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Erik Nervous

Erik Nervous

Erik Nervous (aka Erik Hart to his folks) has produced at least an E.P. a year since 2015, releasing his music on a long list of American indies, such as Warm Ratio, Total Punk, Neck Chop, Lumpy, and Digital Regress. There was a short break during the pandemic, but even then, Erik hooked up with two friends, as the Beta Blockers. Erik also happens to be one of the top punk recording engineers in the Midwest and has been playing synth in The Spits since 2021.

As a kid, at the turn of the millennium, Erik was immersed in 1970s and 80s pop culture - sugary cartoon fair, from Scooby-Do to Yogi Bear, musically from Prince to Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta’s turn in Grease. It was an obsession with the Harmonix Guitar Hero II video game that got Erik into making his own music. He learnt how to play drums via their subsequent Rock Band series. After buying a cheap acoustic guitar from Target, while in 5th or 6th grade, he received an electric one for Christmas a few years later. He insists that he still uses this instrument for 90% of his recording.

Starting out teaching himself how to multi-track, etc. with an iPad and Garageband, Erik then went retro and bought a Tascam 4-track recorder. His output to date takes inspiration from an eclectic range of sources, from the classic UK post-punk of Swell Maps, Wire, The Fall, and Gang Of Four, and their US counterparts, Devo, Talking Heads, plus R Stevie Moore, to the groovy kosmische of Can, and Steve Reich’s classical minimalism… plus some Moondog.

'Immaturity' marks the return of Erik Nervous as a solo artist. The thirty-nine minute long playing rock album will be co-released by FatCat (UK) and Feel It (US) on November 3rd, 2023. Most of Immaturity was written, as it was recorded, in the basement of Erik’s rural North Eastern Indiana home - the same house he’s lived in all his life. The title of the record reflects Erik’s refusal to grow up. “I don’t think I’m particularly mature for my age,” he says. “I still live at home with my family, I eat fast food and drink soda, I don’t really have an actual job. Very George Costanza.”

Song subjects range from anxiety (‘Ninth’, ‘Third Layer’) to astral projection (‘Projector’). “As with most of my music, generally I’m voicing or working through my worries and anxieties with myself, work, other people, and getting through life,” says Erik.

‘Ankle Deep’ and ‘Bottle V Record’ detail Erik’s disliking of alcohol and society’s reverence for it. The former illustrates a desire for life to be about more than “drinking and talking to people”, whilst the latter is about the artists preference to spend twenty bucks on records rather than booze.

Lead single ‘Drop Dead’ was, as Erik describes “One of those special ones that just flowed out of my head ready to go,” but the writing process wasn’t always as straightforward. “I’m very procrastinatory when it comes to lyrics, so to rid myself of nearly all distractions, I turned off my WiFi and locked myself in my basement studio for most of a week until I finished writing and recording them,” he says.

A big fan of fellow self-taught “outsider” artists, and the DIY ethic, Erik’s sonic armoury contains yellowed plastic Casiotones, Yamaha Portasounds, and a smiling cat-shaped Meowsic keyboard, all purchased from yard sales, Goodwills, and misspelt eBay auctions. These, and a Tyco toy guitar all add to the album’s nostalgic retreat back into a treasured childhood, and its overall irresistible, enthusiasm-packed, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, joyful punch. However, don’t let the self-deprecating playfulness fool you. Erik is totally schooled and has serious chops.


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