Up Now” you sang “You can tell the president to suck my fucking dick”. Now, on “One Girl/One Boy” you sing “When I hear that sing I think about wonder, I think about you”. The new record is a bit softer compared to the last records. Do people get softer or less angry with age?
„Yeah, you get less angry, for sure. But I mean we have a different president, too. You do, without a doubt. And you are always just trying to write the songs that mean something to you then. You’re just reflecting yourself at that moment. That’s what we were at then, and that’s were we are now.“
Another song: In “Even When The Water’s Cold” you sing “Well, friends told her this and friends told her that/But friends don’t choose what echoes in your head“. Do you have a lot friends that want to tell you what’s right, but you just do the exact opposite?
„Yes. I mean my friends, I love them dearly, and there are certain ones that I know who I can trust. But there are certain ones who are more willing to give up and more willing to sacrifice and to compromise and so for me… I don’t think that’s that girl’s position I think in that song. Her position is different than mine. But if you ask me about me, so, yes, it is, a lot of my friends asked me to compromise and I don’t think that I would be sitting in this tub of golden pillows if I had listened to them. I’ve had to make some hard choices, but that’s what being an adult is about, making these hard decisions. You’re literally facing it. It’s a hard decision. It’s not like you expecting these black and white, yes and no situations. You’re really facing situations that make sense both ways. And so to have an uncompromising guiding light is good for me.“
How do you make decisions, also music wise? With your heart or with your brain?
„I guess it’s starts from the heart, but you sort it out with your brain. Does that make sense?“
Yeah, it does.
In “Get That” you sing: „I suppose it’s never enough/ you get what you want, then you want what was/ but I’d rather worry about my existential crisis/ laying on a beach where the sun sets the nicest“. You live in New York, though. Do you miss the beach there sometimes?
„I guess ‚Laying on the beach where the sun sets the nicest‘ I was picturing some exotic location you maybe run away to, in Mexico or South America or something…“
Not especially L.A. or something?
„Nooo, I don’t think I want to end up in L.A. Maybe, but I don’t think so. L.A. is a different kind of thing. I have never really found my time to be there, yet. You have to drive everywhere which doesn’t appeal to me.“
Have you ever thought about moving from New York to somewhere else?
„I mean, I would. I’ve been there twelve years. I mean, if I did decide to move, it would probably be for love or music. If there was some connection I’d have with some music in Cologne I would move there.“
Have you ever thought about moving to Berlin, because I read in an interview that for you Berlin is very innovative, creative and alive. Do you still feel like that?
„Yeah, I would still move to Berlin, absolutely.“
You were born here, right?
„Yeah. But I only lived here for a year. As a baby. So I don’t remember it at all. I lived here for like two months when we were making ‚Strange Weather…'“
What is your personal connection to fireworks, bubbles and magicians?
(Laughs) „You know the bubbles were a funny thing. I have the same connection to the things that everybody does. That was just a skit. But I think those are all… um… fireworks, bubbles, and what?“
„Magicians. I like that fireworks and bubbles are beautiful and they’re gone. But magicians are conmen. When they told me I’m gonna play a magician, I was like ‚A magician?!‘ (laughs), but, you know, it was fun. I liked to do it. And what I liked about it was that I didn’t think anyone else would it. You know, I couldn’t picture some other singer doing magic and bubbles. I liked that it was very ‚Huh, ok?!‘ I think it came out ok, I think it could have been a little funnier in the end, it’s maybe like 60, 90 seconds too long. I like that it’s just out there and someone can stumble across it in the future and is like ‚What the hell is this?'“
I think it’s hilarious.
„Yeah? Ok. Good. I’m glad you like it.“
I mean, if you don’t know the band or you, it’s like ‚What the fuck? You must be kidding me. Who’s that guy?‘
„The band is definitely my favourite part. They are really funny in it when they are yelling at me. I think their parts are really funny.“
Cats or dogs?
What is it with musicians, especially rock’n’roll musicians, and cats? It seems that actors are more like dog people and musicians are cat people. When you see pictures with actors they always run around with their dog. I’ve never seen actors carrying around their cats.
„And I used to think cats were more intellectual. I recently had my mind blown when someone told me dogs are smarter. And I was like ‚What? They’re not smarter!‘ I think that actors need their ego constantly fed, because dogs are always like ‚What are you doing? You’re so great! Hey! Are you going to pet me now?‘ It’s too much attention. Whereas a cat is more different. With a cat you can do your work, and they just sometimes walk across you when you’re trying to work. Actually, my cats have gotten more older, they’ve gotten much needier, so I’m able to work a bit.
Yeah, they are like ‚Fuck you anyway.‘
„Well, which one do you prefer. Are you an actor or a musician?“
Um. I mean I like dogs more. But if I could choose, if I wanted to be an actor or a musician, I’d be a musician, because I played guitar. So maybe I’d be the first musician to have a dog.
(Laughs) „Well, there is of course famous musicians with dogs. Who had dogs?… Lou Reed! Lou Reed likes little dogs.“
Maybe because they have the size of a cat.
(laughs) „Maybe. Could be.“
I have to research.
„Yeah, you could compile a list. I think Neil Young has dogs. That’s also if you move out to the country and have a ranch. If I had a ranch I’d probably get some dogs.“
Or it could be a killer cat. Like a tiger. It’s funny, because I think rock’n’rollas are really tough, they play tough, and they look tough, and then they carry around their kitten…
„They’re sensitive, too…“
You never see that. They are just on the inside…
„Yeah, they are.“
Coming back to Nicasso, the Wonderful. Have you ever seriously thought about going your own way?
„Oh, sure. That’s common. I think everybody in the band is always thinking that. It’s an eternal struggle. But if I went solo … I really like the process of working with someone else, you get to something greater. Sometimes… even the greatest solo artist has had a collaborator. Morrissey’s best records have been dependent on who he collaborated with at that time. Same with Bowie. The only bad records he made were when he had a bad collaborator or when he got to old.“
I spoke to a friend of mine about good songs to dance to the other day. We collected a few very danceable songs like “Let’s Dance” by Bowie, “Hands In The Dark” by Chromatics, or “Heart of Glass” by Blondie. What is your favourite song to dance to?
„Generally, I prefer to dance to songs that I don’t know. I like to go to a club and let the DJ take me on a journey, discover new songs. But if I had to pick one that I knew I’d say ‚Bounce to the Ounce‘ by Zabb. It’s one of my favourites. It’s been sampled many times in pop songs. It’s why Tom Tom Club wrote that song ‚Genius of Love‘ (sings).“
What is your favourite rock and electro record right now?
„My favourite rock record would probably be that last Chromatics records. That was a really big record, that was… I’ve been listening to that a lot, like a lot a lot. I took special walks just to listen to it. It’s a really deep record. And my favourite electronic record… uh… I don’t like electronic records that much. I prefer the singles. So usually I just mix, I do playlists of the singles and that’s what I’m listening to.“
Last but not least: You are known for your wild dancing on stage. What’s your favourite dance move by yourself and by another artist?
„I like it when I’m doing something that I didn’t know I could do. That’s when I feel like when you’re really in it. It’s good, it’s creative, you feel like you just do anything. Generally, I feel like I do my best dancing when I’m not playing, when I’m just at the club and lost in the music. When I’m playing I have to think about breathing not too much, cause otherwise I sing shitty. My favourite dance move by someone else… I just went to West Africa. And in Ghana everyone’s doing a dance move called the “Azunto”. It’s really awesome, because it’s a really simple dance, very sly, and it’s one of those dances, it’s a very good dance, because it’s very open, very free and creative, you can really express yourself with it. You don’t have to be that good of a dancer. If you’re a good dancer you can make it look really cool. So I guess that’s my new favourite current dance move.“
Thank you very much!