Get to Know Fat Nick [Interview]

Kieran Kohorst
Credit: ListenUp!

It’s a tricky thing to be an artist: when you’re successful, everyone wants to hear more from you. Give fans the same sound and you’re labeled complacent; change your music and listeners will only want more of what they heard in the first place. It's assuredly a frustrating situation, the ultimate lose-lose as a creative. 

One way to combat this dilemma is to operate on your own schedule, staying true while being aware of shifting priorities. This is where Fat Nick finds himself today - while his revered raps have built a loyal, fun-loving audience, America’s Number 1 Sweetheart (a self-professed title, but one hard-earned and viable) felt the need for a change. 

These changes came on several fronts, starting with his decision to become sober, which led to a weight loss journey that detracted not at all from his charming nature. Next came a pivot in his artistic approach: having long admired the genre, Nick decided to try his hand at alt pop-punk, embracing his "inner skater nerd” to “make music with feeling." This new focus was premiered with the release of “Songs for the Radio,” a single released with friend and frequent collaborator Pouya. As he continues to make this new sound part of his identity, Fat Nick has announced HELLO I’M VULNERABLE, a new album that will reintroduce fans to Nick, an artist developing in real time. 

Ahead of the album’s release, Fat Nick graciously considered the influences that led to his new direction, his journey to self-improvement, his career to this point, and, most importantly, the friends he made along the way. 

What excites me most about this opportunity to chat is how much change you’ve gone through recently, personally and artistically. What is perhaps most noticeable is the new sound you’ve been showing off with your latest singles, “Wishful Thinking” and “Songs on the Radio.” From what I understand, this is a genre in alt pop-punk you’ve wanted to create in since the beginning of your career. Why did now feel like the right time to pivot musically to this style?

Honestly I grew up on that music and then got into rap; like my first tattoo is Taking Back Sunday lyrics. I just always wanted to do it and I’ve been getting bored in the studio lately and thought it was a perfect time to switch it up and go for it and I genuinely enjoy doing it and I’m fucking good at it. 

The genre is having a bit of a revival since its prominence in the early 2000’s, and pop punk has far outgrown being a trend. You’ve said that your new direction is marked by your wanting to embrace your "inner skater nerd and make music with feeling." Can you recall what initially sparked your interest in alt pop-punk, and why do you feel it suits you so well?

I remember one of my first CDs of pop punk was one that I had burnt from Limewire. It had Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, The Story So Far, Blink-182, Sum 41, etc... I just always liked that genre of music and even in my yearbook photo of 6th grade, I’m wearing a “The Academy Is '' t-shirt and a satchel bag. I feel like this style of music suits me well because I genuinely grew up on it and it’s not forced. This is something I always wanted to eventually try doing.

One thing that becomes abundantly obvious when looking through your catalog is that you’ll see the same names appearing on songs with you, longtime friend Pouya, Kxllswxtch, and plenty of collaboration with Lu as of recent. What do you think you’ve gained from having this continuity of creatives around you? 

Well, first I love working with my best friends. It’s the fucking best thing ever, I like that they are all my besties. Also, we just started [the group] All But 6 so it just fuels me more to build a stronger audience and foundation for us. To continue what we’re doing and people like seeing true friendship they relate because you don’t just seem like an AI bot.

There’s two ways to come to know an artist - either through their work or their personality. There are tons of ways that we see your personality come through in social media, music videos, and your lyrics. How do you approach your work in a way that allows your sense of humor to shine through so effectively?

I’m just me, you always gotta be yourself and people will appreciate it, show humor, show who you are. You don’t always gotta be a tough guy, it's all about balance. I make music about stuff I wanna make it about and the way I want. Do whatever; if it’s organic and natural, you’ll be good.

With all that is new going on in your life right now, would you call this new direction a rebrand for you as an artist? Or is there another way you prefer to view it?

I would say artists evolve. It's perfectly normal to step outside what you normally do. It's about trying new things and breaking boundaries and whatever makes you happy, go for it. This makes me happy. I enjoy doing it. I have fun. It was genuinely fun making this whole album because it is something new and different for once. It is a change and it is scary but super worth it in the end. 

Another difference fans will notice is the personal changes you have made. You’ve lost over 100 pounds, have become sober, and signed to Rostrum Records, congrats on all fronts! What inspired you to go through these changes, and what did you lean on when going through the ups and downs that come with such a dramatic lifestyle shift?

Well when I got sober I was at a point where I was like, “dude, what the fuck are you doing?” This is the thing: one day you gotta stop, like no ifs or buts or you’ll probably end up dead. So I was like, okay, I'm man enough to do drugs, I’m man enough to quit and I’m doing way better now since I quit. I’m so happy I quit and that I have the life that I have now. 

I wouldn't change anything that made me who I am and I appreciate it. With the weight, I was just a fat ass and I wasn’t healthy. I looked insane. What’s important when getting healthy and clean is to go to the gym, do push ups, cut carbs and sugar out; you won’t die, you’ll be okay. I feel the best version of me today then I have felt in years. I’m more creative, healthier, and way hotter. Yeah, Rostrum Records - they’re all good people, and from the bottom of my heart I appreciate them to the fullest because they believe in me and that’s the best thing anyone can ever do.

How do you feel your weight loss and sobriety impacted the music you were making, or how your perception of yourself changed?

I feel like I got more aware, more energetic, more creative, more on top of everything. Don’t get me wrong I was making fucking heaters while I was high as dog shit, bangers…but I can do it now just as well and my confidence was always high, like insanely, and now it’s reached a new peak.

I mentioned the artists you frequently work with earlier, but your list of collaborations is extensive and highly impressive, namely having shared songs with Lil Peep, blackbear, $uicideboy$, and more. Are there any lessons you’ve taken away with working with those artists that still impact you today? Any stories you’d like to share about your time working with them?

All of them, they’re all great people and family and we’ll share memories forever. Me and Peep and me and the $uicideboy$ went on whole tours together; those were some of the best times of my life and moments I wouldn’t trade for the world. And blackbear too. That guy is one of the most solid dudes I’ve met.

Your innate likability has helped you build a fanbase that transcends your music. Did having that loyal support group impact your decision to change direction musically?

Yeah, I feel like our fan base is very solid and here to stay and it’s shown. And in our world of music, there’s already this “pop punk alt etc etc “ influence, so it wasn’t that much of an insane 180.

You just got off tour with Pouya and Kxllswxtch, having been on the road for a month and a half performing for crowds across the country. What’s been special about this tour compared to past shows you’ve done?

Every tour holds a special place in my heart for certain reasons; they’re all incomparable. But this one felt like home…it’s something we’ve all built and chipped in on everyone here is one of my best friends. Just boys being boys, doing what we love. This is though the most eye opening and self-motivating tours I was on.

With a new album on the way where you’re set to dive into this new sound, how are you feeling about what’s to come? 

I’m super excited! People can say what they want but you can’t say this project is not fire. If you don’t think its fire then you’re lying because it is fucking gas, this is the most motivated and excited I’ve been in a while. I’m giving this tape 110% and more. I’m already working on the second one as well. I’ve just been in overdrive. 

Copy Link

Related Articles