Check out this interview I did with Nikki Wozzo & The Bad Whiskey. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
we live in a world where there are literally millions of bands to check out. What do you have that sets you apart?
-I believe the one thing that helps set me apart from other artists, is that although I do country rock with the Bad Whiskey, I’m also British heavy-metal artist from northern England with Serpents Kiss. During my solo career, I think by putting in a wave of British heavy-metal into my music, that it has really created a different idea to what rockabilly is today and I think that’s what has helped me stand out from other bands within the industry.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-Honestly, the name just came to me after a specific scenario that had happened to a buddy who was drinking and had accidentally burn down his place, probably due to the fact that he was drinking and wasn’t paying attention. Being that it is my solo band about my solo music that I write separate from Serpents Kiss, I think the name does it justice, it’s Nikki Wozzo & The Bad Whiskey. It fits with the idea of heavy-metal rockabilly, you know what I mean? It’s different, and cool, in my personal opinion.
What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
-Well for my solo stuff it was Garth Brooks, which really inspired me to do country rock, as well as Hank Williams Jr., they both were the real inspiration to the music behind my solo career. Also, stuff from George Strait and course you can’t forget uncle Ted, Mr. Ted Nugent. Overall in the music that I do in all aspects of my career, there’s a whole plethora of inspirations such as; Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Quiet riot, and like I said George Strait, Hank Williams Jr., Hank Williams Senior, Garth Brooks. You know they’re all amazing and they all inspire me every single day, I just love music that reminds you of what it’s like in my life personally. It’s really incredible to have something that can hit you in the soul and that’s why I’m inspired by these people every single day.
What is the advantages/disadvantages of CD and vinyl these days of internet promotion where digital seems to be king?
-Advantages of CD and vinyl… well its great stuff to sell at your shows! It’s something that the fans can have in hand that they can personally put up on the shelf and show their friends, family or whoever might be interested. A lot of income for musicians and artists all around the world actually comes from selling merch, so I think it is very important to have stuff like this. If you can afford to do vinyl that’s great, I don’t think vinyl is mandatory, but it’s cool just the same. I think CDs are very important in selling merchandise and I think it’s a great advantage to have those to sell. Disadvantages, yes today is really ran digitally, I think it’s unfortunate because the digital sound quality that you get from iTunes and Spotify, is a horribly compressed sound that ruins the quality of the song. The advantage of the digital world, is our music can go very far without too much effort, but at the same time, it also kills our industry because then you don’t really make money selling music anymore. Back in the day the only way to hear one song was if you bought the whole record, now it’s $.99 and the song is yours, although that’s lucky if you charge $.99 for a song nowadays. You know the industry has been changing a lot over the years and no matter what, as musicians in this world, we will find a way.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when your out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-I agree, Spotify, Deezer and all those online platforms are very useful rather than carrying around a bag full of CDs and plugging them into your car, or having a Walkman you know? Music will always be around no matter what happens to the industry, and I personally believe that there is a major change happening in the sense of labels and who controls what nowadays. Our market is kind of at a point where we need something to really kick the industry back into gear. Musicians will always be out there making music and plugging away and plugging away and plugging away, but for myself as a musician, I do have some fears of dealing with online platforms, but you know we all do this because we love it and if you have Spotify or iTunes or anything like that, look up Serpents Kiss on there and look up Nikki Wozzo and The Bad Whiskey, that would be stellar and I’d really appreciate the Support.
What part does art work and lay out play? Any message that you want to bring forth with it?
-I love artwork that is put on the album covers, whether its photography artwork or drawings. When Serpents Kiss came out with the album Dragon Lord, Will Philpot who is the co-owner/ band leader of the Serpents Kiss, had gotten a hold of a friend that had done the original logo for the band way back in the day, and he did this album cover for us that was the most bad ass thing I’ve ever seen and I love it. That’s why I believe it has a huge play in what we do as musicians, because were not only selling ourselves, but helping other artists in the world spread their work as well. An important part about being musicians and artists, is to help each other move forward through each other’s successes.
Is it a whole different way to promote a band today with all these social media channels? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way? Playing live and word of mouth.
-I think social media has made the world a lot easier to promote, but I think it is very important just like in the old days, to play live shows and word-of-mouth. It’s really hard to get somebody’s attention online, you got to be really, really, good at it to promote your product. There are a lot of analytics and groundwork that you have to do to reach your demographic and put it into play online. It’s a different world today and while it was different back in say the 80s and 70s, or hell even the 60s, I still truly believe in the old school way of doing things. Say you have somebody from New York see you play in Los Angeles, then goes back home and says “you know I saw this killer rock band (or country rock band) and I think you should look them up”, that’s a major part of it! It’s huge, so I believe that it has changed and have adapted, but also we still like to do traditional ways as well.
Do you feel like you are a part of a scene, locally, nationally and internationally?
-Down in Los Angeles, I feel that I’m really into the rock scene, this is primarily due to the time I spend working at the Whisky A Go Go. Not to mention also from the added experience of working with a bunch of different bands, whether it be as band member, helping as a band manager, or even as a roadie. I also spent some valuable time at different record labels within Los Angeles.
Being a Canadian working the European scene with Serpents Kiss in the UK has really helped me get recognized internationally from one side of the world to the other. Although, in Canada I have done a lot of great stuff which has helped mold me, but so has moving to Los Angeles and playing anywhere from California to Lousiana and Texas. All those different states have really helped to make me be a part of all aspects of the music scene locally, nationally, and internationally. So yes, you could say I am part of a scene and have had continued growth and success within these different levels.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-Currently we are in the works of doing some short tours with my solo stuff Nikki Wozzo and The Bad Whiskey, as well as we plan to do a few shows around the world with Serpents Kiss. I would really love to go and play in Japan, as well as parts of Europe up and around the north, such as Norway and surrounding areas, because that’s where we have a great following. I even have sights set on places as far as Brazil, where we also have a significant fan base. At the end of the day, I would love to be on the road playing at any of these amazing places right now, but we’re focusing all of our energy into finishing some new records that we have been working on. The Bad Whiskeys coming out with a new record in the New Year, as well as Serpents Kiss is also in the works of doing a new album for the New Year. So once that’s all said and done we’re going to look towards doing some shows around the world and I can’t wait.
What will the future bring?
-The future looks bright for me as a musician, Serpents Kiss is working on their second album, as well as my solo work in The Bad Whiskey, which is also coming out with a new record in the New Year. I am also hopefully going to be receiving my Artists Visa in order to continue living in the United States and moving towards making my music career more intense, full, and rocking as hard as possible. So be sure to follow myself and my other bands on all our social media platforms. We are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as we have our own online websites, www.nikkiwozzoandthebadwhiskey.com if you are into rockabilly, or www.serpentskissofficial.com if you dig classic sounding British heavy-metal. Also check us out on Spotify, iTunes, even YouTube! Thanks again for your support and I look forward to playing in a city near you.