Nicole Verhamme was born in the southern California sunshine. Her music is a dreamy landscape laced with subtle danceable beats intertwining. It feels like a cool breeze coming from the water hitting you while standing on a boardwalk with the tones from a loud rock bar swirling in the air. She has toured the world in various capacities and roles as a musician, switching instruments and continents as dictated by the song. We had a chance to catch up with her as she preps her new single and video ‘More Embracing Love’ for release.
GPBH: For those who are unfamiliar, can you tell us about your musical projects and background.
Nicole: I've been considered something of a 'road dog' by many for the past 10+ years. I've played with or filled in for players of many touring acts, but I'd say the most notable of these is Goldenboy. Shon Sullivan asked me to join Goldenboy as their rhythm guitarist back in February of 2010, back when we barely knew each other. Since then, we developed a strong musical bond & friendship and will probably continue working together closely, in whatever capacity, until one of us dies. I worked for many years with Garrett Klahn (Texas Is The Reason) in various projects of his. I've also been a touring bass player for Phil Pirrone's various acts, most recently with his current project JJUUJJUU. Back in the early 2000's, my psychedelic rock band Mythmaker was signed to Phil's now-defunct record label, Longhair Illuminati. Before that, at the age of 17, I was lead guitarist/co-songwriter/frontwoman in the emo-pop outfit Lost North Star on Dying Wish Records. The 'More Embracing Love' single is my first effort into releasing the solo realm of my work, which is where one may expect much more from me in the future.
GPBH: As a multi instrumentalist, is there one in particular that brings you the most satisfaction to play or that most readily matches the voicing you hear in your head when you approach writing new material?
Nicole: I would say that all of the music in my head is first transcribed to either piano or guitar, usually depending on whichever one is closest to me that moment. After I work out the idea, then I'll decide which instrument best matches the voicing and take the rest of the piece from there.
GPBH: What are your favorite type of shows to play?
Nicole: I've played to three people, and I've played to thousands of people. I'm more than happy to play to anyone, just about anywhere. That said, I've always really loved playing at smaller, fan-driven festivals like Midpoint Festival in Cincinnati, OH. While technically an industry festival, UMS in Denver, CO also has a very fan-driven feel. If you've never been to either festival, envision SxSW on a much smaller, more intimate scale. What I love most about these festivals is that it's evident that everyone is out making a genuine, un-biased effort to discover new music. It makes for a very warm environment to share to.
GPBH: You’ve done a lot of collaborations on projects in the past, can you tell us about the collaboration that went into this new video ‘More Embracing Love’?
Nicole: The video for this single started as a very technically basic idea in my head and was helped brought to life by my good friends Dalton Blanco & Kyle Smith. Dalton has a fantastic photographic eye, very aligned with my own photographic preferences, so trusting him with the camera was a no-brainer. It made the time we spent shooting stress-free. I had started tackling the editing on my own when Kyle offered to lend me his expertise in cleaning up what I'd worked on and in adding some sparkly and captivating touches. I've always loved Kyle's filmmaking style & felt our aesthetic styles would also align well. Both these guys are extremely talented & busy dudes, so I feel very lucky for them devoting their time & vision to this project of mine. Between the three of us, I'd say we achieved exactly what I'd originally envisioned but wasn't exactly sure how to accomplish on my own. 'Teamwork makes the dream work,' as Dalton texted me when I sent him the final cut.
GPBH: Lyrically, is this new material more thematic or autobiographical?
Nicole: As per usual from me, the new material is certainly emotionally-driven. I think I take a lot of inspiration from the way others or myself are emotionally affected by longing. So for this reason, I would say it's both thematic and autobiographical. 'Poetic' might be an arrogant sounding way to explain it, but it's pretty much an accurate description. Autobiography strategically woven with fantasy. Emotional longing. Dreaminess. These seem to be the themes.
GPBH: Are there any upcoming plans on releasing a new album?
Nicole: Despite being a lover of albums, I have no immediate plans to release a full length this year. As part of a different approach for myself, my plans for 2017 are to release a series of singles accompanied by music videos. These singles will either be self-released or record label one-offs, just like the 'More Embracing Love' single I did for Honeytone Records. That said, just because my plans to make a full length aren't immediate doesn't necessarily mean it won't naturally happen. I've got a lot of inspiration brewing these days.
GPBH: What are 3 records from other artists that someone new to your work should listen to get a better understanding of your influences and why?
Nicole: Always a good question. As most are, I am influenced by so much. I have been known to write in different styles, such as Country & Americana, and don't find it necessary to limit myself to any one style (I'm a big Ween fan.) As for my new works and what to expect from me, I would recommend the following inspirational references:
- Deerhunter 'Halcyon Digest'
- Beach House 'Bloom'
- Klaus Johann Grobe 'Im Sinne der Zeit'
I think the direction I'm presently going in is a particularly dreamy one but still has a lot of guitar-heavy, rock 'n roll edge. If one were to blend these three records together (and to throw in a touch of The Verve's 'A Storm in Heaven'), one will know what it sounds like in my head when I walk around the city.
More Embracing Love (official video)
Keep up-to-date on Nicole Verhamme's latest releases, touring dates, and imagery on her website, NicoleVerhamme.com