Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Nick Africano is fusing soul music with his love for Spanish culture and literature in his new album, The Butterfly Bull, which drops today [May 1]. Initially sparked by Francisco de Goya’s drawing of the winged creature, the album took shape based on the idea of contradiction, and was fueled by Africano’s own undergraduate thesis paper. “Bring Me Water”, the album’s first single, holds some surprising contradictions of its own, but will have you enamored more with its blues-meets-soul instrumentation and Africano’s own rugged vocals. Grab it as a free download for a limited time, and check out our PV Q&A, where Africano talks knack for poetics, love for contradictions, and why he was so taken by Goya’s drawing.
PureVolume: This album has been seven years in the making, which is incredible! Can you take us through that process?
Nick Africano: You’re right. The ideas and themes behind this album started before I knew it would turn into an album, in 2005 when I wrote my final thesis paper in undergraduate school for an independent project on Federico García Lorca called, “The Poetics of Contradiction.” I used the idea of contradiction as a lens through which to read and interpret some of his poetry. In 2009, a dear friend brought me a small journal back as a gift from Spain with a drawing by Francisco de Goya on the cover — “el toro mariposa,” or “the butterfly bull”. The drawing gave me chills. I’ve never felt so close to an image before. To me, it was a metaphor and symbol of so many different things I’d experienced in my life, and of things I had explored in literature — but so much more immediate. An embodiment of contradiction.I started writing one word at a time on each page, a single word on a single page. And that’s where the album truly was born — out of those words in the notebook. The first two I wrote were “cowboy” and “bowtie” and those are the first two words one hears on the record. After that, it took me two years to write the rest of the songs, record them, re-record them, and get it to where it is now…Click here for full Pure Volume Post