Interview With:: Nick Santino

We recently sat down to chat with Nick Santino about success, playing with Hanson and his latest release, Savannah. We recently reviewed the album, which you can read by clicking here!

You can read the interview below!

The last time we spoke with you was right before you hit the road for the Vans Warped Tour where you played in the Acoustic Basement. Following that, you hit the road again on your own headlining tour, The Long & Winding Roadshow -which is such a great name, by the way. What drives you to constantly tour and hit the road?
I love being on the road. It’s where the songs really come to life and become something special.  I love interacting with all of the people who come out to the shows.  I love it just as much as I love being in the studio making new music.

You previously shared with us that being solo allows you to be more honest and more yourself. What other positives and negatives are there in touring solo compared to touring in a band? How are you adjusting to it?
I enjoy playing solo shows yeah. It gives me a bit of practice to get my stage banter right and to be honest and true to myself as well as the people there.  I love playing with a band for the energy it brings and the over all good time it is.

I think everyone has a different way of defining how and when they make it, whether it’s a radio single or playing sold-out shows.  How do you measure your success? 
I think if you are able to do what makes you happy then that is being successful. If you want a family, a nice house, a good job and you eventually get that and you’re happy, that is success.  I think some people have big dreams and goals and that’s great to have. I just like to set mine a bit lower and gradually work my way up the ladder.

Savannah has a more melancholic theme to it than your previous album Big Skies. How was the writing process different for this EP?  Can we expect more songs like this on your next album?
I went into writing Savannah with the feeling of wanting to do an EP that would fit the season.  Something cold and wintery and I think I accomplished that.  I’m sure I’ll continue to make this kind of music but theres no telling what I’ll write next. I don’t set out to write in a certain genre. I don’t like having rules or guidelines. I let the songs write themselves.

My favorite track off of Savannah is “How to live with a Ghost”.  It’s kind of hauntingly beautiful, just to be punny.  What was your mindset writing this song? 
I wrote this song a year ago and I wanted to put it on Big Skies.  I’m glad I waited til now
because I wasn’t sure how exactly I wanted it to sound.  I think when I was gonna use it on Big Skies I made it more upbeat and had sort of a shuffle to it.  I think it was the best move to wait.  This song has such a strong message and I think it speaks louder with this chilled out vibe it has now

In your song “Rio” you talk about heading out to Mexico, and you happened to go to Mexico to play with Hanson.  Was that strategically planned or just a coincidence?
Just a coincidence .  I had actually never been to Mexico before I wrote that song. I for some reason kept singing the line/melody “We used to go to Mexico” and thought it sounded pretty so I rolled with it..

Speaking of Hanson, how excited were you about playing with them and how was the experience?
They are great.  That whole getaway was great and I hope we can do more things together.  David Ryan Harris was also a part of it and him and I were talking about writing some music together.  Everyone there was amazingly talented and I was honored to be a part of it.

When you’re not writing new songs or playing gigs, what do you like to do during your off-time?
I’m lazy.  I do normal boring people stuff.  Netflix, laundry, cooking, design work.  I try and stay busy. I like taking guitars apart and rebuilding them. Just anything to keep sane.

For more on Nick Santino: Facebook | Twitter

Review:: Savannah | Nick Santino

Nick Santino proves to be an elegant storyteller as he walks the fine line between cheesy and complex lyrics in his new EP Savannah.  The former lead singer of A Rocket to the Moon stays true to his roots of providing heartfelt vocals with a bit of a bluesy twang.  While Santino’s last album, Big Skies, has a more country-pop sound to it with quirky lyrics and upbeat melodies, he takes a different approach in his new EP.  The lyrics still hold the elements of love, but the tracks are more personal, slower, and mellower accompanied by sweet acoustics and piano music.  

Savannah is like a short story. It features six songs that each tell a chapter about a love that bloomed, then died, the nostalgia, and letting go. The melody remains constant throughout the EP, but the small variances in the acoustics carry you into the next song. You would think it be repetitive, but instead the unbroken-like melody creates a romantic flow through the EP.  Santino doesn’t hide behind flowery lyrics. He draws from his own experiences making sure every word counts and holds special meaning.

“Rio” starts the EP on a happier note leaving you in a dreamy state of wondering what it’s like to jet off to Mexico.  It’s a love song that leaves you swaying to the charming acoustics. The love affair continues with “Madeline” as Santino croons about a girl you wish you could be. The song resembles something more like a French lullaby but keeping the focus on the lyrics.

The story takes a dark turn in “How to live With a Ghost” when the relationship comes to an end. The lyrics are some of most honest lyrics you’ll hear about lost love and lingering emotions. Santino sings about coping with his heartbreak in this melancholic tune to paint a haunting picture of love. Whether you want to take the lyrics literally or metaphorically, it’s impeccable how Santino delivers the emotions behind the song in such a lucid way.

“That Old Corolla” resonates with an old-fashioned country song throwing back to the old days of drinking beers and riding around town without a care. It’s nostalgic and hints at the undertones of growing up. The title track “Savannah” closes the EP with a gloomy peace. It’s about a man who’s come to terms with the end of a relationship and letting go with bitter lyrics.  It’s a perfect way to the end the album as it leaves you with hope, closure, and end to another short story in a life.  

Savannah is raw, poetic, and enchanting. Nick Santino shows us that even the simplest and clearest of messages can bring out the beauty in music. It’s a different approach from what we heard in Big Skies and his days with A Rocket to the Moon. Only Nick Santino can tailor such a simple story with intricate lyrics, romantic vocals, and bluesy acoustics. 

Release Date: December 19th, 2014
Rating: 4/5
Run time: ~22 minutes
Check out: Madeline, How to Live With a Ghost

Track listing:
1. Rio
2. Madeline
3. I Just Wanted You to Know
4. How to Live With a Ghost
5. That Old Corolla
6. Savannah

Written by: Zarrin Alam