Meet Nigel & the Dropout
Lights, unpredictable loops, and crazy fans.
Published: June 10, 2014
That’s great, but that tightness, that process, doesn’t help when you’re playing a show and somebody from the audience decides to disrupt things. The best-laid plans and all that. “Our worst gig was our very first show,” Hemmye says. “It was at the Berkley Front. There was this woman there who may or may not have been on drugs. She was sitting down in front of the stage. She started sprawling out on the floor, feeling the floor out which is great. Eventually, she came up to the stage and we were in the middle of playing a song. She hugged me, and then hugged Andrew, and then got hold of a microphone mid-song and started yelling, ‘I love these guys,’ as loud as possible. She’s feeling herself the whole time. She hops on the drum set and starts hitting things. No one stopped her. I remember finishing the song and saying into the microphone, ‘Really? Are you serious?’”
Things could only really get better from there, and they did, although the guys admit that they do fuck up fairly regularly. “I don’t think we’ve had a perfect show, and I hope we never do,” Hemmye says. “We pride ourselves that we don’t use laptops. We can make mistakes — we can fuck up. It’s a juggling act, and we take pride in that.”
“We’re pretty critical of ourselves,” Ficker adds. “We use a lot of loops, and things can get really messy if things are just a little bit off. If I mess up a lick and then loop it, you keep hearing that mistake. The mistakes are really forever. The eight seconds where I’m doing a loop have to be perfect or it’s really obvious.”
Nigel & the Dropout is a great example of what makes the current vibrant Detroit music scene so exciting. Nearly impossible to put in a genre box, the guys are always looking to do something new. And yet, they’re really not out of place on any local bill. Hemmye says that there are good and bad things about being a Detroit band. “Places like this (the rehearsal space) — this is why it’s really great,” he says. “Getting people out to shows is a lot more difficult. Public transport is a factor. People get sketched out and worried that they’ll get shot.”
This weekend, the band plays at the Loving Touch in Ferndale. “It’s our first weekend playing at the Loving Touch, and it’s a free show so it’ll be easier to pull,” Hemmye says. “I’m excited to play the venue. Nothing crazy planned. We’ve got a new song we haven’t played yet. To make it fit in with everything else, I want to have all the lights synchronized — make it really cool. It can be a bitch to program, because I feel like other bands, when they have a light show, they have a guy in the back pushing buttons, whereas we have it hooked up to our gear and pre-programmed, so we’re playing the lights like an instrument.”
Lights, unpredictable loops, and crazy fans — what more could you possibly ask for?
Nigel & the Dropout plays with Citizen Smile, the Sound Logic, and Tart on Friday, June 13, at the Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-546-3644; no cover.
> Email Brett Callwood