I took the opportunity to talk with the ever affable, Huddersfield based, guitarist about his forthcoming new album release ‘Quadrivium’.
JWS: Good afternoon Nick, how are you doing?
NF: I’m doing very well thank you!
JWS: So let’s talk ‘Quadrivium’, What’s it all about Nick?
NF: Well the album which is fully instrumental with no vocals this time (due in part to be unable to locate vocalists who could sound right for the albums themes), it’s based upon Plato’s four noble arts, Mathematics, Astronomy, Geometry and Music. This album, ‘Quadrivium’, links three of those; Astronomy, Mathematics and Geometry, under the overall one of music, as the whole album is, in effect, music. It may be a lofty concept yet I feel it is a valid one.
JWS: It is definitely an interesting one and I found it interesting that drummer Anika Nilles hardly appears on the opening track and then her presence is strongly felt thereafter.
NF: Yes, that was a deliberate decision to ease her in gently, I think it works?
JWS: Yes, I agree, how did that tie up come about?
NF: It’s a long story so I’ll give you a shortened version of it, I was going the see Jeff Beck but the tour got cancelled because of the pandemic. It was rescheduled, which also got subsequently cancelled as well. When it was rescheduled once again, I couldn’t get a ticket, however, a friend of mine told me I’ve got tickets but we can’t go, do you want them for half price?
Well, I almost bit his hand off to get them, this was in May 2022 and when the band came onstage I was surprised to see that Vinnie Colaiuta was not amongst them, instead this young girl was on drums. I thought, what!? As I really like Vinnie as a drummer but, with the first songs, I could see why see was there (those first songs were Rumble and Isolation, the latter with Johnny Depp on guitar).
After the concert I looked her up online and got in touch to see if she would play on my next album. I heard nothing for a while and I thought she’s probably busy or not interested, so forgot about it. Then, out of the blue, I got an email saying “Hi Nick, sorry for the delay in replying but I was checking you out and, yes I would love to play on your album.”
I was gobsmacked I can say, so we talked and shared the music and Anika did her parts in Germany where she is based (in Berlin) and the results can be heard on the album. Anika has all the skills I was after, she can go from a whisper to a scream within the same track, she is a percussive powerhouse. I am very proud of the parts she played for this album, she is a phenomenal talent and I am proud to introduce her to the world on this album.
JWS: She is joined by some familiar names like Dave Bainbridge and Tim Harries, Along with your regular collaborator Caroline Bonnett who, along with being the producer, also provides keyboards.
NF: Yes, I’ve known Dave since we were both 19 and Caroline from my earlier career as a session musician for mainly Christian music artists like Dave Bilbrough and Martin Joseph, amongst others.
That Jeff Beck concert was fantastic, Jeff was a totally unique player with his own identifiable sound and style, he was a master of his art and it almost made me want to give up playing as he was so good!
JWS: I saw Jeff in Birmingham in 1982, his concert was like a guitar masterclass really, totally remarkable. He’s start a solo and something new would come out of it or that’s how it seemed to me. So, on to the new album then…
NF: Yes, well it begins with a track that is referenced in the last track of my previous album, ‘The Cloud Of Unknowing’ and the latter part of that album’s last track The Paradox Part 2, which is reprised on this album in the opening track, A Wave On The Ocean Of Eternity. In addition, The Fifth Parallel uses repeated harmonics within the track.
The album takes you on a journey through life to death, from the earth to the outskirts if the solar system. It is a journey best undertaken in a single setting so that various soundscapes can be fully heard and appreciated fully. You will find all of the styles I employ, fast, emotive, soft and heavy, although you won’t hear any whammy bar effects as I don’t use those, nor do I use any tapping techniques. I feel that this lick is a trademark of mine, it hopefully marks me as being different and yet still, hopefully, I remain interesting to listen to.
The album changes moods often within the same track and my collaborators have made this album a worthwhile listening experience.
JWS: I’d have to agree, it’s a wonderful release and one of the albums of the year, many thanks for talking to me and all the best.
NF: Thank you John, I much appreciate the comments, look after yourself.
‘Quadrivium’ was release don 15/9/23 and you can order direct from Nick’s website here: