With quick wit, rare steaks and sharp answers, we managed to sit down with Steve Nicosia recently. Telling us more about the new album Matter of Time and how Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli changed everything, this is a must-read for any deep thinkers out there.
Hello there Steve. We appreciate your time. Where can we find you in the world today and what is your favourite meal ever?
Steve: Hi! Thank you so much for having me. I currently live in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. A short drive to the much more well-known city of Toronto.
Ah, my favourite meal – that’s a tough one. For me, choosing a meal is kind of like choosing which music I want to listen to. It’s best suited towards a particular mood. However, if I had to pick I’d say a medium rare steak, a twice-baked potato and a warm spinach salad. 🙂
Please tell us more about your new album Matter of Time and what does it represent?
Steve: ‘Matter of Time’ is a concept album that I had been batting around for a while. It is meant to represent the evolution of our earth and the matter from which it (and everything on it) is made. A similar concept is one you have probably heard – everything that has a beginning has an end.
However, ‘Matter of Time’ goes one step deeper to say that even when something ends or completes its life cycle, its matter lives on and will eventually become part of a new entity. So while it is a matter of time before our earth runs its course, it is also the matter of time that keeps evolving and taking new shape.
The concept was inspired by a book I read from Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli called ‘The Order of Time’. In the book, Rovelli theorized that time can be measured by a sequence of events, and that every entity in the universe (including our Earth) is technically an event.
I found Rovelli’s theory so simple yet compelling that it prompted me to explore the variety of emotions it made me feel: sad and worried, too hopeful and reassured. The result of this emotional roller coaster is the music itself. There are 4 distinct songs with 4 different musical styles. And within each song is a journey of emotional highs and lows.
The last thing I’ll mention is that to help tie the distinct songs together, I wrote each of them in the same key (C Major). And if you listen really carefully, there’s also a similar melody which be heard throughout the album!
Who painted the beautiful artwork?
Steve: I’m glad you like it! The artwork is painted by none other than my father, Dino Nicosia. He is a retired real estate agent, but has always had a passion for painting. Since retiring, he produces nearly a painting a week… of all different forms and styles. I figured there would be no one else better to bring my artistic vision to life than him. In the end, I think it’s really cool that there’s a father-son artistic duo at play with this project.
The artwork itself is the visual representation of the concept I outlined earlier. I knew I wanted to write 4 different songs for the EP so I had this idea of matching one of the evolutionary phases of the earth to a song. The earth is exhibited in 4 different stages: (1) its rocky formation, (2) beautiful and life as we know it, (3) dried up and desolate, (4) its matter being ripped apart.
By the way, if you like the artwork, you can buy the poster on my website: https://snmusic.ca
Also, more of my father’s art can be found here: https://nicosiaart.com
Sorry – shameless promotions!
Who is the rock in your life who keeps you grounded?
Steve: There’s no doubt that it would be my fiancé Lindsay. The pandemic brought on a lot of highs and lows, but I quickly realized I could turn to Lindsay for everything. Whether I need someone to bounce a creative idea off of, someone to make me laugh, or a shoulder to cry on… she is my go-to.
She is also one of my biggest fans! (Although she might be biased haha)
Are there any good spots in your local area to watch good underground music?
Steve: Hamilton had a really good music scene but that was disrupted a bit with the pandemic. However, it’s been bouncing back as of late. One of the more popular spots is The Casbah. The venue is on the smaller side so feels really intimate.
It’s also been really cool to see a number of historical sites such as an old home or factory being renovated into music venues. This has helped reinvigorate key pockets of the city.
Which other musicians inspire you?
Steve: Over the last year, I’ve really started to dig my heels into instrumental music. It’s easy to listen to when working, and there’s such a wide variety of styles/moods to choose from.
There are three artists that I have found myself coming back to over and over.
Trent Reznor – Nine Inch Nails frontman has proven that his talent goes way deeper than hard rock or industrial music. His recent movie/TV scores have taken on many different styles, but all are so moving.
Ludovico Einaudi – such a beautiful pianist. He has inspired me to improve my piano playing skills.
Ólafur Arnalds – I really appreciate how he blends classical music with experimental sounds.
Do you think the local live music community has recovered after covid or what needs to happen to ensure its survival?
Steve: Yes. It will be a slow process I’m sure as people become more comfortable with big crowds again.
I think many people are eager for live experiences and frankly, we need it. There’s nothing like a concert to bring crowds of like-minded people together. And I believe that’s what venues, marketers, and artists need to promote; music brings people together and satiates a deep-seated human need for community and to belong. Your fellow fans are your tribe.
Final question. What is the vision for your career?
Steve: Hmm good question! Creating music is not a full-time gig for me, but it’s a very necessary creative outlet. So I intend to always have a project on the go, but the music itself may come out somewhat sporadically. My partner and I have a baby on the way so the music will inevitably take a back seat for a little bit as I’m sure I’ll be running on less sleep! Haha
For now, my focus is on promoting ‘Matter of Time’ and preparing for the album’s release on vinyl! I’m very excited to announce that it will be available in physical form in a few months.
Listen up on Spotify.
Interview by Llewelyn Screen