Special feature: Local musician’s journey from Cleckheaton to Cosmic Americana

West Coast inspiration: Singer and guitarist Nick Mitchell Maiato.
West Coast inspiration: Singer and guitarist Nick Mitchell Maiato.

To look at him, you wouldn’t think One Eleven Heavy singer and guitarist Nick Mitchell Maiato originated from ‘the back end of Birkenshaw’ as he puts it.

The 43-year old musician looks as if he has just stepped off the set of 60s counter culture movie Easy Rider, draped in fringed suede jacket and adorned in silver rings and bracelets.

New offering: One Eleven Heavy's latest album 'Desire Path' is released on the Beyond Beyond Is Beyond label on Friday, September 20.

New offering: One Eleven Heavy's latest album 'Desire Path' is released on the Beyond Beyond Is Beyond label on Friday, September 20.

However, he insists, it all started in drama class at Whitcliffe Mount School in Cleckheaton, where a former classmate played him ‘Break on Through’ by The Doors for the very first time.

He said: “The Oliver Stone movie [The Doors, 1991] had just come out and this girl Shelley Rayne played me the soundtrack on her Walkman or something. It blew my mind.”

Nick is one fifth of the band loosely based in Brooklyn, New York, which also features members of former Pavement singer Stephen Malkmus’s band, The Jicks, and scuzz-rock legends Royal Trux.

The band’s second album, Desire Path, is about to be released on hipper-than-hip Brooklyn label Beyond Beyond Is Beyond on Friday, September 20 – and the band has already shared the first single ‘Mardi Gras’ – which builds on the psychedelic boogie of their lauded first album, Everything’s Better.

Nick’s introduction to the contemporary Cosmic Americana scene came in 2008, when he first met his co-frontman, New Yorker James Toth who was, at the time, releasing music under the name Wooden Wand.

But rather than remain just a fan of James’ music, Nick was quick to convince him to start a band together.

Nick said: “We met at a gig in Manchester and bonded over our shared love of Neil Young, The Grateful Dead and Royal Trux.

“So, when we started to get a band together, the first name we came up with to join us was Dan Brown as he’d played bass on all our favourite Trux records.”

Both the band’s first album and the new one were recorded at Sound Of Music Studios in Richmond, Virginia, with engineer John Morand, whose CV included work with bands such as Sparklehorse and The Black Crowes.

This meant Nick writing and rehearsing separately from the rest of the band and flying in for the sessions.

Nick actually credits his West Yorkshire upbringing with his gift for West Coast-inspired rock.

He said: “All the kids at Whitcliffe Mount were obsessed with American music at the beginning of the 90s.

“We romanticised it, made it larger than life and dreamed that we could be a part of it.

“It was a communal thing and the main inspiration for me to pick up the guitar and try to do something with it.”

Desire Path is out on Beyond Beyond Is Beyond on Friday, September 20 on LP, CD and digital download. ‘Mardi Gras’ is now available to download.