Unravelling an internalised vulnerability that has been built into him, Nick Ward has learnt to let it go and allow listeners into the candid thoughts that circle his mind. His debut EP ‘Everything I Wish I Told You’ is a cinematically penned collection of tracks that explores these personal and self-reflective stories.
It’s a coming-of-age story this isn’t cheesy as it’s core, instead it’s heartfelt, honest, and raw. Intended to be listened to from start to finish, it really is a 16 minute form of pure escapism that will have your heart feeling heavy, and your mind completely absorbed by the vivid imagery that is embodied through these personal revelations. Exploring the complexities of coming to terms with his sexuality, these are songs that I wish I had to take comfort in when I was a young teenager struggling to come to terms with my sexuality.
The visual identity of this EP is sonically pieced together in the most beautiful, vulnerable and expansive way possible with interludes guiding the listener on the journey. You’re immediately drawn into this dreamy and safe space where any feelings are valid, and he’s given so many people a voice to their feelings and thoughts that they didn’t think they had. And that’s the pure power of this EP, and the honest music that Nick Ward creates.
I recently chatted to Nick Ward about the cinematic vision behind his debut EP ‘Everything I Wish I Told You’, explored the home footage audio used during the ‘Overture’ and interlude, as well as dived into the creative processes behind each track. Check it out BELOW;
THOMAS BLEACH: Your EP ‘Everything I Wish I Told You’ is ultimately a 16 minute form of pure escapism. So when you sit down and listen to it in its entirety, where are you transported to?
NICK WARD: It takes me back to all those sweaty afternoons in my bedroom trying to record vocals while airplanes flew up above me. That was back in April/May last year, and I think the spree of writing was just fuelled by all of the doom and gloom outside. I don’t make or release music that doesn’t trigger some intense emotion within me, so I just get real emo when I listen to the project.
TB: ‘Overture’ immediately sets the tone of the whole EP as it beautifully intertwines audio from home videos from your childhood with some lyrics gliding over top before building up to the distorted cries of your younger self. How emotional was it sifting through these home videos and cutting audio from it, because I could imagine it could be quite overwhelming?
NW: I had 8 hours of footage that my parents kept from my childhood. My grandfather was really sick when I was young and couldn’t travel to meet me, so my parents filmed a MiniDV cassette every couple weeks and sent it over to Western Australia where he lived. I guess that context makes it pretty heavy for me, since he passed away shortly afterward. I think looking at any childhood memory is a little bittersweet. It’s like the purest time of your life, before all the anxieties of life kick in and you properly know exactly who you are.
TB: It’s immediately very cinematic, so did you find yourself referencing any film scores while working on ‘Overture’ and ‘My Private Interlude’?
NW: The word “cinematic” gets used a lot when describing my music and I always wonder why. I guess the reverb and repetition of a lot of the production is quite film score-esque. Anyway, I was definitely inspired by film composers when making the whole project and not just those tracks. Sakamoto was a big influence, and so was Shane Carruth.
TB: ‘FMF!’ is a perfect summery montage moment that feels quite anthemic, when in reality it’s contrasting a reflection of emotions that have crept into your life and friendships during the past year. So can you explain how this song creatively came together?
NW: It’s the saddest song I’ve ever written. If you placed the same lyrics over the ‘I Wanna Be Myself Or Nothing At All’ instrumental, it would have a pretty similar affect I think. That song was my first ever attempt at writing a ‘pop song’, or at least how I interpret the conventions of one.
TB: ‘Holding the Man’ really hones the light, stripped back, and dreamy production that floats through the remainder of the songs. It reminds me of the likes of Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, Cub Sport and Sasha Sloan. Who or what was inspiring you sonically for this track?
NW: I hate comparing myself to other artists, even when I’m inspired by them. Ironic! I try to blend all my influences in a way that makes it my own thing, and making this project was basically the workshopping of my own sound. Maybe in the future I’ll re-evaluate how successful I was at that, but I think all the comparisons have inspired me to keep moving into a more genre-less space.
TB: ‘I Wanna Be Myself or Nothing at All’ is a track that to me feels very pivotal to the full concept and self realisation process of this EP. And the lyric that really captures all of that is “People try to tell you that you don’t know what you want. I just wanna be myself, or I wanna be nothing at all”. How important has it been to actively insert that mantra into your day-to-day life?
NW: This song is the emotional peak and thesis of the project, and I wish I inserted it into my life more. It’s sometimes conflicting knowing that I’m making all this music that aims to inspire people to be themselves, without taking the message onboard myself. I get really socially anxious around macho-ass dudes, even though I think they’re pathetic. So yeah, it doesn’t stop me putting on a light persona in certain and less-welcoming spaces. That’s something I’m working on.
TB: ‘Aubrey Plaza’ is the song that kicked off this whole EP, and was the first time that you were this transparently honest with listeners. Did it feel like an almost tester to see if the audience was going to be accepting to the deep personal revelations that were coming? Because I could imagine that it would’ve been very nerve wracking to release this track.
NW: This song wasn’t nearly as daunting as ‘I Wanna Be Myself Or Nothing At All’ but it does symbolise a big shift in my discography, for me. I honestly cannot listen to anything pre-Aubrey without knit-picking the living shit out of it, so I was so pumped to release it because I knew it was my best song at the time.
TB: You played some shows last year opening for Kian and George Alice. From playing these shows, did it change any of the vision of production aspects of the unreleased songs/interludes on the EP?
NW: The EP was done by the time I played those shows, so I really enjoyed playing them live – especially ‘FMF!’. The shows really inspired my second project sonically, which is a lot more upbeat and production-heavy. This year I’m gonna tease a couple of those new tracks at shows to see how people respond.
TB: What song on the EP took the longest to really hone its full creative vision?
NW: ‘Overture’ had no lyrics until a week before the project was due. I just couldn’t find the right set of lyrics. Thankfully, Chris Lanzon helped me write the hook on the song, and it inspired me to write the rest.
TB: Lets play a quick game of rapid fire questions…. You ready?
NW: Let’s go!
TB: The emoji that best describes my EP ‘Everything I Wish I Told You’ is…
NW: Peach emoji because anyone who doesn’t like it can eat my ass!
TB: The colour of my toothbrush at the moment is
NW: I have one of those wooden biodegradable ones that feels like you’re using a Paddlepop to clean your teeth
TB: A new hobby I’ve had during lockdown has been
NW: Reading! I need to get more into it, though. Walking too.
TB: If I could have any superpower it would be to…
NW: Fly, so I could go back to Japan.
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
‘Everything I Wish I Told You’ is out now!