Nick at the late great Atomic Cafe -- munichFOTO
Nick at the late great Atomic Cafe -- munichFOTO

Munich (Special to MunichNOW)

Nick Sauter is a former political contributor to MunichNOW who has recently turned his passion for writing and performing into a full-time project. We recently sat with Nick over coffee and talked over how things are going.

MunichNOW: Nick, congratulations on your solo album release. What led you to go out on your own?

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Nick Sauter: I have been writing songs on an acoustic guitar for ages. They were songs that didn’t really fit into what Pardon Ms. Arden were doing and stood for. I have started working on this record at the end of last year, after the Pardon Ms. Arden tour ended. So, for me, it’s just a  somewhat logical step to do a solo album. It’s how I started out as a musician anyway, so it also kind of feels like coming home.

MN: You call yourself “Nick and The Roundabouts” – where are The Roundabouts?

Nick Sauter at The Atomic Cafe on 25 April 2014
Nick Sauter at The Atomic Cafe on 25 April 2014

NS: I think those roundabouts just exist in my own head. I think the fact that I keep on thinking about the same things time and time again. Often, it feels like I’m driving around in a roundabout without finding my way out. So, in a way, those roundabouts in my head help me with the songwriting.

MN: On the “NATR” Facebook page you write: “Hello you, I am Nick. I write songs. Most of them are mellow and sad, and almost all of them are about girls. See you at a show.”  Why so mellow and sad? Are your experiences with girls mellow and sad?

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NS: Well, not of all of them, obviously. But girls are a fascinating topic to sing about! In my opinion, love in general is the most important thing in life, so it’s always worth singing about love – even if you’re singing about the loss of love.

MN: You have been the driving force behind “Pardon Ms. Arden” for quite some time, even touring with them recently. Why did you decide to go out on your own? Will you still perform and record with “PMA”?

NS: We haven’t split up or anything like that if that’s what you’re going for. At the moment, we’re just taking a break from recording and touring – something we have done for the better part of the last four years. Furthermore, Nick And The Roundabouts is taking more and more of time, I’m going to be on tour for the most of May and June, promoting the album. I love being in Pardon Ms. Arden, but I also really love doing what I am doing now. So, in the future, Pardon Ms. Arden will definitely play some shows again. But as far as I can predict the future, my musical priority is Nick And The Roundabouts. My friends in PMA are also somewhat involved in this anyway, some of them even accompany me on tour.

MN: So far as I know, all the songs are in English. Do you have an English heritage? Why no German?

NS: I have Welsh ancestry and was raised bilingually, so I don’t really mind speaking English or German. I have tried writing a song in German years ago and it just wouldn’t work, I can’t exactly tell you why. English is just the language I feel most comfortable with – speaking it and singing in the language as well.

MN: Is the goal to make music your full-time occupation? What, if any, obstacles do you see to that?

Nick's new album, "Woe to Live On", releases on the 25th of April
Nick’s new album, “Woe to Live On”, releases on the 25th of April 2014 and is available at Amazon.de

NS: When I started out about ten years ago, my main goal was to be able to make a living out of playing music. However, as the years went by, I got a bigger picture of the music business in general, and to be quite honest: Most of the acts around at the moment still have to have some kind of job, even the bigger bands and artists. It’s just a fact that you can’t really make money by playing music right now. It’s a passion, not a job. I am what they call a struggling artist, I try to make enough money to get by, and at the moment it’s working – but I cant tell you how long this is going to last. Also, I used to work as a journalist, and I can definitely see myself doing that again. (Good to know – MN)

MN: As CD sales worldwide have declined significantly in the last 7 years, it seems most musicians support themselves with touring. Is that possible only for big acts? Does internet marketing play a role?

NS: In my opinion, playing live and going out on the road is the only way to make any money in the music industry. You don’t really make much money by selling CDs, that’s true. However, having a record out is still an essential part of being a musician. Internet marketing does play an important role, but I still think the best way for artists to win new fans is playing live, or getting your song on the radio.

MN: You have been all over Germany on this current tour. Do you have plans to go around Europe or even to the States?

NS: I would love to play in the US, or any other European country, for that matter. I am looking forward to the record being released, and we’ll see what happens. If I’m being invited over to the States, I’ll definitely go.

MN: What/who are your influences? Who do see that gets it right as a solo performer?

NS: I have been listening to classic singer/songwriters since I was 16, people like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, or more recent acts like Ryan Adams or City and Colour. When it comes to my lyrics, I think Ryan Adams and Damien Rice are my biggest influences. These people always fascinate me, especially onstage, because seeing them live is such a “back to basics” experience. It’s just the guy, a guitar, and their great songs. That’s what I’m going for as well.

MN: Thoughts on the long-rumored closing of the Atomic Café?  If it closes, what will the effect be on the Munich club scene?

NS: Well as far as my information goes, it is pretty certain the club will be closing down at the end of this year. I think it’s a shame for a big city like Munich to lose one of its most well-known locations for live music. I also know the guys who run the club, and I wish them nothing but the best – maybe they can find a new home for the Atomic Café. I would love the thing to go on. If it’s going to end, it’s going to be a huge loss to the cultural scene in Munich.

MN: Thanks, Nick, for the chat and we will be seeing you at the Cafe tomorrow night.

NS:  Are you paying for the coffee?

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Nick’s album release party is at The Atomic Cafe on Friday night, April 25, right here in Munich
Nick’s new album, “Woe To Live On” is available at Amazon.de

Nick Sauter at The Atomic Cafe on 25 April 2014
Nick Sauter at The Atomic Cafe on 25 April 2014