Photo Credits: Negrete performing at The California Aggie's Couch Concert series on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 at Lower Freeborn. (Photo by Justin Han / Aggie)
A band with a spirit full of feeling and fun
Lyricist, lead singer and guitarist Nick Negrete wants to get out of college — so much so that he wrote a song about it. Written as an expressional anecdote to illustrate Negrete loathing his college experience, “Another year, another year. Another year. Let me go” starts off the song “GREENE” from the band Negrete’s EP “ST. GEORGE.”
“That was just me being pissed off,” said Negrete, a third-year student at American River College. Thomas Greene, the president of the school, is the muse of the song’s lyrical intent. Negrete explained that when he writes lyrics, it’s a combination of when he’s “pissed off,” complaining about someone or stringing words together that sound good and flow.
“Our lyrics are purely aesthetic to a certain degree,” said Alejandro Magallan, the band’s guitarist and a third-year music major. He explained that their lyrics are analogous to Thom Yorke of Radiohead in the way that “you don’t know what the f–k he’s saying” and that “it’s the tone of his voice [and] the tambor” that drives the lyrics and makes them so compelling.
Behind closed doors, their conversations emanate the free-spirit of the group. Their playful energy is evident in their music and in their performances. Talking about their lyrics, Negrete explains that, “if you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s hard to be like, damn those suck or to say [I’m] talking about something stupid.”
“That’s genius,” responded Niko Chapman, a second-year student at Sacramento City College and the drummer of the band, as they all laughed at the remark.
As a band, they agreed that their musical aura is best represented as “beach-rat grunge.” But at the end of the day, they all enjoy being musically creative and just playing what makes them feel good. The motive of their music is to “make you feel something,” according to Magallan.
He further explained that their content is “bare,” “essential” and “raw.” Really, it all comes down to one thing: losing yourself in the music.
“We just kind of play because we love it,” said Taylor Clark, a bassist and a third-year student at American River College. “And it’s fun. You can really get lost in [the music].”
The band officially formed in April 2019, though they have known each other since high school. Negrete and Clark joined their high-school jazz band together — the genesis of the band today. While the duo was playing in a band for a peer’s senior project, Magallan found his niche on the electric guitar. Chapman picked up the drums on a whim and has been with the band since. Negrete, Nick’s last name, became the band’s name.
Negrete called the energy of the band their “selling point.” They enjoy playing basement or house shows — or The California Aggie’s office in Lower Freeborn — because those are the shows with the most receptive and energetic crowds.
Rather than exploitive ticket sales and distractions to the music, the crowd has the chance to indulge in a music-focused experience. After all, such a venue aligns with the morals of the band: music for fun’s sake.
It’s not that they don’t want to broaden their horizons — the band has played twice at Holy Diver, a popular venue in Sacramento, so they don’t lack talent — but they simply would rather play in a more intimate setting where they can feel the crowd’s energy being moved by the music.
“In a basement or a house, just like these enclosed spaces, the energy gets stuck in there,” Magallan said. “You’re just right there.”
The band named their performance at Turtle House in Davis as one of their favorite performances. By the first song, people were crowd surfing and swinging by the rafters. It was a bucket list moment for the band.
The soul of the band is feeling and fun, and their music is best received when the spirit lives in the crowd. The band feeds off of that energy to create a compelling environment not only for the audience, but also for themselves.
In regards to keeping that enthusiasm alive, the band touched on their latest EP, “St. George,” available on Spotify. They explained a need to get something out for recognition as a legitimate band.
“[It is] important for us to have some amount of image or some amount of memorability,” Negrete said.
“To record [music] and have a finished product — that no matter where you’re at in your life to look back and [say] this is what I was doing when I was 21, this is my project that I was a part of — I think it’s a really special thing,” Chapman said.
Negrete will be featured in an upcoming video as part of The California Aggie Couch Concert series.
Written by: Sierra Jimenez and Caroline Rutten — firstname.lastname@example.org