Q&A: The Nixon Tapes Dive Deep Into New EP – Indigo

By: Lindsy Carrasquillo

The Jacksonville, Florida based band, The Nixon Tapes, released their EP Indigo today (January 19). We spoke to guitarist Taylor Neal to learn more about the EP’s lyrical content, themes and more. You can listen to it here.

Your EP Indigo is the follow up to your debut album, Better Days which was released in 2016. How do you think that band has changed the most since that release?

Better Days was a collection of songs that we deemed “good” and wanted to put out as our product just because they were all we had at the time. Through the process of creating the new EP Indigo, we became a lot more intentional with which songs we chose to use on the EP. After a season of taking a break from shows and focusing on writing, we picked 4 songs for Indigo out of handfuls of ideas that we are soon compiling into a full length conceptual LP.

Tonally, Better Days is very different from Indigo, due to the different inspiration we’ve all experienced and the development of our sound over the past year.

The EP is described as “an understanding of the role that colors play within the psyche”. Can you talk a bit about that?

One concept we started to play with when writing Indigo was how colors affect the psyche and can change your perception on life. The color indigo enhances the way you’re feeling, and we wanted to play with that idea a bit in our writing. The second track, Drip, is about something that holds a lot of value to you. That one thing can be the best thing in the world when all is going well, but when things don’t go as planned, it can have a very heavy impact on you. Everyone has an ‘indigo’, that one thing that has a monumental impact on your life, but that thing is different for everyone.

Who did you work with to record the EP and what was the writing process like?

We did almost everything for the EP in-house. We set up mics in Brian’s apartment and tracked everything there. The four tracks all have seamless transitions between them that glue it all together. When we were tracking, these birds right outside the apartment sounded really beautiful, so we tracked them. The transitions between the four songs could simply be interpreted as someone opening a window and taking breath of fresh air. Instead of trying to give the transitions a greater meaning, they are there for a breath, to consider ‘This is what’s going on, this is what I heard, this is something in between.’ We’re not saying whether or not these topics matter, or resolve, but that they just are– they’re just happening…You don’t always get closure with things of this magnitude, which is a big factor in the themes of Indigo.

Taylor headed tracking and mixing, and with the help Jacob Hudson, mastered the EP. There were many people involved with helping us throughout the process, and things wouldn’t be where they are without their help.Specifically, our good friend Chris Smith helped with tracking a lot of percussion and noises throughout the album.

Another huge help in the mixing process was from Dr. Mark Snyder of Jacksonville University. He was eager to help us in the mixing stages, and just was a great resource all around. He really empowered Taylor to look at the recording process in a different way, and he played a big role in our inspiration.

The album cover and promotional photos/videos were envisioned and executed by Danny Cary. We had ideas and Danny was the right guy to make it happen. Danny played a huge role in the development of the album artwork, and we can’t thank him enough for the effort he’s put into this.

Working on the album artwork was one of the most fun parts of this whole process. After Danny brought up the idea, we built and painted the set in about a week. Carson really took the lead in this process, and we’re pretty happy with the outcome of his hard work and Danny’s ideas.

Chelsea Hart-Cantabane wrote our bio and about page. She has been a close friend of ours for a while, and we can’t thank her enough for what she’s done for us. She worked countless hours with us, and she played such a big part in helping us have a deeper understanding of what we were trying to communicate with our music. Her work can be found on our about page, https://nixontapes.band/about/ as well as her own blog https://youngaudiophile.wordpress.com.

What were some of your inspirations when working on the Ep, both musically and personally?

Some of our musical influences include Pile, Big Thief, Horse Jumper of Love, Pope, From Indian Lakes, and Failure. One of the themes discussed while creating the EP was this concept of the earth dying, but how it appears more and more beautiful as its reaching it’s demise. This was super relevant as 2017 was a heavy year for natural disasters, but we wanted to focus more about finding the meaning in the midst of chaos.

What do you hope to accomplish with this release?

We want Indigo to present some concepts that are further developed in the next album. We also wanted to start to develop this new sound, but above all of that, our main goal is make the listener feel something. We find that a lot of themes are left open for interpretation, so the album could mean one thing to somebody and a totally different thing for someone else.

Your release show is January 27 with Boysin. What should fans expect from the show?

We will be playing Indigo in its entirety, along with old and new material. The environment will be intimate and personal. Jacob Hudson will set the mood with his stripped down set, and Boysin will also play their new release, Still Small, in its entirety.

Being from Jacksonville, can you talk about the music scene? Do you feel like it has influenced your music at all?

Yes, the DIY community has inspired us, not necessarily musically, but certainly in empowering the DIY community. A big role in this scene is David Kennedy and what he’s doing with Bughouse. We have a feeling that the Jax scene is like a shaken soda with the cap getting twisted more and more each month. There is so much happening within the scene and we can’t wait to see it burst.

Can you name some bands from the area that people should listen to?

Some of our favorite locals are Boysin, Glazed, Intervention, Bobby Kid, Jacob Hudson, Fernway, and Teen Divorce. The people in these bands have not only inspired us and kept the scene alive, but they are some of our closest friends. The best part about this scene is how supportive everyone is of each other, and how the community doesn’t just end when the show’s over.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

We are excited for what’s to come for the Jax scene in 2018. With releases from Fernway, Boysin, and Teen Divorce just in the first month of the year, we can feel the DIY scene bursting at its seams. Bughouse has brought a reason for music lovers to come together and experience a culture of supportive people who are all so passionate about the scene.

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