Inspired by late 80’s and early 90’s punk rock and alternative rock, NIHILOCEROS draws its influences from artists such as The Replacements, Jawbreaker, Husker Du, The Violent Femmes, Fugazi, and Placebo. The band’s latest concept EP “Self Destroy” on Totally Real Records explores the unraveling of the human condition and what follows the end of the world. We have teamed up with the band for a special track by track rundown, touching on the songwriting, the lyrics and how it tells the story of the record. Each song has been lined up with a song by another artist that to the band evoked that same slice of the human story told in their song!
Mike Borchardt (guitar/vocals), Alex Hoffman (bass/vocals), and German Sent (drums) came together from different corners of the world (Chicago, Alaska, Siberia). Their paths somehow all crossed in Brooklyn, NY where they struck up a collaborative creative friendship. With a shared penchant for loud guitars, cool rhythms, and sad pop melodies, they now write music together about the imminent evolutionary unraveling of the human condition and the absurdity of the end of world. They also play a lot of shows.
With a sound grounded in the New York punk scene, Nihiloceros treads into ‘90s Brit rock while displaying a power-pop quirkiness that suggests the self-proclaimed “trash pop” band isn’t too quick to cling to labels. That’s because at the root of the music are two driving principles: energy and honesty. -Brightest Young Things (Washington DC)
Probably the only band with a song called “A.N.U.S.” that lists Jawbreaker its primary influence. —A.V. Club (Chicago, IL)
Nihiloceros “Self Destroy” Who said it better?
“Dirty Homes”/ “I Melt with You”
Maybe our brains are a bit melted ourselves, but this chorus drenched 1980s British banger touches upon the linear and evolutionary progression of the human the race. It however posits that the powers of imagination, beauty, and love can somehow pause the space-time continuum creating a moment to exist together in a melded state of amorous bliss. While Modern English paints a much more optimistic picture, “Dirty Homes” is a fly-by over a darker outlook of human civilization.
Early people made the lofty choice to organize and build systems. We write books and build cities and erect statues, and sing songs in an effort to not be forgotten. But time and avarice inevitably catch up and even the mightiest of empires crumble. The notion of culture teeters somewhere between fairy tale and nightmare. Also drenched in chorus, “Dirty Homes” points to the absurdity of human legacy when everything ever created is ultimately one day erased.
“iamananimal”/ “Territorial Pissings”
Nirvana and Nihiloceros might agree. Whether alien or animal, both songs struggle with the duality within the species. We are innately tied to our biological animal instincts and basic mammalian needs. It’s our self awareness, however, that drives us to seek something more.
We create complexities beyond our function to make ourselves feel more evolved or significant. By trading the freedoms of our wild nature for the comforts and security of modern living, we become mass byproducts of the daily rat race and the grind of deadlines and stress and paranoia. Still caught in this loop, enslaved to our nature to eat, sleep, and die same as we always have. Have we really found a better way?
“Mammal Science Fiction”/ “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
REM, with the longest song title in their catalog, says it all. A seemingly surface cheerful pop tune about the ultimate demise of the human population and the end of days. We aren’t reinventing the wheel here. Humanity’s overblown attempt to leave its mark on civilization has resulted in the rapid expansion of technology and population in ways the dying planet cannot sustain.
In the end, everything crumbles around, as the rogue survivors jettison themselves into outer space strapped to homemade DIY rockets. Whether it started with an earthquake, the Internet, the evil capitalism machine, or global warming, it truly is the end of the world and we feel fine.
“Halfway Human”/ “Every You Every Me”
Nothing seems to speak to the era of after-human quite like Placebo. Rife with imagery that creates a visceral connection to the body, balanced with a sense of spiritual beyond the human existence, these tracks both explore the single uniqueness of identity while simultaneously blended into the soup of shared existence and awareness beyond the physical realm.
A dark portrait of what lies beyond the edge of sentience when our human bodies crumble. Living in both spaces, we exist beyond the tangible world, but seem to still be anchored by our mammal impulses and functions. Are we Borg or are we human? In both cases, we find out in under 4 and half minutes.
“Baby Teeth”/ “Caribou”
Nothing like a good reset. Crawling back out of the mud, pioneers of a new existence explore their new form on a new world. Almost seemingly rid of the constraints of humanity, we are free to take on a higher form elevated in this new space. The Pixies suggest, however there may be some sins from our past lives for which we need to repent. “Baby Teeth” subtly suggests almost vestigial remnants of our previous existence.
Both tracks posit that while everyone loves good reset, you maybe can’t come full circle without retracing some of your path.
“Odie”/ “The Man Who Sold the World”
Before we even start this one, let’s just concede of course that Bowie wins this round. “Odie” is a worthy doom prom track that transpires at the very edge of the ends of existence. Much like its predecessor, it occupies an eerie realm where seemingly our fate has already been decided.
We are already dead, and have been for years, however the knowledge of that fact is just catching up to us. In a cruel cosmic transaction we are doomed wander thru miles of haunting chorus thru purgatory only to explode in a cloud of powder and the sound of clapter, gone.