Nick Thomas, lead singer of The Spill Canvas, started the band in 2000 out of South Dakota. Their first album “Sunsets and Car Crashes” dropped in 2004, with their follow-up album “One Fell Swoop” coming a year later in 2005. Their second record’s 10-year anniversary tour kicks off tonight in Denver, Colorado, with shows across the United States throughout August.
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Sean Ritchie: Coming from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, describe your hometown’s atmosphere.
Nick Thomas: It kind of falls in the area of a little more desolate region of the US. It’s the plains — the Midwest. It’s conservative. Being so isolated, I have to give a nod to that specific trait, because without too much else to do there it kind of pushed me to play music. It doesn’t really have the best music scene, but it’s getting better now. There’s a couple new venues open. For the most part it’s home. It’s wide-open nothingness.
SR: It sounds like it really induces your creative process.
NT: Yeah, it definitely doesn’t hinder it at all. There’s a lot of ability to stretch your mind out, when you’re out in a place like that as well.
Photo courtesy | Josh Grenier
SR: Are there any sights or destinations around the state that you would suggest a visitor to go see?
NT: Sioux Falls isn’t the biggest city in the state. Mount Rushmore is on the other side of the state near Rapid City, a good six-seven hours away from where we are. That’s the main attraction of the state. Other than that, there are a lot of waterfalls and rapids where I’m from.
SR: How does music bring people together? How does traveling to countries enhance the connection?
NT: Being able to do it for so long, in my mind, that’s the main lifeblood of how live music works. Being an artist, your plan is to tour your music and get it out there as much as possible. When you’re touring you’re getting out there and playing for people. That’s where I thrive and where I feel the real heart of the art. That’s where it lives — how you can relate to a fan and how they can relate to whatever the content might be. If they can relate in a way that maybe the songwriter hadn’t even seen, I don’t see it getting any better than that. That’s how music is supposed to effect people.
SR: For sure. It’s just that instant connection. So, you’re from the center of the country, but when you’re searching for a personal getaway, are you looking more for a beach scene, a city scene?
NT: Exactly. I would go more of the city route, personally. I do like the beach scene, but I feel like I would burn so easily — my legs are whiter than the white socks I have on. My natural inclination is to go towards a bigger city, because we don’t really have it where I’m from. Every once in a while it’s nice to feel the hustle and bustle of a big city. It’s kind of nice.
SR: Has traveling to new destinations aided your creative process?
NT: Oh my, yeah. One of my favorite places that we’ve been is Switzerland — so different. Just breaking your bubble and smashing all the barriers of what you grew up knowing, gives you perspective. For a while the culture shock could be jarring. But for me, and a lot of other artists I’ve toured with, that kind of experience is just incredible. It really can start wiggling into other areas of the content.
Photo courtesy | Tambako
SR: When visiting a new destination, what is the first thing that you try to do? Is it food? Trying to just get to the hotel?
NT: Oh man. You named the first two right there. Those are the big ones. A lot of times I feel it can be a relation, maybe the hotel has one of the best food places. It depends. Normally, I definitely try to get to the hotel, hunker down and throw my stuff everywhere. Food is definitely a major staple though, especially on the road when there are foreign things and you need some sense of comfort. Food is kind of that first thing that people gravitate towards.
SR: The Spill Canvas has been around for years, and has played a lot of places, but is there one that you haven’t played yet that you’re dying to hit?
NT: I don’t know if it’s over the top and I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point. There’s levels that might not work for us. I was recently watching the Foo Fighters documentary. They go around and record their record at all these different places. There are just places that have natural reverb — the way the building is built and how it’s going to sound in there. I get a little more into that than to dream into the Madison Square Garden type. I feel like I would lose my mind with something like that. Red Rocks is probably up there — it’s gorgeous.
Photo courtesy | Chris Dodds
SR: Red Rocks is beautiful. I’ve never been, but it’s definitely on my bucket list. So lastly, talk about the tour coming up.
NT: I’ve never been either, but I’ve watched many, many concerts from there. We’re starting our headlining run for our 10-year anniversary of our second record tonight. We’re going coast-to-coast. It’s a grind right now. We’re starting out west and then going back east.
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