WE'RE LOVING: Nicole Atkins + Her Video for "Brokedown Luck"
We were super excited to talk with Nicole Atkins a little about her new video shot at The Asbury Hotel and everything else Nicole! Enjoy this insider's look into the world of the beyond incredible artist.
First off, congratulations on the new album! We’d love to learn more about your writing and recording process.
Thank you! I write in pieces all the time. Melodies will come to me and I'll record them into my phone. Then I'll make other notes for string arrangements on my Spire portable recorder or back into my phone. Usually melodies will come to me when i'm in transit. Sitting in the van on tour or walking. I'm constantly writing lyrics and phrases. I never know how I really feel about things until I write them down.
I recorded this record in five days at Niles City Sound in Fort Worth Texas. They're the same guys who did the Leon Bridges record. Robert Ellis and his band were the band. The whole process was very in the moment and live and smooth. It's the only way I'd like to record going forward. It was very present and real.
Tell us about your move to Nashville. What do you love about your new home in the music city? What do you miss about your old home in the city by the sea?
Nashville is a wonderful place to live to write music and live in midst of a whole city of other musicians and writers. Theres never a lack of creative work to do down there. I love it. Although I do miss Asbury Park greatly. Nothing beats being able to walk the boardwalk every night and every morning. It's so beautiful and all the old 1920's fascades around the casino building and convention hall really get my wheels turning. Like if I don't do anything that day, at least I can go walk around in beauty. I visit or play here as much as possible. Nashville is my home now but Asbury will always be home too.
What is your ideal Asbury Park Day like?
Morning walk on the boardwalk. A smoothie at Juice Beach. Coffee at Volan. Go bullshit with Sweet Joey and his awesome pop Vlad and buy some vintage. Then spend an hour looking around the Antique Emporium and records at the Groovy Garage and Holdfast. Another coffee at the Lakehouse before visiting Sam at the Moto Club. Work a little in the lobby of the Asbury and an hour or two at the beach swimming and sleeping. Nightwalk on the boards, visit the Danny Clinch gallery, and pinball at Silverball. Dinner at Tallulah's and a show at the Saint. Then sleep in a beautiful room at the Asbury on the 6th floor. Great views!
We were very excited that you chose to shoot your music video at The Asbury, what can you tell us about it?
“When I was a kid there was so much cool stuff on TV to get into,” Atkins tells us. “I was obsessed with puppets, claymation and animation like Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock and Gary Panter's puppets and art in Pee Wee's Playhouse and even the little David Lee Roth singing cheeseburger dude in the movie Better Off Dead. Those things stuck with me for my whole life. It was always a dream of mine to be able to combine some of those elements along with my music in a video.
“One night I'm looking at Instagram and I read a funny comment from this guy Kevin Kelly. I click on his page and lo and behold he's a puppet maker and director and makes this crazy acid trip of a YouTube series called Welcome to Anhedonia that is so authentically like all of those things I loved growing up. I messaged him asking if he'd do a video for me and he said yes.
“After convincing the Asbury Hotel in my hometown of Asbury Park, NJ, it was on. I told Kevin I wanted this to be sort of a Hunter S. Thompson in the Lizard Lounge affair. Then Kevin's like, ‘How about you're at a convention of Comet Apocalypse enthusiasts and Elvis impersonators, and Floyd from the Shining gives you a drink, and Hunter S. Thompson doses you, and then you turn into a puppet and grapple with your ego. Then destroy your puppet with lasers from the real you’s eyes and fly away on a giant brain into space?’ So we did that. Bucket list shit ya know?"
Would you rather be on the road performing, or home creating?
I like doing both very much so it's hard to choose. I'm not very good at relaxing for more than a couple days. I function best when performing or making things.
What's next for Nicole Atkins?
I leave for a tour of the UK tomorrow night. Then playing Carnegie Hall for the Led Zeppelin tribute on March 7! After that on March 9 I'm playing a small intimate show at the Saint in Asbury, followed by Luck Reunion at Willie Nelson's Ranch during SXSW sitting in with the Texas Gentleman and the Highwater Festival along with Jason Isbell and Brandi Carlile (who's new record is fantastic! check it out) Then a spring tour of the East Coast in April and May. It's busy but I like busy and this record is sooooo fun to play live! People dance and sing at the top of their lungs with us. I couldn't ask for anything more.
Check out the amazing music video for Brokedown Luck here:
Filmed at The Asbury Hotel in Nicole's hometown Asbury Park, NJ, the video was directed by puppet maker/director Kevin Kelly and it 'stars' Elvis, Hunter S Thompson and Floyd from The Shining. Nicole says "When I was a kid there was so much cool stuff on tv to get into. I was obsessed with puppets, claymation and animation like Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock and Gary Panter's puppets and art in Pee Wee's Playhouse and even the little David Lee Roth singing cheeseburger dude in the movie "Better Off Dead." Those things stuck with me for my whole life. It was always a dream of mine to be able to combine some of those elements along with my music in a video."