Indie403 is thrilled to present The Nix Dicksons as our Featured Artist of the Month for October!
When it comes to The Nix Dicksons, everything about them is above average: their lifespan, weirdness and love of the written word are unlike anything else out there, and these are only a few of the qualities that make the band so special and different. With Dylan Keating on guitar, Tanner Holthe on bass and Cole Shampaget on drums, The Nix Dicksons are a threesome of spunky energy that seems to get more upbeat with every minute. They’re a legend in the making, and that is why they deserve to be Indie403’s Featured Artist of the Month!
The Band, Influences, and Attitude
Everything about The Nix is fascinating. These “princes of the prairies” are like no one else, and this is part of the magic that makes the band so cool to watch. They’ve seen a few member changes over the years, more than average and for both good and bad, but as the boys point out, they’ve also been together longer than average. “It’s been five years and that is four years longer than any other relationship I’ve ever had,” says bassist Tanner, speaking of the band’s uniqueness and destiny. For a band to survive this long, especially one so well-known and influential, there must be something special in the works. After five years of development, however, The Nix have found a gem in their current line-up of Cole, Dylan and Tanner, three young guys with a ton of energy and even more ambition. Meeting through the Calgary music scene and finding their groove along the way, the boys have a mutual “knack for adventure” that makes them unlike any other band in Calgary. “We’ve had some of the wildest and weirdest local shows ever,” says Tanner, and fans across the city and beyond would agree. Big venue or small stage, The Nix Dicksons pump up crowds and blow fans away, and their presence has had a lasting impression on Calgary’s musical landscape. When asked about their music, the band’s influences are surprising: “It sounds strange but I think we are more influenced by writers than musicians. We sit around before shows talking about Hemingway, Bukowski, Fitzgerald, Kerouac. Being in a touring band … makes me feel like Jack Kerouac.” This is definitely a different side to the music world than we normally see, and it really sums up The Nix: they’re unexpected, cool and on a completely different level. No wonder they’ve made such an impression on Calgary music. As the band discusses their influences and inspirations, it’s clear that strong songwriting and creativity have played a huge role in the band’s music. In terms of musical inspiration they cite a mutual love for Modest Mouse, Eamon McGrath, The City Streets, The Hold Steady, The Dudes, Gaslight Anthem, and The Band, “anything with strong songwriting.” These influences combine with natural talent, force and creativity to create a product Tanner and the boys can’t live without: “I feel like I have to write. I am a creative person by nature and I write so I can sleep at night. It is just an internal urge and if I ignore it, I feel consumed and can’t relax. I feel like a musician out of necessity more than choice.” This compulsion isn’t common, but like the intellectual geniuses who inspire them The Nix Dicksons seem destined for greatness, even if it means being a little weird.
Accomplishments and Successes
The Nix Dicksons have been a band on the move since the early days of their inception. Fulfilling “one of the last great adventures” as a touring band, The Nix have seem some of the coolest venues and festivals across the country. Playing North by North East and Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern were huge accomplishments for the band, and by spreading their music across Canada and earning fans at every stop they’re quickly become well-known for their stage presence, as well as their great music. For the boys, though, there doesn’t seem to be a real rush to spread anywhere too far. While touring and adventuring are major parts of their lifestyle, The Nix Dicksons are true Albertans and are most proud of their successes at home. “I want people to know we are from Alberta from our music, lyrically and sonically,” says Tanner. “My goal when we started was to have an influence on the Calgary music scene and I feel we have done that.” The band’s music says a lot about their connection to Alberta, as well as the success and following they’ve achieved at home. With three EPs to their name and a huge number of shows in their wake, The Nix Dicksons have received great acclaim from both fans and critics alike, including several filmmakers who have been keen to use the band’s music in their films. Not many bands can see or hear their music on the big screen but as the boys note, it was a cool experience they will gladly do again.
For the rest of 2012, The Nix Dicksons have a lot planned. After a rough start to the year and busy lives full of work, school and overall living, the band is refreshingly honest about their current mindset. When asked about their plans for the future, they stay away from the bull and say it as it is: “We could give you the typical answer of write, record and tour but I’ve always hated that. To be real honest we are getting to the point in which you are all-in, or all-out. … We need to decide if we quit our jobs, downgrade to shitty temp jobs or what. I don’t have the answers. … With The Nix I think our goal is to jump off the deep end and go for it.” Fans would be shocked to see them do anything but go for it. Now starting a new tour with shows from Calgary to Montreal, the band is ready for a few weeks of adventure. Hopefully answering the band’s questions and giving The Nix the energy they need to keep going, the tour will definitely make fans happy while earning new fans along the way. They’re fun, talented and just a little crazy, and that is why they’re Indie403’s Featured Artist of the Month! To learn more about The Nix Dicksons and find out about their upcoming music releases, gigs and the cross-Canada tour, visit their Website, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.