Nick Thomas of The Spill Canvas
Nick Thomas, the one man mastermind behind The Spill Canvas, started writing and recording songs when he was in his early teens growing up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A dedicated local following grew quite quickly which started the ball rolling into a transition from a one man show to a full band.
A few years later Nick Thomas and The Spill Canvas (Dan Ludeman on guitar, Joe Beck on drums and Landon Heil on bass) finds themselves back in the studio working on the band’s latest full length album with producer Mike Green. Details are slow to trickle in on the anticipated release date of the new album but in the interim the band has released two EPs (Realities and Abnormalities).
We recently caught up with Nick to talk about the EPs, the new albums and the impact that the evolution of the internet has had on the band.
Interviewed by: Debie “Jinx” Patton
The Spill Canvas began as a solo side project. Do you still do the majority of the lyrical writings or has it become more of a group effort?
Yes the seed was planted with just myself, but has since grown deep roots constantly branching out. I’ve always been the only lyricist, aside from the new material-in which I got my first experience co-writing not only music, but content as well. As far as the rest of the guys, 99% of the time they allow my lyrical vision come to fruition and let the song be what it should be.
Walk us through the creation of one of your songs. Every album you release seems to have a different feel to it. Your latest EPs, Abnormalities and Realities, have a bit more edge to them, a bit more rock. What inspires these stylistic shifts, and are you ever concerned that fans won’t receive them well?
I’ve grown to let the songs find me, as opposed to seeking them. There’s always worry, whether big or small, that supporters will not enjoy your art. But the bottom line that formed over the years in our camp is to stay as true as possible to our musical evolution. I just don’t see the point of creating music (or any other art medium for that matter) with a closed mind that would inhibit any growth. Even if you start making stuff that turns a lot of ol’ faithfuls off, that’s how the path winds and to not embrace that natural change as an artist is a disservice to your craft. You will never ever please everyone and that balance keeps the universe in check.
Did the band come up with the idea for the video to “Our Song,” or did the director provide treatments for it? I love the old-school black & white cinema feel; it works perfectly with that song!
Why thank you and yes, we got the treatment from the directors and were immediately hooked. We loved how the cinema homage twists played in perfect harmony with the content of the song-also, had a blast shooting it. By far the most fun shoot we’ve ever done.
You’ve already released two EPs this year and are reportedly working on your 6th full-length studio album. Do you have a working title for it yet, and when can we anticipate its release?
As much as I’d like to provide answers, we’re still working out all the details. But as soon as we know, so will the world. Keep those ears to the ground!
Regardless of the style of the music, what is the overall message or emotion you hope people will take away from listening to your music or going to a live show?
Music is the universal language. Without it, I truly think humans would not survive. Melody and rhythm don’t discriminate either; so it doesn’t matter if you’re a homeless man in the city or Oprah-the right music can make the heart feel alive like nothing else in this world.
Who or what would you say your biggest influences are in relation to your music?
Past and present – just off the top of my head: Van Morrison, Saves the Day, John Mayer, Jimmy Eat World, Eminem, Bon Iver, Say Anything.
You’re finally back on the road after a bit of an extended break! You just recently wrapped up a tour with Tyler Hilton, AM Taxi, and The New Politics, and you’re starting the summer off on tour with the Goo Goo Dolls. How does it feel to be back out there pounding the pavement after so long?
It feels amazing. My travel bug had been restless as ever. We can’t wait to start the Goos tour, it’s hard to fathom sharing the stage with such a talented powerhouse of a group-honored is an understatement. The road is a 2nd home. Playing live, meeting/talking with fans, seeing the world with your buds – you can’t beat it.
I heard you did an online scavenger hunt for tickets to one of your last tours. What made you decide to do that, how was it received by your fans, and would you ever consider doing it again for future tours?
We wanted to provide fans with a unique, fun experience that tied into our touring show. Interactivity is the key in something like this, and we found it was a success and fans enjoyed the challenge. Definitely not ruling it out for future touring ventures.
I always like to hear the different opinions of bands on the whole social networking phenomenon. Some feel that it’s more of a hindrance in that the responsibilities to their fans on sites like Myspace, Facebook and Twitter take away from valuable time that could be spent writing or recording or touring, while others wholly embrace any and every opportunity to make those connections with people around the world who may not have heard of them otherwise. What are your thoughts on this?
I’m torn as I began Spill Canvas a couple years before the interweb changed everything. I can recognize and respect both pros and cons. Without these new social communities and the endless exposure power they hold, music may never evolve (which, again, is kind of the point in my opinion). On the other hand, the tedious upkeep of your bands facespacers does take away from potential time that could be spent being what you are-a musician. The best solution I’ve come up with is to ride the fence and hold my guitar and my computer desk.
How do you feel about all of the file-sharing and pirating that occurs in the music industry these days?
I feel there’s no use in feeling anything about it at this point because it will always occur, unless the internet plug gets plugged. Yes, it sucks that the business aspect of the industry took a pretty heavy blow. But the internet has also become an essential tool to any artist from the last decade, and without it, I don’t think any of them (including us) would be here. Roll with those punches is my motto pertaining to that one.
With all of the technological advances of the present day, where do you see the future of music heading, and do you see TSC fitting in with that future, or blazing your own unique trail?
One day at a time. I’ve worried for the first 5 years of this, and I’m growing to find that there’s no use getting all twisted up over tomorrow-which, in my opinion, can be interchanged with basically anything in life.
Is there anything I’ve missed that you’d like to add to this interview for your fans?
Thank you and we love you times infinity. Also, go check all of our websites for the hot off the press info!
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