By Stephanie Danis

If Prince and David Bowie were to a have a love child and Beck was sharing bed space with them, all while The Time played the soundtrack to these intimate festivities, Nicos Gun is the spawn of this cross-generational musical sexcapade.  The Philly-based band released their debut album Plush in 2011, have played some of the major festivals in the country (Camp Bisco, Gathering of the Vibes, The Roots Picnic) shared bills with everyone from Cut Copy, Janes Addiction, Ratatat, Holy Ghost!, and Rusko, and have seemingly made a video for almost every song they have written.

Their history spans as far back as their college years attending the University of the Arts inPhiladelphia, when the guys shared a house in South Philly with Dr. Dog drummer Eric Slick.  Now in 2012, Nicos Gun continues touring and splitting time recording betweenLos AngelesandPhiladelphiawhile working on their 2nd full-length album.

Nicos Gun is more than a band of five guys who resort to the occasional toilet humor; these independent musicians are frontiersman of modern music. Their band started small, but has evolved into a five piece unit with Nick Bockrath and Barney Cortez sharing guitar and vocal duties, Steve Lyons on bass, Brosh Laven on keys, and Mic Odie on drums.

The group has already played Red Rocks Amphitheatre, been on national tours, and is preparing to release their second album. Needless to say, these guys are keeping quite busy despite lineup changes.  There was something heartwarming about seeing them transformed from their original line-up and starting anew; playing a small venue like Piano’s down on the Lower East Side of NYC.  L4LM took the time to sit together in their van, and they gave us some insight on their work and music.

L4LM: So where does the name “Nicos Gun” originate?

Barney: The name is a combination of the influence of the Velvet Underground, and also Harry (original member) and I worked in a leather repair shop for a guy called Nico. He used to keep this gun right behind the register, so we called it Nicos Gun.

L4LM: How did you come to be the band you are today? 

Brosh: This house melded us together in a way, and brought everyone together.

Barney: We started bonfires in the street. We had a tree that we called the “science tree”, we would nail basses to it, and we threw a bureau out of the window, and it landed perfectly in the tree.

L4LM: It’s the little things that bring friends together.

Barney:  Exactly!

L4LM: In general, what music are you into right now?

Brosh: Meek Mills is really cool right now.

Barney: Fleetwood Mac, The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a big influence, especially “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”

Nick: The true funk band- The Time, and The Ohio Players (the band), they’re just like a gang that rolls up, crushing it, and what makes a band like that so good is that they were mother-fucking players, great songwriters, and great performers. I think for us that’s the model.

L4LM: Electronic Dance Music is the number one priority for label heads at this time. These acts are big sellers and draw large crowds. How do you feel about your music flourishing in a time like this? 

Nick : I’m not really into current trends, and I know that’s corny, but I know that there are some great units that have been around, and all I want to do is walk on stage and be excited to play these songs. I want people to watch us and think ‘these guys are killing it’, because that’s real and that will translate through any trends and through any time.

Barney: We’re not running backing tracks and it’s not like we are just lip-synching, we play our instruments. Before we would have drum loops, with electronic drums coming through the system and would play on top of that, but the stage volume was so loud, it’s a balancing act.

L4LM: What keeps your band playing?

Brosh: We’re at this point where the stars are aligned and we can just go, and if the option is there than it is really your only option cause then you have to take it and roll with it and get everything out together and work together as a unit.

Nick: I take solace in moving around, recording a lot of songs and making videos. It’s comforting, and it chills me out. I get sick if I’m not touring. I go totally nuts. I think for everyone, it’s what we’re supposed to do.  It’s undeniable that every person in this car is supposed to play music. So let’s just do that.

We agree, definitely keep on doing just what you are doing.  Nicos Gun has an upcoming show at Fall Jam in Brookville, PAon Friday, September 7th.  Keep an eye out for new tour dates, and their second album.