"This song is about the constant search for oneself." PHOTOGRAPHY: Nick Pagan
"This song is about the constant search for oneself." Photo: Nick Pagan

The new doo-wop by Nick Pagan

Pagan presents a new sound in his games with rock 'n' roll and blues in "Hardly Use My Hands."


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Nick Pagan is a California Latin musician with an old soul.

Pagan's sound is what he describes as new-wop, which encompasses simple composition, catchy hooks, colorful sonic palettes and classic sounds ready for sampling. Doo-wop represents a subcategory of vocal harmony that includes the following musical qualities: group harmony, a wide range of vocal parts, nonsense syllables, a simple beat, light instrumentation, and simple music and lyrics.

From the first catch of "Hardly Use My Hands," his new single, one senses that Pagan's heart is rooted in the past with fingers firmly on the pulse of the future.

"Hardly Use My Hands" was released May 21 on Yellow Stucco House in association with Mixto Records and will be part of the MAN (Or, Microdose) EP due out later this year on vinyl and digital. Not surprisingly, his early singles have already caught the attention of KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, KROQ, Remezcla and Talkhouse.

Pagan explains his inspiration for the new single and reflects: "This song is about the constant search for yourself. I don't care about age or anything like that: the level and acceleration of growth is determined by many factors. And for me, I feel like I'm on a constant journey to discover who I am and what that means in the context of this reality. I'm determined to cover good ground in this life."

"This track is my side of 70's rock 'n' roll balladry, inspired in part by the solo careers of Lennon, Bowie, Neil Young and frequent self-doubt. I try to make music that's rooted so it can grow longer and live longer, so all my music is tied together by a web of history really."

"Hardly Use My Hands" was created by Pagan with the help of Paul Butler (The Bees, Michael Kiwanuka, Nick Waterhouse, Devendra Banhart), who produced it. Otto Hauser (Devendra Banhart), on drums, along with Ben Brandrett and Mike Rexhouse who pitched in on guitar and bass, respectively.

Pagan notes: "The bass line really brought it to life and the guitar solos: who do you know who plays like that today?"

Pagan's wisdom comes from his wealth of life experience growing up in California. He concludes, "I'm a true Californian, having spent time in all parts of the state."

Drawing from his life experience and the memory of his family displaced by the gentrification of Los Angeles, his songs have deep content, but never lose the sense of optimism and joy that is part of his DNA.


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