Watching his father lead the children’s choirs at the church and school he attended, leading a band comes naturally to Nashville native Nordista Freeze. It’s the only job he ever wanted. Part of the massive non-country music scene there, Freeze is carving out his own place in Music City with much larger goals in mind. His enthusiasm for the positive possibilities of music, expression and performance reveal an earnest, honest artist who sincerely wants to meet you and be friends at his upcoming gig at Victory North on Saturday, May 15.
“I remember sitting in the backseat of the minivan playing air guitar, and that’s still me,” Freeze, 24 explained. “Everyone else has abandoned that dream, but I’ve clung to it. Not to anyone’s detriment, but someone’s got to be the rock star. I continue to think it could be me, the person making music. It’s been my only plan forever.”
His sound is rooted in 60s pop, leaning slightly toward the psychedelic, with sonic influences from The Beach Boys’ post-teen-idol work and a dance-rock vibe reminiscent of Mutations-era Beck. “Fight Song” exemplifies this side of the band, with newer track “Wysteria” showing their eagerness to explore different styles and the chops to pull it off. Nashville succeeds at sustaining such a vibrant scene because the concentration of talent that comes with being one of the biggest music industry cities in the nation is staggering. Musicians, songwriters, sound engineers, producers, studios and venues abound. Freeze, trained only as a vocalist, has taken advantage of his surroundings and formed a strong band behind him.
Freeze’s introduction to the Nashville underground live scene 10-years ago consisted of hardcore punk shows at private homes and DIY art spaces. He loved the style of music, but the aggressive nature didn’t suit him. He gravitated to a more inclusive sound as the scene expanded and matured.
“Now there’s a massive pop music scene, so much indie music and so many bands,” he said. “I’ve witnessed the change and it feels like there’s room for everyone now.”
Room to expand is necessary for someone who wants to do so much. His own personal tastes expose a vast area for further musical probing. “Bob Dylan at Budokan” is a foundational album in his collection. Artists he admires and draws from include the aforementioned Beach Boys, as well as Kurt Vile, Wilco, Dawes, Of Montreal, Modest Mouse, She and Him, a middle school obsession with Daft Punk and other electronic artists that continues to this day, Mikal Cronin — a Ty Segall collaborator — and the relentless NRBQ who have been releasing records for more than 50 years. Not surprisingly, his tastes run a wide gamut of styles and bands who can do the same.
“The most exciting thing as an artist is to change it up,” he said. “I like the sampler platter. At a restaurant I get a lot of appetizers. I want to try everything, not one thing.”
Such desire leads to greater ambition. Asked what he ultimately is trying to do, he responds without a hint of insincerity.
Photo courtesy of the artist
Nordista Freeze with a rotary phone.
“I’m just trying to advocate for peace and love, that’s really what it’s all about,” he said. “Playing shows and creating positive moments; that’s it for me.”
Aiming even higher, he mentions indie hero Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre who said in the film Dig! — paraphrasing — “every artist wants to impact culture as deeply as possible.” This stood out to Freeze and motivated him further.
“I’ve never heard it said like that, but that’s what’s exciting about growing musically and reaching a bigger audience, the potential to impact more people and impact culture,” he added.
Our microculture has a fan in Freeze, but his two previous Savannah shows couldn’t have been more different. A September 2019 show at El Rocko attracted about eight people. Despite this, his love of performing and James Brown-level work ethic drove him to play his heart out.
Determined to win over the Hostess City, he accepted an invitation to play the 2020 Savannah Stopover. A sold-out Jinx show the following year was a redemption.
“That was one of the coolest gigs I ever played,” he said. “If I had to retire today, that would be one of the ones I’d look back on as the biggest success. I couldn’t believe it. It was packed.”
Freeze’s ambition surfaces once again as he talks about what to expect at the upcoming Victory North show.
“Tell them I’m going to give 110%,” he said. “It’ll be a show they’ll never forget and that’s the truth. I’m going to lay it all out there. I miss playing so much. This is everything to me, being on the road and meeting people.”
Meet Nordista Freeze 7 p.m., May 15, at Victory North, 2603 Whitaker St., Savannah, with local favorites Reverend Bro Diddley and the Hips and Fauvely opening the show.