Sometimes with an artist you feel like you’re late to the party, in the case of Nik Freitas, we’re so late, our lateness could be at University by now. Nik first emerged back in 2002, with his debut album, Here’s Laughing At You, and has gone on to share a huge amount of music through a smorgasbord of independent labels and self-releases. In that time, Nik has also been a member of Conor Oberst’s Mystic Valley Band and toured with the likes of Broken Bells and Jenny Lewis. Back in January, Nik shared his latest offering, Cavalo Morto, through his current label, Park The Van.
Cavalo Morto arrived not with a press release so much as a series of glowing references; with the likes of M. Ward, Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle and Conor Oberst falling over themselves to say how much they love Nik’s music – and insult his skateboarding – and while we can’t comment on his kick-flips, it’s not hard to see why they love his music. Cavalo Morto is a collection of stunning, timeless pop-songs, tracks resplendent with emotion and melody, bringing to mind everyone from Jonathan Wilson to, err, Brian Wilson. While it’s title might translate as Dead Horse, it’s a record that’s bristling with life in all its gory detail, a wistful homage to the life of a professional artist, a vocation that’s neither as glamorous nor as appreciated as you’d hope it would be. Maybe eighteen years in is the time that changes for Nik Freitas, or maybe it isn’t. Either way he’ll keep on going, writing perfect pop-songs, honing his craft and telling his story in the only way he knows how – and if that’s not something to celebrate then we don’t know what is.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is Nik Freitas?
I’m a singer/songwriter, mult-instrumentalist whos been releasing my own self produced solo records since 2002.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
I honestly can’t remember. It was in 2001. I was probably super nervous and drank too many beers before I played.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Before making my own records I was a skateboard photographer for Thrasher Magazine.
I started 4 tracking and taught myself how to play all the instruments and record my own songs. I love all art forms, and still do a lot of photography and writing. But once I realized I could write and record my own music all by myself, it was all I wanted to do. Writing and recording music mixes every art form together – You are painting a portrait with your recording. The lyrics can tell a story with minimal words and can leave a lot to the imagination – and you can then fill in the blanks and help the theme of the story come across emotionally with the music itself.
FTR: What can people expect from the Nik Freitas live show?
Fun. Laughter. Loud rock and quiet intimate moments. I like anyone there watching to feel like they are part of the show, or rather that the night is one of a kind. I rarely do or say the same thing twice. I grew up going to shows in the mid to late 90’s and they were all so memorable . I feel like a lot of shows i go to now, everything seems a little too rehearsed, and that the band is playing more for the people filming the show with their phones. I’d rather someone at a show I’m playing walk away laughing at something I said or remember how a song made them feel. I don’t necessarily care about somebody walking away from a show just thinking how great the band was – I’d like them to just have a great time.
FTR: What’s next for Nik Freitas?
Well, I’m constantly working on music in my studio. I’m also working on a Photography book with my old photos and I’m also writing a book about some early personal experiences with touring. During this pandemic I’ve been experimenting with writing and recording songs and then sending them to friends to see what they come up with for lyrics and vocal melodies and have them record their vocals at their own house and then send them back over to me for final mix . Its been super cool ! might try to make a record this way. And then Hopefully I’ll get to do some touring for my new record — I’m so stoked Park the Van took a chance on me and released my record. I couldn’t find a Record Label that wanted to release my music for the past Decade – so hopefully I’ll have a chance to share these songs live to help spread the word.
They Listen To…
White Whale – What’s An Ocean For
The Good, The Bad And The Queen – Nineteen Seventeen
Broncho – Big City Boys
Bob Dylan – Murder Most Foul
Supermoon – Come To Learn
Cavalo Morto is out now via Park The Van. Click HERE for more information on Nik Freitas.