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NICOLE ATKINS: LIKE A LINE OF DARKNESS DRAWN IN THE SAND – INTERVIEW BY MELANIE SMITH

 "A voice full of longing and Loretta Lynn elegance - songs that evoke moonlit walks with the shadows closing in" - Rolling Stone Magazine.

For those poor souls who haven’t been fortunate enough to discover Nicole yet she is a much-admired American singer/songwriter, whose music is written and delivered straight from the heart, in all its glory, both dark and light, with elements of country and rock, with hints of psychedelia. An interesting combination, and we strongly advise you keep your eyes and ears peeled for her new release. Its Nicole's third album, some of which has been co-written by Jim Sclavunos (The Bad Seeds/Grinderman/The Cramps/Sonic Youth) and produced by Tore Johansson (The Cardigans, Franz Ferdinand, Saint Etienne, New Order).  

Having just completed a UK tour supporting The Eels, she is now preparing her long awaited album ‘Slow Phaser’. Mudkiss first spoke to Nicole in 2011, after the release of her excellent 'Mondo Amore' album, so we thought it was about time we caught up with her to find out about the tour and the new material.

MEL: We last interviewed you in 2011, what have you been doing since then and the release of the album ‘Mondo Amore’?

NICOLE:I toured a ton with my band and also did some support shows with Avett Brothers and Black Keys. I started writing my new record and moved out of Brooklyn back to New Jersey and then to Sweden for two months to record with Tore Johansson. Lots of travelling, and I don’t think I’ve unpacked my suitcase since I spoke to you last. 

MEL: What was the making of the new material like, and working with Jim Sclavunos?

NICOLE: At first it was like curbing my own jaw, but then I just shook off a lot of old baggage and submitted to the void. It was like there’s a line of darkness drawn in the sand and I just kept flirting with the idea of crossing over. A balancing act and working with Jim was super fun, nurturing and I feel like he made me smarter.

MEL: How did you collaborate, what was the process - music/ song writing ect?

NICOLE: We met in London and went to a show, then got together in the equivalent of a college dorm and wrote a bunch of songs messing around with an old korg. I think it was a korg.

MEL: Did he inspire any new material or ideas you might want to work on in the future?

NICOLE: Of course, we are still writing….

MEL: You were on tour with the Eels recently (sadly I missed your show in Manchester) how was the tour, and what have been the highlights?

NICOLE: Its been amazing playing in these beautiful rooms in cities I’ve never seen. The highlight is definitely sharing a van with a Guido, a Scottish punk Guido and a 7 foot clown and a monkey lady and eating mushroom truffles and listening to Kraftwerk on the autobahn.

MEL: I believe you opened for the legendary Patti Smith, what was that like; did you get to meet her?

NICOLE: It was great, her daughter Jesse sings with me sometimes. It was awesome watching my dad in the crowd singing along to ‘Outside of Society’. She actually let me cat sit for her after hurricane sandy fucked up my house. She’s a woman of warmth, nails and sincerity.

MEL: Can you inform our readers of some of the new songs you have written, what themes are covered, where did the ideas come from and when is it due for release?

NICOLE: The record is called "Slow Phaser" the sound was inspired by country music, psychedelia and prog rock. I was listening to a lot of early Peter Gabrielle. The theme of the record is just letting go of old ideas of what my life should be like. Death of the party gal in a way is like Leonards death of the ladies man. 5 am in an alley blown out and wearing a ballgown with cigarette holes in it. Looking up and wishing for something else.

MEL: When I last interviewed you, you said you’d love to work with Jack White, are you any closer to that dream coming to fruition?

NICOLE: Ha-ha, I don’t think so……but ya never know!

MEL: Hey and you also said you'd love to work with Nick Cave, well you got pretty close, have you met Nick yet? And if so have you mentioned this to him at all?

NICOLE: I have not and shut up man, don’t jinx it!

http://mondoamore.nicoleatkins.com

Interview by Melanie Smith
Live photos by Andy Von Pip

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