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| 12 September 2019 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “New Years Day announce their Fall headline tour today with support from DED. The tour starts September 19th in Fort Smith, AR and wraps on October 10th in Flint, MI. The band has been touring nonstop this year in support of their newest full length album, Unbreakable. They kicked off the year touring with Falling In Reverse and have gone on to support Godsmack and perform a handful of North American headline shows. Make sure to catch the band on the road the rest of 2019 for their Fall headline tour and their tour supporting In This Moment.” We spoke with guitarist Nikki Misery to discuss the tour, music, and much more…

Toddstar: Nikki, thank you so much for taking time out. I appreciate it.

Nikki: Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

Toddstar: You guys have some exciting news going on in the world of New Year’s Day. We’ll start with the headline tour that kicks off in a little over a week.

Nikki: Yeah, we’re starting pretty much in a little over a week. We’ll have it ready. Back at it again.

Toddstar: What’s it about this tour that in your guys’ mind is different? Do you approach a headline tour different than you would something where you’ve got more of a supporting role?

Nikki: Yeah, it’s a different beast to tackle, because currently we’re also on with In This Moment and Ded on Hellzapoppin right now, so we got a couple more days with this one and then we start the headliner. But, it’s always a different beast because for the headliner everyone’s already there for you, but on the support ones, which I really love, it’s like not everyone has heard of you yet. So, I always like to have that mindset to keep people’s attention rather than just I could just be my wild self, which I mean, I guess in a sense it’s the same, but I’ve always kind of liked the extra fight for the attention. You know what I mean? I want these people to remember us. Whether they love us or hate us, they sure as hell ain’t going to forget us.

Toddstar: Sure. How do you guys approach the set list? Do you dig a little deeper in the catalog or do you throw in stuff that you guys just like more where you are able to expand that set list a little bit?

Nikki: Well, we all get in a room together and just pick a bunch of songs, our favorite songs that we love and what we think represents us, and then we make it like a ride almost. From the beginning we’re going to come in full swing and have that nice little flow to it the entire set. But what we did differently on the last one, we started just asking the fans, like, “What do you guys want us to play? What do you all want to hear?” We picked a bunch of those songs, their number one picks, which were probably not some of our number one picks, but still I think the more fun part is actually once you get the songs together is just to get that order and that flow, and just to see if it feels right. And it’s funny, because before then I’ll make a playlist of all the studio tracks and I’ll listen to it while I’m at the gym. If that entire set list keeps me going and pumped the whole time, I know it’s going to be a good one.

Toddstar: Cool. What’s the one song that you guys are planning on pulling out or maybe even two songs on this headline tour that you don’t get the chance to play that you’re most pumped about?

Nikki: “Nocturnal” is definitely one of them. That’s off our new album and that one is such a fun song… especially right now in the fall season, it’s got that fun kind of nasty Halloween vibe to it. I just think that one, it would be perfect. And another one is… I’m just going to, I’m going to pick three now, is “Come For Me” and “Shut Up.” Because “Come For Me,” we just did a music video for that, which is going to be coming out soon, and then “Shut Up,” that was our real radio breaking song and it’s just really cool. Just, especially “Shut Up” is so different compared to the other songs. It was cool to have that energy on stage and that kind of slower kind of cool, creepy feeling to it. And it’s always really funny to see a bunch of guys singing, “Don’t try to tell me what a girl wants.”

Toddstar: You mentioned Unbreakable, the new album, it’s been well received. What is it about this album that you guys took away from the studio knowing it showed growth in the band?

Nikki: I’ll go back to songs like “Shut Up.” We really just started taking leaps and bounds, especially in our genre influences, I guess would be the way to put it. “Shut Up” almost sounds like almost like a Drake song, even with the vocal melodies and then it just kicks in with that rocking chorus. It’s one of those things people would ask us, like, “Were you guys nervous to put that out?” As much as I want to be like, “No, I was more excited,” which is still true, but it’s always one of those things like, “Are people going to dig this?” like, “Should we just write the same album and keep the same look all the time?” But no, it was really cool to just have those kind of genre, almost like wall breaking kind of songs and momentum and just showing that we can do that. It’s awesome.

Toddstar: Well, you guys went from Malevolence and then into Diary of a Creep with the covers and then back to writing your own stuff. Was it something needed in the middle when you took that break from writing and everything, get some new music out there and not worry about writing?

Nikki: That’s actually pretty much it. When we did Victim to Villain and Malevolence, those albums, as much as I love them and they’re in our hearts, the writing process and the time that we had in the studio was very rushed. So, we never had the time to really sit with some of these songs and obsess over them and let them take over your brain. But with this one we actually pretty much got a couple of years to really, really get into new songs and really nitpick everything. And then doing Diary of a Creep was a way to put something out, be like, “Hey, don’t worry. We’re still alive. We’re still doing something. Here’s a little appetizer. That meal’s coming. Don’t you worry.”

Toddstar: We’ve mentioned the current swing with In This Moment already and now you’ve got some headline dates coming up. You’re also going to be hitting it with Halestorm in November. What have you learned out on the road, either when you guys are doing venues, playing the headline gig, or out with bands like In This Moment or Halestorm that you’ll carry with you as a performer on stage every night?

Nikki: Well, one thing I was definitely going to say is it’s not something I’ve had to learn on tour, but number one thing is treat everybody with respect, from any crew people to any venue people, everybody just around. Don’t be a dick, because you always come back to these places and you always run into the same people. That’s one thing I noticed with that. But, as a performer, I guess just I don’t know, man, just be real. Play with your heart. I don’t think that’s anything I would say I learned on stage or anything, but watching someone like Lizzy Hale, the way she just… it’s almost indescribable, that passion, that soul on stage and it’s so real. You could feel the heartbreak with the way she sings and even to Maria, it’s a production and theatric. It’s so amazing and it’s these people’s imagination as real as it could be, put on stage.

Toddstar: You brought up something else interesting that I really like where you talked about the venues and how you treat those people with respect because you’re coming back to one of my favorite venues. You’re actually closing up your headline run up in Flint, Michigan at the Machine Shop. What is it about a place like the Machine Shop that bodes well, not only for New Year’s Day, but you? What’s it about a joint like that that just really resonates with you guys?

Nikki: Well, I mean, granted, I’ve only been there once when we played two nights in a row, and that was oddly enough with HELLYEAH and Escape the Fate and just what’s always fun about that show… and I know that venue has such history. Well, I remember just night one was just madness and there’s one of those entire rock star kind of stories like you would hear from Led Zeppelin in the 70’s. That was that night and for some reason the Machine Shop will always hold that legendary rock and roll story to me.

Toddstar: I feel that same vibe every time I walk in there. It’s just a fun venue. Going back to you a little bit, Nikki, who’s out there that inspires you?

Nikki: I grew up on punk rock. Growing up in Southern California, around the time that No Doubt was blowing up, so Orange County had this thriving scene. Orange County had this awesome punk scene, too, like back in the 80’s where some of my favorite bands like Adolescent, Circle Jerks, Germs and stuff like that. A lot of those bands, they always still inspire me just with that nihilistic kind of anarchy, just wildness, at the same time, that emotion it gave. I’ve always been inspired by it. Johnny Thunders was one of my favorite guitar players. So, any older rock and roll has always been my inspiration. It’s hard to look at things now. I don’t know. I don’t know how to describe it. I mean, of course there’s players out there that influence me now, but just the old spirit of rock and roll is the reason why I picked up a guitar in the first place. That’s the reason why I still keep doing this, you know?

Toddstar: Sure. When’s the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Nikki: We were playing a festival. It was on the Halestorm tour a year or two back and John 5 was walking by with Peter Criss. It was at the time when like you were saying before, we wore all the makeup, so I pretty much look like this undead member of Mötley Crüe. I remember Peter Criss just looked at me and said, “Hi.” I was like, “Hey, how you doing?” I was like, “That guy sings “Black Diamond.” Awesome.” That was one of the moments. Peter Criss looked at me and said, “What’s up?” I was like, “Holy shit,” because KISS was one of my favorite bands. Still is. I’m always going to love him.

Toddstar: I am a huge KISS fan. I totally understand that sentiment. On the other side of that coin, what’s it like for you when you get a fan who approaches you and they get that stuttering, stammering feeling because they’re meeting one of their idols?

Nikki: That is the most humbling thing. It’s crazy, because that’s the real reason why I keep doing this; I go on stage, play these songs and pour my heart out. Because, when you find out you’ve affected people and inspire them the way music inspires you, you start to realize this is what it’s really about and this is what the art is all about. It’s such a humbling feeling that brings me right back down to earth. And I don’t know, I still feel like, “Really? Me? That’s awesome.” It’s something I hope I never get used to.

Toddstar: Cool. Well, I know you’re busy, so I got one more for you before we let you go. With all the music that’s been out there forever and a day, can you remember back to one song or one album that inspired you enough that you remember it being the ah-ha moment that this is what you wanted to do?

Nikki: Absolutely. I know the moment, too. It was when I was really young. My favorite movie was La Bamba and it was when at the end of the movie, the plane crash, it’s Santo and Johnny’s version of “Sleepwalk.” I remember, of course, it was a sad moment and song, but the movie with that song and just the melody. It’s just such a beautiful song to me and I just thought that melody was so heartbreaking that it used to just make me cry. I never knew that just songs could have that effect on people and what else can you do with it? I remember, like, “This is what I want to do.” Growing up in Southern California and half my family in Louisiana, I grew up with a lot of blues, southern blues stuff, and in Southern California we would go to Mexico all the time and my dad would always have these mariachis come play for us. He started telling me what the songs they were singing. He’s like, “Well, they’re talking about rebellion against the government, like freedom fighters and heartbreak and…” or “The love of my life died.” I always thought that was the coolest thing to have this awesome outfit and all you did was you woke up with your guitar and went around and jammed and sang songs to people. Oh, I thought that was the raddest thing. I was like “I want to be a mariachi when I grow up.” But, that’s pretty close.

Toddstar: Yeah, there you go. Well, maybe at the Machine Shop we can get you on stage with one of those mariachi hats or something.

Nikki: You know it’s going to be crazy when you guys see this new video. You know I’m just going to be living my dreams. You’re going to see me and be like, “Nikki Misery is living his best life right now.”

Toddstar: Awesome. We wish you well with the dates you got going on with In This Moment and with the kickoff of the headlining tour on September 19th when you guys go out with Ded. We can’t wait to see you up in Flint, Michigan in October time.

Nikki: Oh, I can’t wait, man. I can’t wait for The Machine Shop.

Toddstar: Awesome, Nikki. We’ll see you then.

Nikki: Bye, brother. Thank you so much, man.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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