2009 according to NiCad

January 2, 2010 in Archive, Blog, History
It all began at about this time last year. My girlfriend and I were on a mission to make a photo of an upside-down house in Poland, when we received a phone call from NiCad‘s manager, Fanny. One of the band members was needed quickly for an interview in The Hague because NiCad‘s album, The Hill, had just received an award for being The Hague’s best CD of 2008. I couldn’t believe it. Haags Courant, Haags Pop Podium, 3voor12/Den Haag, Stork on Air, and De Posthoorn had unanimously agreed that The Hill was better than the highly recognized release in the same year by Kane, but no one in our band was in town to receive it. Gilad was in Israel, Josef was in south Germany, and Roberto and Satoshi were gigging around Japan. So, there I was, talking to static, spending all my roaming credit, in the snow, in a parking lot in Gdansk doing an interview that would appear in articles all over South Holland. Articles that no one in the band would ever see because we weren’t in town! Thankfully, our manager collected the newspaper clippings for us to see when we got back. It turned out to be a very promising start off to a brand new year.



In the spring, we played some great festivals. One that I really liked was the Delta festival, where NiCad played with 65daysofstatic. They did something specific that was impressive and that I think has notably influenced NiCad. They played with an audio playback… Now, usually I would say this is a cheap ‘karaoke’ solution to a real musical problem, but the way they integrated the playback into the performance was so strong, it knocked down some of our barriers and prepared us for something later in the year… but before I go there… first, some great things happened.


Satoshi at the Delta Festival


The summer was highlighted by preparing for our debut in America with a tour winding through the northeast. As a kickoff, we reserved a week in the heart of Amsterdam at the Maxalot gallery to present works from artists we paired up with in the past, as well as two new video presentations. Beatrice Jansen showed the artwork she made for The Hill, as well as two new portraits of the band. Oyuki presented her works alongside the video we made for the song DADGAD. Also, Nadine Khatib and Max Bong presented their artwork together with a video for the songs Debris and For Fiction.



By late August, we were ready to set off for the States. Thanks to Fonds Pop Over Zee, we had some money in our pockets to pay for the plane tickets, van rental, and the first few hotel nights. But once we got there, we were on our own. For this tour, Ernst van der Loo joined us on sound engineering and Evelien Zwart was our tour manager. When we arrived, we came with an entourage this time. It was a bit more to coordinate and plan, but thanks to our tour manager, we were able to keep all our marbles in one bag.

NiCad w/ entourage


The tour turned out to be a success. We did an interview on New York’s popular indie rock station, WFMU. We had a very powerful show, for the audience and us, at Webster Hall in New York with M Nahadr. We went from there to Philadelphia, where the night began with a driver running a light and hitting a cop car right outside the door of the venue. It was a good gig because there was a sense of coming together after the accident. We also played that night with a band that I was most impressed with, A Long Walk Home.

us and m


From there, we went on to Washington DC, without sleeping since New York. By the time we arrived, I distinctly remember giving a pillowcase at our friend Ingwell’s house a gladiator’s face-plant at around ten o’clock in the morning, and I didn’t move until the sun was down that evening. After resting a bit, we had a great show in DC, and then went onto Williamsburg where we received a five-star reception. We were invited to speak about electronic music at The College of William and Mary, as well as give a performance for the students. Our wonderful hosts, Nicolle and Troy Davis, and Ann-Marie Stock gave us our bearings back, and set us off to Indianapolis. Once we arrived in Indy, I introduced my band members to some of my family members and we performed outdoors in a community park. It’s really lucky that by this point we were so filled up on positive energy and warm feelings, because from there we were headed to Detroit, where it was going to get really cold… really fast.


concert at College of William & Mary


In Detroit, you can see the fountainhead of America’s declining economy. There seemed to be more advertisements for guns and funeral homes than anywhere else we visited. A lot of the city is run-down, and the party-strip has been stripped naked. Regardless of the state of things, we met a really cool band at our show from Iceland called The Foghorns. After the concert, we went to the hotel together and had a session that went on late into the night. We were heading back to New York from there. So, it was our last night to go wild… and we did.



After the tour, in October, we got news that we were selected by Crossing Border to represent The Hague’s music scene at SXSW in Austin, Texas this March. So, we’re going back! There was just one small hitch. We were asked to perform for the Crossing Border evening along with the other bands we’re going to SXSW with, and we no longer had our drummer with us.


Which brings me to this. Gilad, our drummer has moved to New York for now. He has a great opportunity to work as an artist in residence at a school for electronic music, and all of us have encouraged him to pursue it. NiCad is still together and playing, but for the time being, NiCad is a bi-coastal band.


So, what is NiCad supposed to do when it comes to playing a show without a drummer? Well, this brings me back to that concert we saw at the Delta festival in the Spring. We did what we’ve never planned on wanting to do, and we loved it! We played along to a recording of Gilad’s electronics at the show in the Paard. It went really well, and proved to us that we can do it… even better than we thought.


In November, NiCad was featured in a documentary film about The Hague’s music scene by Mink Pinster called ‘Ja Dat Is Den Haag’. The film was premiered at the Popdox Film Festival in the Nutshuis. With generous financial help from the AKV | St.Joost and R.G. Ruijs Stichting, and together with the partnership of Rene Born, Mink Pinster has put together a really well rounded presentation about the multi-faceted nature of our town’s music. The film also features other bands like The Levi’s, Kern Koppen, and The Deaf. We were very proud to be a part of this project.



So, there you have it. This was 2009 according to NiCad, in a very large nutshell. For 2010, we are partnering further with Evelien Zwart on promotions and tour coordination, and Oyuki artworks will be presented further through NiCad as well. Beatrice Jansen will partner further with us in photography, and our band momma/manager/magicmaker, Fanny Winkelman, is still at the wheel. As for upcoming shows, we will do a tour of the southeastern part of America in March after the SXSW showcase, as well as a European tour in May. We will be posting shows on our calendar throughout this month so stay tuned for updates!

Happy 2010!