LATE LAST NIGHT by Nikki & The Skyrockets | INTERVIEW
Author: Sean Manuel
Welcome back to BlowUpRadio.com's weekly interviews. This week's special is: Americana! Featured in the Jersey Journal's "Hottest Musicians on the rise in Hudson" by Jim Testa, Nicole Bozzuto-led Nikki & The Skyrockets revive the classic signatures of the twangy Telecaster, the soulful organ, and a graceful Dolly-like vibrato in their debut album entitled Late Last Night. Anyone touched by wanderlust or the waves and crests of love is welcome to listen to Nicole's travelogue out now on Bandcamp, SoundCloud, or CD (streaming coming soon)! Support them live on Thursday, March 9, 7-11PM at Crossroads (78 North Ave, Garwood, NJ) and Friday, March 10, 8-11PM at Corgi Spirits (1 Distillery Drive off Pacific Ave, Jersey City, NJ). Fresh off of two performances at Jersey City's 902 Brewing Co. and Fox & Crow, I caught up with Nicole Bozzuto.
Hey there, Nicole! The Late Last Night album is refreshingly retro with a countryside aura. Like how Sir Paul McCartney recorded the Band on the Run album in Nigeria, was recording Late Last Night in rural Vermont done with the intention to channel your new environment's character into the release?
The band initially planned to record with Nicola Stemmer at 9 Lives Studios in Jersey City back in April of 2020, but Covid put an abrupt stop to that as well as live performances. After a year hiatus the band got back together and decided that Vermont would be the perfect spot to get away from it all and really delve into our music. We intended to find a quiet and inspirational location to bring out the best in us while recording, and the rural setting certainly found itself reflected in our songs.
"Wait for Me" opens Late Last Night. The track is reminiscent of classic country with its I-IV-V chord progression and your Dolly Parton-like vibrato vocal delivery. Though the protagonist indicates she "might be walking in circles... Singing sad melodies," the major tonality suggests optimism in the belief her lover will wait for her. Does this not perfectly encapsulate a performing artist's life on the road? Did you have a specific archetype in mind when writing this song?
It certainly does! The song is about my own personal experience. I work as a cross country tour guide, and have been on the road every summer since 2011. Before that, I worked resort jobs all over the world and drew musical inspiration from my travels. Despite feeding my soul, the road is a very cold and lonely place. You make brief connections along the way, but nothing really seems to stick. "Wait For Me" was written for someone who I deeply cared for, but had to leave. Despite the distance, I held onto hope that love was worth the wait.
You hint at Tom Petty in "Bulletproof," a song continuing the lyrical theme of distance from "Wait for Me." Yet, "Bulletproof" plays into the depressing with the chorus focusing on being "all choked up" and being unable to "break through." An interesting event occurs at the last chorus as there is an admission to not being "Bulletproof." Were "Wait for Me" and "Bulletproof" written in succession/a close time period? Was either/or intended to be an "answering song" to the other?
The songs touch upon a similar subject, but were not written in succession or intended to be an "answering song" to the other. While "Wait For Me" is lusting after someone who is far away, "Bulletproof" is about being in the throes of a failing relationship.
The journey appears to be back on a positive track in "Alaska," with the highway being "straight and true" despite there existing "roads that I dare not trample through." Alaska is an interesting geographical choice to write about. Why did you choose it?
Alaska is my favorite state besides New Jersey, and I've spent four summers guiding throughout the interior. The people and landscape are wild and free, and I wanted to write a love song to both the land and my boyfriend. A lot of my songs are inspired by self-reflection in nature. Sometimes dancing sunlight makes everything come alive, and fills your heart with so much emotion that it feels like it's going to burst. Love, nature, music and travel are what make me fully alive, and I hope that comes through in the imagery of "Alaska".
"Late Last Night" is the title track to your debut EP. It is an empowering tune with a message of self-love exhibited in the lyric "I deserve a boy who's gonna treat me right." What is the inspiration for "Late Last Night?"
"Late Last Night" is pretty self-explanatory. I dated a guy who always put me second to booze and weed, so I released my inhibitions and headed to the closest bar. You get the gist!
"One More Highway" is the album's closing track and can be mistaken for a lost Grateful Dead tune! The lyrics read like Jim Croce's "New York's Not My Home" as the protagonist doesn't identify with the city and seeks "to find a simple life... Something ignorant of pain." Therefore, does she feel more belonging in a nomadic lifestyle on the road than she ever can in one location (in this case, the city)?
Absolutely! This song is very near and dear to my heart. The Highway always gives more than it takes from me, and I am calling out in this song for someone to take my hand and enhance my life in the crucial ways that matter. Take the trip with me. New Jersey is my home, but I'll never stop traveling.
You printed 100 Limited Edition Late Last Night CDs. Where can people go to purchase a CD?
Anyone interested in buying a CD should reach out to us via Facebook or Bandcamp and we can send one to you for $10. Our music is also available for purchase at https://nikkitheskyrockets1.bandcamp.com and CDs are for sale at any of our gigs. Songs will be available for streaming on all music platforms by the end of the month.
Tell us about your upcoming shows!
Upcoming shows are at Crossroads in Garwood NJ on Thursday, March 9th from 7-11 p.m. with our friends The Hudson City Rats and Forget The Whale. $10 cover. We will also be performing at Corgi Distillery in Jersey City on Friday, March 10th from 8-10 p.m. No cover!
When can we expect your next release?
We are recording our next album at 9 Lives Studio in April and hope to have more music available in the fall or winter. Stay tuned!
Where can fans interact with you?
We post mostly on Facebook, but you can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Keep an eye out for us in Jersey City, Hoboken and NYC! Support Live Music!
Artist Bio: Nikki & the Skyrockets is a small band with a big sound built around the powerful and iconic voice of lead singer Nicole Bozzuto. Coming out of the thriving Jersey City songwriting scene, the band is: Nicole Bozzuto - Voice, guitar & songs; Paul Grossmann - Bass; Sid Whelan - Voice, guitar, & songs.
Front-woman Nicole Bozzuto's songs evoke the feeling of being simultaneously in love with and weary from the road. As both a songwriter and a travel experience professional, Nicole's lyrics take the fans on a bumpy journey through her inner travelogue, highlighting the human spirit in a hopeful but brutally honest manner. Guitarist Sid Whelan first heard Nicole sing at Hoboken's late lamented Maxwell's in 2016 and thought to himself "I have to work with her!" He's also the second voice and songwriter in the band, with an eclectic style that starts in the blues and ends in airy alternative rock with spacious guitar voicings.
About the Author: Sean Manuel is a Senior enrolled in New Jersey City University's Honors Program. A Music Business major, Sean specializes in the piano and bass guitar. Outside of academia, Sean performs in and manages the Bayonne indie-pop group BreakTime: a four-piece writing modern pop tunes with generous vintage allusions to artists such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Are you interested in their music? Follow BreakTime @breaktimelivenj and stream their releases on all platforms.