Introducing (Again) + Interview: Brian Karscig of San Diego’s NERVOUS WRECKORDS

Introductions should to be made again. For your sake.

Although BackstageRider has a long history with Brian Karscig and his previous band, Louis XIV , it’s been a while since I metaphorically pinned BK down to catch up on all things Nervous Wreckords.

Nervous Wreckords, you may recall, have been together for an a few ounces more than a year, and are purveyors of fine, sunshiney, piano-synthy rock, clever lyrics and a really decent beard (on Brian, not on Lindsay). Their debut full-lengther Valuminium has got its The Nervous Wreckordsgroove on, and the band’s been getting its road legs on UhMerican soil.

So, then, it’s clearly time to grab the man under the hat and see how the hell the last year’s been for The NW’s. Here goes:

Wasn’t Valuminium being reissued this month?

We self-released the album 31st Aug. of 2010, but nobody knew who we were, and are actually still getting to know us.  Now that we have been touring, have become a band, it just felt right to re-release the record.  Probably won’t be until March though.

What was the best bit of 2010 for you?

2010 was an interesting year.   I would say for the band, the best part of 2010 was just becoming a band.  TNW started as just a solo record that was going to be called The Nervous Record.  LouisXIV was on a break, and I wanted to release stuff I was working on with my friend Anthony Saffery from Cornershop.

I am a nervous person, it was a record that I had no real plans with except to just be creative with no pressure or expectations attached, and I think it came out that way. Fun, honest, and not over-thought.

The Killers called me up right after it was finished and asked if I had a band (Mark Stoermer played bass on a couple of tracks, and Dave Keuning played the cello intro on “Everything Stops for Tea”), because they loved the record, and wanted TNW to open their last leg of their Day and Age tour in the US.

I didn’t, but fibbed and said I had a band ready to go.  For the next week I called some friends from other bands, and for two weeks we rehearsed the material.  Our first show was sold out at Red Rocks in Colorado, like 11,000 or something.  That was the end of 2009.  Now, everyone from that “thrown together” band of friends have gone back with their other bands/music endeavors except Lindsay and I.  2010 brought us Cindy and Tony who have been with us ever since, and we finally feel like a band.

Do you have any rock and roll resolutions for the next year?

World Domination, and touring.

Now that the band’s a year old, what are you learning about each other and the music?

I think every time we get in the van and start a tour, we continually learn something new about each other as people, each others’ sense of humor, personalities, etc., and become better friends.  As musicians, I think we are just getting to that point where we trust one another on stage, and are comfortable relying on each other to do what our respective roles are.  We believe that each of us will be able to recover or pull it off,  if something goes wrong. Everyone in the band have made the songs on the record their own…ours, and it feels like that when we play live now. Rather than just “playing the parts on the record”, everyone is adding their own style, feel, and contributing to the songs, and they feel 10 times more alive.
The Nervous Wreckords, Valuminium

You’ve been touring extensively this past year, what’s the craziest story from the road?

Well, lots of crazy things happen on the road, but that generally stays on the road:)

What’re your fave bits/songs on Valuminium and why?

That’s really hard to say. All the songs mean a lot, but at the moment, I’m loving “Pitchforks” and “The Rich Get Richer”..  Those songs were written over a year ago, but its eerie how relative to now they are lyrically.  Plus, we haven’t started playing them live yet.  Since we’re so new, we’re primarily a support band or a 45-minute-set band.  We pretty much play all the upbeat ones on the record, but plan on bringing in the slower-tempo ones once people get more familiar with the record.

Any plans for hooking up the NW’s with another tour that will take you up to Canada and over to the east coast?

We’re hoping for it.  And always crossing our fingers for the opportunity.  It’s a whole new model on how to get your music out there. We’re still counting on making new fans, word of mouth, etc.  But we are a self-released, self-funded band. So generally have to stick within our means touring-wise which has kept us on the West Coast for the last 7 months or so.

Maybe BackStage Rider should fund a tour and have TNW on the bill?

Uh, yeah! Totally! *reaches into her pockets and finds some fluff and a quarter* You’ve always been prolific…you writing at all these days? Or plans to?

I’m constantly writing.  Its what I do and am still very passionate about it.  I still sometimes go 3-4 songs, sometimes more, where I’ll spend days on it, and won’t be that happy with it in the end. But then there are ones that I spend 5 minutes on, and immediately feel like something magical came out.

You’ve also had a really DIY approach to your own promotion (with help from yours truly in social media, right? ;) and done lots of cool things (your own label). Is that what it takes now for bands to survive? To be utterly and completely hands on, on all aspects of their own business?

The Nervous WreckordsIt’s kind of difficult, really.  I mean, there are so many deals out there that do not cater to the best interests of the artists.  I really tried to make a solid run at starting a new label (Nervous Wreckords, which was going to be a label, before it was a record, before it was a band) and had some success with starting The Pineapple Recording Group with my longtime friend Jason.  I wanted to be able to record bands on really good gear for cheap, release the records, and promote the bands by touring and social media.  Some artists were part of the early incarnations of The Nervous Wreckords, and other artists would open for us.  It was on its way to being a really cool touring Rock and Roll Circus.

It was about halfway through the first tour we did with the Killers that I found that just because you may have the passion to want to nurture or help along bands or artists that you see potential in, or believe in, the situation can backfire on you due to circumstances beyond your control.  So now, we are the only band on our label.  It feels good to know that when we put in 100% we’ll get back 100%.

What other music/bands out there are really turning you on?

There are a lot of cool bands out there.  I really like Arcade Fire, Cee-Lo Green, and the Julian Casablancas record “Phrazes for the Young”.
Anything else kooky or exciting on the cards for your gang this year?

We’re excited to play with Cee-Lo Green in Feb., and have a lot of really promising tour opportunities coming up, that I don’t want to jinx because they are not “confirmed”.  Otherwise, we just keep writing, doing our own bookings, and just keep pushing forward doing what we do best.

Will you send me a pic of you doing the Rockhands for my gallery?

I would, but I’m missing two fingers.\m/

Posted by Mikala   @   20 January 2011

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