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Palm Springsteen brings you the best of each coast. I mean, it’s right there in the name! Palm, because there are palm trees in the west coast, and Springsteen, because Bruce Springsteen is from the east coast!
I don’t think they did that quite intentionally, but it sure works for them! Comprised of Nick Hinman (vocals), based in L.A., and Luca Buccellati (synth), Hayden Tobin (guitar), and Kyle Sirell (drums), based in NYC, they make sure to bring their dance-your-troubles-away vibe coast-to-coast.
Initially, started as a solo project by Hinman, the music he was writing was too much to take on for one person. He played a few shows with a guitar and drum machine, but he needed more. The group finally came together to play an impromptu Fourth of July show in NYC. It was their first time playing together in person, and it turned out great—they’ve been playing together ever since.
Recently, they finished up recording an EP in L.A., which is currently being mixed and now they’re on the search for a label to release it on. So we highly suggest keeping an eye on these guys! Check out their Facebook and Soundcloud to see what they’re cooking up next. They also just headlined a show in NYC that BTRtoday was able to catch.
Below we chat with Hinman about Palm Springsteen, living coast to coast, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
BTRtoday (BTR): How did Palm Springsteen get birthed into the world?
Nick Hinman (NH): It actually started as a solo project that I created in my bedroom. I live in L.A. now, but I used to live in New York. I used to play drums in a few bands around and I just started my own project in my room and saving songs under this moniker “Palm Springsteen,” because I just didn’t know what else to call it and it sounded like a really sick band name.
I’ve known Kyle, the drummer, since we were in high school. He’s roommates with Luca in New York. When I moved to L.A. in 2014, I finally started showing some people the music just in my car and stuff. They were like, “whoa, this is sick—you have to play it!” and I had no idea how I was going to do that because it’s so many different parts and I’m just one person. So I started playing shows in L.A. with just a guitar and a drum machine, and that’s when my friend Hayden came by to one of the shows in L.A., and he was like, “dude, this is rad—let’s take this to my studio!” So we kind of started working through a few songs there.
Then I went on a trip to New Orleans with Kyle and I was playing him some of the songs and he was like, “dude, this is sick, let’s play some stuff while you’re in NY!” Then he showed it to his roommate Luca and in July we all met up. We got together for like one practice on the Fourth of July and played, because I had like 15 songs done. So we played through all the parts and we were like, “this is so tight, let’s just play a show tomorrow!” and we played a Fourth of July backyard BBQ show and it was super fun. That was the first time the real/full Palm Springsteen band was put together—on America’s birthday.
BTR: So Palm Springsteen is your baby, what kind of inspiration goes into the writing processes? Like, not just other musical inspirations, but what do you dissect from your life that you put into your music?
NH: A lot of it is impulse—I feel like the real stuff is from whatever is happening in your life at that moment, that’s always where I draw a lot of inspiration from. I kind of just wake up with the idea for a song or maybe hear something in my head and then just run with it, you know?
Some of my influences for this project for sure were Suicide, New Order, Book of Love—a lot of ‘80s post-punk/new wave type influences, but with a modern spin on it. I really love Gary Numan and the way he runs synths through guitar amps, having a mix of cool synth sounds with a raw/live guitar sound. So I feel like that’s where a lot of my influences come from.
BTR: Have you always been so musically inclined?
NH: Yeah! I was always in high school bands and stuff. It was something that I was doing for myself over the last few years, until there was a point where my friends finally bullied me into playing it live.
I grew up skateboarding in California and listening to a lot of punk bands and just being a little shithead. I grew up in San Francisco, near the Bay area, and I lived in NYC from 2009-2014—I was playing music in NYC then too. I was playing drums in a few bands. I was playing drums for a while in this band called Shakes, a really sick punk band. I was mostly playing the East Village circuit, places like Niagra and Bowery Electric—it was pre-Berlin.
I had been in NYC for a while, and I’ve always loved NY, but I had spent time in L.A. and I was looking for a change of scenery. It’s been great having this band half of us in NYC and me in L.A.
BTR: Yeah, how does that work since you guys are so spread out?
NH: It’s actually been working pretty well for the most part. We’ve got both spaces covered in a way. Since I can write the music and send it to them and they can learn the parts, it’s easy for me to come out to NY and play like five or six shows—like last July. And then they came out to L.A. and we played a few shows in the fall. It just depends on the shows—the more and more show offers we get it gets harder to coordinate. But it’s just happened organically and it hasn’t been too much of an issue yet. I mean, I’m sure at some point it’ll be annoying if someone asks us to play a show the next day and we can’t all materialize there. But yeah, it’s actually worked out great so far.
BTR: Cool. So what’s in store for the future of Palm Springsteen?
NH: We just recorded an album in a studio in L.A., which is in the process of being mixed—so we’ve been talking to a lot of labels about that. Yeah, and I don’t know, just riding the space wave right now, I guess—the proverbial space wave.
BTR: Word! What else can be said about Palm Springsteen?
NH: Well, we’re really trying to play a show on Leonardo DiCaprio’s yacht! So, if he reads this, get in contact with me, that would be great. That’s my biggest plug—I’m just trying to nail that show.