Interview With Punk Rock Band ‘Burning Nickels’

Tell us a little about yourself?

We are Burning Nickels – a punk rock band based mostly in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada! This is a side project of members of Trashed Ambulance, Loser Points, and The Moröns that turned out way cooler than we thought it would! Due to the perils of COVID, we exist primarily as a long distance band but due to the joys of modern technology, we’ve been able to put out new music quite consistently. Jawsh plays guitar and sings quite a few songs, Ozone drums, and Rawb plays bass and sings as well. We also call on guest singers and guitar players as needed and we can all probably agree, that’s a terrific idea!

How did you come up with your artist name? 

We were kicking around name ideas and one of us suggested the play on words of 80s/90s hockey player Bernie Nicholls. It was just dumb enough to stick.

We’ve used his likeness in nearly all of our album art as well.

Although we’ve tagged him on social media, he is yet to acknowledge our existence!

How long have you been in the music industry? 

We’ve all been playing in bands since the late 90’s/early 2000s. If you count getting drunk and making noise in our parents’ basement as “the music industry”.

How did you get started in the music business in the first place? 

The cool thing about punk rock is anyone can do it. You can suck for the first while and nobody really cares. All 3 of us are from different parts of Canada and worked our way up to more serious bands… but not too serious!

How would you describe your latest single? 

Cobwebs is a super fun/catchy pop punk track. We really wanted to make it a sing along style track that would get stuck in people’s heads. I hope it worked!

When Jawsh was writing the lyrics, when he was writing his usual doom and gloom stuff and decided to turn it on its head halfway through and make it more about the glass being half full rather than empty.

We enlisted the help of friends Dan (from the Corps) and Kurt (from Ellesmere) to sing and shred a solo, respectively, and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

When can fans expect the visuals for the single?

You can scope the music video on here.

Who are your inspirations in the music industry?

We all grew up loving punk bands.

For Jawsh it was Bad Religion, NOFX, Rancid. For Ozone, he was into the Tooth & Nail style skate punk bands, and Rawb loves the Everly Brothers! Check out his solo project to hear it shine through!

How do you go about writing a song and what is your process?  

For Jawsh, 9/10 times he writes the music first and then the melody and then finally, his amazing lyrics. Although for another project, The Offsailors, he took the vocalists lyrics and built a song around them which was a fun change of pace!

What is the concept behind your forthcoming project if  working on one? 

Jawsh and Ozone founded a record label named High End Denim Records which we started as an outlet to put out our side projects. One of those projects is called Boltergeist and we are getting ready to drop their debut EP very soon. We are also working on putting out some physical releases in the future so stay tuned for that!

Any plans on touring to promote your latest single?

Until people get vaccinated in droves and the hospitals empty out, there will be no touring in our neck of the woods. We will just keep writing and recording and be ready to go once it is safe!

What did you buy with your first check off music?

Every time we’ve made money at shows or by album sales, we always put it back into the band…. Sometimes that means buying beers for ourselves. Hey, we earned it!

What are must haves when your in the studio working?

If it’s early coffee and if it’s past noon, beer. We also like a shot of tequila to warm up the vocal chords!

What is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed?

Always be nice to the sound guy! He can make you sound like a rock star or a cat on a hot tin roof, so don’t be a dick! Also just be friendly to anyone you meet because the scene is smaller than you think and a shitty reputation is hard to shake!

Will you be collaborating with any other artists in the future?

We would love to! It’s always neat to see someone else’s take on your ideas and we definitely plan on doing more stuff like that in the future.

What artist have you had the pleasure of working with and  what was it like?

We have collaborated with Sam Russo from England and Alex from Debt Neglector out of
Florida. We’ve also worked with Brad Manners from Toronto band School Damage. Of course, these songs were created during quarantine so we didn’t get to work in the studio with them. They recorded their parts in their own cities and sent them to us. Hopefully, we can perform the songs with them, some way, somehow in the future!

Name an artist(s) that you would love to work with?  

It would be cool to work with Brett Gurewitz from Bad Religion and learn how to do 3 part harmonies properly!

Do you think your music is mostly enjoyed more for the beats  or for the lyrical flow and content?

We are not shredders (well at least Jawsh isn’t on guitar) but definitely competent musicians. Ultimately, we focus on writing catchy hooks and relatable lyrics. Rawb is also a very talented singer and if he wasn’t so busy with his band The Moröns, we’d have him sing more in this band!

What area do you need to improve on in regards to your  career? (Example: Better production, Delivery, Stage presence, etc…)

We are a DIY band at this point so it would be nice to have a budget for recording; however, we just do it at our houses and are still happy with the results. We haven’t played live yet, with this project, so I guess we will have to work on stage presence once this virus goes away!

What’s your all-time favourite song? 

Tough one! The other guys aren’t around so Josh will say “Trusty chords” by Hot Water Music. It never gets old and the lyrics are outstanding!

What was the last album you listened to?

St. Plaster’s self titled record from 2019. It is a scorcher! Highly recommend!

Your favourite artist of all time and why?

Ozone loves Blink 182 because they had a giant banner that said F*** when he first saw them and just thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Whose your favourite five artists right now? 

The Corps, Debt Neglector, Rest Easy, Deforesters, Down Memory Lane.

In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist  in your genre today and why?

All the classic bands were able to become very successful in the 90s but for bands around our age, I would like to hear where the Flatliners are going to end up musically as they’ve always been innovative with their sound. I would like to see more young faces in the punk scene as everyone’s getting old and tired.

Who have been some of your favourite artists that you’ve been  able to work with? 

Opening for Face to Face, Belvedere, The Real McKenzies and SNFU was a treat. Hopefully, when the dust settles, we can play some cool shows again.

How do you feel about the current state of music? 

There is still a lot of cool music coming out every day. It’s hard to stand out and can be
disheartening when you see the royalty rates of some of the streaming platforms but all in all it’s easier than ever before to put decent sounding music out and have people from all over the world hear it. We do it for fun and are just stoked if people listen at all. Any bit of monetary gains is simply icing on the crumb cake!

Any dream award shows you hope to one day play at?

The AVN Awards show.

What is your main goal as far as music?

To keep putting out music consistently, all while playing cool shows and meeting cool people!

Who would you say your music relates to the most?

Punk music, of our style, was biggest in the 90’s so we tend to resonate most with people 25-45.

We are always stoked to meet younger kids who are excited about the genre though. We hope to see more of them at our shows once the restrictions ease!

What separates you from other artists? (What’s makes you different?)

We aren’t really reinventing the wheel as far as punk rock goes but if you listen closely to the mixes, we are not afraid to add weird things like church bells, 80s synths or bizzare harmonies.

This particular band has no ego either. We all put forth ideas and have fun with it and this is certainly not the case for all bands.

When your not in the studio, What do you like to do for fun and relaxation?

Rawb is obsessed with his lawn, Ozone is a pretty serious cyclist, and Jawsh enjoys writing, hosting podcasts, and reading whilst floating in his pool on a hot summer day.

If you could work with any producer who would it be?

Brett Gurewitz or Bill Stevenson

What’s the biggest highlight of your career thus far?

For the Nickels, getting our holiday classic Rum Nogs nearly 7000 plays on Spotify in a week was pretty cool!

What is your dream venue to perform at?

We would just love to play Groezrock, Punk Rock Bowling, or Fest. Don’t care what venue as long as we could participate!

What’s the name of the last book you read and by whom?

Loose Gravel by Ginny Fanthom, a great Canadian punk rock author. Great book!

What’s your favourite sports team and why?

We are Canadian so naturally, we are hockey fans but we can’t agree on a team to cheer for. Jawsh likes the Ottawa Senators, Ozone likes the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Rawb roots for his hometown Calgary Flames.

We cheer for these teams because we are masochistic morons!

Whose your favourite actor or actress and their best movie?

Christian Bale was pretty awesome in the Fighter. Let’s go with that!

Name someone famous who inspires you and why?

Dolly Parton. She seems lovely when most of her peers are not.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Jawsh is having his first kid right away so that will keep him busy but stay tuned for new music from all the bands we are playing in! There will be no shortage!

Where can the fans check out for your music?

All major streaming services, our bandcamp, and we even have some amazing music videos out there! Follow High End Denim Records to stay in the loop!

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