Singer/songwriter Micah Nelson has been playing music since he was handed a harmonica at age 3 and placed onstage with his father, Willie Nelson. While he taught himself drums and several other instruments by jamming with brother Lukas Nelson, he was much more focused on visual art the first half of his life, and he speaks about his music in an artistic parlance.
“I’ve been writing songs for awhile, and mostly they have been recording experiments, sonic experiments,” Nelson says. “And that’s great. I’m in love with sound as a colorful art medium, as something to paint with.”
While music was never pushed on him, Nelson gravitated towards it and got serious when he joined psychedelic rock band Insects vs Robots in 2008. Soon after, he adopted the moniker Particle Kid for his experimental and often abstract tracks. Last year, the Los Angeles-based Nelson took his solo endeavor to the next level and released Particle Kid’s self-titled debut full-length record and a second full-length LP, Everything Is Bullshit, less than six months apart.
“I came to the realization of the complexity that can come from just a voice and guitar or piano,” says Nelson. “I challenged myself to start writing songs that I felt confident to perform in that stripped-down way, even without any kind of production.”
Once Nelson gained his songwriting confidence, he says the creative floodgates opened. “I stopped overthinking things,” he says. “If a song came, I just let it come in whatever form it was and tried to capture it on the spot.”
With plans to record a new album in March and an upcoming split LP with songwriter Sunny War coming out in April, Particle Kid plays as a trio with Insects vs Robots bandmates Jeff Smith and Tony Peluso on Saturday, March 3 in Bolinas.
Particle Kid, Smiley’s Schooner Saloon, 41 Wharf Rd., Bolinas; 9pm; $10; 21 and over; 415/868-1311.