Videos, interviews and new material… by Nick Arneson

Hey friends. Been busy in the barn learning all kinds of new video tricks. Built a green screen yesterday, so be on the lookout for all sorts of stoner hare brained videos.

Recently was interviewed by MTM magazine out of Tennessee, it’s a good one. Check it out here.

I have been feeling the pull of new musical material of late, so if I disappear off the grid for a minute you’ll know why. Video is fun, but it’s not the same as making music. This next album will be a lot quicker than my last one, as the production side is getting more efficient. Give me two months. Maybe a Christmas record? Just kidding. Though I’m not ruling out releasing a record on my 40th birthday.

Stay tuned. Love you all.

MidLifeCrisis About by Nick Arneson

Below is what it's all about. Please allow the songs to also expand into your world, as they're meant to live loosely, aka the meanings are mine but the songs are now everyones (cheesy I know but I come from a long line of sensitive men). 

Track 1 on MidLifeCrisis - End. Theme of this song is existential in nature. I wrote this during the summer of '17 when fires in Oregon caused ash to rain down on Portland in my words "like a doomsday snow." Read between the lines on this one and I'm also writing about the point in a man's life when he realizes he can no longer run away, because what he has, he loves too much. It's a terrifying notion to think that half of the fight or flight option is now rendered useless. This song also has my favorite groove on the record. Try not to move while listening. IT'S IMPOSSIBLE. www.nickarnesonmusic.com

 

Track 2 on MidLifeCrisis – Once. This song is me talking to me. “Night Nick” as I jokingly refer to the side of me that tends to come out after dark. Quitting drinking allows me to look from a different perspective – the voice is a strong one, and this song is all about facing it down. “Alone and scared with that fire in your eyes.” It also revisits a common theme throughout the album of inertia and movement – something intrinsically tied to staying out too late and taking too much. This song has one of my favorite lines on the album – “the notes you hear won’t make a sound if you don’t move.” Obvious but effective, which is the best kind of lyric. www.nickarnesonmusic.com

 

Track 3 on MidLifeCrisis – Stay. We get a little personal on this track, though it’s also much broader. Being a man in a relationship is a dauntingly simple ordeal. We have very basic fears, and are easily assuaged. The simple realization of suddenly being left alone, the inability to communicate our feelings, and finally the pleading and desperate last stand as we feel it start to topple (likely due to our own dumb assedness). Guitar lick on this track by my friend Aaron Burget completely transformed the vibe. He’s a much better guitar player than I. www.nickarnesonmusic.com

 

Track 4 on MidLifeCrisis – Try. My love song. Re-wrote this one at least 20 times. My wife is a rock. She is a selfless, tireless person who absorbs suffering from others as she simultaneously heals them. This is my long winded way of telling her how much I love her, and how her existence gets me up in the morning and reminds me to keep fighting for whats right. www.nickarnesonmusic.com

 

Track 5 on MidLifeCrisis – Inertia. Things start elevating to higher levels, taking a macro view of our current state through the lens of a 39 year old stoner. The chorus has one of those lines that when they appear you can’t believe your luck – “the loneliness traps the truth and the heaviness forces the tell.” It’s the kind of line that I’m convinced I’ll never top, and I’m also certain I ripped it off from someone. This song explores my own selfishness but is also a blatant social commentary about the cynical and self-absorbed nature of all of us – even in the face of imminent demise. It’s also the only song ever written that uses the line “internet porn bill” I’m certain. www.nickarnesonmusic.com

 

Track 6 on MidLifeCrisis – Pop Song. A buddy of mine asked “have you ever heard a pop song?” I started this song on the drums, strangely, and retro fitted some lyrics I’d written. In my mind it was a soul song, though being a white guy from Portland it ended up just sounding like indie rock. Go figure. I try to be blunt here – “we’re all gonna die if we don’t start to try.” The bass / key / synth solo at the end is the sound of everything ending. I repeat “need to understand” at the end, really just hoping, of course we probably never will. 

 

Track 7 on MidLifeCrisis – Outsider. This song is about forever living on the fringes. There are people who have never struggled with self control, self esteem or belonging. I don’t understand this crowd. Never have, never will. There are those who have always felt slightly askew from most of society. These are my people. This song is for you, me and us. Let’s go ahead and stick together. Also the only song to ever use the term “schlocky fucker” in a song I’m certain.  www.nickarnesonmusic.com

Album - May by Nick Arneson

I’ll be putting out an album in May. I’ll start talking about it and previewing it in earnest once the album is finished. If I’m a little quieter than usual, it’s because I’m locked away in the Barn recording all the things. Stoked to share with you all. Selfie of me below because grown men should take more selfies  

 

 

 Nick Arneson Photo

Nick Arneson Photo

The Message by Nick Arneson

Hello friends,

The message. A little tricky to clearly articulate. Let me give it a shot:

Optimism, hope, despair, helplessness. Fear and resolution.  My songs are intentionally built to have layers of meanings. Hopefully you find your layer. However, there are underlying themes that will resonate with some and not others. My earlier songs were filled with a helpless undertone - as if the world were driving me and I was complaining about it. My new material (coming soon) has a stronger tone. We're no less fucked, but we can't just go down sitting. We should eventually come to grips with the fact that we'll likely have to punch someone in the face to get the world to change. There are powers set on dismantling what we all hold dear, and writing songs with this as a red thread makes me feel more powerful than just listening to NPR and swearing to no one. 

It will, and should, sound like a cop out to say that my music is my contribution. Yes, right now I'm basically writing to myself. But this will change. With time and conviction, others will find me and I them. My music has already hit home with some, and it will with others as the message is more eloquently crafted and focused and pertinent to what we all are going through. Here's hoping you get something from what you hear or see on my various sites. Whether it's a laughing at how entirely worthless the Nick Arneson Variety Hour is or relating deeply to the hopeless and lost undertone of At the Age - my hope is that I can make you think and feel something. 

Finally, my message really is not for everyone. I don't want to alienate, but there is plenty of woeful, depressing music out there for the 18 - 24 year old crowd. My music is about the struggle of raising a family, facing a world on the brink, succeeding at life and not abandoning my creative side because the social pressure encourages me to hang it up.  Chances are, the aforementioned demographic won't relate, yet. Don't despair though, you'll get old too. Then you can dig into my entire catalog and live it all over again. 

Also, for those of you who have chosen to dedicate your time to hating entire swaths of people based on superficial or artificial reasons, or being so closed off that you feel compelled to lash out and attack those that prefer a stable, civil and morale society - your time is coming. Better get it out while you can. 

Thanks all. 

Nick

The Story Expanded by Nick Arneson

Hi Friends,

I'll be expanding on the who and why of my life in the coming days/weeks. I always like when artists allow people in a little, and while difficult, it's important. First The Story .... then The Message (coming soon). That way, there is no question as to what you're getting yourself into and our relationship can be that much healthier. 

I grew up playing music, piano, to start. I hated piano, and I credit my mom with forcing me to keep at it. All those god damn recitals, playing boring classical music (no offense) and working on posture and finger positioning. Awful. Later moved to drums in high school, and this was when the passion really kicked in. Drums are my true love, my first and primary instrument. It's probably why most of my shit actually sounds decent - rhythm section really makes a "band" sound pro. However, the narcissist in me always wanted to be up front. I was always jealous of the singers, and wanted that role. So, I taught myself how to play guitar and started playing piano again. Also, singing. Oh singing - the hardest instrument to get right and the most obvious when you don't. 

I'm self taught (save a few vocal lessons, 2 guitar lessons and a single drum lesson to be exact) and so far it's not fully worth bragging about. For you fellow belters out there, you know the struggle. My voice is slowly expanding and getting better - you'll hear it in this new round of songs. My falsetto is getting higher, brighter, lighter and more clear. My breath control is sloooooowly improving. My vibrato slowly coming under my control and not just showing up at random times.... "oh, hello!"

This next round of songs will have an intentionally external viewpoint. Not so much "woe is me" and much more "woe is the world." It's no less dark, just much bigger in scope. I'm also trying to sprinkle glimmers of hope throughout my work, as well as my writing - as simple despair is too easy. It's not what we need right now. We need to look each other in the eye. We need to take credit. We need to get off our fat asses and start to move the needle. 

Love you all. Tell someone you know that everything is going to be alright. Even if we don't believe it, the more we say it out loud, the more we'll start drifting towards that end. 

- Nick

Late night stories by Nick Arneson

I think I know what it feels like right before you die. 

When I was 20 or so I got in a gnarly car wreck. Going up I-5, I hit a trailer that had broken free from it's puller, going 70 or so. Crazy everything, spun around, sparks, pulling, tearing, screaming, remember specifically yelling "Holy Fuck" and coming to a stop. Damn thing sliced clear through the roof of my decently newish honda, and it really, honestly should have killed me. When I saw the car later, I was shocked and kinda stoked (I was 20) at the near totality of it's demise. I got some cash out of it, a bunch of pain killers (good timing - 20 and all) and the drum set I still play today. It's a beautiful Mapex Orion Classic. Sounds better today than when I bought it. Not sure the morale here, though it's a pretty good story. 

Well, see you later.

I can't keep closing that way as it's not mine, and Dumb and Dumber isn't cool to quote. 

Theories, currently listening to, etc by Nick Arneson

I think a lot about playing music, obviously, and the implications of doing it as you get older. It's been categorized as a young man's (woman's) game. Possibly due to the good young musicians so effectively capturing the chaotic nature of youth while still being good enough to express it. Possibly due to marketing. Working in marketing, I assume it's the latter. It's some powerful shit. Young people look better strutting around with instruments in their hands, writhing around in emotional turmoil, spilling their musical guts for all to hear.

I call bullshit though, and of course I understand that if 20 year old me read this he'd call bullshit on me. That is an assumed point, under all of these arguments I write. The point that this is my blog, and my opinions are likely stronger than they should be and often without much merit. You don't need to read this. Anyways. Bullshit because I'm 39, and have a full time career, two kids, and a marriage. Shit is REAL. If I stay up too late one night recording guitars and smoking weed, miss a meeting, lose my job - a lot of people get fucked not just me. It's easier to not play music at this age than it is to do it, especially if it's not your career. No one asks why, but people tell me they're "proud of me" a lot. A LOT. No one says that to a 23 guitar player. No one. I appreciate the sentiment, of course. 

Where the drive to do it comes from, who knows. The question and a lot related to it (likely existential in nature but tied to something tangible so my brain can get there) fuel my lyrics, which I will put up here as they come out, someday. 

My next record is progressing as they do. Fits, starts, emotional tantrums, plateaus, leveling up, euphoria, depression, anxiety.... all the shit that gets me up in the morning and keeps me up too late. Hope you all have something that you can fucking obsess about every damn minute. It's rad. 

Well, see you later. 

Currently listening to the new Dan Auerbach. Seems to be a channeling of the Traveling Wilburys, which I feel pretty good about. 

Been a minute by Nick Arneson

Hey friends. Got really stoned today (it's legal now, be cool) and felt like conjuring up a blog post about my process. I spend hours in the Barn making music, mostly solo, so it always feels like the story goes un reported. Probably mostly for the better, it's like that Arrested Development episode where the content ends up being super dry and not actually that interesting, so whatever. 

I'm working on a new album right now, not sure the format or how it will get "dropped" but likely have about 8 songs. To me, they're the best thing I've done musically. They feel good. They feel relevant and driving and kinda pissed, but also kind of optimistic (easy now), and overall solid. I have some new guys playing a couple parts but it's mostly me on everything. Spent a long time on the drums, getting the grooves perfect. Take after take after take after take after take after take. It's a fuckin rabbit hole. Felt good to really dig into to the drums though. 

New dude Archie came over a couple times and put down some bass lines. Bass is my achilles heel, I'm practicing but I suck. Archie doesn't suck. Holy smokes. Much like Jake (the guy on the last stuff) Archie sits right in the groove and makes you move when you hear him play. Try to sit still. It's impossible, you can't. Bass players and drummers are the unsung heroes of rock and roll. Try having a good band without a kick ass rhythm section. Doesn't exist. You're lying to yourself if you think it does. Also, a straight drum beat at a slow BPM is fucking hard to play smooth but when you get it right it's the sexiest think out there. Got a couple of those in this round of songs. 

Tangents on tangents. Hit me up with comments or emails if you ever want to know about the process more. Well, see you later. 

New Song on June 16th by Nick Arneson

I'll be posting a new song on June 16th titled "What A Week." It's somewhat political in nature, and while I generally avoid speaking about the meaning of my lyrics, it'll be no secret what it's about upon first listen. In essence, terror in where the world is going, and a general and constant anxiety in raising kids in a world as chaotic as ours. I'll post the lyrics closer to release date and sorry for the bummer of a rant post. 

Late night Thursday by Nick Arneson

It's late-ish. Random Thursday. Been practicing a lot, fingers are raw.

Blogs are weird - the concept that I'm just writing about myself in the hopes that someone will come along and say "hey this is interesting, I'm going to read about that guy"..... it's a strange idea. Bit of an ego thing, seems like. Yet here I am, posting to someone? Haha, maybe it's easier because I'm assuming no one (yet?) reads this. Build the callous in case people ever show.

Anyways, more about me. Got a new guitar pedal today, sounds like angels crying diamonds. It's beautiful. Nothing like a good guitar tone to really give you a good rehearsal. I keep coming up with these stupid fucking metaphors - "like angels crying diamond" and I almost wrote "like riding a wild unicorn into a choir of angels" - not sure where these are coming from. I'll try to stop, need to keep my readership up. I'd be happier if you just went and listened to some of my music, if we're being honest. Have you listened to any of the songs? Maybe do that, instead of read my blog. Once you listened to at least one all the way through, then you can come back and read this horse shit. 

Just kidding, you can hang for as long as you want. Bask in all of my narcissistic blog writing glory. 

I don't really have much to write about tonight obviously. Haha, keep coming back I'll keep posting stupid shit. 

Live show? What?! by Nick Arneson

Turns out I can't just hide in the Barn forever making music. There is an expectation that I will perform it! I'm as surprised as you. Well either way I'll be doing just that for a very short window of time on Sunday, May 7th at the Secret Society. I'll be opening up for my good friends in the Empty. They are releasing an album (maybe even a CD?!) and they're rad. Played in bands with a couple of the guys in the group. Should be a fun night. 

Anecdotally, this will be my first solo acoustic show. Maybe my first show not behind a drum kit? Don't tell anyone. I'm not nervous though, so don't worry about me....

Rant by Nick Arneson

I'm not a naturally good singer, or guitar player for that matter. Maybe I'm a naturally decent drummer, though who can say. I feel like it's important to call out, for some reason. I take singing lessons because it's something I've always felt was my weakest point, and I'm getting better. I always sucked at guitar, but I've been practicing all the fucking time for the last 10 years, and I'm getting better. I didn't really know how to record anything, and I still suck at it! Haha, but I'm getting better. 

This is important to me, because I don't make any money playing or making music, aside from the random unicorn. My assumption is that most people have this random, burning fire in them that they chase most of their life - not for pay or glory or even because they might see someone attractive naked. They do it because they have to. That's why I do it. That's why I'm writing in this wasteland of a blog, that approximately 7 people visited last week. That's why I habitually stay up until 1 or 2 am to make things that may or may not see the light of day. 

When I'm so god damn tired that I want to fall asleep in my chair, I often remind myself that when I'm lying on my death bed (to be so lucky as to have a death bed), will I regret chasing this impossible dream or will I wish I would have put it all down to focus on the things that pay the garbage bill on time. I won't opine further, because there is nothing wrong with either. Though you can guess where I lean. Also, if you're a fanatic like I am, know you have a fellow zealot out there making shit for no one just because he can, and has to. 

Keep fighting the good fight, and I'll be right there with you. Not with you, of course, but alone in the barn drinking, yelling and making weird sounds. With you in the, uh, metaphorical sense. 

Nick

RANDOM UPDATES by Nick Arneson

Shot a music video on Friday night. Proper video. Should look rad when complete. Also did a small interview, there is a slight concern of having had a little too much to smoke/drink. We'll see how it comes out. 

I am in the rabbit hole of mixing and tweaking songs. 

I'm playing a show May 7th at Secret Society in Portland, OR. This is my one and only show for a minute, so if you're interested you know what to do. 

I fixed my barbecue tonight with a hack saw and some left over parts. Felt like a badass. Cooks like a dream,

Love you all. Keep coming back I'll keep posting weird shit. 

Drumming with Morgan Grace by Nick Arneson

Took a little breather from working on my own shit to play drums on Morgan Grace's upcoming album. Holy shit, what a blast. Haven't met someone who embodies rock and roll quite like this one, and also got to spend some time with my old friend Adam Pike in his legendary studio. Overall, very solid weekend. Too much drinking, and my ears are ringing a bit, but all totally worth it. 

Plan on posting a new From the Barn this weekend. Also, still sprinkling some finishing touches on a couple new tracks. Hopefully will be worth the wait.  

- Nick

Updates by Nick Arneson

Getting pretty late......

Back from Austin. Spent a few days down south soaking up all the tunes and booze that fine state had to offer me. While there for my other "paying" job, I managed to get away quite a bit and see some rad tunes. Sam Cohen stole the week, his pro band and off the charts guitar tones were an inspiration. Also met a lot of kick ass people (you know who you are) and had some bbq that changed my whole opinion of bbq.

Few things in life bring me more satisfaction than booze filled adventures in new cities with new people. Adventure that either brings you face to face with what you aren't supposed to be or pushes you down a flight of stairs and leaves you gasping and looking for advil. No better way to spend my time, I've found. 

I have been saying I will post some new songs for much longer than I'm happy about. I realize this, and am working to rectify the situation. You see, I'm a busy fucking dude. I have kids, career and wife that need to be taken care of (the wife doesn't need me to take care of her, but I like to try). I write, record, and practice all after all of that shit is done - which means there are often stretches of time where I can't be as productive as I'd like. If only I didn't have to sleep. Either way, I barely do. 

Currently I have two songs tracked, one fully mixed (release early April), a new From the Barn that I just recorded tonight and a new guitar player that I will announce shortly. 

My final night in Austin I stayed up until 3 am and wrote some pretty hefty words that will accompany some new music I'm working on. Dark as always, but with a hint of silver lining that we all are chasing. Keep driving down the road, towards the light, and eventually we'll all get there. Meaning, for me at least, that pushing and pushing and charging at what I know I'm supposed to do is the only acceptable way to go about livin'. 

Why am I leading myself on
Wishing for things that will never be
Not brave enough for either
So I just daydream

Don't do this....

Working working working by Nick Arneson

Got a few songs in the works, a potential video project and of course the Live From the Barn series that I've set up. Songs are coming along nicely, feeling so strong progression in the crafting process as well as really digging the tones I'm getting out of recording in the barn. Big wooden structures have a way of sounding fucking kick ass (technical term). 

Patience my friends, will serve all of us well. Expect some shit to start dropping (as they say) pretty soon, though might be dark for a couple while I focus on the stuff that matters most. Finishing this post with "The MUSIC!" would have been cheesy so I won't do that (def thinking it though). 

Hit me up if you ever have questions about gear, songs, whatever..... I promise I'll respond. I can nerd out about this whole music thing for hours on end. 

Keep coming back, and I'll keep posting cool shit. 

- Nick

Thoughts on Rock and Roll.... by Nick Arneson

My good friend said, "of course you have a rants page." Damn right.

Is Rock and Roll dead? Of course not. Am currently reading the Bruce Springsteen autobiography, and I encourage it to all. We're going through a weird space in rock music, but I think there is void that always being filled. I feel very passionately that fervent, musical, driven, organic music will always have a place in our culture. Trends come and go. Auto tuned EDM bass dropping dance clubbers can have their fun, and they should. No judgement. I'll take some grimy rock and roll over any day of the week. Give me something to study and watch, let me figure out what riff the guitar player is noodling, or how the drummer is playing his beat. I still get more than a little excited when I wake up and my ears are ringing and the tips of the fingers on my left hand are tingling/numb from how much I played the night before. 

Further, if we want to think of one positive to Trump being elected, it's likely that we're about to enter a new phase of incredible music - very likely in some vain of rock and roll. Happened with Reagan, happened with Bush 1 and 2. Trump is worse than all three put together. Bring it on. 

I should have made a rants page a long time ago. 

Live song by Nick Arneson

Live version of the World  Melts. Really just me fucking around in my basement. Full song at my SoundCloud page, obviously. 

Live acoustic version of the World Melts by Nick Arneson.