By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Acceptance of mental health struggles ride shotgun on “electroni-core” project FRSTMRNE’s latest single “Bright Lights,” the group’s effort to revive cyberpunk to new heights.
The emotionally vulnerable track faces the harsh reality that we’re all alone in our journey through depression and that it’s ultimately up to us to get through it, however possible.
Along with the opportunity to work with Attack Attack!’s production team, FRSTMRNE’s members are no strangers to the genre, as its members have backgrounds that involve acts like Pathways, ARES and We’re Wolves.
The Music Bugle had the chance to speak with member Nicholas about “Bright Lights” and more.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Nicholas – I think what excites myself and the band the most about our music is that we haven’t fully committed to one style. It honestly feels like we could go in any direction at any point musically, which is honestly very liberating. I feel like a lot of unbelievably talented artists get pigeon-holed into one style and get too scared to divert from it. In the current landscape musically, I think a lot has changed with the pandemic. We have so many new fresh collaborations going on that it gives me hope to push FRSTMRNE to the next level by pushing ourselves as far into genre-bending as we can go.
Music Bugle – What inspired the band name and stylization?
Nicholas – To put it as bluntly as possible, we are nerds. The name comes from a sword within the “World Of Warcraft” universe. The lore behind the blade and what it does is actually really interesting, as well as the person wielding said sword. As far as the stylization, it’s a love letter to the cyberpunk genre. Everything about the vibes of those worlds and the design aspects behind them are so fascinating.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your new single “Bright Lights”?
Nicholas – With “Bright Lights,” we sat down writing it with the intention of being a song that blends the styles of The Weeknd, Phil Collins and BMTH into one monstrous composition. We worked in as much electronic production as we could to accomplish that synth-driven vibe, while also touching on the massive anthemic feel that BMTH is able to pull off, but also maintaining the cool experimentation that Phil Collins is known for.
Music Bugle – How important is mental health to you?
Nicholas – Mental health is of paramount importance to us. I personally suffer from some pretty intense issues that I would prefer to not get too far into. That being said, we as a band know what it is to feel that loneliness, like you’re drowning in your issues and a solution seems almost as elusive as the pain seems sintense. As a member of the human race, I think we all deal with mental health issues at some point, right? Especially with what has recently been happening around the world, mental health is almost at a critical point. I think we as a society really do not put enough emphasis on mental health issues.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Nicholas – This pandemic has definitely been very hard on us all. I think it made us all have to face some harsh truths about ourselves. Spending a lot of time in isolation can be extremely detrimental to mental health. Having a band you can create with during those instances has been therapeutic. Personally, the pandemic has turned me into a bit of an agoraphobe, which I would imagine has happened for a lot more people than we think. There’s just that feeling that we could lose what we lost again. Hopefully, people can band together and see that we only make it out of this situation by getting together and holding each other up.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Nicholas – The beach! (Laughs) Three of us live in South Florida, so the beach is almost part of day-to-day life for us. There’s just something calming about watching the waves and feeling the wind. Taking breaks is definitely something I’d personally like to do more.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Nicholas – How much time do you have for that answer? (Laughs) In all seriousness, Normandie recently put out a massive record. Also, I have recently been really into Spiritbox. Courtney is honestly probably one of the best in the scene right now. Other than those two bands, it’s been a lot of lo-fi hip hop beats and mid-tempo electronic stuff like Rezz. I think right now is the best time for music. There’s something for everyone out there!
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Nicholas – I think the answer to this would be both. I think social media can elevate artists to new levels they never would have reached otherwise. Being connected with your fanbase is so cool, because you get to bring them a new level of intimacy. The flip side to that coin is that I also think the algorithms are pretty brutal. Also, with the way musicians are currently paid by streaming services and how social media companies treat musicians is really unfair. I would probably attribute that to the fact that streaming is the main way in which listeners get their music, so the whole album purchasing model has kind of fallen to the wayside, therefore the social media companies don’t necessarily view music as a “hot commodity.” I’m very curious to see where we are in five years with this stuff.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Nicholas – “Find what you love and let it kill you.”
Music Bugle – What do you hope for from the rest of 2021?
Nicholas – I hope the world can start to heal from the pandemic in the same way the world healed after the Black Plague. I am hoping for a second Renaissance. Fingers crossed we get some of the best art/music/media that we have ever seen. I also really hope that people can stop being as divided as they are on just about everything. We are stronger together.