Album art from Tape Deported by Acid Glasses.
A day of sheer boredom led to musical breakthrough when indie rock act, Acid Glasses (real name Nick Burk), took his affinity for music samples, invited over a few friends and transitioned his artistry into something organic, live and remarkable. Burk, 22, then stretched his newfound creativity further and made it his own, entering the scene under a fresh pseudonym from his home fort in Memphis, Tennessee.
While he caught the music bug early on from his father, a veteran musician who played for years with his band, Tommy Burk and the Counts, Acid Glasses is only the latest reincarnation of Burk’s passion for the field. His dad introduced him to classic pop wonders like The Supremes, The Coasters, and The Beatles, and, from such inspiration, he played with a few other bands before recently tailoring this new conception, a solo project blending garage rock with pop structure and lyrical content.
But don’t get it twisted. Acid Glasses cannot be defined as pop per se, rather there are merely strong ties to the style of genre. Burk tells BreakThru Radio, “When I think of pop, I may think of Michael Jackson and Prince, but definitely not Christina Aguilera or anything that manufactured. That’s the kind of music that just gets stuck in your head. I like to think of pop in a classic since, in the ‘50s and ‘60s, before rock n’ roll came around.”
For Burk, pop music is “melody-driven” with “simple chord projection.” It’s all about a balance between melody and harmony, and a focus on the good times.
The singer-songwriter adds, “When you get deeper with meaning in the lyrics, that’s when it veers away from pop.”
While music may be his raison d’etre, Burk will be continuing on with his schooling too, finishing up college this year after taking two semesters off to focus on his craft. He’s studying a romantic list of novelties, including literature, poetry and philosophy, and is opting to remain in Tennessee despite a recent urge to transition towards big city life and move to New York. For Acid Glasses, Memphis is a good place to be if you’re touring, as it offers a much more affordable cost of living than does the glitzy high life of Manhattan.
Along with his studies, Burk will be doing more recording as Acid Glasses, and hopefully getting his show on the road.
“Being able to tour more than I’ve been able to… is definitely a thing I’d like to accomplish,” says the musician.
Particularly with his creative approach to live music. Burk describes his favorite performance this year, as a recent gig he did in the wilderness.
“I played two weeks ago at Overton Park in Memphis, which has a big forest, so some of my friends set up a show in the middle of the woods. All we had was a generator, so we lugged our gear out,” he recalls. “We had to go really deep into the woods so the cops wouldn’t come. We put white fabric ties on the trail so everyone would know where it was… It was the most fun because I’ve never done anything like that and I don’t’ know if I’ll ever do anything like that again. It was a really great vibe too. The only light we had was a lantern and a few strings of Christmas lights.”
Acid Glasses released its debut album last year, a record titled, Tape, Deported, which offers subtle reference to a former bandmate of Burk’s who battled the government over visa issues. Described by critics as “acid pop” and “jangly guitar,” the music falls somewhere in the oblivion of rock, pop and spiritual enlightenment through musical tripping. The band buzz is catching on too, and Burk says he’s not afraid about jumping into a flimsy industry on the brink of both innovation and stagnation.
“I just saw the documentary, Press Pause Play, which is all about how much things are changing in the creative arts,” describes Burk. “Nowadays, equipment is cheaper, it’s easier to download software and make your own music, so anyone can do it and put it out there. In the music portion of film, one point they make is that, with all these people making music, it’s so much harder to seek out good stuff. I don’t necessarily agree with the assumption that people are now willing to accept generic, mediocre music, but I’m hopeful for what’s to come. While certain aspects may be declining…I think making a newer genre music gives me a lot of opportunity to be a part of what is going to be, rather than what it was…. So yeah, I’m hopeful.”