The latest act to explode out of our beloved neighbor Canada is something a bit different – it’s not a solo act, a man singing of his lost loves, but a trio called Nikki’s Wives. Fronted by powerhouse Nikki Whitehead and backed up on drums and guitar by Nate Baylor and Dylan Lauzon respectively, the group has crafted an eerie alt-pop sound that’s making waves quickly on this side of the border. They’re currently on the first leg of their tour opening for Cee Lo Green, and in between traveling and shows, WSN got the chance to speak with them about their burgeoning career. (Bonus: Nikki’s glamorous black suit pairs perfectly with the bridal-white outfits of her bandmates. Clever, clever…)
WSN: What are you all most looking forward to on this tour with Cee Lo?
Nate Baylor: I’m looking forward to seeing him every night, actually. We’re big fans of his Gnarls Barkley stuff, so I’m hoping he does “Crazy” and those other big songs. Yeah, we’ve seen some videos of him doing performances and stuff and they seem so fun – he just seems like an entertaining dude, you know he can work a crowd really well.
Dylan Lauzon: Yeah, it seems like a really intimate performance too, like, they’re all pretty small crowds. Especially for a guy like Cee Lo, you know. It’s a lot of him sitting on a stool and engaging right with the audience, so I’m really excited for that.
Nikki Whitehead: Yeah, I’m excited to just see how he interacts with the audience and then learn things from him. And as we go on and play more shows, to pick up tips from him and just keep on getting better and learn from one of the pros.
NB: Steal all his secrets! Steal everything.
WSN: What were some of the lessons you learned recording your most recent EP? It seems like it was quite the process.
NB: Yeah… I mean, I guess this most recent EP is the one where we just finished recording some songs, so that’s super fresh in our mind, but recording that EP… I mean, maybe get some heat in the room? That would help. We recorded it in the winter and we were very silly because we had just basically formed together and we booked the studio time before we had any songs prepared. So we had a two-week span that we put on ourselves to come up with something, anything, to go and record. And Dylan had just moved into an apartment, and it had no heat. And this was in the middle of this cold-ass Ontario weather, so we were huddled around on a couch with a blanket. We had a wood stove and we were like, chopping wood and making a fire just to stay warm. And then we were just writing songs to keep alive, really.
DL: It sounds like such a fabrication, but it’s 100% true.
NW: And we became close because we had to share one blanket…
NB: “Share.” She used. She used all of it.
NW: Yeah, I used all of it.
NB: The biggest lesson for me was never prepare, just fly by the seat of your pants. It was fun, it was awesome, it went so smooth.
DL: We did some recording recently, like I just mentioned, and we felt like we were overprepared a bit. We found ourselves overthinking things and we had to just get to that spot where we were like [holds hands flat up] we’re done, it’s good. We won’t think about it any more.
NW: We kind of learned that we work really well under pressure and that’s when we’re able to write the best that we possible can…
WSN: Your single “Ghost” is beautifully subdued and nostalgic – was there a specific story behind it, or was it more of an effort of collaborative imagination?
NW: Well, “Ghost” was the last song that we wrote when we recorded these songs in Dylan’s basement. And it was the end of this huge creative process. We had been stuck together for fourteen hours a day, just writing and writing, and when it came to an end, we were all just kind of sad about it. So “Ghost” is a reflection of how we were feeling at that time, and how that process will always come to haunt us like a ghost, almost. Which is super cheesy, but! And it’s about all of our experiences. I was going through a breakup at the time – we were all going through shit.
NB: Everyone was going through some heartbreak, and it was the last day, and we had some time to kill and we were like, let’s just try and write a song with that in mind, make something that’s sort of about missing someone. And then in the process of writing that song, it became kind of self-referential as we were mourning the end of our writing process.
DL: Because whenever you do something like this, it seems to follow you around.