Nick Lesley was very active in the Brooklyn music scene for 10 years, until recently moving back to his hometown of San Diego. He was active in the bands Necking, Alien Whale, Hair Jail, and Gunung Sari, along with other collaborations and occasional solo projects. He’s primarily an improvising drummer, but performs on guitar, saxophone, and electronics. He’s created music for dance, film and video – including recent computer animations by Lillian Schwartz – performed in Rhys Chatham’s “A Crimson Grail” and The Boredoms’ “88 Boa Drum”. He consistently performed around New York at such venues as Death By Audio, Secret Project Robot, Dead Herring (which he co-founded), Issue Project Room, and many more. Before moving to NY, his California groups included Oma Yang, Felicia & Coctopus, and Vholtz.
Nick’s drumming style is significantly influenced by the unique brand of hardcore he grew up with in the 90s in San Diego, CA. This is most evident in Necking, which has consistently included other members from San Diego. In recent years, Necking was pared down to only two members, Rop Vazquez (of Rice and The Peechees) playing bass and singing, while Nick played drums and sang through electronics. Necking is self-proclaimed “Free Punk”. Alien Whale is similarly loud and loose, but played more with the rock ’n roll tropes ingrained in the musicians’ repertoires. Colin Langenus (of USAisaMonster) played guitar and Matt Mottel (of Talibam!) played key-tar.
Nick’s electronic music performances are also largely improvised, processing percussion sounds through analog electronics and a laptop running Max/MSP. Using no pre-recorded samples, organic sounds create textures and melodic ghosts. He sets the analog and digital in a volatile feedback-loop configuration, allowing electronics to interact and reveal inherent voices which communicate with the organic sounds fed to them.
Live performance is very important in all of Nick’s music. He performs with energy and spontaneity, valuing the interaction with the audience and his collaborator friends.