Bluesfest, Alaska and Beyond with Nikki Hill
We thankfully caught Nikki Hill and her band at Bluesfest. Blown away by her voice, stage presence and fangirl inducing integrity of her compositions, we made it our mission to make contact when she arrived back on her native soil.
Where are you, what were you doing before starting this interview?
Riding in the tour van 'Big Connie' because we're on tour. We're headed to California to prepare for our shows, including flying to Alaska!
Any stories you would like to share with us?
The best ones I can't tell you, to protect the innocent! Musically, I will say playing AC/DC in Australia was pretty damn cool. And listening to Jeff Beck just playing around warming up in the artists area at Bluesfest was a complete nerd moment! On tour, we've had some fun moments. One of the most memorable was a festival we played in Wallace, Idaho. The night ended in fireworks, cops, and singing Little Richard onstage. I don't think me, or many people there, remember most of that night!
I had a few weirdos that told me how insane the world is, and that threw me off for a bit. How do you take that as a kid?
How was Bluesfest? Australia as a whole?
Our time in Australia was absolutely amazing! From beginning to end. Bluesfest was everything I imagined and more and we're all still reeling from the experience.
What did you answer as a child when they asked you: “What do you want to be when you grow up?"
I changed my mind constantly, as I think is good for kids. You want to be everything and no one really tells you you can't. Except, I had a few weirdos that told me how insane the world is, and that threw me off for a bit. How do you take that as a kid? I don't know! So, I didn't think about it too much growing up. I think most often, I thought about being a nurse or something in the health field. I wanted to help people in some way or another. Anything that meant I could interact with people and put smiles on their faces. Worked out pretty well I'd say!
What piece of essential advice would you give aspiring musicians?
Be yourself. If you don't know you who are, use music to figure it out. You'll get there eventually.
What artist or band would you love to hit the road with?
The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Mavis Staples, The Faces (isn't there a reunion coming up? Let's make it happen!), Booker T, John Fogerty, Tom Petty, Sharon Jones. The list goes on!
Your music selection consists of...
A lot of it is a pretty mixed. I like the advantage of 'shuffle', although sometimes you just want to hear the whole album all the way through, you know? "Exile on Main Street" is a favorite album of mine that I can put on repeat. I also love listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival while driving. "Green River" is a great cruising song, right? I love listening to The Staple Singers as well.
Rhythmic and fun and Mavis Staples voice is incredibly comforting to me. Howlin Wolf and Robert Nighthawk are great for night driving. As well as the weirder night selections, I like the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me soundtrack (that really creeps the band out). Otis Redding, AC/DC, Nick Curran, The Meters... they keep me moving down the highway. Sometimes we'll get regional and play Jimmie Vaughan or Texas Tornadoes while driving through Texas, or play Outkast while driving through Atlanta, GA. You just have to do it sometimes!
Did you catch any bands on your travels that we should be listening too?
It's crazy when you're traveling, you barely have time to do anything but eat, sleep, drive, and go to the show. It's a rare night we get to go out while on the road to see music. Festivals are great for that because then sometimes we're able to catch bands after the set. Bluesfest was a great experience for that. First time I've had a chance to see some artists that I really wanted to check out!
What’s next music wise for you?
A new full length that we're excited to start recording later this year, and just continuing to have fun on the road melting faces with rock and roll!