Photos by Brittany Marino and Tamim Alnuweiri.
Palm Springsteen is Nick Hinman on vocals, Hayden Tobin on guitar, Luca Buccellati on synth and Kyle Sirell on drums. They’re based both in New York and LA which comes through in the little that’s released of their music. In 2016 they premiered two tracks on Hero Magazine, their own original song “She’s Got Claws” and a cover of Alan Vega’s “Wipeout Beat.” The band refers to their sound as “blow pop in space” which alongside their band name makes them seem like surrealist Lynchian lounge lizards touring intergalactic roadhouses playing covers of ’80’s power ballads (a sentiment that was compounded when halfway through their December set at Berlin, Nick took off his black turtleneck to reveal a second black turtleneck).
Palm Springsteen has only been around since April of 2016 so their trajectory has been pretty quick and they’re sure to be one of those ultra-buzzy bands that all of your friends are droning on about. If you missed them in December catch them on February 2nd when they play Cult Citizen at Baby’s All Right.
How did Palm Springsteen start?
Nick: I was playing two solo shows in LA just with a drum machine and a guitar. Hayden was back in town and he’s a good friend of mine. He came to the second show and we started bringing stuff to the studio in LA and it started to really come together. I used to live in New York, Kyle and I actually went to high school together and we were in New Orleans together and I was like dude we should really take some of these tracks to some of the old haunts we used to go to. At that point we basically had fifteen songs done. Kyle and Luca were roommates—
Luca: Still are
Nick: [laughs] still are, and then we decided that the month of July we were gonna do a tour of New York. We played Berlin, we played Niagara, we played this opening for Dope/Rad at Baby’s All Right. Basically, we had one practice on the 3rd of July and figured it sounded so good that we should just play a show immediately the next day on the 4th of July [laughs] and that was the first time we all played together.
So your band name Palm Springsteen, where does that come from? Are you guys big Bruce Springsteen fans?
Luca: Of course, I mean we fucking love Bruce Springsteen.
Hayden: He’s pretty boss [laughs].
Kyle: We consider him our father.
Nick: Basically when I started writing music a few years ago I had an obsession with coming up with really sick band names [laughs]. No, but that was the one I ended up saving all the songs as. Then when I was first asked to play a show I was like there’s no other name that this project could go as besides Palm Springsteen. Everyone loved it and now it’s a core part of who we are [laughs]
How would you describe your sound? Who are your influences?
Nick: we’ve always told people it’s like blow pop in space
Nick: so whatever that means… [laughs] It comes from a lot my favorite influences all mashing into one thing. Like Gary Numan, Suicide, Mozart, New Order. Mostly Mozart [laughs]. New Order, some Johnathan Richman, Book of Love. It’s kind of a culmination of all of my favorite sounds kind of mashing together so I’d say yeah it’s synthy but it’s got raw guitar sound and it’s something original.
2016 was a big year for music deaths, did that impact choosing to cover Alan Vega’s Wipeout Beat?
Nick: I think overall fuck 2016. It was pretty bizarre that we had been working on that Alan Vega cover for a long time, I was actually really looking forward to him hearing it. It would have been cool for a hero of mine to hear basically a tribute to him. Actually it wasn’t even supposed to be a tribute at that point it was supposed to be a cover, an homage, but then he actually passed away two days before it was released.
Luca: We had the day set for the release beforehand like it was gonna come out when we found out…
Hayden: I think once Lemmy cashed out last December everyone else was like fuck it, I’m following suit. I hope Iggy Pop is on a juice cleanse right now, he’s my last living hero.
Speaking of — have you ever met any of your heroes?
Hayden: I used to play with Hanni El Khatib and Morrissey came to one of our shows which is pretty interesting.
How was that? He’s supposed to be a little particular…
Hayden: Yeah at least we weren’t selling any meat products so he’s fine by it.
Luca: My brother’s a hardcore vegan and I’m nervous if he comes to the show tonight because apparently all he does when he gets drunk is talks about veganism. I have nothing against veganism but I’m just scared.
Nick: How does the meme go? How do you know if someone is vegan? Don’t worry they’ll fucking tell you [laughs]
Luca: I don’t know if he just goes out and talks about vegan shit but you need to chill out. No disrespect to the vegans out there but you’ve got to chill man.
Nick: We talked so much shit about veganism we’re going to have picket signs
The headline is going to be Palm Springsteen talk shit about veganism
Nick: Anti Trump, anti veganism, pro Mozart.