The Machete Archive adds a new touch to their Sunday show with master keyboardist Nick Semrad joining them onstage with Woodsman and Carrot Carrot.
by Casey Welsch
There’s not much to write that hasn’t already been written about the Machete Archive. They’re one of Lincoln’s hardest rocking, most consistent acts, and they play everywhere. They’ve been talked about in every paper, on every website and on every radio station worth a damn around here. What more is there to say?
Well, they’re playing an early show at Duffy’s on Sunday with Carrot Carrot and Woodsman, but there’s something special in store for the Archive as well. Special guest keyboardist Nick Semrad, one of Lincoln’s finest musicians, will join Machete’s set for one of his last performances before he moves to New York. We caught him to talk about the performance, his music and his impending move.
Hear Nebraska: So, you’re THE Lincoln keyboard man, right? Anytime anyone needs keys, they seem to go to you.
Nick Semrad: (laughs) Yeah, that’s me, I guess.
HN: How long have you been playing the keys?
NS: Since I was three years old. I did classical for about 15 years but I always kept learning new things. My dad played and was actually on American Bandstand way back in the day. I always give him shit for being a one hit wonder, but he’s sold more records than me, so (laughs).
HN: What’s taking you to New York?
NS: Just music in general. All of my favorite bands are either from there or they live there now, so, I’m going for that.
HN: How did you get lined up to play with Machete Archive?
NS: I’ve known Dub at Duffy’s for a while, and he lives with Ian (Francis), the Archive’s drummer. It started as a joke several months ago. I kept saying I need to fill out my genre list (laughs) and after months of just giving them both shit about it, we finally lined something up.
HN: The Archive has one of Lincoln’s most recognized sounds. Now, you’ve practiced with them a few times, what’s it sounding like with you in the mix?
NS: I’m kind of sticking to organ work, making the whole thing sound bigger. And then when Saber (Blazek, bass) does his more melodic stuff, I do kind of this real gothic, low, classical stuff to round it out.
HN: How do you think the show will turn out?
NS: It’ll go real well. I already knew most of these guys, so we got a chemistry going right away.
HN: Apart from this one show, you’ve played with innumerable other local bands in your time in Lincoln. Do you think you could name them all?
NS: (laughs) No way! There’s been so much I’ve done with folk singers, jazz musicians, rock bands, I could name a few. I’ve worked with Darren Keen in various incarnations, I fronted Little Black Stereo, I’ve played with Son of 76 and the Watchmen, Matt Cox Band, Sara Bank and the Robbers, Tsumi, Kid B, Lizzard King, Lucas Kellison. There’s a lot.
HN: Do you think you’ll ever play with any of them again?
NS: I would hope so. That’s the great thing about having been here and playing in so many groups. Every time I come back there will be people to play with, and I’ll like to see how they’ve developed, too.
Woodsman w/Carrot Carrot & Machete Archive
Duffy's Tavern, 1412 O St., Lincoln
6:00-9:00 p.m., all ages
Casey Welsch is the editorial intern for Hear Nebraska. He has written about Machete Archive a lot. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.