The son of northern California hippies, Nico Yaryan had a quintessentially west coast upbringing during the 1980s. He spent his childhood skateboarding, working retail jobs, and digging in the dollar crates for records that could be used as sample material for his own hip-hop beats, inspired his then-idols J Dilla and DJ Premier.
This somewhat aimless existence was given an injection of purpose when Yaryan's high school friend and blues-rock guitarist Hanni El Khatib came looking for a drummer for his upcoming tour. Yaryan spent almost two years touring the world while he developed a level of proficiency on the guitar. He started dating a girl in Amsterdam. After leaving Hanni El Khatib's band, he immediately returned to Amsterdam to be with her, but, due to visa restrictions, had to leave Europe only a month later, despite their falling deeply in love with one another. The subsequent year was spent working on a marijuana farm in Humboldt County, California, saving money for his next trip to Amsterdam, and then returning to work a month later to repeat the whole process all over again.
The relationship didn't survive such geographical and financial adversity, and Yaryan's debut full-length album, 2016's What a Tease, was penned during this up-and-down period of his life. Inspired by the great soul and blues storytellers such as Bill Withers and Al Green, as well as the solo output of John Lennon and Neil Young, the songs on the record are honest reflections on the themes of hope, perseverance, and, ultimately, heartbreak. ~ Simon Spreyer