Nicholas Megalis Thinkbabymusic Collective Interview

Nicholas Megalis

I don’t know what I was talking about on that day, I think Rolling Stone magazine had just said Taylor Swift was punk rock, I may have been bitter also due to the fact they hadn’t returned any of my emails regarding the record I had just put out; my lousy attempt at humor was a post on twitter. Who cares. God, it’s hard for me to take myself seriously. 

Wikipedia is hilarious, isn’t it? Regular people can make an encyclopedia entry of your life and have no idea what they’re talking about. Historians used to get paid to do that. Now it’s my uncle Teddy on the toilet writing Beyonce’s life story, silly. 

I recorded my first album at the age of 13, probably, in 2002. I can’t do math. I’m 30 this year, it's 2019, so plug that into a calculator. It was a noise record, so they weren’t really songs. I wanted to be Merzbow or Ornette Coleman, something like that. I thought I was a noise musician for a long time. I think I might go back to doing that when I finally get sick of writing things that rhyme. If I ever want to be ignored completely by everyone, I’ll go back to noise. There’s a freedom in that. In making music for the sake of brutality, or the sake of your own catharsis and sick joy.

Noise is freedom.

I grew up on 90’s music, Natalie Merchant and Nirvana. My mom used to clean the house to Fine Young Cannibals and MC Hammer. I think the 90’s were the last time explosive and open creativity was accepted into the mainstream. Now everything is tucked away on the Internet for fans of that particular thing. You have to dig for vibe. Everything is on Soundcloud or YouTube. Everything has its own universe now. Music occupies its own space, and because there are so many more human beings living on this planet, everything has a fandom now. There is room for literally everything. Fans for everything, I like that. The radio isn’t the only way to hear shit now, so it doesn’t matter. Everything is huge and everyone is famous. 

My song ‘Gummy Money’ topped the Hip-Hop charts in five countries, it happened again with ‘Not Funny’ charting the other day. Serendipitously and on purpose. I work really hard to get my music in people’s faces. I don’t have label money, so I’m not on giant billboards in LA. I don’t have a street team. I don’t even pay for promo. I do it all myself and with my diehard supporters. I have social media and I have next to zero shame. I tirelessly promote my work as much as I can while I’m alive. What’s the point in making something if nobody hears it? Can you imagine that? I couldn’t sleep at night. I message literally hundreds of people a day on Instagram and Twitter. “Hey Sarah! Did you hear my new record yet?”, “Hi Dave! What do you think of my new song?” Everyone was psyched on ‘Gummy Money’. It was a hit waiting to happen. It’s hooky and brilliant. So, that helps a song chart. But it also charts because I hustle endlessly and I sleep 3 hours a night. I’m unsigned. It’s the sweat of a musician. I think living in New York City for ten years gave me a fucking serious artist work ethic. It taught me how to make money and make even more noise.

My short story—auto—bio ‘Mega Weird’ was a natural transition from Vine, because Vine was storytelling. It was conceptual and condensed. I couldn’t have written a normal book. Let’s put it this way, I could never have written a novel or something focused. I don’t have the patience. I paced around my apartment in New York City writing ‘Mega Weird’ on loose leaf paper and chain-smoking cigarettes. I can barely sit still. My publisher, Judith Regan, was really inspiring and fearless. She’s the most punk rock publisher in America. She told me not to edit myself, not to cut out any of the fucked up details of my life. That’s why the book did well. It sold because nobody had read a book quite like it. That book was a phenomenon outside of “Nicholas” and outside of Vine. It was a really fucking bizarre collection of true short stories that didn’t apologize for being bizarre.

Everybody at school reminded me of that everyday! I was the kid who drew comic books during lunch, while kids threw food at me. School sucked. It was a nightmare for me. I hope my daughter doesn’t have to go to school. I hope we can home school her like we want to. The system is still screwy. No kid should have to go to school for that many hours a day! It’s not even good for your work ethic or your brain. I think scientists are just figuring that out. It’s not the way everyone is meant to learn. Kids were often cruel. I hope kids are generally nicer in 2019. Kids used to call me a “loser”and a “weirdo” because I wasn’t interested in the pedestrian, lame ass shit they were into. My brain moved fast. I was already learning how to animate with a 16mm camera in my basement with my dad, who was a filmmaker. Is this a therapy session or an interview?

My dad is Greek. I’m half Greek, but as my father always says, “If you’re 1% Greek, you’re 100%.” He’s first generation. My Yaya used to chase me around the house with a rolling pin.

Literally! Like the kind of shit you’d see in a cartoon. That was my life, stealing kourabiedes from the kitchen and getting chased around the house. I used to watch Baywatch on a little black and white TV in her living room, and my Ya Ya would stand in front of it whenever there would be a kissing scene. There was no air conditioning at my Yaya’s house in Ohio. She didn’t believe in it. I also think it’s funny that her television was black and white in 1997. I identify with the neurosis and drama, emotion and joyousness from my Greek side, I love drinking coffee with Greeks and sitting around for six hours laughing and complaining.

I want to visit Greece so bad, I’ve never been!

Published: In Print Issue Nº 07—2019
Interview by Major Tom Alexopoulos, Thinkbabymusic Collective
Photography © Kristina Dawn