Shadow Monster is just one of the local bands featured on ‘Re-Destroyed’, a set of Nihiloceros covers—and “testament to the community”—celebrating the anniversary of the band’s 2021 album ‘‘Self Destroy’
By definition, community has to consist of more than one person, but if there was an individual who personified this idea, particularly on the local level, it would—no doubt—be Mike Borchardt of Nihiloceros.
As I wrote in the Bands do BK book, if the Brooklyn music scene had an official hype man, or maybe a mayor, it would be Mike, who won’t just be found tearing it up onstage at venues across the city, but somehow (see my this-dude’s-def-been-cloned conspiracy theory) also seems to be in the crowd of every single show I attend—and often multiple shows a night—showing IRL support for his fellow artists in this scene while snapping photos, shooting videos and promoting projects online as well.
And given the love Mike consistently shows to musicians in the scene, well… it’s no surprise that friends would jump at the chance to reciprocate the feeling and return the favor. The most recent (and rad) result of this mutual respect, appreciation and adoration is Re-Destroyed: a revisiting of the 2021 Nihiloceros record Self Destroy that features covers of the original tracks contributed by members of the Brooklyn music community—specifically Desert Sharks, Frida Kill, Nevva, Ilithios, A Very Special Episode, Brook Pridemore and Shadow Monster.
And today, one day ahead of the release, it’s the cover by Shadow Monster that I’m stoked to premiere here! Putting her spin on the sixth track of the Nihiloceros album, here’s Gillian Visco and John Swanson’s take on “Odie.”
As I’ve written before, the best kind of cover is, at its heart, a love letter—an act of admiration, appreciation and re-creation. A musician paying homage in the most authentic of means, taking a track they love and infusing it with originality, not seeking to duplicate the song but to build upon it and, in the process, introducing another unique work into the world. This act can almost be considered an indirect duet, an asynchronous collaboration, and it’s one that is even more special when it’s not strangers or even peers but real friends participating in the project.
And that is what makes this record stand out. It’s simultaneously a way for the cover-ers to pay tribute to a band composed of people they love and a way for Nihiloceros to use their personal platform to promote the musicians that they’re personally fans of. It’s an act of mutual creativity and generosity, one that truly demonstrates the bond between these bands and exemplifies both the talent,and the love that run so deep in this community.
Ahead of the release, Mike was kind enough to sent over some intel on the idea behind Re-Destroyed and the experience of making the record with collaborators old and new.
“We had been looking for a cool way to celebrate the anniversary of Self Destroy while we were busy writing our new record. Bryan Bruchman, who owns our record label, suggested we have local Brooklyn bands cover the whole thing and put it out for its 2nd birthday. So we asked a bunch of our super talented friends who are in amazing bands if they wanted to do it, and they said yes. We obviously also hit up Chris Gilroy, who had drummed on the original as well as engineering and mixing Self Destroy to come back and be a huge part of Re-Destoyed. Chris worked with me running all the sessions, and did an awesome job engineering and mixing everyone. It was largely live-tracked in DIY spaces and apartments, so we got to literally watch this whole project unfold right in front of us. It was a humbling experience and just really inspiring to hear all these great musicians’ new interpretations of songs that we had written in the middle of the pandemic. This release isn’t about us. It’s a testament to the community. Everyone did such an unbelievable job. It turned out so much better than we could’ve imagined.”
Gillian also sent over some thoughts on her contribution, sharing what she enjoyed about the project and what, in turn, she learned in the process.
“I personally love doing covers, and it’s especially fun covering friends’ music because you get to know them in a new way by diving deep into their songwriting,” says the artist. “My favorite part of making Re-Destroyed was listening through the final product and how each band’s unique style came through. Really cool to see everyone put their stamp on an already stellar album.”
Re-Destroyed drops September 29th on Totally Real Records! Nihiloceros is celebrating the release with a show at Main Drag on Saturday along with Desert Sharks, A Very Special Episode, Frida Kill, Nevva and Ilithios. Grab your tickets here, and go show up and support. This record, after all, is a testament to the community, our community… and that, more than anything, is something worth celebrating.
Feature image (provided by the band): Kian Gannon