It’s been a long road to “Nerves”, the latest song from Nashville’s Spazz Cardigan. Staying true to the “Millenial post-genre landscape” he subscribes to, the song is hard to explain. However we will tell you it’s addictive, interesting, and the video is freaking strange—in all the best ways.
When “Nerves” first took shape, it was just a b-side. “The song was originally going to be a last-minute addition to my first album, I, which was complete at the time but unreleased,” Spazz Cardigan tells us. It was a friend who convinced him to drop it before he released the album, giving fans a sort of crystal ball into the future of Spazz’s sound.
“The feeling of suffocating and not being able to communicate was something constantly on my mind, personally & politically.”
After its late 2016 release it was brought back to the drawing board when producer Tony Esterly joined the team. The reproduction of the song meant it was pulled from the world wide web but Spazz was eager to “see what a year of distance from the song could lead to.” The wait was worth it and by the time the song was officially released, fans were already singing along at his concerts.
And is it really any wonder why the song connects in the high stress world we’re living in? “I originally wrote Nerves after the election in ’16. At the time it was a way to process the feeling that we were each living in completely different realities from each other,” he says. The feeling had him awake at 2 in the morning and it manifested into “Nerves”. “That was exacerbated by living in a house at the time where tensions were high and conversation was lacking. The feeling of suffocating and not being able to communicate was something constantly on my mind, personally & politically.”
Now the sleepless night has paid off with an ultra creative piece of art we can’t get enough of. “Nerves” makes enough impact simply with its sound but when paired with a video that can get your nerves going too thanks to poorly timed subtitles, mannequins, and suffocating plastic, it really sends the point home. Watch “Nerves” for the first time below.
Fun facts about “Nerves”:
Tony & I fought hard over the direction of the song and whether to keep it so organic (with the pianos or guitars in the final version) or to strip it down into something more minimal & electronic that resembled Drake’s “Passionfruit”. We’re both happy with the final product but the process definitely consisted of a lot of back-and-forth. Notably, Tony was reluctant up until release to include my weird vocal-chop bridge. For me it was an attempt to grab the sound of raw anxiety in a song. My alternative-leaning friends think the section is Too Pop and my pop friends think the section is Too Alternative because it doesn’t have a “hook”, which was really the point: the constant feeling of speaking gibberish to people around me that inspired the song is something both unpredictable and incredibly familiar.
This video was filmed the day after the song’s release in June in a 6 hour period. Nolan Knight (the director) also shot the covers of each of my singles this year and I was dead set on having him help bring this first piece of my visual world to life. Nolan intuitively and deeply understands my brand and our biggest challenge with creating this video was that we just didn’t have the time to include as many as ideas as we wanted — but that just leaves more for another video.