Brutal Lives is easily Nick Jaina’s most daring album to date. And that is saying a lot when you consider that Nick has made a career out of re-inventing himself. The 14-track album primarily features work that he originally composed for a contemporary dance piece in the summer of 2014. These pieces were all rejected by the choreographer, often with no other explanation other than that they were "too sad." Nick thought the recordings had some value in them, so he refashioned them into songs, adding vocals and choruses to give them a different life
In addition to these pieces, Nick also included compositions written during a process called The 20 Song Game, where he would arrange a day with friends to try to compose and record 20 new songs in one twelve hour period. Stylistically, the album jumps from the indie-pop standout “Make A Life”, to the haunting “Co-Creators”, to the jarring “Saw You On The Train Last Night”. And I swear, “Fell Too Much In Love” would be right at home in a John Hughes film. Though the collection is unusual and misfit in its sound and origins, it somehow seems to fit together seamlessly. Due to the unusual provenance of the recordings, almost every instrument was played and recorded by Nick himself. He gave the collection of songs the title that he proposed for the original dance piece, which was also rejected: Vies Brutales, or Brutal Lives.
This is Nick's second release on Fluff & Gravy Records. It is coupled with an essay that Nick wrote to include in dance programs for people who are new to dance, How To Enjoy Dance. The essay was never used for the intended purpose.
Nick has been a composer and musical director for the Satellite Ballet and Collective in New York City since 2010. He has composed works with dancers from New York City Ballet and Julliard and performed them at Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Joyce Theater. Nick's first book of prose, Get It While You Can, an impressionistic memoir about a love of music and the world, was nominated for a 2016 Oregon Book Award.