Nicholas Russell
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Nicholas Russell

Band Rock Pop

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"When the ever evolving entity known as the Neighborhood started broadcasting on KSER 90.7 FM in the fall of 2001, Ivan was one of the first bands to submit material for airplay consideration. After nearly a year of hearing promo CDs, I still rank Ivan as one of the top 10 Puget Sound bands who've found themselves on my playlists. Matter of fact, on October 24, 2001 I ranked Ivan as "My New Favorite Band of the Week." Ivan's music deserves to be heard by anyone who appreciates powerful, quality rock with lyrics that tower above the average mainstream drivel."

Jim Peppan
Music Coordinator, KSER FM
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- KSER FM


"This is most definitely a band to look out for. We don't know too much about them but we just got a three song demo and they rock. They have a killer funk-driven rock sound that is raw and original. Their songs are creatively written and frontman Nick Denke delivers solid, emotional, edgy vocals without sounding cheesy. Guitarist Bill Bartel has a rough, moody funk sound, and with bassist Bart Morrow and drummer Kevin Hammond laying the foundation, this band has a great sound.
"They really are original and it is pretty tough to think of someone they sound like. They are definitely rock, but they have a clear pop appeal. They remind me a bit of local Seattle band The New Digs, but vocally they are completely different. The arrangements within the three songs we heard were just a bit different and clever but didn't risk losing the casual listener due to wacky changes... I really recommend that you check these guys out if you get the chance."
Thomas Marchese
Rock Paper Scissors
- Rock Paper Scissors


Discography

Nicholas Russell's debut, self titled album is finished and awaiting distribution.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

If Cleveland, Ohio was the launch pad of Rock and Roll 50 years ago, then Seattle, Washington was where they built the engine. From guitar-band pioneers like the Ventures and The Kingsmen; through the fury of Jimi Hendrix and Heart; and past the grunge / metal movement that spawned Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice In Chains, Seattle has been a breeding ground for some of rock’s most enduring legends dating back to the early 1950s.

Fast forward to 2004. Nicholas Russell, singer/songwriter and Jet City native is ready to carry on the tradition of the Northwest and forge a brave new path with unique but catchy chord changes, and a melody that everyone understands. In two words: pop music.

"A lot of people look down on you if you say you write and record pop music," says Russell, who has just completed his self-titled debut album. "But, that’s what my music is. The greatest writers in rock’n’roll from Little Richard; Holland Dozier Holland; Lennon & McCartney to Brian Wilson didn’t build their legacy around a lot of high-brow music. They made pop music and that has always been the real common denominator in the rock’n’roll equation. They call it pop music because it is indeed popular."

From the infectious melody and chord changes of the acoustic driven pop gem, "The Real One," through more aggressive songs like "Already Been," and "I Saw You", Russell presents many of the traditional scenarios with a fresh, and often compelling twist. It’s not just boy meets girl they fall in love and live happily ever after. With Nicholas Russell’s songs, the couple only makes it after years of therapy, bouts of psychosis, and considerable time spent in an anger management program.

After ten years on the Seattle club circuit, Russell has finally decided that it is his love of songwriting that has always been at the source of his musical inspiration. He has come full-circle and returned to writing and recording new songs best suited for himself (and not for a band of which he is a member). "Turning emotions into sound has always intrigued me and motivated me to keep moving forward with my music," he says. "This album took a year to record, but it has been years and years in the making."

"I had a girlfriend when I was 9 years old. Her parents would constantly play Elvis records in their home," says Russell. "I liked it enough to buy one of his records. Soon afterwards, one of my 8 older siblings introduced me to The Beatles, and that was it…"

Like millions of other aspiring musicians, Russell soon absorbed everything about The Fab 4 and their music he could, but it was one area in particular he paid attention to: their amazing ability to create well-crafted, infectious pop songs.

"My mom got me my first guitar around that time and I spent every free moment learning songs out of an Easy-Play Beatles songbook. By 12, I was in a band doing 8th grade dances singing stuff like ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’. I knew this is what I had to do. If nothing else, it was a great way to have girls introduce themselves to me."

Through his high school years and a myriad of bands, and during four years spent at the University of Washington earning a degree, he furthered his musical interests by taking advanced guitar and piano lessons, and later, classes in music theory and arrangement (Among his professors was Dave Brubeck Quartet member, Bill Smith).

"I graduated witth a degree in electrical engineering, with a main focus on digital signal processing for audio, but my real passion was the music classes I took," he says. "I would plead with the teachers in the music department and tell them I was a music major so I could get in all these great classes that only students in the music school could attend," he adds, admitting he could charm his way into any class he desired. "In the end, it was well worth the white lies. The education taught me how much goes into music composing. Most musicians take the process of songwriting for granted. It is, indeed, a real art."

While in college, he was asked by one of his older brothers to come on board at Victory Studios, a successful audio/video post production facility, where Russell worked creating film and TV music, as well as several years of doing engineering. "To be able to work there was like winning the lottery. I was able to go to work in a world class studio creating and recording all types of different music. For me, the recording studio has become an instrument all its own." Not long after joining the staff at Victory, he earned credits mixing audio recordings for video and CD compilations for the likes of Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains.

While cutting his teeth in the studio at Victory, his pop music career began to flourish in earnest. Russell was soon fronting two popular Seattle-based bands, Godot, and later, the popular club act, Ivan. The latter evolved into the current Russell solo project, with all of the former Ivan members appearing on his