Retro, psychedelic-fuelled sensation. It’s the passion, the love and the effort that make a true artist. This one, have it all!
Read our interview with Nolan Trotter below.
Describe your sound in three words please!
Hazy visual architecture.
You will soon release a new album. Tell us a few things about the concept and the creative process behind it?
Yeah, the album is titled Mindstream and it drops May 14th. I wrote most of the songs last year, and I’ve spent several months mixing and mastering the tracks.
Leading up to the creation of this album, I realized a light show fulminates in my mind when I listen to music. This album reflects that. It’s a very visual experience. After recording the essentials to a song (vocals, bass, percussion), I would sit back and let my mind tell what the architecture needs. This is where the name of the album comes from.
Your music can be characterised as psychedelic. Firstly do you accept this label for your music? Also considering that this term is a bit abstract, what are the elements in your opinion that make a song ‘psychedelic’?
I do wholeheartedly accept this label, yet as an artist I completely lose all perception of what my music can be labelled as. It’s truly just an extension of me.
Every psychedelic artist I’ve studied has a different opinion on the meaning behind it. Some say it’s drug oriented, others will say it’s about lyricism. To me, psychedelia is a way to express yourself through a very captivating experience. I listen to the Doors and it takes me on a journey into Jim Morrison’s mind. I feel the bitter rejection Syd Barret paints in his closing song, Jugband Blues, before getting kicked out of Pink Floyd.
That’s what psychedelia is, the ability to experience a feeling through more than just lyrics. Obviously as the creator, I heavily relate to the emotion and feeling of Mindstream, my hope is that it provokes some kind of feeling in the listener.
Who is behind the making of the videoclips? Do you direct them yourself?
I do! I wouldn’t categorize myself as just a musician because of my love for film. I studied filmmaking for two years at the Chicago Academy for the Arts. My background in cinema and editing has definitely affected the way I make music. My whole thing about “visual architecture” stems from that. I think we as an audience often neglect the power of art. The video I made for Honey, Do! really expressive in that sense, really capturing the retro aesthetic of the song. Film and music go together so well, almost every song of mine has a movie that plays in my head when I listen to it. Sometimes the movies are more abstract and other times they’re extremely narrative and linear.
You are very young and already going places. This is a great achievement that you should be proud of! We are wondering which are the main challenges you have faced as an emerging artist.
You’re too kind — Thank you! The most challenging part for me right now is my age. I released my first album when I was thirteen, and at school there were definitely people who gave me a hard time. I thank them though, because it’s caused me to try and make music that my peers can’t say anything negative about. As hard as I try to make the best music I can make, there are still people who give me a hard time. I don’t really care though cause I’m doing what I love to do. Kanye once said “love your haters, they’re your biggest fans”, so when my peers sing one of my songs to try and make fun of it, it makes me happy knowing they remember the lyrics. Being a creative person in high school is very challenging, kids around you don’t want to see you succeed. From my experience, those are the same people who ask me for advice.
How do you feel about collaborations? Do you have someone you’d love to work with?
When making art, I usually have the whole picture in my head. I like to work alone because no one is willing to dedicate as much to my creations as much as me. That solely depends on the project though. I’ve been in a few short lived bands and the music we made as a collective was really interesting but completely different than my solo projects. I’d love to collaborate with other artists and I have some ideas planned. I also love jamming with people and the idea of communicating through our instruments. With Covid wrapping up, I’ve got a live band who are really fun to perform with. Stay tuned for upcoming shows in the Chicago area!
What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?
That’s a good question. My earliest memories are strumming a toy guitar and singing songs, music is my first love. As a seventeen year old, I’d probably be out and about more. Honestly, I’d be a better student. When my free time comes between homework and music, I always choose music. Currently, that’s not what my parents and my teachers want, but I’d rather spend my time perfecting my craft than working on assignments that set me up for a future career I won’t be taking part in.
What is your biggest desire and what is your biggest fear?
My biggest desire is for my art to affect someone the way other artists have affected me. From ages six to twelve Arcade Fire was everything to me. If somehow I could impact someone’s life the way they did for mine, I would be more than grateful. My biggest fear is that I’m just another kid, too invested in an unrealistic dream that’s going to lead me nowhere. I don’t worry about that though because a happy life for me would be working at some fast food restaurant, making just enough to keep working on my art. The way I see it, I’m here to live not to work. Making art is the highest form of living.
Listen to our Spotify playlist “Dark Chocolate” feat. Nolan Trotter