WORDS BY : ROB KENT

“I did this for sanity” is the bold opening statement from bassist and co-vocalist of Man Overboard Nik Bruzzese, as to how his new solo project Casa Loma was born. The upcoming debut EP This is Coping  showcases a collection of songs Nik recorded as an artistic expression to channel events in his life the only way he knew how.   

Making this music was the only true way I could vent and express what I was feeling

He says : “I’m a father to two children now and last year my wife and I had one of the roughest years for us in terms of loss and events in ways that you wouldn’t even be able to wrap your head around. Making this music was the only true way I could vent and express what I was feeling, I was dealing with so much while on the surface still being a father”.  

This EP is so personal that the world wasn’t ever meant to receive it. Nik states he never saw any of these songs seeing the light of day and they were intended as a souvenir for his children. “I wrote these songs with the intention of nobody hearing them. I wanted to give my kids something to listen to. I think when these songs will work the way I intended them to and matter the most will be at times when I, unfortunately, won’t be around”, revealing how Nik wanted to keep this as an almost diary account documenting his struggles and life lessons to pass on to his children.

Nik kept the circle of whom he chose to perform alongside him on the EP small and united. Calling on business partner Ace Enders (The Early November) and close friend Nate Sander to add additional touches to the music. “ Ace plays bass on two songs and Nate Sander plays so much on this record, he is one of the greatest musicians and people I have ever met. He is amazing, I would briefly explain a part to him and he would perform it perfectly in one take”.

“ I found myself in a deep dark hole while mixing this record

Nik also took on the entire production duties for this release. He casts his mind back to long days in the studio imagining life when the music is heard by those so close to who he writes about “ I found myself in a deep dark hole while mixing this record, it’s about my best friend passing away and his parents and wife are going to hear this, does it sound good? Is a question I asked myself every day for so long”

Once the songs were ready, logically, it was time to create a name to release them under. Nik recalls his journey for a name knowing these songs had to be represented by a name that came from something sentimental. “My family comes from swing and big band music. My uncle made me three mix cd’s with big band artists and one of the artists was Glenn Ryan and the Casa Loma Orchestra and I loved the name. Also, nobody since kindergarten has been able to pronounce my last name, so I was not going to call it Nik Bruzzese” 

With a friend of thirteen years Jake Round, who owns Pure Noise Records, releasing the EP the goal of this project had gone much further than Nik could have ever predicted in his own mind. He summarises his thoughts; with the record’s release very close in sight. “I asked myself the question, what do I really want out of this project? But as far as expectations go, doing this interview has already surpassed any anticipations I had. This is from my heart for a clear head. I wrote about people I love. People can apply themselves to these songs I think and I really hope this music will help people overcome obstacles”.

This Is Coping ,to be released via Pure Noise Records, is an honest and raw expression built from a man suffering from pain and grief. Nik Bruzzese will provide the world with his open letter on June 5th.

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