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Published: 2006/02/17
by Chris Clark

Nucleus Keeps Reaching

It’s been almost six years since the founding members of Nucleus (Piet Dalmolen-guitar, Steve Webb-bass and Pete Ciotti-drums) came together musically. What began as three friends growing up together in pleasant Upstate New York soon spawned one of the most traveled and hard working bands in the current jam scene.

Over the better half of the decade, Nucleus has been touring all areas of the country extensively, hitting everywhere from Syracuse to Eureka. They’ve played less-than-packed bars, larger festivals and pretty much everything else in between. After almost six years, a cross-country relocation, hundreds of shows, some line-up changes and an impressive new album, it may just be time for Nucleus to catch the break they deserve.

“We have been all over the place,” says Nucleus guitarist Piet Dalmolen. “Right now we’re finally starting to concentrate more on California. We still love going on tour, but we just need to chill. If you’re completely on your own with nobody, it can get pretty nasty.”

After moving from Humboldt to New York back to Humboldt, the three founding members of Nucleus, along with recent addition B. Swizlo on keyboards, have finally found a place to call home. Now based out of redwood sanctuary of Arcada, the band has slowed their always-touring approach and now vie instead to focus on developing a strong following in California and progressing from there. The constant touring has taken a toll, and the band decided to take a step back, refocus and recharge their batteries for another push.

Last September, the band released The Art of Reaching, an ambitious and promising studio effort that cemented the sound of the new Nucleus. Through the years, they’ve dabbled in an array of textures, from dance-happy funk to hard rock to experimental jazz. From power trio to saxophone infused quartet, Nucleus has taken on many faces and many styles. With The Art of Reaching, the band seems to have finally found their sound, and with it, they’re now able to start spreading their wings.

“A lot of the tunes that made the album were older stuff that we’d played on the road a lot. They were ready to get on an album. There were also a handful of new songs. We were practically recording this stuff as we wrote it to capture the momentum as it came,” explains Dalmolen.

For Nucleus, the album was a means to show the music world just who the band was. The addition of Swizlo brings a tasteful and experienced feel to a group of seasoned players. Before Nucleus, he was an already established session player in L.A. who specialized in hip hop production, a skill that would prove quite beneficial for the band. Swizlo brings that added dimension to the table, further fueling the evolution and progression of a band at a critical point in their career. “He (Swizlo) is a tasteful player that helps us have a much bigger sound. We’re starting to push on and do new stuff. We can do more stuff but we still have that energy.”

And that energy is something Nucleus has always possessed. Even five years ago, they would play a small bar in Buffalo, New York and blow the walls out for three hours and the next night, do the same. While their power trio days offered a fiercer, fiery sound, today they are more mature, more refined. All the touring has produced a band that knows when to step it up and hang it all out.

“We can sound bigger now than we ever could before. Well, we still, I think, we rock pretty hard. We rock a lot more than we ever did. We know how to really just throw down and make it happen,” says Dalmolen.

With a few shows scheduled in California over the next few months and plenty of recording and new material slated, Nucleus is gearing up for what should be a very busy and important summer. Festival season is in sight, and the band hopes to land some high profile performances throughout the west coast. It’s due time for one of the jam community’s juggernauts, and they know it.

“This summer we are definitely trying to get into as many festivals as we can, make some good records and get a good following going,” says Dalmolen. “We’re all really psyched about our sound.”

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