Nick Coyle made a name for himself fronting such NEPA-based bands as Strangers with Candy, Lifer, The Drama Club and Stardog Champion. Through those bands, he’s gained exposure not just locally but internationally as well. His music has appeared everywhere from MTV and ESPN to the soundtrack of the 2002 movie “The Scorpion King.”
With all that in a 15+ year career, you’d think Coyle wouldn’t have anything left to prove.
You’d be wrong.
“In a lot of the bands I’ve been in, I’ve been viewed as just ‘the singer in that rock band.’ With The Drama Club, for instance, when we were onstage, obviously we had the members of the band playing their different parts, but in the writing process I did a lot of different things. I wrote those different parts. People don’t realize that,” Coyle says.
“With this record, I wanted to show people I am more than just a rock ‘n’ roll singer.”
“This record” Coyle’s referring to is “Sound Makes Waves,” his new solo album out this week. Saturday night, Coyle will celebrate the occasion with a CD release party at Bart and Urby’s in Wilkes-Barre, where he will perform the entire 12-track album live for the first time.
The singer-songwriter notes that, though 2011’s “The Twilight Symphony” was released under his name, the material on that album was originally intended for The Drama Club. Thus, Coyle says, “Sound Makes Waves” is his first “true” solo release.
“This is definitely my most personal record,” he says. “I mean that in every possible way. I wrote all the different instrument parts. I played all the parts. I recorded everything in my studio. I mixed everything. I did the album artwork. I set up the store on my website. And I will be the one sending stuff from the post office when people order the CD.”
Coyle’s do-it-yourself approach may seem exhausting, but ultimately it was more freeing. While making “Sound Makes Waves,” Coyle was able to try new things and explore musical ideas fully, without compromise. The result is 12 tracks unlike anything he’s released previously.
“There are parts that sound like Depeche Mode and there are parts that sound like Pink Floyd. This stuff covers a wide range. It’s pretty heavily electronic, but there are some guitars in tasteful spots. I wanted to use the guitar in the way somebody else might use a violin. It’s not a featured instrument so much as it’s something that comes in only when the song calls for it,” Coyle says.
“A good song is a good song; I prefer to steer clear of genres. This record is alternative, but not in the sense of the genre labeled ‘alternative music.’ It’s alternative in the sense that it is an alternative to normal rock music.”
Still, while it’s been for Coyle to see his own unique vision come to fruition without the concessions inherent in the democracy of a band setting, he’s not about to become a recluse any time soon. In fact, he’s already working on starting a new band, to be called Electric Eyes, with former The Drama Club bandmates Christopher Bones and Mike Morgan.
“This whole thing has been very fulfilling and therapeutic, but so is playing with other people. I still love the kind of interaction you can only get between musicians. It’s something you don’t have when you’re going solo,” Coyle says.
“I started playing because it’s fun. You get together with a group of your friends and you make music and you feed off each other’s energies. That’s always been appealing to me and it always will be. I just love creating and playing music, however that might be. Whether with a group of people or by myself, that’s something that’s always in me.”