BY LYDIA RIVERS
PHOTO BY BETHÜNNI SCHREINER
Minneapolis three-piece niiice. is an emo, pop-punk band all about their self-proclaimed philosophy of turning the songs against the listener and rolling with the punches. Their songs are sarcastically-titled whirlwinds, with an amount of griminess and power that makes them meant to be seen live, covered in sweat, with someone screaming in your face. The band has only been around for a few years, but they’ve claimed their spot in the punk scene and are set to put out their third album late this summer.
I had the chance to talk with lead singer/guitarist Roddie Gadeberg and drummer Sage Livergood of niiice. all about their latest release “Sweaty Hamm’s,” their show at Metro, an upcoming album, and Metallica. I can definitely say that they were nice.
[This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity]
I saw you guys put out “Sweaty Hamm’s” on Friday! What’s the title all about, and what was the recording process like?
Roddie: So this is like a re-recorded version of an old song called “Sweaty Hands.” Yeah. Since it’s like a new version, we just called it “Sweaty Hamm’s” because we all like Hamm’s. It’s been kind of like a joke ever since we wrote the song.
Sage: Yeah, we just decided to re-record it because we had time when we were working on the album with quarantine. We just had our tour cancelled and what not, so we were just like, why not just re-record it? We’ve played the song ever since we released it, but we released it before Never Better was out. I guess not a lot of people know the song.
Roddie: Yeah, the day after we got back from our tour that got cancelled we had to finish recording our album too, so we went over to Abe’s house to finish recording and we had a bunch of time and we’ve been talking about re-recording that song for a while. So we just did it that day.
How have you guys been adapting to your tour being cancelled?
Roddie: It’s weird. There’s some cool stuff that’s come out of it as far as the ways people have had to adapt, like with Minecraft streams. Instagram live streams are definitely something I do a lot. You gotta find ways to let people know you’re still grinding, you know?
Sage: We try to keep ourselves busy by doing digi-gigs and a lot of live stream stuff. It is sad that we had our tour canceled, but sometimes you gotta make the best out of it. I mean everybody is going through this, it’s a very universal thing.
Roddie: Even the talent is going through this. We’re just like Metallica. This has been the great equalizer you know. Metallica? Same level. They’re playing just as many people as we are.
Speaking of shows, I got to see you guys live at Metro back in January! The energy was crazy. What’s it like playing a venue like Metro compared to a DIY show?
Roddie: Oh, there’s definitely a lot of differences. Metro was our only experience of something like that ever. They loaded our gear in for us, which has never happened. I came in and was like, “Hey, where do we put our gear?” and they were like, “Uh, you can bring it to the back but we’ll have some people come and help you in a second.” I figured that meant someone’s going to come hold the door open for us, which is sick and awesome, but four dudes came out and took our amps out of our hands to carry them in. That was, to me, one of the more crazy things — just the fact that they carry your shit for you.
Sage: It was crazy. We’ve been a band for a long time and we’ve played lots of shows, but there were terms people were saying and things they were asking that we had no idea about.
Roddie: Yeah, before we got on stage, the stage manager was explaining how everything was gonna go and he said, “But you guys know, you guys have done this before.” We all looked at each other and started laughing. I’ve never been that nervous for a gig before, I felt like I was gonna throw up before I went on stage. The stage manager was just patting me on the back like “you’re gonna do great man.”
The night before we stayed up ‘til like 4 or 5 a.m. watching videos of people playing at the Metro, and shit like, Metallica played there in ‘83. When we were sound checking, I was just like holy shit, Metallica has been on this stage.
A show like that is insanely cool, but I still love house shows. Standing on the same level as everyone, people screaming in your face — nothing can compare to that. I feel like as far as my memories and emotional connection, my favorite shows are house shows. We played a show a year ago, the Save Paperhouse show. There were like 200 kids packed in a basement, and there should not have been more than 20 people in it. It was one of the most insanely sick shows.
Sage: Everything is great because it’s just gross. It’s sweaty, It’s terrible, but everyone was having a good time, it was so cool.
How would you say your sound has changed over time?
Roddie: I think the new album sounds way different than anything we’ve ever done. I feel like it’s more complicated now. More attention to detail.
Sage: And really, just, loud.
Roddie: Yeah we’ve gotten way louder. Just cranking up those amps.
Sage: We’ve had more time as a three piece to work together and that sort of dynamic led to a different sounding song because we all have very different influences and are just finding ways to kind of play off of each other in that regard.
Are you guys still managing to stay creative?
Roddie: Yeah, I’ve been writing some stuff, coming up with little riffs here and there. I don’t know. Personally, I’ve had trouble writing stuff when the world’s falling apart. I’m not stressed about it, but I also spent the last year writing this record. So I feel like my brain is kind of taking a break. You’ve gotta give your brain breaks, you know?
For sure. Being in the same space constantly is not great.
Roddie: We live together and then my sibling lives with us too, so it’s just like home-y vibes. As far as a quarantine situation, it’s pretty ideal.
Sage: We don’t really get sick of each other.
Roddie: We work together too. So it’s nice to have someone who knows how shitty work is and to talk with them about it. It’s like work is the only thing that changes your day to day.
What’s next for niiice.?
Roddie: We’re putting out a record soon, late summer, probably. I’m really stoked about that, we just got the masters back the other day and it sounds pretty sick. Really, really stoked. Whenever after that when we’re allowed to tour again, we’ll tour. I’m actually kind of grateful we’ve had the record planned because if I didn’t have something to grind about I’d feel really stagnant. We have putting out the record to look forward to, so that’s what’s next.
STREAM “SWEATY HAMM’S” AND LOOK OUT FOR NIIICE.’S THIRD ALBUM THIS SUMMER!