Los Angeles is a city brimming with creative endeavors, and about 40 miles outside of the bustling metropolis is the city of Thousand Oaks, where pop rock band, The Wrecks, made their debut in 2015.
The band’s lead vocalist, Nick Anderson, is a native of Wellsville, New York. The city is a “shut away, isolated area with a cool community,” according to Anderson, located eight miles from Pennsylvania’s northern border. “[Wellsville] was definitely helpful for being really bored and looking for outlets,” Anderson said.
Anderson first acknowledged his affinity for music during the summer before ninth grade, when a friend of his recommended that he ditch his piano for a guitar. That friend also introduced Anderson to the alternative genre, and soon after, the pair were performing cover songs together.
“He indoctrinated me into alternative music, and ever since then it’s just been like a drug,” Anderson said. “It’s like I can express myself in real ways.”
Depressive episodes played a considerable role in Anderson’s life while growing up, leading him to view music as somewhat of a beacon of light. Through it all, his parents remained “a backbone” to his many aspirations, whether fleeting or permanent.
Anderson’s first shot at being in a band, a group called Exit Plan, happened while he still lived in Wellsville. Though short-lived, the group allowed Anderson to keep in touch with his future bandmate, Aaron Kelley, whom he had been friends with online since he was 14.
With emotional support from his parents, Anderson moved to San Diego in pursuit of a music career at the age of 18. Community college acted as a vehicle to break out of his hometown, but the reality was that Anderson just wanted to network and make music.
Anderson said that his first year in California was misspent, with him not even knowing the difference between San Diego and Los Angeles upon arrival.
“I thought, if I’m near a beach, I’m there!” said Anderson.
He eventually learned more about the distinction of the two cities and moved closer to Los Angeles to jumpstart his trade.
This was around the time that Anderson and Kelley first attempted their own band, Coastbound. The rest of Coastbound’s members were mutual friends of Anderson’s that he met through writing music in Los Angeles, but their time as a group was short-lived.
After Coastbound, Anderson and Kelley teamed up once again to form a new band, The Wrecks. A couple of failed auditions later, the two agreed on the “Jersey boys,” Billy Nally and Nick “Schmizz” Schmidt as their bandmates.
The Wrecks’ momentum as a band relies heavily on the infusion of interests among its members, according to Anderson. While there are some shared passions, the general consensus is that each bandmate lives their lives separately from one another.
“A lot of us have different lifestyles and we get along really well for that reason,” Anderson said. “That brotherhood toxicity has never really been an issue because you learn where people’s buttons are, and you learn what’s healthy and what’s not, and how to talk to each other. It’s really great to know that our relationship right now is the best it’s ever been.”
The Wrecks have come a long way since their first tour in 2016, where they were a supporting act for the band Nothing But Thieves. Anderson states that touring as an opener is different from being the headlining performance in nearly every way.
“When we’re the support we go out there wanting to win over the fans, and there’s a competitiveness in the back of my head, like I want to win this show,” Anderson said. “When we’re headlining, it’s like the product of doing that for years, and you’re able to perform and focus on the art of it.”
He said there was plenty of hardship involved with being in the opening band, from going hungry, to sleeping in a van in gas station parking lots.
“The lack of comfort was insane, but we were willing to do it,” Anderson said.
Now that the band is aging, crowdsurfing, moshing and crying are more uncommon elements of The Wrecks’ live performances. Anderson says that his audiences tend to fall on the mature side as “a crowd that comes just to have a good time.”
The band’s sophomore album “Sonder” reached No. 10 on Spotify’s Top 10 U.S. Albums Chart the week of its release. Anderson’s inspiration behind it was a tough breakup and writing about it was a way for him to heal.
He also admits that his social media activity is something he needs reminders for, especially while being at work on the album’s deluxe version. In a recent Instagram post, he shed light on the creative energy it requires to use social media effectively.
“It’s not burnout from social media,” Anderson said, “it’s burnout from working on the [musical] content, the actual art of it, and shutting in and doing it.”
This content often revolves around themes of pettiness, a feeling that Anderson toys with when writing lyrics. The Wrecks’ music stems from his intrusive thoughts and how he can convey them meaningfully, even if he does not necessarily agree with them.
The Wrecks are hitting the road on Sept. 30 for their Back and Better Than Ever tour. They will be playing in Las Vegas on Oct. 13 at the 24 Oxford inside Virgin Hotels.