a Maiden & Soloist, Rockin' the airwaves
By Kreig Marks, November 2023
Kreig: Hi Nikki. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine where dreams are shattered and hopes become despair! Nikki: Sounds like this will be a different kind of interview! Haha Kreig: Just kidding. We're not out to shatter anyone's dreams.
Nikki: Alright then, let’s go!
Kreig: First, let me congratulate you on the new album, Apocrypha, and the new single/video, "Where the Demons Lie." Very cool song, and the video is excellent. I've watched the video several times and it was done very well. It really showcases your vocal skills and the entire band too. The whole album is truly solid. Great vocals and musicianship. Take me through the writing and recording process.
Nikki: Thanks so much! I started writing the album during the pandemic when we were all stuck at home. All of a sudden we had nothing but spare time to really focus on music! When I had the rough demos down, we had our drummer Shad record the drum tracks and then Patrick (my husband) and I were able to record the rest of the album over the course of a year. Once touring started it was difficult to find the time to finish it.
Kreig: Where did the title, “Apocrypha” come from? I know it’s a biblical term.
Nikki: I was watching “Ancient Aliens” or something like that, and they were talking about the Apocrypha, which are the texts that were forbidden or left out of the Bible. Literally translated in Greek, it means forbidden texts and I thought that sounded like an apocalyptic, cool name for the album.
Kreig: It is a cool name. Where did you shoot the video? Who produced it? How much input did you have in the production?
Nikki: The video was shot in Long Beach, CA by Industrialism Films. We had a small crew and were able to complete the shoot in just 9 hours. I helped pick the location and Vicente and Fernando, the directors/producers, helped come up with the concept.
Kreig: Only 9 hours? That's pretty amazing. And, it really turned out great. So, you've got a lot going on at the moment. The tour with the Iron Maidens through the end of the year, and then you've got some solo things going on. How's that been going? When are you going to take a break?
Nikki: I love keeping busy, and things won’t be letting up anytime soon. It’s a challenge to try to do 3 different projects at once.. not even including my acoustic shows. No breaks for me!
Kreig: Is Shani still doing fill-in guitar for the Maidens? I interviewed her a few years back and jumped all over the guys at Ibanez, asking why she wasn't being sponsored by them at the time. She's an excellent guitarist.
Nikki: Yes she is! We’re lucky to have her playing with us, and she’ll be filling in for the foreseeable future. We’ll have another incredible guitarist playing a few shows with us as well later this year.
Kreig: Let's hear about a crazy fan interaction with the Maidens. Anything that comes to mind. A creeper, an over-excited fan? Whatcha got?
Nikki: There’s always something after people have been drinking after the shows. We were doing a meet and greet in Germany and a guy jumped up and put his bare ass on the counter for us to sign, which wasn’t the most pleasant thing, haha. Never a dull moment on the road.
Kreig: That's pretty funny. Coulda been worse I suppose. I read somewhere that you were given a nickname, Davina. Can you explain the story behind that?
Nikki: The band has “stage names” that are similar to the guys we play after. So I was given Davina Murray by the band, but it’s not something I’ve ever gone by. I’m just Nikki.
Kreig: You know there's an attorney in Ireland, well, a former attorney now, named Davina Murray, who lost her law license when she tried to sneak some contraband into the prison of a guy she represented and eventually married. True story.
Nikki: The band and I are absolutely blown away by that and never heard of it until now haha. That’s so crazy! What are the odds of that?
Kreig: Well, apparently the odds are pretty good! As a kid growing up in Red Oak, Texas, when did you start gravitating toward the guitar? Did you come from a musical family?
Nikki: My dad plays guitar and my mom loves rock/metal as well, so I had great influences growing up. I started playing when I was 14, and there really wasn’t much to do around the small town of Red Oak. I knew instantly once I started playing that’s what I wanted to do professionally.
Kreig: For guitar, and for singing, who would you say are some of your influences?
Nikki: For guitar, it’s Kurt Cobain, Synyster Gates, Dimebag Darrell, and Marty Friedman. Vocally, I’d say also Kurt Cobain, Amy Lee, and anybody I could sing along to while I was young.
Kreig: That's a pretty eclectic mix. Take me back to the first time you performed. What was going through your head? Were you nervous?
Nikki: The first time I performed was with the first band I ever joined called Before The Mourning at On The Rocks above The Roxy in Hollywood. I was absolutely terrified but so excited as well, and it was on my 22nd birthday. It’s something I’ll never forget!
Kreig: When you perform now, do you get nervous before that first song? How do you relax before stepping onto the stage? Do you have a ritual you follow?
Nikki: I don’t really have any rituals.. I just play through some of the solos and warm up before the show. I don’t get nervous much anymore, but it will happen every once in a while. You just try to clear your mind and focus on putting on a great show and having fun. That’s what it’s all about.
Kreig: Another first-time moment for you. What was going through your head the first time you ever heard one of your songs, or one of the Maiden’s songs, on the radio? Who was the first person you called?
Nikki: I can’t say I remember hearing Maiden for the first time because it’s just something I grew up with, but it was really awesome to hear two of my songs on KLOS in Los Angeles. It was very surreal hearing myself on the radio! We knew it would be played so all of my family was tuning in from Texas already.
Kreig: When you hear yourself on the radio now, or on social media, do you still get those same feelings?
Nikki: I’m still looking into getting radio airplay.. for now, it’s just Spotify and Apple Music!
Kreig: After the January solo show, what are your plans moving ahead? When are we going to see you or the Maidens in Asheville? I believe there’s a show scheduled in Knoxville soon. That’s about a 90-minute drive so we’ll have to make some plans to go see all of you.
Nikki: It seems like we’re finally hitting some new places! It’s all up to our booking agent and the local promoters.. we’d love to play everywhere! As for future plans.. it’ll be more Maidens shows, more solo shows, a new video release, and finishing up the new album from my other band Heaven Below.
Kreig: Nikki, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. This has been very cool. Congratulations again on the new album and I wish you nothing but the greatest success in your career.
Nikki: Thanks so much again for having me!
Kreig Marks, Publisher / Founder TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine. His first interview with Brad Delp of Boston catapulted Tru Rock Revival into what has since become an international online rock magazine. Rock music has always been his passion, and promoting musicians. He is now heading Day of Rock Festivals in Asheville.