Oakland-based Kevin Nichols started writing his new single, “Baggage,” in the first month of the lockdown prompted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s the second side of his upcoming two-song Bedroom Singles tape, and it lets off a catchy geyser-burst of distortion and harmony–Nichols says it erupted spontaneously under the pressure of isolation.
“I was playing the verse riff and just started singing, and what came out were a lot of the reflections I was having about life, myself, and my hangups, now quarantined with nothing to distract me from the fact that I have a lot of baggage and need to address my mental health issues. Since then, I’ve started working with a psychiatrist and have started the medication journey while also trying to build better habits.”
The single also comes with an animated clip created by Mitchell Sturkey. It features Nichols’ disconnected head making the rounds on an airport baggage claim carousel while the rest of his body stands by, oblivious.
“I saw Mitchell’s art style and felt it was just spot-on perfect for these songs and the overall vibe,” says Nichols. “When I saw the final product, I was floored. Mitchell’s ability to tap into elements and themes in the song and portray it in a quick loop is fantastic. I highly recommend.”
“Baggage” follows the July release of the tape’s first track, “Hanging onto My Head.” Nichols pledged all sales of that song to People’s Breakfast Oakland, a grassroots Black socialist organization that serves people without housing. He found out about the group through Slang Church, the art collective and record label who are releasing Bedroom Singles.
“I want to see change in the world and I like to act locally,” says Nichols. “The best part of People’s Breakfast is living in Oakland, you can see the help they’ve provided, directly, on a day to day basis. You’ll see an Instagram post about a bunch of shoes they purchased for people experiencing homelessness, and then on your way to the corner store, you’ll see someone wearing those same shoes. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, they have been, and continue to be, an excellent source of information and guidance for me.”
Nichols currently fronts a four-piece ensemble, featuring guitarist Hayden Eller, bassist Sam Thornton, and drummer Adrian De Vos. Bedroom Singles arrives in advance of the full-length album they recorded with the help of Danny Nogueiras–formerly of FIDLAR, currently of No Win.
Stream the video for “Baggage” below: