Born in Los Angeles in the fall of 2015, The Nick Valentini Collective is a critically-acclaimed eight-piece musical collective that blends elements of indie rock, jazz and psychedelic soul into a captivating, multi-layered melange of rich melodies and soulful, cathartic vocals. Led by Nick Valentini (singer, keyboard), the group also features Erik Shibowski (bass), Hugo Shibowski (tenor sax), Nate Schwartz (guitar), Nicolo Scolieri (flute), Nick Velez (drums), Gabriel Wheaton (string orchestration) and Tyler Wennstrom (keyboard/percussion). On the strength of their dynamic live shows, the group has garnered a devoted following since their debut.
The group’s two singles, “Carousel” and “Mr. Mister,” will both be featured on their debut album, scheduled for release in late summer 2016. In the meantime, The Nick Valentini Collective will be touring extensively during the coming months.
What was your upbringing like? How did it shape who you are today?
My upbringing was simple and sheltered. I was always reminded of where my grandparents came from and this helped me shape my musical endeavors into perspective.
When and how did you initially becoming interested in playing music?
I have always been interested in playing music ever since I started playing the piano. My whole life, I’ve looked at music as a gift; it’s my release from the commonplace of everyday life.
How did you meet the other members of The Nick Valentini Collective?
We all went to UCLA so we have been jamming together for a while now. There’s a tight-knit community of musicians at that school and the beauty of it is that there is acceptance for so many styles and genres of music. Each member of the Collective works on their own individual projects, so when we get together it’s a nice blend of all our different styles.
What inspires you?
I can’t say that one thing inspires me. This music thing is unique in that anything can come out of your instrument at any given time. Inspiration comes and goes but having an openness to life and what it presents me has definitely given me more clarity when it comes to lyrical or melody writing.
What is your songwriting process?
My songwriting process is an entire experience and not something that I have been able to easily give a straight explanation. Basically, I like to start off with an overriding melody; sort of like a base or tone of the song. From there, lyrics are placed in and throughout the song until it becomes almost like a jigsaw puzzle. I am often surprised by the end product myself.
How do you know when a song is done and ready to be released?
I don’t think a song is ever done because there are a million ways to play one song. Putting a song down on record is just an extensively meticulous acceptance of a particular idea.
Do you consider yourself to be a perfectionist?
I believe that if you are going to commit to something, then it should be approached with 100% certainty and precision. But I like playing music that has uncertainties and has room to experiment in, as well. So to answer that question, yes AND no.
In your opinion, what are the top five movies ever made?
In no particular order…
12 Angry Men
There Will Be Blood
No Country for Old Men
If you and the other members of The Nick Valentini Collective were on a Survivor-esque reality show competition, who would be the first one voted off the island and why?
Definitely Nate the guitar player, because I wouldn’t want to listen to him talk about Bernie, Tritone substitutions, or physics when I’m trying to stay alive. Great topics, just not really down when you’re eating bugs, you know?
If you could change one thing about the world or society, what would it be?
I wish people could care less about the way other people choose to live their life. Life is about perspective and acceptance that everyone lives their own true reality.