Nick Vivid Offers a Feel-Good Blast from the Past with “Trainers”

Nick Vivid takes on self-image and persistence on his danceable new track “Trainers,” the latest release from his upcoming fourth record, No More Secrets. It’s a fun feel-good anthem that would fit perfectly on your weekend playlist while making you feel like you’re back at the roller rinks or arcades of your childhood – he’s even hosting the album release party at Brooklyn’s All Night Skate in November.

“I was playing around with some rhodes samples and just felt something when I got this one happening,” Vivid explains to TREMG. “It was there within 30 seconds. It just wrote itself. Kinda reminds me of the background vocals on the chorus of ‘Minute by Minute’ from the Doobie Brothers. Kinda has a sweet pullback at the end of the riff that adds this little bit of ‘tension and release’ all in one morsel. It’s a fun hook.”

Alongside the release of “Trainers” comes a fun, 8-bit inspired music video, which Vivid helped code himself. It’s a unique way to complement the song’s retro sound with a modern sense of nostalgia, making it the perfect representation of his sound and innovation. 

“When I was a little kid I was fascinated by computer pirate groups and how they would ‘graffiti’ an intro on a game with scrolling text and graphics before spreading it into the wild,” Vivid shares. “You know – ‘Nick was here’ – that kind of thing. I wasn’t interested in the games, I wanted to know how the pirates did that underground DIY coding that looked a little more raw and visceral than the games themselves. There was an art and a defiance to it that was so badass. So I eventually taught myself some of those coding techniques. I think incorporating that influence works because it’s rooted in the same spirit that my music comes from.”

“Trainers” is the second song fans have heard from No More Secrets, following the equally catchy “Hush Money (Straight to the Bribe),” which came out in August:

It’s easy to be inspired by music of the past, but it can be a true artistic challenge to blend vintage elements in an interesting way while still adding something new. Vivid does this with the perfect mix of playfulness and refinement, thanks in part to his upbringing with a glam rock-loving mother and a radio DJ father. 

Vivid says of his diverse taste, “I love 1970s rock. I love 1990s hip hop. I love 1980s goth and new wave. I think there’s some new beat makers that are making really great stuff on Roland SP-404s. I still listen to the radio – WFMU to Hot 97. I have a few DJs I follow on Mixcloud and a few curators I follow on Youtube. I’m always seeking a vibe that I haven’t heard before. But I have no affinity for a specific time and place or music style. I just like what I like.”

If you have a flair for meaningful pop-rock that doesn’t take itself too seriously, chances are you’ll like what Nick Vivid’s got in store as well. You can find “Trainers” on your favorite streaming services now, connect with Vivid on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and his official website, and keep reading for more from our Q&A!

(c) Geoff Hug

What inspired your new single “Trainers” and its retro sound?

I was playing around with some rhodes samples and just felt something when I got this one happening. It was there within 30 seconds. It just wrote itself. Kinda reminds me of the background vocals on the chorus of “Minute by Minute” from the Doobie Brothers. Kinda has a sweet pullback at the end of the riff that adds this little bit of “tension and release” all in one morsel. It’s a fun hook.

“Trainers” is the opening song of your upcoming record No More Secrets. What made you choose to put that track first?

It was the first one written for the album and definitely set the tone. When I start on an album I usually get one song that tells me what direction things need to go. When I wrote the riff for “Trainers,” I said “That’s what’s happening. I’m gonna make an album that feels like this.”

The “Trainers” music video draws inspiration from 8-bit video games and graphics, and you even coded some of it yourself. What was it like to have a hand in creating something like that?

When I was a little kid I was fascinated by computer pirate groups and how they would “graffiti” an intro on a game with scrolling text and graphics before spreading it into the wild. You know – “Nick was here” – that kind of thing. I wasn’t interested in the games, I wanted to know how the pirates did that underground DIY coding that looked a little more raw and visceral than the games themselves. There was an art and a defiance to it that was so badass. So I eventually taught myself some of those coding techniques. I think incorporating that influence works because it’s rooted in the same spirit that my music comes from.

Growing up, your mom was a big music fan and your dad was a radio DJ. How did being in such a musical family influence your own tastes and musical focuses?

Well, my parents let me get, for the most part, the records I wanted to get when I was a kid. They drew the line at the satanic stuff. I had to get dubs of those records from the kids at school whose parents were a little less “in their business.” But for the most part, they were relatively liberal when it came to music. My mom was into Bowie and Queen and we would go to concerts together. My dad got me into soul music and hip hop at a very early age. He would sometimes bring home DJ Promo copies of albums for me – things I’d never heard of before, so I got exposed to a lot of different kinds of music through that. We had two turntables, a microphone, and a mixer in the living room. That kind of thing.

Speaking of influences, your music draws from retro sounds while still feeling fresh and unique. Who are some of your musical inspirations?

I love 1970s rock. I love 1990s hip hop. I love 1980s goth and new wave. I think there’s some new beat makers that are making really great stuff on Roland SP-404s. I still listen to the radio – WFMU to Hot 97. I have a few DJs I follow on Mixcloud and a few curators I follow on Youtube. I’m always seeking a vibe that I haven’t heard before. But I have no affinity for a specific time and place or music style. I just like what I like. 

After you moved to New York, you started working with Bill Aucoin, who previously worked with legends like Billy Idol and KISS. Was it intimidating to work with him knowing his track record?

Bill was great. He knew the egos and insecurities of artists and could read people better than anyone I’ve ever met. He was sensitive to that so he always found something positive to say and it was always genuine. But he also pushed me. Told me I had to go the mile for the foot. I’d be excited about a song and play it for him and he’d be like “OK that’s great. Now come back next time with something better.” So there was a work ethic there that he instilled that I carry with me to this day. He was the one who encouraged me to move to New York. I don’t think I would have done that without someone like him telling me I could do it. He had a belief in me that I didn’t have in myself at the time. 

What song are you most excited for fans to hear off No More Secrets?

“Blackmail” is my favorite, though some of the deeper tracks near the end of the album balance things out and introduce elements I’ve never used before. “The Sky is Falling,” for example, is really trippy arrangement-wise. It has three distinct sections and each one tells the same story from a different point of view.

Is there anything else you’d like to mention that the questions didn’t touch on?

Not really. Just excited about the upcoming album release on November 12th and appreciate you asking me to do this interview!

TREMG news

Madison Murray View All →

Hi! I’m Madison Murray, a pop culture and music writer who also loves writing about lifestyle and fashion. I have credits on sites like TREMG, Young Hollywood, and Audible Addixion, and I’m the founder of Melodic Musings. In addition to writing, I’m a community editor on Genius, lyric curator on Musixmatch, and a playlist curator at VOLUP2. My favorite artists include Taylor Swift, Machine Gun Kelly, BLACKPINK, Elko, phem, and YUNGBLUD. She/her.

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