Music journalism is often full of the same corny, milquetoast questions, probing to know what that song is about; when's the next album coming out; what are your influences, and when are you coming to Australia? MTV Australia's new series Pressing Questions does away with that robotic conversational frame and gets stuck into the personal, hypothetical and plain weird with some of our favourite rising artists to get to know them beyond the PR.
This week, it's with Nick Ward. Ward is a bedroom popster in the truest sense – his debut EP, Everything I Wish I Told You, was recorded and produced in his home studio during lockdown last year, while Ward's lyrics about identity feel like they were torn out of a diary and hidden under his bed. Read him reveal to MTV his obsession with Steve Jobs, when he thinks Australia will have a trans Prime Minister and why he doesn't want a hit TikTok song.
What is the meaning of life?
That feeling of lying in bed after shitting, showering and brushing your teeth. This is Nick Ward and you're reading MTV.
What is something COVID has taught you?
Don't plan anything more than a month in advance.
What was the last movie you watched?
I rewatched the M.I.A documentary [Matangi/Maya/M.I.A, 2018] again for the third time. She's one of the last living punks, I think. I've always been drawn to artists who are super bold and uncompromising. It's crazy that she was doing all that shit in the 2000s and it still looks and sounds cutting-edge. That's a documentary though, so the last movies I've seen have been at the Wong Kar Wai retrospective in Sydney.
Best advice you've received?
You don't lose when someone else wins. I gave it to myself.
Someone you really admire?
I've recently been obsessed with Steve Jobs, Rei Kawakubo and Ocean Vuong. It's become a joke amongst my friends how much I quote Steve Jobs. I fall in love with anyone who has a strong vision and will stop at nothing until it's realised. Also, just people who focus on timelessness and innovation more than anything.
How do you feel about your hair?
Right now I'm about three days into a fresh haircut, so I'm still getting used to it. I hate my hair most of the time but I'm also a little vain bitch.
Describe yourself in three words.
Unsure of that...by the way I'm a
One person or one thing you think is underrated?
Good coffee, even though I'm from Australia where we have a pretty high standard. I work part-time at a cafe and most people ask for skim-soy-weak-decaf-caramel bullshit. On the other hand, everyone seems to love instant coffee (including me). I guess people just treat it as caffeine. Either way it's 2021 – let's treat ourselves better.
Would you rather travel 100 years to the past or the future?
This is a hypothetical timeline where we're still alive. In the future we will realise that we're all queer as fuck. Our dogs will sleep in our beds with us. Hollywood will place a ban on sequels being made more than 5 years after the original. Mixing and mastering engineers will be displayed in Spotify credits. All the old racists and homophobes will be long gone. The Prime Minister will be trans. I'm feeling optimistic.
Nature or nurture?
¿Por qué no los dos?
What do you doubt most?
Everything. I try my hardest to embrace grey areas and ambiguity, but I'm also the type of person to worry about everything.
Daily ritual you couldn't live without?
Unless I'm working – every day I get up early, grab a coffee and go for a long walk. This is usually when I write the most. I also try to listen to any music/podcasts I've missed out on. It just sets you up for a good day. I don't know if it's deeper than that – if there's some form of meditation I'm accidentally doing – but I just get so much shit done afterwards. My skin isn't particularly great at the moment, but doing the whole routine in the morning just makes you feel amazing.
How are you at 8am (essentially, are you a morning person)?
The biggest morning person. At 8am, I'm probably on my walk. The morning is the only time where you can decide what kind of day you're going to have. That's why I hate afternoons so much. Nothing is more depressing than 4pm on a Sunday. If I feel like I haven't achieved anything before 10am, I feel like a piece of shit for the rest of the day.
Something you're passionate about?
I'm passionate about dying and people remembering my name. Ok, I can see how the wording of that last sentence could be misread. I just want to leave some sort of mark. I don't make anything trendy – I'm just trying to figure out what's timeless. I don't want a TikTok song or a chart-topping album. I want to make art that will be a companion to kids like me in the future. I don't know if I've done it yet, but I'm pretty committed to that.
Tell us about your music in a sentence.
I've never been able to describe my own music, because my interpretation of it is probably different to what other people think. I'm the only person who knows all the different influences and intentions behind things. I guess I try to take all of my resources, which are typically from a 'bedroom pop' space, and push them until I've made something more cinematic. In the future, I'm trying to create stuff that's "genreless", but it was important to me that the first project is straightforward and simple-stupid.
Nick Ward's debut EP, Everything I Wish I Told You is out now.
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