Beatastic continues his cabin fever, rejecting any kind of pigeon holing with his new track Sleep Is Freedom. Already well versed in glitch electronica, post rock, melodic industrial and countless more genres, Sleep Is Freedom allows him his most organic setting. Nico has always appeared most comfortable when indulging his more straight laced side, and the medium and demands of a lead single area perfect excuse.
Resembling more melodic Deftones work and nodding to the spacey elements of Mars Volta, Sleep Is Freedom descends from a grunge haze opening in to a restless, aggressive chorus that, despite ample distortion, cuts through your atmosphere with a scalpel edge. As his crisp drums give way to a romp of a bassline, 1993 feels a whole lot closers. Nostalgic.
Nico beats down an odd path here. Sleep Is Freedom, as a title, suggests something more in line with his last record, Dreamcatcher for example, yet it is an angsty, aggressive thriller. The final half of the song is pure menace. Nico explains his anger at the conundrum of sleep being his only weapon against the pain, yet it is sleep that brings him closer to it, ‘I switch off my brain / so I don’t think of the day / when I’ll finally lose you’ gives way to his rAnt, ‘but it keeps coming keeps coming keeps coming’. Sleep truly is freedom, but it’s also the quickest way to pass the time..
The video at first feels under done. It’s a standard computer generated affair that utilises flashing lights and meaningless shapes and symbols, yet on further listen it fits perfectly. When I first watched it it annoyed me, it frustrated and agitated me, until I realised those were the exact emotions being expressed in the song. Things began to fit in place. The twitchy, constant movement blends with Nico’s dark, brooding mood.
An excellent track from what I can only imagine will be another record that will hop around genres like a jack rabbit and smash through a few more preconceptions. Independent music.. You all sit there complaining about Kanye West and there being nothing good on the radio? Turn it off. Turn to Beatastic.
Knowing Nico quite well after reviewing his previous record, he allowed me to fire off a few questions about his music and the new track, and the quite unique way he has decided to package his new record. Have a read:
BC: How long have you been making music, and how did you begin? What was your inspiration?
Nico:Beatastic was started about 5 years ago as an electronic project, kinda like LCD Soundsystem and it quickly evolved into something else. The aim was actually to stay as far away from my influences as possible. A few years ago I read an interview by James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem and he was saying that people accuse him about sounding like Bowie and Joy Division but, hey, fuck it, that’s who he is. I realized that too, so I’m embracing them now. So I’d say The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age, Foals, Nine Inch Nails etc…
BC: Explain a little about your process when recording an album. For example vocals first beats first, bassline, do you use mainly computers or live instrumentation, do you hire session players?
Nico: I tend to record a basic drum track first, then guitar or bass, the vocals, then flesh out the song around that skeleton. I do everything myself apart from what I can’t actually do, so in the past it’s been rappers and female vocalists. There’s not guests on this album. It’s all me.
BC: What’s your view on things like spotify, especially with regards to how much they pay artists and whether there is a difference in benefit for smaller acts like yourself compared to bigger acts like radiohead etc.
Nico: Back in the myspace days I used to sell a fair amount, now there’s virtually no way to reach people. People need to stop banging on about the old days, they’re not coming back. Artists need to find new ways to make money.
BC: What are some of your earliest memories of music?
Nico: My first memory was running around the house when I was 4 singing Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys, I couldn’t speak English so I was just saying ba-ba-ba
What do you listen to on a daily basis? Artists, genres, new, old, yourself? I listen to anything, but I tend to go through phases. I’m currently listening to a lot of Swans, Killing Joke, Alcest, My Bloody Valentine etc… Years ago I was told that everything I write sounds like I’m on drugs. I don’t do drugs at all but most music I like sounds quite druggy, so that’s probably why.
BC: Are you able to make a living out of music or do you have to work to support yourself? Nico:
I work part time on the side
BC: When is the album due and what can we expect?
Nico: The album is due sometimes this year, maybe june or september. It will be different, once again, I think it will have about 12-14 songs. I have an idea but I’m not sure how doable it will be: I’m thinking of releasing the album and to everyone who gives me proof that they bought it I’d give a second album for free. So there would be 2 albums. Like yin and yang, white and black, left and right. 2 albums that complete each other. Maybe.