It was midway through last year that Melbourne duo Nyck (that’s pronounced as an acronym) dropped their first song into triple j Unearthed with ‘Decision’, and in the few short months that have followed they had signed with Mushroom imprint 100s + 1000s and earlier this year, released their new EP Alive.
Bearing truly unpolished and poignant instrumentation coupled with sad melodies, lead vocalist Nick Acquroff explains that all of the EP’s five songs were written during a three-month period in 2016 that followed his breakdown of a long-term relationship.
“I went through that whole process of feeling a bit lost, and I was living in a house in St Kilda with my best bud and we were drinking a lot because we were both single and we were partying a lot, it was just one of those really up and down times,” he says. “It ended up being really cool though because I’d get up and write a song and just got on this incredible roll of writing songs that were really honest and cathartic.
“It really helped me through that whole time and then at the end of it, it all sort of led into each other, so if you listen to the EP, it’s all written over the space of 12 weeks and it’s all just real stuff about what I was going through at the time.”
Joined by Dominique Garrard, the duo has shaped that period of heartbreak into a wonderfully forlorn yet optimistic piece of work. Starting with the single ‘Speak My Mind’, Acquroff explains this works up to a breaking point. “The point where you realise that things drastically need to change in your life because you are miserable, so ‘Speak My Mind’ was the lead up to the breaking point, and ‘Decision’ is the breaking point and then the rest is those weeks after.”
Coming together only 18 months ago, the pairing of the two musicians was one that was not planned, yet seems to effortlessly create the honest, minimalistic sound we hear today on the EP, complimenting each other’s strengths and weaknesses, both musically and emotionally.
“We’re a really good Yin and Yang. Dom is trained in music, studying Jazz and stuff, and I’m like a complete moron with music, I’m all feel based. I can write stuff that feels good I guess, but I don’t know how or why I did it, whereas Dom is much more analytical,” he laughs. “She is a really good counterpart to me – we’re a really good team.”
With an upcoming performance at Bigsound Festival in Brisbane, and currently in the process of creating new music for the next record, the duo has gained the attention of labels all over the country, with tours alongside Emma Louise and a support slot alongside Amy Shark, creating music which has resonated closely with listeners far and wide.
“I think the most surprising thing for me and what I’ve always wanted in music is gratification from people around me. While it’s not gone to the stratosphere in terms of billions of people listening to it all over the world, there’s been a huge number of other musicians and people from the industry who really like it and just comment on the honesty of it, people have just really loved it. It’s been really special to me because it’s been people who I really admire liking our work.”
With lyrics that document heartbreak with a raw and unparalleled accuracy, Acquroff has grown a lot within the past year since his 12-week journey. And as for the best cure for heartbreak, he has one piece of advice.
“Find a best mate who is in the same position and spend heaps of time together. That’s what I did, I had a best mate and we spent every night for about six months going out and drinking and having fun and it was such a cool thing to just forget it all and just be alive in that sense. Find the good things out of it.”
When & Where: BIGSOUND Festival, Brisbane – September 5 – 8
Visit www.bigsound.org.au for all the festival details.
Written by Talia Rinaldo