August Mapp sits down with Rocker-Drummer Billy Mc Nicol in a Q&A about his music and motivations…
Being a break-out artist, few people know who you are. Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Billy McNicol & I am the Drummer-Lead Singer for the Hard-Rock-Funk group Stateol; a project in which I built from the ground up. Eight years ago, I relocated to Los Angeles from Louisville, KY with literally nothing in my pockets. Throughout this tenure, I have fought & scratched to accomplish what many said I could never do on my own; obtain A&R representation with a major label (Warner Bros. Records) & receive A-List Management (Victoria Blake: Tool & Depeche Mode).
What influences your music?
I’m inspired by everyday life occurrences. In my lyrics, I touch on life experiences, personal battles, & trials in which I’ve endured throughout my existence. My rhythms are influenced by earth & feel. It is my mission to break down walls and unite diverse people together through the groove.How would you describe yourself as an artist and what motivates your artistry?Resilience and determination are words that really describes me. Just knowing that God has blessed me with the gift of music alone continually keeps me motivated. My motivation also stems from the desire within to become the best I can be. Not everyone can do what we (Musicians/Artists) can do; influence people we’ve never met via audio speakers. It is a privilege to create.
You were a drummer at the University of Louisville, how did that help develop you into the drummer you are today?
The University of Louisville is rich in Basketball tradition; currently the reigning 2013 National Champions in Men’s Basketball. Playing for Louisville prepared me for the big stage. Every game at the historic Freedom Hall was a sell out (Close to 20, 000 people in attendance each game). While taking the saddle as the “Featured Drummer” for the Louisville Cardinals, the intensity was always there: The crowd, playing on the big screen TV, and jamming with Dick Vitale on ESPN. These experiences definitely give me an edge. Recently, I was invited to return as an alum to play with the Cards at their new Arena (KFC Yum! Center). I look forward to returning to The Ville and throwing down as a defending National Champion.Your dad was the Drummer for Billboard charting group “The Rugbys.”
How does it feel to follow in his footsteps?
I just want to make him proud. He always gives me honest answers when I seek advice. Through thick and thin, he’s had my back. Some say I sound a lot like him when I sing. When people say this, I take it as a huge compliment and it feels really good.Coming from a music family, how has that influenced the music you create today?When you listen to: The Rugbys, Sundown Red, and/or McNicol Bros., you definitely notice their feel & chemistry. Pocket is everything in music. Playing behind the beat is much more acceptable to our ears rather than when it’s sped up and ahead of the beat. As a younger musician, I definitely channeled their feel in an effort to apply it to my style.You are able to drum and sing simultaneously, how is it you are able to do such a daunting task?When I was younger, I would zone in on my dad (He was a Drummer and Singer as well). During his performances, I would observe and take everything in. After years of playing and rehearsing, I now play at a high level. I must maintain a level of athleticism in order to keep myself in tour shape; being in the gym 3 times a week, jogging daily and biking.
Who are some bands or artist you would like to work with in the future?
Honestly, anyone who is trustworthy, at my level or better, and who truly wants to play with me. As far as working with established artists, it would be an honor to work with musicians/producers such as: Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Mike Patton (Faith No More), Rick Rubin (Producer), Chuck D (Public Enemy), DMC (Run DMC), Adrock & Mike D (Surviving members of the Beastie Boys; R.I.P. MCA), and Flea (Bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers).
What are some future projects you have coming up?
Currently, I’m constructing the new engine for my original project Stateol. I have recently begun work on my second record (My 4th Overall) and am excited about the new direction in which we are headed.
Contributor: By Billy Mc Nicol