Nikki & Rich killed their 3/5/11 show at the Roxy in LA, showing us that the new songs from their Everything album will be fierce, multi-faceted, and beyond the throwback sound of their Next Best Thing EP. We caught up with them before the show and got the scoop on the album, a new tour, and a new music video. Let’s just say that the best is yet to come!
Cedar: What have you guys been up to since I talked to you last summer? I saw that you were recently filming the “City Lights” video with Fabolous, right?
Nikki: Yeah, we just shot our music video last week, and we had an amazing time. It should be out in the next few weeks! We’re also doing a little college tour in the spring with Jason De Rulo and Sean Kingston. We plan on just booking a ton of shows right now, we’ve been…
Rich: Going to dinner, lunch… [Nikki laughs]
Nikki: We’ve been so focused on writing this last year that we weren’t really doing a lot of shows, so now we’re ready to go!
Rich: Yeah, we finally got to a place where we were like that’s the album, that’s the record.
Cedar: Perfect, yeah we’ve caught most of your shows in LA, like the one at the W and two here at the Roxy. There were all these sound problems!
Rich: That last one [opening for Macy Gray] was a disaster show. We had no sound check, which was crazy. Everything went wrong that could go wrong.
Nikki: I was in the bathroom when they introduced us, and I came running down the stairs zipping up my pants!
Cedar: Hahaha wow…So my second question is about your debut album, Everything, out May 17th. Will it be like last year’s The Next Best Thing EP or will it be a little different? Will it sound more throwback or more like “City Lights?”
Nikki: It’s going to be a mix of a lot of different things, but there’s definitely a common thread throughout the record. There will be the really cool, pop, soulful songs like “Cat and Mouse,” and then it’ll go into something else that’s fun and meaningful, and then it’ll go into soulful ballads, Motown…
Rich: Honestly, we’re just going big on everything. We really put everything we have into it. For me on production, I just try to bring everything I can in to blend all the worlds I come from, and Nikki always puts her heart out vocally. It’s everything that we have. It does cross a lot of different genres, but I guess we’re R&B at the heart. We didn’t want this album to just be a throwback record. There’s a lot more to what we are, and we just wanted to make sure that the next single, “City Lights,” had that hip-hop/soul kind of feel as well.
Cedar: Definitely. On the way here, my friend and I were talking about the ska/reggae type version of “Cat and Mouse” you guys did at Sunset Strip Fest. Are you doing other versions of songs like that tonight? New songs?
Nikki: We’ll see what happens, you never know…
Rich: There are about six new songs we’re playing tonight that haven’t been released yet.
Nikki: 60 percent of the show tonight will be a surprise.
Cedar: Cool, looking forward to it! On a sidenote, but I always love to ask, what are you guys both listening to these days? Nikki, I saw your tweet about Tyler the Creator, and I think it’s so cool that you guys are so musically well-rounded.
Nikki: We listen to everything. We love Tyler and the Odd Future group. They’re doing something new and shaking things up a little bit, which is good.
Rich: I gotta give it up to Johnny Swim, who are Nikki’s friends and opened for us tonight.
Nikki: I selfishly booked them for us because I wanted a personal concert! They’ve got it. They’re so refreshing. Their voices are pure and amazingly soulful.
Rich: It feels like you want to be on a yacht in Saint-Tropez with their music on, at least I do. [Nikki laughs]
Cedar: Hahaha, well then…My last question is – Nikki what’s the best thing about working with Rich, and Rich what’s the best thing about working with Nikki?
Nikki: You know honestly, there’s really nobody in my life that has come in and made me not want to be a solo girl. I do everything alone, and I don’t have room for anybody else! I knew that if there was ever somebody to come along, they would have to be pretty amazing and challenge me to make me better. He definitely brought out a better side of me musically that I never knew I had.
Rich: Wow, that’s a tough act to follow…
Nikki: No, I’m beyond blessed really. Like, I thought I was a good writer and singer before I met him, and now I feel like I can do things I never thought I could, so it’s pretty amazing.
Rich: That’s very nice, that’s too nice..I don’t know what to…Where do I…she bakes good cupcakes? Haha, with Nik, you know, there’s almost nobody that I’ve met who, when you meet them, you get immediately drawn to and inspired by them. Nik is someone that just continues to inspire me. She’s someone I look up to. She never ceases to amaze me in anything we do creatively. As a person, she’s giving and honest and great. Before you guys start bringing out your tissues…
Cedar: I am about to!
Rich: It’s just amazing when you’re partnered with somebody who you’re always finding inspiration from.
Nikki: When you respect somebody’s work and what they do, working together is easy. I know if he says something that I don’t want to hear, and sometimes he does, I respect it, because I know it’s coming from a good place. I’m pretty particular about my lyrics and melodies, and he’ll be like, “Nik let’s try something else with that.” I know that he knows a good hook and a good song, so I usually fall back and listen. It took me a minute though at first, I was like, “Are you kidding me? I love this, dude!” After some fighting, it would turn out to be really good. I’d be like, “OK, that hook was wack…what was I thinking?!” I respect his criticism. If somebody can tell you something sounds bad, and you can still hang out with them the next day, that’s a big thing.
Rich: Yeah, that’s the good thing about us. We continue to inspire each other to go further with everything. We never get comfortable.
Nikki: We’re never comfortable.
Rich: No definitely not.
Nikki: We are never comfortable.
Rich: Far from it.