Monday, 19 May 2008


Local post-rocker's Nikko are a band on the rise. The quartet are gradually gaining popularity on the strength of their consistently entertaining and constantly evolving live shows. Ahead of a show this Friday at Rosie's Bar and an upcoming tour of the East Coast, I sat down with guitarist Jackson Briggs and bassist Sam Whiting to talk about the past, present, and future of Nikko.

Whiting, vocalist/guitarist Ryan Potter, and drummer Blair Westbrook have been playing on and off since the 9th grade in what Whiting classifies as 'a number of shitty school bands'. Fortunately all this time together produced a tight live outfit and, with the addition of Briggs to the lineup in 2005, Nikko (named for German chanteuse Nico) came into being.

From the get go the band has proved to be formidable on stage, with an ever-changing set list. The end result of such tactics is that each song gets fleshed out live, meaning that each song will play out differently every show. Briggs is quick to point out that it makes recording difficult for the band, however, as they are never really satisfied with having a definitive version of a track.

Nikko's songwriting duties are split between Potter and Briggs. Briggs' contributions are for the most part instrumental, whereas Potter's songs, with a vocal and lyrical style similar to Nick Cave or Warren Ellis, provide an excellent counterweight to the crashing waves of Nikko's instrumental songs. Musically the bands influences are both obvious (The Velvet Underground, Mogwai, Sigur Ros), and subtle (The Drones, Johnny Cash). The disparate musical tastes of each band member is quite possibly the reason behind this successful clash of styles. The influences aren't restricted to music either, with Whiting citing the films of directors Jim Jarmusch and the Coen Brothers as a source of inspiration; unsurprising given the cinematic feeling exuded from the majority of Nikko's music.

The second half of 2008 will see Nikko embarking on their first interstate tour, playing in Sydney (8th July at the Hopetoun) and Melbourne (12th July at The Old Bar, 16th July at Getrude's Brown Couch). Following these gigs they will begin recording on their debut EP with an aim to have it out by November. In the meantime you can head along to Rosie's this Friday to see them play Stemford Hiss, Lifeless Alarm, and Sea Monster ($10 entry from 8pm).


Cam said...

he has a vocal and lyrical style similar to warren ellis?

Gav said...

Umm, maybe not the greatest comparison ever proffered. Warren Ellis totally sings though. At least he did once at a Dirty Three gig. I think. Theres a slight chance I was tripping out and thought I heard him sing.

Cam said...

i believe he 'sung' in their cover of maggie may, which pretty much consisted of him yelling 'maggie!' in the choruses. other than that he might kind of wordlessly wail off mic on occasion.