Art is life—wearable art that is.
It’s always a pleasure on our side to hear about success stories of those who braved the unknown and basically just fired all cylinders with their passion. Today we have Nicolo Nimor of Nick Automatic. I’ve basically known the guy when he was starting out, viciously promoting his brand here in Manila fresh from Cebu, even finding the time to play drums and tour with his metal band Maria Campbell. To say that the guy has achieved a lot is an understatement.
It’s a nice surprise that This Is Hype has managed to pull him out of his daily routine to get the lowdown on his humble beginnings, his brand, how he managed to create the adjustments, and finally remain relevant to the streetwear and the creative communities. In this day and age, staying power means a lot and if there’s one thing we admire about the guy, it’s his will to go at it regardless of the trends. Enjoy!
First off. How did you get started with the brand? Was it just that easy to transition from band merch to Nick Automatic?
It was just a matter of good timing when I started Nick Automatic. No one was actually doing it locally and that’s the number one reason it took off right away. The transition from doing band merch to running my own brand wasn’t so complicated. I knew already what I wanted for Nick Automatic. Those elements came from making band merch. Using my own style of illustration and coming up with my own color palette was a big boost when I was starting out.
How do you keep your designs relevant with today’s scene and brands? Do you stick to your style or you still research and make adjustments?
Yes. I still stick to my DNA of illustrations and comical approach. Staying relevant is a challenge for every brand day by day. How do we stay relevant? We did extensive research and try to position the brand with what’s hot these days but at the same time making sure it isn’t an overkill. We position our products to possess modern aesthetics without losing Nick Automatic’s DNA at the same time.
We know you are a musician. What bands and music keeps you happy, especially during these times?
It’s weird actually. When I was a little young, I listen to a lot of Metal and Punk rock music. I needed to since I do band merch for some artists back in the day. These days I could say I’m stuck to the 2000 – 2009 era of music.
Whenever I get to work and needed to hear music, I tune in to Sevendust, Limp Bizkit, Killswitch Engage. The same thing over a decade now. I cannot digest new music on my own except when a friend forces me to though.
Can you describe to us that energy when Nick Automatic first came out? We’ve heard of campouts even on release days. How was that?
I miss those days to be honest. Nick Automatic has this certain energy that no one has back in the day. The illustrations and the vibe attracted many to wear it. Let me tell you a back story when I first started selling T-Shirts I had this brand called Venom Three. Usually, I go to local gigs in our town in a backpack. I talk to the local bar owners and managers to see if I can get a table and sell a couple of shirts at the shows.
Sometimes I ended up giving them away to the performing artists just to market them to audiences. The same thing I did for Nick Automatic but the only difference is I have a gut feeling that I know this will work and I just had to risk everything so I toured different cities and the hard work paid off.
People are coming to the show, lining up and even camping just get a T-shirt. It was chaos. a good kind of chaos if you will.
What is the best trait that Nick Automatic has when it comes to longevity and relevance in the scene?
I personally don’t know. With so many brands dwelling in the scene these days, all I can say is we are still sticking to our DNA and still producing stuff that makes them happy.
At the end of the day, people buy things that describe who they are. That being said, I can safely say that Nick Automatic has been a part of our customers’ lives.
From a business point of view, relevance to the scene really matters but for us, we are thinking of a bigger picture. We want to be bigger than that and we are slowly leaning towards that. We want Nick Automatic to be a part of everyone’s day to day lifestyle.
Your art style is very versatile, how did that develop at such a young age?
I guess Myspace made me who I am. During the times of music exploration from that site, I was exposed to “Band Merch” through some artist profiles and I thought to myself that I can do the same thing but with local bands.
I still remember back in the day when I messaged Eight from Queso and sent them a design then seeing Travis Barker’s Famous Stars and Straps. There’s a lot of things that influenced me at that time. By then by consistently doing these, I came to hone my own style. Aside from Nick Automatic, I’ve been more invested in creating more designs and at the same time, I have a couple of projects that can hopefully empower the young brands and the artists.
I’ve been sharing my experiences and thoughts on YouTube, Giving away free resources that they can use for their craft, and hopefully launch my mentorship programs. This is something I want to focus on and I think its time to give back to people who helped and supported the brand for more than a decade.
Going back to the topic about relevance to the scene. We all know streetwear has been really big in our scene. My only take is this—with the thousands of brands now circulating the local market, there are only a few brands that I can see that know what they are doing and knows what they really want for their brands. I can see the hard work they exerted and I can relate to them. The problem is, some brands’ mentality is to lean towards the brands that they follow and get inspired with and end up being a shadow of that brand.
The only solution to this oversaturated market is to take time to think and come up with how you can present the brand in a really different way. A way you can turn heads, make them look at your brand, and make them curious. It’s not all about cool brand names and cool logos. It’s about strategy. You can’t go to war without a basic strategy. the scene is a warzone and you have to survive the frontline, to begin with.
Your words of wisdom to our readers? Shoutouts?
Thank you to all who always supported Nick Automatic since the beginning. Thank you to the people who always believed in what we do and thank you Rogel, and This Is Hype for the feature.