nikmoody, a 23-year-old rapper from Brooklyn, formerly performed with rap duo One Way. His solo album, "Farwellcome Vol. 1," which took a solid year of crafting, finds him collaborating with contemporary talent and baring his soul. Nik discusses the ideas behind his 7 track EP in an exclusive Examiner interview.
Examiner: Hi Nik. Who are your inspirations?
Nik: Well, outside of my favorite artist like Drake, J. Cole, Macklemore, Cold War Kids, Kid Cudi and Of Mice and Men. I draw a lot of inspiration from writers, too. Guys like Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson and Vonnegut really get me thinking.
Examiner: Why did you go solo after One Way?
Nik: Well, my dude Michael Kraun and I thought it was best to separate and work individually on solo projects because it was getting much more difficult to agree on the same ideas for the music. Although we agree on most things, two opinionated artists trying to work together can be difficult at times. We're definitely going to keep working together, just as two individual artists.
Examiner: Was it challenging to record an album that was so personal?
Nik: Not as much as you might think. Sometimes it's easier to put my thoughts down on paper rather than actually saying them out loud. For songs like "Letters He Never Wrote," I address that specifically and I talk about a lot of things I wouldn't have necessarily said. It can be therapeutic at times, recording something that's so completely nonfiction. But there's also baggage, questions from friends and relatives. I tend to let the music speak for itself.
Examiner: One insightful lyric is: "...always been the kid caught in between..."
Nik: I've always felt like I never fit in with a specific group That's not to say I was an outcast or anything like that but people had no problem pigeon holing me with a clique. I just never felt like I belonged anywhere. Most people find it easier to box someone into a specific group than to consider they're capable of doing more than one thing.
I love sports and throughout high school that was all I did. People automatically labeled me a jock but I didn't really get along with most of those guys. Even at that age I was very heavily into writing and music. As I got older I kept one foot in the door of both. I played college basketball and I performed in a rap group. I guess I felt caught in between all of these different groups.
Examiner: How did you work out the arrangement with Anna Fields?
Nik: I wrote the songs and I realized the tracks would sound much better with the help of a female vocalist. I got in touch with Anna and she came into the studio and we figured it out. I would basically give her the lines and she'd take them and run with them. My engineer Luke DiCola would help develop a nice harmony to back the rhythm and we'd be in business. It's always good to work with other artists.
Examiner: You celebrate individuality in "Mannequin." What prompted that concept?
Nik: Graduating college. I know so many kids who receive their diploma and panic -- "What do I do, What do I do? What do I do?" And they end up taking some desk job or sitting at a cubicle all day complaining about how bored they are at work. I'm not going to lie and say I haven't had that freak out moment -- it happens twice a week, but I'm going to do whatever it takes to pursue a career in writing -- whether it's music, movies or books. Creating is what I love and that's not to say I'm not going to have to pick up a few jobs I don't want along the way but I'm going to do my own thing. I want to be the "manic" kid," the unpredictable fun guy who might not be as successful money wise but is damn happy, not the "mannequin," living life as a drone for society. I want to make an impact.
Examiner: How did you and Jason V. Jones come up with the video idea for "Just Me?"
Nik: Unlike my first music video "Social Butterfly," we wanted to create an atmosphere for "Just Me" that was much lighter. We picked a good weekend and Jason, my manager Mike Epstein and I went out to Merrick Mountain and found some really dope shots. It just so happened to work out that I faded away into the light at the end of the video -- it wasn't even planned. We wanted to go with less concept and more vivid visuals.
Examiner: What are your future plans now that "Farewellcome Vol. 1" is complete?
Nik: Right now, my focus is on a couple more music videos. Fans tend to respond more adamantly when a visual matches with the track, but after that I'm gonna look to put out "Volume II" and, hopefully, build a strong enough fan base to set up some out of state shows.