Nick Santino: “I just like playing music.”

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One things for sure: Nick Santino does not like to be adventurous with his food, but does like to be with music. We sat down with Nick at the end of the The Up Close and Personal Tour with This Century to talk about the end of A Rocket to the Moon, his new music, food, traveling, and the future.

Check out the interview below.


How did the tour go?

It was good! It was a lot of fun. These guys are like my best friends now, so that’s awesome. We did the whole summer tour together. This Century and I have a good time together, but it was a blast. I mean, doing a first solo tour, a little different, a little interesting, not what I’m used to, but I had a lot of fun with it. I like it. I guess I’ll continue to do it.


I’ve read different things about how A Rocket to the Moon Ended. What actually happened? I know it had something to do with the record label.

Yeah, it was not so much the label telling us we have to break up. It was more so just all this stuff with our label not really wanting to put out our record. We were all very excited and happy about the record and then it just felt like we didn’t have the right team of people with us. So, we just kind of made a decision. It was just getting too much to handle, so we were like “You know what? Let’s just call it quits for now, so we don’t overwork ourselves, we don’t end up hating each other.” Cause we left on good terms, and we’re all good friends. Halvo and Andrew are on their way right now, to this show. So it’s cool, and it’s fine. I think it had to happen the way that it happened. I’m glad that it did, because it could have ended a lot worse. But I’m glad the way it did.


Why did you decide to do your own thing rather than try to get everyone back together?

I just like making music. And I think we kind of ran our course. If we continued to do Rocket, if we changed our name, it’d still be a hard thing to start over. And everyone else wanted to try different things. Justin wants to write in Nashville. The other two live out here now. And I think everyone was wanting to see what else is out there. And for me, I just like playing music, so I continue to do it.


Photo by Rosemary Vega

Photo by Rosemary Vega

How’s the fan reaction been?

It’s cool. I feel like I’m winning people over, some people that were a little skeptical about the transition over to my solo stuff. After the shows, I’m meeting people that are telling me that they’re very happy and they respect me for continuing on and not letting the label thing get me down, you know? So, I think it’s cool. I think they’re really liking it. I think I need a little more time and work, but I’m willing to give it that.


How’s it been now that you don’t really have a label telling you what to do?

It’s been great. It’s freeing. I definitely don’t miss having the phone calls or emails of disappointment being like, “Hey we didn’t get this,” or “Hey, you owe us this,” or something, you know? So it’s definitely freeing and I like that.


How has this tour been with getting to know everyone, any rituals come about?

Yeah, everybody’s so relaxed, and we all have the same sense of humor. And I mean there’s only four of us. When we were touring there was 5 of us, the tour manager, This Century, and me. We all have the same sense of humor, we joke around, everybody’s easy going. You know, Joel’s a vegetarian, no one else is, but he’ll eat wherever we can go and find an option. It’s cool to have everybody kind of on the same page. It gives it good vibes, nobody’s ever in a bad mood. Even the shows that don’t go as well as the night before, we’re not like “Meh, nobody came!” We laugh about it. We’re like, “Hey, 5 people came. That’s cool!” It’s very humbling and I think we have to stay with that mindset.


Did you have a favorite stop on tour?

New York is always really fun. We have friends that come out. New York is New York. A lot of kids come out to those shows. Boston is cool- hometown show for me. Tonight’s probably going to be really fun, Anaheim has always been one of my favorite places to play. So, you know, I think the major cities like that are the more fun ones.


You just mentioned Boston is your hometown, yet your music has a country sound to it. Where did that come from?

To me, it’s not really where you come from that means you have to listen to certain music, you know what I mean? It’s like, certain music only really exists- country music is in the south, but everything else is all over the place, you know what I mean? Just cause you don’t live in the south doesn’t mean you can’t listen to country music. I didn’t even listen to country until the last few years. And then it turned into more folk, and Americana, and bluegrass, and that kind of stuff. I think it’s just from influence, from listening to that kind of stuff. Like I live 8 miles south of Boston so there’s not fields around me, you know. I’m not a southern boy by any means. The Beatles played cool rock and roll and they also had some folky songs, and they’re from England. So, it’s cool. I think it’s just the influence of what you listen to that really shows in your performance.


So what made you decide to start listening to country?

Senior year of high school I started listening to Johnny Cash. I was on spring break with my friends in South Carolina, and for some reason like- I just got a Johnny Cash record. And I LOVED it. And since then I feel like my writing style is heavily influenced by Johnny Cash, like the storytelling, the simple song structures. From there I branched on to radio country, like Taylor Swift, and bluegrass stuff like Ricky Skaggs. So, I just have an appreciation for it, and that’s what I like about music, that I don’t hate anything. I can appreciate any style of music cause it’s created for a reason.


You’ve released two EPS now, do you have any idea what direction you want your next release to go?

Yeah, I mean, we’re going to work on a record beginning of 2014- hopefully shoot for a summer release. And I think the vibe that I want to make is like- I want it to be a little bit more- “Okay, this is one guy,” instead of this is just Rocket continued on because it’s a full band. There’s going to be full band stuff, but I’m going to keep it pretty natural and roots-y, and very Americana, heavy acoustic and vocal- very singer-songwriter, with some slight percussion throughout the record. I think it’s just going to be a very good feeling, relatable record. I feel like it won’t fit into any one genre, but it will kind of fit into a couple different things. And that’s kinda how Rocket always was, that’s just the way we wrote. The way were feeling that day, we wrote a certain song and it sounded a little twangy. I wouldn’t say it’s going to be a country record, I wouldn’t say it’s going to be a folk record, I think it’s just going to be a storytelling, songwriting thing.


What made you decide to add “The Northern Wind” and not just go by Nick Santino?

The Northern Wind is something I’ve had in my iPhone notes for four years. Actually, three years maybe. I remember we were on the All Time Low tour in 2010, I think? And I wrote it one day. We were doing a drive and it just came to my head, I wrote it, and I was like “If I ever do a solo thing, I’m going to name it that.” And I think it gives people something to remember. You can forget peoples names all the time, but if you have something like that, like The Northern Wind, you can be like, “What’s that kids name? Michael something… and The Northern Wind!” You know what I mean? It doesn’t matter if you remember the Nick Santino part, as long as you get the The Northern Wind thing. And it always gives room if I were to expand to a band, they could be my Northern Wind. I think it’s just a bunch of things. It could be whatever anyone thinks it is. I’m a northern boy, it could be anything.

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