DIARY - 31 MAY 2006 - SHANE NICHOLSON INTERVIEW
FAITH SCIENCE AND MOVIES
walls won't let you sleep tonight/ you're throwing the title fight/ you
want to disappear." - Safe And Sound - Shane Nicholson.
Nicholson performed a Dragon tune in Australian movie Mullet
and landed his original tune The Best Day Of The Year
in acclaimed new U.S. public education satire Chalk.
Another of his originals I Know What You Need features in
a promo for Fox network TV series House MD.
So it's no surprise he's keen to expand his cinematic songs beyond
the aural medium to the lucrative world of TV and movies.
It's not a case of competing for royalties with singing spouse Kasey
Chambers whose hit songs adorned smash TV series diverse as Crossing
Jordan and The Sopranos.
would love to write specifically for a movie," Nicholson, 30,
told Nu Country TV before he launched second solo CD Faith &
Science on May 24 at famed Northcote Social Club.
the idea of having visual version of a song taking on a different life
from its audio birth."
Nicholson hasn't seen the Mike Akel directed Chalk that features
his song The Best Day Of The Year and is a highlight of film festivals
diverse as Memphis and Athens, Georgia.
But he has vivid recollections of making his video for I Know What
You Need in his hometown Brisbane where he was oldest of three children
of a mechanic-golf course green keeper.
"The characters in the treatment were me and the female lead Emma
Louise doubling a make up artist," Nicholson revealed.
"I leave my house with woollen jumper on but its caught on something.
As I walk around the city she's upstairs knitting the same jumper. She
has to find me to finish knitting the jumper. It's a cute little circular
love story. It's not what I had in mind when I wrote the song. That's
what I like about videos - they have a completely different visual representation."
ANGELES NIGHT SONG
doesn't write political or social comment songs but Safe And
Sound was inspired by a night in Los Angeles.
"I wrote it in LA. on my own on a recent tour," Nicholson
says of one of his forays that has included touring with Paul Kelly
and the Chambers family and two SXSW fests in Texas capital Austin.
was feeling the pressure of how L. A. encroaches on you, how full
on it is. It can be all consuming and make you really feel small
and insignificant. That song is kind of social comment or that level.
I like to
follow politics but it's not something I'm well enough versed in to write
and talk about. I don't want to talk about it in interviews and be a spokesperson
whose discs were produced by Nash Chambers, is unlikely to hit radio cutting
room floor for emulating the Dixie Chicks or Steve Earle.
The singer prefers to write solo but broke the mould with a cover of Tom
Waits Big In Japan and co-writes with L.A. producer Wally Gagel
and Michael Barker from the John Butler Trio.
"I wrote Safe And Sound with Wally in his studio in Hollywood,"
says of a song on which he shares credits with the studio serf known for
his work with Texan country band Old 97s, Tanya Donnelly, Julia Hatfield
and Sarah Blasko.
"We wrote it in a day but I haven't seen him since."
Nicholson is more likely to cross paths with Barker with whom he wrote
All The Time In The World.
AND THE LOST DOGS
Nicholson, whose music shares more similarities with stable mate Simon
Bruce than most to whom he is compared, performed in country band Lost
Dogs with Kasey but doesn't write with her.
"About 80% of the songs on this album I began writing in the U.S."
"I carry a notebook full of scribbles, often don't know where they're
from specifically or who inspired them."
But he admits that marital and musical bliss has broadened his music.
"I never listened to country until recently, it's around me a lot
more," Shane added.
"There were country elements on last record. I'm not afraid of it
at all - it seeps in by osmosis. I didn't want a country record or even
a country song on it but I wanted country elements. I like the idea of
playing pop, folk and including instruments like pedal steel guitar and
mandolin appeals. But on this album there is just a lap steel played by
recorded several EPS with Brisbane band Pretty Violent Stain before
his debut CD It's A Movie.
He started on drums at 8 and guitar at 13 when he was raised in Kingscliff
in southern Queensland.
"The Bee Gees lived there at one stage and Keith Urban was about
half an hour away in Caboolture," Nicholson recalled.
had a job installing garage doors. It was first day job. I was about 19
- it didn't last long. I lived very frugally, cheaply. I bought a camper
house-mobile home and put it on a block of land where I didn't have to
pay rent so I could tour all year around. I put it on my ex-girlfriend's
property near Kilcoy."
The singer won exposure on Americana and AAA stations in the U.S. while
touring to promote it.
"We started the tour in Seattle and went to Texas, Atlanta, the Carolinas,
Chicago and New York," Nicholson recalled.
"The airplay started on Americana and AAA and expanded to commercial
stations. I have done four U.S. tours and plan to return in 2007. I played
South X South West twice. I lined up to see Peter Yorn and only got to
see his encore. I planned to see Ron Sexsmith. I saw him in my audience
at my gig but missed him live."
Although he won exposure in Canada he is making Australia his priority
"It fell through the cracks in Canada and I haven't played enough
here recently," he explained.
Nicholson has preferred to write solo.
"Co-writing recently has broken up the monotony," Shane revealed.
"I prefer to write with people who are quite different or I know
really well. People I think can add more to it."
But he has no desire for serious writing in Nashville.
"I have never been there but song writing as an industry doesn't
interest me," Shane added.
"I wrote a song in LA that's been recorded in Germany. He's a big
artist in Germany.
Most of the time I'm writing songs for myself. I would like to write more
in the future as I don't want to tour for rest of my life."
What about writing with Kasey?
"No, we don't write together but we perform together," says
"We worked together in The Lost Dogs. We took the name from the John
Prine album Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings. Ian Haig was on bass
and Mick Albeck on fiddle. We play for fun."
was Bill Chambers - father of the bride - who serenaded Shane and
Kasey at their recent December 2005 wedding on the NSW Central Coast.
Bill performed James Taylor tune You Can Close Your Eyes to
the barefoot bride and groom who both wore jeans and a white shirt.
It was an impromptu ceremony in the backyard of their Avoca Beach
A small group of 20 family and friends invited to a barbecue engagement
party found the couple intended to get married when they were introduced
to the celebrant.
Bill was asked to play a song only five minutes before the ceremony
Steven was his best man and Worm - Kasey's roadie and lighting man for
17 years - was their mate of honour.
Kasey plans to release her fourth solo album later this year.
here for a review of Shane's CD launch at Northcote Social Club
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