As a founding member of sprawling, Mercury Prize nominated jazz collective, Portico Quartet, Nick played an otherworldly new instrument called The Hang, and their music still resonates today in broader circles outside of any insular jazz clique (Alt-J quoted one of Nick’s Portico lyrics on their debut album). Nick though wanted a change, and one where the creative process was perhaps a more singular vision, albeit no less liberal-minded.
Putting himself through a guitar school in Cuba, the only Brit in the room, his technique is exquisite, a blur of picked notes and offbeat, irregular timings. Nick is one of life’s great thinkers, and coupling his beautifully delivered verse with the intricacies of his playing, you have something wildly at odds with his peers.
Three single releases into this solo career and Nick’s music is making impressive, encouraging footprints across the globe. Concluding 2013 on the BBC Sound of 2014 shortlist, those introductory singles, Fever to The Form, Nitrous, and the irresistible Cucurucu are picking up fans in all the right places. Playlisted at Radio 1, Radio 2, 6Music, Absolute Radio, and XFM, and armed with a slew of impressive press quotes, its crucially not just the airwaves and printed press that are taking to Nick but their listeners and readers alike.
The confines of the studio, where an artist can pour over every dropped note or wayward vocal, are rarely the litmus test for a musician’s true worth, so it’s equally as encouraging that the past twelve months have taken Nick across the UK and Europe and back again, performing to bigger crowds and selling out venues well in advance. Laura Marling invited him out on a full UK tour last Autumn, Ben Howard has become a big vocal supporter following a support slot in Ireland, and Nick’s upcoming UK and European tour already includes sold-out shows in cities far beyond his London home. Last Summer he was a regular on the festival stages to busy crowds, and this year already looks likely to repeat and surpass that feat. He dips speculative toes in America this March with his first performances out at SXSW in Texas.
Check out our interview with Nick Mulvey below:
First Mind is an engrossing listen, and not easily defined. It encourages an open-mind (the ‘First Mind’ perhaps), and a sense of the worldliness that Nick poured into its making. Cucurucu is an interpretation of DH Lawrence’s poem, Piano, wrapped within a heady groove. And groove, for all its modern day baggage, is at the heart of everything Nick Mulvey does. Nitrous, a song about a daydreamer selling laughing gas, positively radiates with a classic chug and groove when the bassline slinks in. There are contemplative moments too, Fever to the Form and Meet Me There are poignant odes, whilst The Trellis and Juramidam showcase that leftfield, Eastern-inflected guitar technique. It is a record that gets under your skin, and its sense of exploration is palpable.
Pre-order the album here:
19th May – Gorilla, Manchester
20th May – Village Underground, London SOLD OUT
1st June – Pavilions, Plymouth (w/ London Grammar) SOLD OUT
3rd June – O2 Academy Brixton, London (w/ London Grammar) SOLD OUT
4th June – O2 Academy Brixton, London (w/ London Grammar) SOLD OUT
6th June – The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton (w/ London Grammar) SOLD OUT
19th July – Somersault Festival, Devon
20th July – Curious Arts Festival, Hampshire
3rd August – Camp Bestival, Dorset
17th August – Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons
5th September – Bestival, Isle of Wight