The Nik Westman Interview
Nik Westman is a man who wears many hats. Not only is he a Swede, but he is a skateboarder, professional chef, and musician who fronts a pretty sweet band. If you haven’t heard of Nik Westman and the Central Plains, here’s your shot! You’ve been missing out on a prime piece of hometown indie folk rock. The band’s first album was named one of WYEP’s top 5 local releases of 2010. Now that they have a bit more experience under their belt, they’re embarking on a spring tour with Boca Chica to promote their latest release, “Walk On Beaches.” Be sure to hit up the event page for their weekend-long CD release celebration, which kicks off Friday. Without further adieu, I give you the Nik Westman interview:
KS: How did Nik & The Central Plains come about and what does your name signify?
NIK: The band’s name was inspired by a journal I wrote in college. It was based around my opinions of American cuisine. In the 1800s, millions of Scandinavians immigrated to this part of the country and apparently brought some serious sausage & cheese making skills to Minnesota & Wisconsin. Ha, I could go on…the name signifies the landscape & rock n roll.
KS: How do you think your follow-up measures up to your first release? Any notable similarities between the two albums, or are you trying to create a different feel with “Walk on Beaches”?
NIK: Yeah, that was a surprise to the band. We didn’t expect much attention. Having a local radio station like WYEP share our music has been very helpful and we’ve scored some sweet gigs thanks to them. Of course I think “Walk on Beaches” is way better because it’s new and we recorded with Jake Hanner (of Donora), but I really don’t know what people will think of it. It’s definitely more cohesive & representative of our band, Kraig, Colin & myself. It’s not too similar to the first one. I’d say there’s more rockin’ & confidence in this one.
KS: I believe you told me before you were planning the entire tour you just booked…what was that process like?
NIK: Booking a tour has been easier than I thought. Hallie Pritts from Boca Chica & I split the tour in half, which definitely took some weight off the process. Really, it’s just about figuring out what cities you want to play in, then you look up venues & bands through the local papers & blogs. There’s a whole lot of e-mailing & research. It just takes some time to get the formula down, A LOT OF ONLINE TIME. Greg Dutton of Lohio had a lot of helpful suggestions of where to start and it’s great to know people who have insight. The biggest challenge was probably getting venues to respond to a band from Pgh that they had never heard of.
KS: You’re going to be touring with Boca Chica. How did that relationship come about and what made you decide to go on the road together?
NIK: Yes indeed, I’ve been friends with Hallie for some time now and Kraig Decker, who plays bass in the Plains also started playing keys in Boca Chica not too long ago. There was talk of a Boca Chica tour in the spring and I thought to myself, “Why don’t we just team up and hit the road together?” We share members so it just seemed to make sense.
KS: You play a ton of local shows – name one of your most memorable Pittsburgh shows to-date.
NIK: Yeah, we are one of those bands that basically took every show we could get in the beginning and kind of thought of each gig as a practice. That’s how we got tighter as a band. The most memorable gig for me was probably our record release party last March at the Thunderbird. The place was so packed you couldn’t move. A fight broke out during our first song, it was wild. The Thunderbird wasn’t a cafe that night, it was more like a western saloon.
Nik Westman and the Central Plains’ new album is titled “Walk on Beaches” and can be purchased at Paul’s Discs, Dave’s Music Mine, and online here, here, and on iTunes.