When you think of an artist who has done it all, Nick Santino may not come to mind. He has pretty much done it all though. From being in a A Rocket to the Moon to releasing two solo EPs and a full length album, Santino has hit all the spots that any indie artist would kill for. He is a member of the 8123 management and has truly shown his loyalty to the company. He has participated in countless songs, tours and projects with other 8123 artists like The Maine and have traveled the world.
I got a chance to sit down with Santino after his soundcheck at their home show of the Long and Winding Roadshow Tour.
Infectious Magazine: In your song “Have a Little Faith in Me” you write “And it’s taking me this long/But I think that I’ve got it now/Sometimes you need know/How far you fall/Cause when you open up your eyes/You see that you’ve lost it all”. Does that refer to a specific event in your life or is it just a generalization?
Nick Santino: There is personal stuff behind it I guess, but I tried to make it so it sounded like something anyone that has kind of been in that situation can put their own meaning to or put their own experience to. That whole song is about forgiveness in a way. It’s like I know I messed up; I know I did some dumb things, so please like forgive me. It’s almost like a redemption sort of song. So for that one it’s like, it’s just like the cliché line “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”.
IM: What is it like working with such an independent company like 8123 Management?
NS: It’s very freeing. We can get away with doing this that bands on labels with big companies don’t let them do. It’s just, me and Tim, our manager and it’s like direct contact. You know, being on a label or a management company, 8123 is more of a management company but also its own label. We’re more of just like a collective, like an artist collective rather than either one of the other two. But with a label it’s like any decision you want to have happen with your band, it first starts with you emailing your manager and your manager has to email. It’s all email these days too, which is annoying. But then your manager has to email somebody at the label and they have to get approval by three other people and then those people have to get approval from lawyers. With 8123 we kind of cut out the middle man. I just call Tim and tell him that I have this idea for limited edition things or whatever. Like we’re going to release an album on the moon and build rockets and kind of crazy ideas and Tim is like “Let’s do it! I’ll pay for it out of my own pocket”, you know what I mean. And that’s kind of the thing; it’s just like a family helping family. You’re always going to be there for your family and that is kind of how we treat it, it’s not a business thing not a company thing. It’s a friendship more than a working relationship.
IM: Acoustic tours are such a different experience for both performers and fans. What is your favorite part about unplugging and playing your songs in a raw format?
NS: For me I can tell a story a little bit better because I can almost make people believe it more. Well not really believe it, because they’re true songs, but kind of make them understand it more when they see how raw it is. When they see it’s just you playing simple chords and you’re putting all of your effort into really giving the lyrics emotion and energy that they need. And between the songs I can kind of tell what the song is about before I start, so I’ll set it up and they hear it and they’re like “oh I get it”. When you’re playing with the band it kind of gets lost in the shuffle, you get lost behind the music and the loudness of the room and you can’t tell how intimate and serious the lyrics are. I like the story telling thing, it’s awesome.
IM: Your first solo album was released this May. Do you have any plans anytime soon to start producing another album?
NS: I just recorded like six songs on my own in my attic when I got back home from the UK last month. And I’m going to put those out next month on a little EP. It’s a six song EP but it’s like half of what I did for Big Skies but I like doing it myself raw. I mean it’s nice with the label support and the studio, but there is something more, I don’t know, fulfilling because when you look at the finished product you think “I did that myself without any help. Or without other people’s money”. It’s cool.
IM: You have done a lot of tours and projects utilizing the 8123 name as well as with other 8123 artists. How do you think this camaraderie helps you and the company?
NS: I think 8123 as a whole has its fan. And I think as a whole, all those fans basically like every act that’s with the company. It’s almost like they support the company because they like all the bands on it. And that is how it used to be, there was a label called Drive-Thru Records when I was a teenager and if you liked one band on Drive-Thru, you liked them all because that’s just how it was. And that’s what is kind of cool about this. We all help each other out and we’re all best friends and people see that so they’re like “oh they’re friends with this guy. But I haven’t heard his music yet.” And then they check it out and they’re like oh I like this whole thing. We can all kind of support each other.
IM: If you were going to write a book about your life, what would the title be?
Hahah. [Andrew, the tour manager was in the background.]
Andrew Destefano: Do you want me to take that one?
NS: Yeah please. What do you have? Anything? I always think of this stuff on my own and then when the question actually pops.
AD: I was going to say like a Jackson Brown joke or something.
NS: I was going to say “Life’s a Garden, Dig It.” I don’t know why. Maybe a good one. We’ll go with that one. Seems like, very hippie.
IM: Is there anything else you’d like to add about you or your music?
NS: Next year I think I’m going to try to get the backing band playing songs a little more rock and roll and upbeat. So I guess just look out for a tour or whatever I get for next year. Spring is coming soon.
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