It isn’t common to go to house shows that move from cathartic, emotional rock bands to solo performers with laptops and synths. This scene was a familiar one for New England native Nyiko Beguin as he navigated through the sea of punk and hardcore bands in Burlington, Vt. While his style was different, Beguin grew close to the scene and its figureheads, including “heavy indie” stalwart Tyler Daniel Bean.
After playing synth on Bean’s latest full length, On Days Soon to Pass (read my review here), Beguin, otherwise known as NYIKO, is ready to move back to the solo grind. His upcoming 7”, You Know I Loved It, will be released on May 12, consisting of two new songs, and three covers/remixes of those songs.
Beguin says that he embraces synth pop to discuss heavy themes and stories. He works with close friends and collaborators from around the world to dive even further. One of the covers on the 7” is by Tyler Daniel Bean himself, and is streaming on Modern Vinyl. With his first release in three years coming up, I got a chance to chat with Beguin and dive into some hot takes.
Tell me about your roots in the Burlington scene.
I went to school there, and that’s where I kind of started on the project of going by NYIKO, as opposed to my previous musical projects. That’s kind of really where the sound that you’re hearing on this latest release began.
How did you get involved with Tyler Daniel Bean?
Tyler and I met at a house show. We kind of kept running into each other at house shows that we would both be playing at. We were playing different types of music, but our friendship kind of just slowly coalesced, and then really took off when I hired his girlfriend for a photoshoot a few years after we had originally met. Now we’re really close friends.
You moved to Los Angeles. How does the Los Angeles scene differ from Burlington?
The Los Angeles music scene is certainly more diverse and significantly larger. I think what’s interesting is that even though it is larger, every single scene has a network and a support, whereas in Burlington, even though there is somewhat of a diverse music scene, there are only a few of those scenes that really have people come out to shows. Where in Burlington you might have an artist come through that sells maybe half a room, they’ll come to L.A. and that show will sell out weeks or months in advance. So, I think that’s really the biggest difference, is that there is just more support for all the different little pockets of music in L.A.
Moving into the release, what themes do you draw upon with You Know I Loved It?
Well, definitely intimacy, relationships, kind of the feeling of the ghost of relationships when they’re over, how they have kind of a tremor effect to an extent. Definitely some themes of mental illness, suicidal thoughts, and compassion and empathy, just trying to be all parts in a relationship and realizing that sometimes that’s not the best way to go about things.
How do you draw upon these themes differently on this release than on previous releases?
This is the first release of my work since a tragedy in my own personal life, so really I was able to draw from that. Whereas music that came up before was, again, still about relationships and heartache, and the beauty of relationships, this release is really specifically about one event.
What role do the remixes and collaboration on the release play?
All the collaborations are either by close friends or collaborators, or people that I really admire and respect musically and personally. But, really what I hope to do whenever I put out remixes or covers within an original release is to kind of give several different aesthetics on one theme. Several different sonic renditions that still feel cohesive to an extent. When I was a DJ in college radio, and still when I DJ events now, there’s something about pairing eclecticism with kind of a single thread, and keeping that diverse soundscape cohesive, so that’s what I aim to do with this release as well.
How do your collaborators assist in your songwriting process?
Specifically with this release, Sasquatch, who did a remix of “You Know I Loved It”, he was kind of part of the very first stages of the demo of the original. He kind of gave some thoughts on it that were really helpful, and so he was pretty close to the song from the output. Tyler, just from playing his band and him playing in mine, we kind of would go back and forth about ideas with the songs from when they started. So, he’s also been pretty close to those songs as well. This was kind of a way for Tyler and I to continue collaborating even though we’re now in completely separate coasts.
How do you balance your work life with your career as a musician?
Through really strict work ethic and kind of social balance. So, basically committing and scheduling out the time every week on a routine basis of when I work on my music. Usually, I spend an entire day, usually Sunday every weekend, and then one to three nights every week working on music. I’m very precious with my time in that regard.
My hot take, this is an actual hot take. I would say just in regard to this release, and in general: love is tough, be true to yourself no matter what.
You Know I Loved It will be released on May 12. It is available for digital, vinyl and cassette pre-order on Bandcamp.