Interview: NICE GUY | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Teesside’s indie outfit NICE GUY return (with added synth) to bring us their brand new single, Last Orders At The Linthorpe. 

The track is a lively and at times joyous offering offset by the earthy, reverb-laden crooning of Michael McCluskey whose contemplative and heartfelt lyrics, tinged with nostalgia, pull you in as the expansive, guitar driven sounds wrap themselves around you for an immersive musical hug.

We catch up with Michael to talk about the new song and the band…

How have NICE GUY been and how has the current climate affected band life? 
We’ve been alright! We haven’t really seen too much of each other with the local lockdowns and whatnot. Still we managed to coordinate ourselves to be together for a day or two to rehearse and then record the single. Luckily we managed to get a couple of others done too.

From a personal perspective the lockdown has given me time to finish the tracks I had half-done, and put them to the lads to see how we could work with them. I purposefully didn’t write any new material during the lockdown because I didn’t want what I wrote to be influenced by it… this isn’t the world as I know it and it won’t be forever. 

How would you describe the music you make?
I think it’s a collection of lots of very different individual influences. We all have varied tastes so we each bring a little bit of what we like to the fold when we’re crafting a track. It also makes it hard to pin-point a specific style. We’ve always tried to write tracks that have a melody at the forefront, but a message underpinning it with lyrics intended to provoke thought.  So I’d probably describe it as hopeful indie-rock. Is that acceptable? Plus now with Paddy in the band (keys) it’s added that extra depth so we can create a more atmospheric sound. 

What is your songwriting process like?
Typically it’ll start with me and an acoustic guitar. I find writing an act of escapism, so I’ll write the basis of the track there and then. Once I’ve got the melody and idea of what I want to write about in my head, I’ll lay down a basic version of the idea on GarageBand and send it to the lads. Then when we get to the practice room, I’ll ask them if they’ve listened, they’ll say no and we’ll work on it anyway! 

However lately, some of the tracks we have been playing live have come about by just playing around with an idea in the rehearsal room, then the lyrics will come afterwards. 

Tell us more about your new single Last Orders At The Linthorpe?
We’re super happy with it. It’s a track about the importance of being able to let go and retaining a sense of fun. It’s also themed around Middlesbrough specifically, as pretty much everybody knows the charms of the ‘Linny!’

While we were recording it my little cousin lost his life at the age of 23. But he was one of those people that embodied fun and youthful energy. So the track took on extra significance on a personal level. It’s also his picture we’re using as the cover art. 

We recorded it at Pig Pen studios and mixed with David Todd and Nigel Crooks. The same lads who we recorded our last release with. They’re so passionate about what they’re doing and they really believe in us, as well as being incredible at what they do. 

What next for NICE GUY? 
In the immediate future we’re planning a few more releases with a view to recording an EP. We’re also looking into recording a video when we’re allowed to mingle again. Then we have a few gigs lined up next year to look forward to… providing life goes vaguely back to normal, whatever that is?


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