Balancing between Hip Hop and Jazz, Nic Boulay blends loose beats with majestic trumpet improvisations in a debut EP that’s wonky, sensual and with grooves that will never grow old. Read our discussion below!
- Describe your sound in three words please!
Mellow, humble, transcendant
- What made you pursue music?
I had a very charismatic music teacher in high school that showed me that being a professional musician is a thing and what I had to do to get there, so I did and the got in college and just followed an academic path all the way to a master’s degree in jazz. That made me a freelancer jazz trumpet player. After 15 years of that I felt I needed to do my own music instead of always being a sidemen. Thats how this project came to be.
- Talk to us about the idea behind your new EP ‘Voisinage’ and how do you picture a modern neighborhood to be.
Behind the title is the different meanings of the word neighborhood. Metaphorically because of the musicians of the EP that are guys and gal that evolve around me since college and who became my friends, collaborators on many different gigs and part of my artistic “voisinage”.
D-Track, the mc featured on the song “Si j’étais” is my littreral neighbor, we met, talked about making a song together and it happened. The pianist throughout the EP is Jérôme Beaulieu, a longtime friend that now lives a block away from my house. On a more stylistic level, the EP reflects my different musical influences and the styles that can be good neighbors to jazz like hiphop, electro and soul music.
To come back to your question, I picture a modern neighborhood with a lot of implication and connections between neighbors and members of a community. Just like in music, a community that is close and supportive and tightly wound is stronger and healthier
- We often hear about the ‘writer’s block’. Have you ever felt something similar while making music and how did you overcome it?
I overcome it by not forcing anything. Sometimes I go to my studio and end up not feeling it at all that day, so I put on some music and just listen and chill. I try to not pressure my creative process. Also sometimes just closing a project, forgetting about it for weeks or months and then coming back to it really makes it easier for me to end a song. There a point were I don’t know what the song needs anymore and need to reset my ear for that piece.
- Your ideal collaboration would be with…
these days it would be Anderson .Paak or Common or Samora pinderhughes
- Favorite music related film, if any?
I just love the soundtrack to Once Upon a Time in the West, I think its a masterpiece. I need a new vinyl of it because mine is too worn out!
- Something that only a few people know about you is…
If I could start all over again I’d be a pianist instead. trumpet rocks but its such a strong musical instrument, sometimes I wish I could just hang back there with the rhythm section and cook some grooves.
- Thank you!