“Nick Everett sounds like a scattered moron,” chuckles Nick Everett.
Those are the words he uses to describe himself partway through conversation, as he gazes out the window of a Halifax café.
Everett is performing on Friday at The Seahorse Tavern as part of the In the Dead of Winter (IDOW) music festival. As a local solo artist with a humble following — enough to land him last billing on the festival’s poster — Everett is the kind of act IDOW champions.
— InTheDeadOfWinter (@idowfestival) November 1, 2016
“It is of particular importance to the festival to … provide venues for artists who have not yet had the opportunity to perform their music to a wider audience,” reads the festival’s About Us page.
Everett sat down with The Signal to discuss his involvement in this year’s rendition of IDOW and to speak his mind on songwriting and live performance.
Q. How did you get involved with IDOW?
A. Honestly I have no idea how I got involved, but I’m glad I am. I think a friend signed me up or something. I’ve never actually gone to the festival before, but they’ve been doing a great job of bringing people in this year.
Q. Then what happened?
A. They asked me to play solo and that was pretty much it. I’ve got a lot of songs I’ve written but haven’t shown anybody, so I’ve been saving up a brand new set and approach. I guess I’ve been waiting for the right time to put something new out, kind of like a tester.
Q. What aspect of IDOW are you looking forward to?
A. Well, Jennifer Castle is the best thing at this festival, by a long shot. But I’m also excited to see a bunch of friends again; I’ve played with Loveland like 10 times, LUKA maybe five, The Barrowdowns as well … Jennifer Castle and I are on the same label too, so it’s kind of a reunion.
Q. What do you think of the festival’s support for smaller artists?
A. It’s an absolutely necessary part of any music community. It’s the basic thing that should be done if you want to develop; you need to involve everybody. (The festival) is tiny and still trying to grow, and I want to give them support and be able to help them because they’re giving me opportunities this week. Although at the same time, and I don’t want to be too critical, I don’t know how this show is going to go. I see 89 people confirmed on Facebook and that makes me nervous for a venue of 300 people. Facebook is pretty faithful for music promotion, and I might just be a sordid asshole, but you just see the brutal truth in these things sometimes.
Q. So do you think Friday will be a bust?
A. I mean, we’re all going to play and who knows who’s going to show up. It’s a fun surprise, just like all shows, and you never really know what’s going to happen. How’s that for optimistic? Can you add that in?
Q. We’ll make sure to mention you asked for it. So, what about your songwriting? Where does it come from?
A. I don’t know if I should say this, but … it was really strange; the first time I ever had sex I wrote a song an hour afterwards, like with lyrics and everything. I had never done that before. I’d never thought to add a voice, but then I lost my virginity and immediately started writing.
Q. … Uh …
A. I guess (what) I’m trying to say that it all happens from a place of honesty. Like for example, I haven’t been writing a lot recently because of some serious funky denial in my life, but then last night I made a weird breakthrough and was up until five in the morning writing. It all kind of felt unrestricted; it’s all formed from complete honesty.
Q. When you perform on stage, is that what you try to share?
A. I want to share that honesty, that ability to connect to yourself and to music, but most of all it’s about just listening. The activity and practice of listening, when you go up and do it as much as you can on stage, hopefully people can take that into their own lives. The hope is that just by being yourself, you can make somebody else’s life better. It’s really optimistic and naïve, but that’s what it is. You hope you’re good enough to not necessarily make an impact, but at least connect with somebody listening.