Nicole tells “Billy wasn’t looking for a hired gun. He wanted a musical partner”

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In an interview with Nicole before she took off to Australia, Nicole talked to about a number of subjects.

Why she chose to play the bass:

“When I was a kid, I tried every instrument known to man. My dad was a musician, so there were always instruments lying around the house. He was primarily a drummer, so I think his dream for me was to be on the drums….I was 14,[when] my dad bought me a bass and I instantly connected with it. There was something about the bass… it was the mysterious instrument on stage. I still think it is.”

Being brought on as the Smashing Pumpkins bassist:

“Billy wasn’t looking for a hired gun. He wanted a musical partner. When I joined, he was very straightforward in saying that to me. He basically said, ‘I see your style, I’ve seen you play live, we’ve jammed together – I think you’d be a good fit.’ He’s very psychic and intuitive, and he bases a lot of his decisions on intuition alone. He felt that we had a psychic and musical connection, and he wanted to see where it could go.”

Working on songs with Billy:

“Glissandra… I remember Billy started playing and I was like, ‘Ooh! What was that? What was that?’ [laughs] He said, ‘Oh, I don’t know. It’s just something I was playing this morning in my house.’ I was like, ‘Keep going with that.’ I played a little bit of a bass groove, and then he said, ‘OK, do that, but leave a little bit of space in this part.’ And that’s how we work together. I’ll come up with my initial idea and we’ll tweak it together.””

One Diamond, One Heart:

“We were in the studio listening to the song in the engineering room, and Billy looked at me and said, ‘It needs a little flair. It just needs something, and I feel like it’s going to come from you.’ So he asked me to take 20 minutes – 20 minutes, no problem; I’ll just whip it out, you know? [laughs] – and he’d peek his head back in to see what I had.”

Singing on the album:

“Mike and I actually work on harmonies a lot together. We were working in this big studio, so there was something going on in every room at any given time. Mike and I would be in one room doing harmonies while Billy was doing a guitar part, or Jeff would be in another room doing a different guitar part. Everybody was really busy.

“Billy just kind of left us alone to figure things out. He’d peek his head in and say, ‘Why don’t you try this in this part?’ But Mike and I did a lot of parts on our own. Pale Horse just kind of fell out of us. It was probably one of the easiest.”

On the gear she used during Oceania

“In the studio, I used a Reeves 400. I had those, my Mesa Big Block Titan head and a Mesa 8 x 10 cab. That’ll be my live setup, too. As for effects, I’m playing with an Electro-Harmonix Neo-Clone chorus, a Bass Microsynth – that’s Electro-Harmonix, as well – and a pedal called a [Subdecay] Baby Quasar. Funnily enough, I use it on the song Quasar. [laughs] I think that’s it. I’m pretty sparse, but I do use a compressor for most of the songs.”

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