Alternative-dance-rock duo, Nigel & The Dropout are best described as “a nightmare of tangled cables and dazzling lights illuminate a performance void of the inhuman laptop automation and sequencing seen far too often today.” Their songs will make you get up and dance and you will be in awe that two people can generate such tremendous sound and if that’s not enough, they couple their show with an equally as impressive display of lights that will blow your mind. AMBY sat down with the Detroit duo recently to discuss recording with rappers, a festival of memes, playing with July Talk, and TMI pre-show rituals.
AMBY: Hey everyone, I’m here with Nigel & The Dropout. How are you guys doing?
Andy Ficker (The Dropout): Hi!
AMBY: You guys just played an amazing show at Patchwork Festival; how are you feeling right now?
AF: Pretty good. Got a pretty good adrenaline rush happening.
AMBY: Awesome. I’d like to give our readers some background info, can you tell me how you met?
N: We met in high school. I was in a band which fell apart and eventually Andy took over. We started making music in my parent’s basement, which they didn’t like [laughs], so eventually we moved elsewhere.
AMBY: Where are you making music currently?
N: In Detroit.
AMBY: You have some singles coming out in the next little while, can you tell us a bit about that?
N: We have been doing a lot of work at Assemble Sound, in Detroit and have some things coming up that we’re really excited about.
AMBY: Can’t wait for that. Can you give me a little bit of background on Assemble?
N: Assemble is this old church that has been re-purposed into a community space for musicians. The musicians, who are residents, use the space, the gear and the tools to record, and we all work together on each other’s music.
AMBY: So a collaborative space.
N: Yea, totally.
AMBY: Speaking of Assemble, your song Rearrange, a collaboration with hip-hop duo Passalacqua, was recorded in the space. What was it like to collaborate with a hip-hop act?
AF: We had never done that before and it was a lot of fun!
N: There were a lot of firsts with that song. It was the first single-oriented sound.
AF: My first saxophone solo!
N: I had never recorded a rapper, and then I recorded two!
AF: They were a ton of fun in the studio, too.
N: Yea, they were awesome and totally slick. It was really laid-back.
AMBY: The whole song has such great flow. So speaking a bit about your live performance, it includes a crazy light show! When and how did you decided that was something you wanted to integrate into your live performance?
AF: It was something I had always been interested in, so I slowly started acquiring lights; it was a very gradual thing, and now we’ve figured it out how to do it right.
AMBY: I heard a rumour that you’ve played with Canadian Band, July Talk… is that true?
AMBY: How did that come about?
N: We had submitted to open for them at The Majestic and it was really, really cool.
AMBY: I feel like every time I come to Detroit I am amazed at the effort the artists here put into their live show and July Talk really brings that for Toronto. Who are some of your other dream acts to play with?
N: Caribou for sure! I would also say JR JR; we really respect them and think they are kind of similar to what we do
AF: And of course they have their own vibe too. I remember when we went to Electric Forest together and thinking “yea, I want to be part of that’.
N: Oh yea, dream show Electric Forest for sure, or any festival.
AMBY: Speaking of festivals, you were finalists for Firefly’s big break last year, so I was wondering – if you had your own festival what would you call it and who would you get to play?
AF: These are good questions.
AMBY: Thank you!
AF: I mean, I would probably call it something different than Nigel…
AMBY: Like ‘The Dank Meme Festival’? (In reference to the abundance of hilarious memes posted by Andy on social media)
AMBY, N & AF: [laughs]
N: It probably already exists!
AF: Everyone has to dress up like a meme.
AMBY: That is actually something that would break the internet.
AF: Ok, let’s do it!
AMBY: So, dream scenario, you guys would obviously headline; who would be some of your co-headliners?
N: We could make it Detroit-oriented and bring all our Detroit friends in.
AF: Also, Readiohead.
AMBY: Andy, you are actually going to see Radiohead at Primavera Sound in Spain this June. Would you guys say that Radiohead had an influence on your music?
AF: Oh for me, definitely. They are one of my favourite bands.
N: Yea, for sure. Radiohead is such great, sad music; great sombre music
AMBY: They’re playing a festival in Montreal this summer and I’m hoping to go!
N: Is that Osheaga?
AMBY: Yes! It’s a great festival; so much fun!
N: We actually went to Montreal when we were 18 and just missed Osheaga.
AMBY: Ah man! Well hopefully you can make it out and even play the festival next year! My final question for today is, can you tell me something about Nigel & The Dropout that not everyone knows yet?
N: [Whispers] Juicy Gossip, juicy gossip!
AF: Hmmm… Well I usually poop about 10 minutes before we go out on stage.
AMBY: Wait, what?!
AMBY, N & AF: [laughs]
N: I feel like everybody knows that, though.
AF: [laughs] Maybe I should have… said something else.
N: No, you know what, there are artists out there that have that same ritual and they probably feel alone, and you’re here being honest and reaching out. It’s kind of like when you run out of toilet paper… and someone literally reaches out under the door to help you out. This is the same scenario. I feel like this is really good.
AMBY: You guys are breaking down walls.
AMBY, N & AF: [laughs]
AF: We are. We are.
Thank you Nigel & The Dropout, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Heather Cook | @Outroupistache1