Last year, Nicholas Krgovich got dumped. At 35 years old, the Vancouver multi-instrumentalist experienced real, true heartbreak for the first time. It sucked. And suddenly, after not writing any new music for almost three years, songs started pouring out of him. “It was like this whole ordeal turned on a tap,” he explains. “I’d finish a song in my head and instantly hear the next one. I started to be like ‘I guess I’m making an album?’ So I did.”
That album became OUCH, the evocatively titled follow-up to last year’s In An Open Field, which Krgovich describes in a statement as “a very gay break up album.” It comes out this fall on Tin Angel, and today, he’s sharing its lead single, the pleasantly Magnetic Fields-esque “Rosemary.”
“Rosemary” is deceptively breezy, masking its deep well of heartache under gentle strums and tender pop melodies. “Trying to handle new love with white gloves/ Is as reckless and foolhardy as anything/ Anything, anything new,” Krgovich sings as he walks by his ex-boyfriend’s house. “It’s just gonna do what it’s gonna do/ And decisions might be made that don’t include you.” Listen below.
Here’s Krgovich’s full statement about the making of OUCH:
Since 2002 I’ve been putting out albums. I haven’t counted how many, but 16 year’s worth anyway. I guess what makes “OUCH” stick out in the pile is the fact that it’s a breakup album: a concept as old as the hills but completely new to me. Up until last year I’d never fallen in love or experienced a broken heart. Not even close really. I can’t believe heartbreak is a thing that happens to pretty much everybody! It’s so wild! Maybe the wildest thing besides having a baby or death! No wonder I managed to avoid it for so long. I don’t think I could have handled it.
I got dumped in the spring of 2017, in a way that made the whole, brief but potent relationship suddenly seem like a bit of a joke. But then some deep, churning, real emotions started to happen and life became hilariously heavy and impossible feeling. The next morning I remember waking myself up before my alarm sobbing loudly into the room. I was in hell, but was also somewhere rolling my eyes at the absurdity of how “on the nose” all this was – Grappling with these primal, teenager-y feelings as a person in their mid-thirties! A person who in many ways knows who they are! A person who’s already had their Saturn Return! All of it!
At the time I hadn’t written any new songs in almost three years. Then, in short order, while at work pathetically pushing a lawn mower, eyes red and bleary, I heard a melody and the first line of something and then the second line and on and on. For weeks I compulsively made up these songs, mainly at work in my head, it was all surprising and extremely comforting. I’d go home and quickly thumb them out on the piano, usually just out of the shower, dripping, wearing a towel, drinking a beer, feeling like a true piece of shit.
It was like this whole ordeal turned on a tap. I’d finish a song in my head and instantly hear the next one. I started to be like “I guess I’m making an album?” So I did. I borrowed a couple mics and rented a compressor, my computer had just died so a friend leant me an old MacBook Air. I made this thing at my house, pretty quickly. Turning my small place into a jumble of wires and cords and instruments and gear. Endlessly unplugging the noisy fridge during takes and reaching around to plug it back in. As an aesthetically driven monster I usually keep my place pretty tidy and organized so it felt alien and new to just let the place become feral and unruly. Outsides matching the insides and all that.
Thinking about it now, the whole thing was a pretty damn heartening experience. Having this recording project happen, haphazardly and out of necessity, constantly doing, not really thinking, spacing out, having friends pop over to sing and play and drink gin and bring their gentle wisdom while I whined about my feelings. I felt very loved and supported during a time where I could not have been harder on myself or felt more grotesque or impossibly unloveable. Making this album gave shape to a life event that just felt like this big sad unanswerable blob.
After I finished recording the album I finally listened to the Sza record and thought about her a lot. I’d watch her interviews on YouTube and marvel at how she could be so transparent and clear and confused and human. I remember listening to a Marc Maron podcast where he interviewed Lorde. She had just put out a breakup album and said something like she didn’t write about the specifics of the relationship because she didn’t want to build a totem to this one particular person etc. That’s such a shrewd move I thought! The songs can be open, they can live longer! What I had just made with “OUCH” was all specificity. A record that is very literally a record of one particular relationship with one particular person.
In August 2017 I put together a six piece ensemble and we played the entire record in a church, to an audience that I later found out included some of his friends. How absurd and weirdly appropriate! Presenting these songs in an opulent cathedral! In front of his peers! It’s like a romantic stunt from the 1800s or something!
So, “OUCH” is finally coming out this October. I’m excited to share it, even though my life feels completely different now, and I relate to every one of these songs in a starkly different way. Listening to the album now is like walking into a museum. I was in such a shit place for a long time but even during the worst of it I knew enough to regard the experience as a kind of gift. Loving is such a wild and bold act! I’m so grateful to know that my heart is open, that I can be in love, have my heart broken and survive. I didn’t know that before or trust that to be true at all. Plus now everybody and their dog knows I’m as gay as the day is long! I made a very gay break up album! What a relief!
Life is short and being afraid of shit is so boring, being fearful of being free is such a waste. Love everybody, love! And if it all goes awry and you end up with a bunch of sad ass songs? Hooray for you! Love, NK
OUCH is out 10/26 via Tin Angel Records. Pre-order it here.