Hard Rock & Metal

Phil Collin’s Son, Nic Collins, Releases First Video With His Band “Better Strangers”

Phil Collin's Son, Nic Collins, Releases First Video With His Band "Better Strangers"

Burgeoning rock band Better Strangers announces their debut single “But I Don’t Know Your Name”

The band’s drummer, Nic Collins, is the son of legendary drummer, and singer, Phil Collins, and Nic is the current drummer in Genesis. Nic spent the last several years playing drums with his father, as well as with Genesis in front of over 2.1 million people, across 25 countries, on 4 continents. Quite a feat for a 20-year-old.

Sentimental blocks unfold… the unloading of heavy emotional turmoil is perfectly described by these

three words. “But I Don’t Know Your Name” centers on the story of an innocent, platonic fixation that

quickly turns into a dark and deranged obsession.

The track draws musical inspiration from the alternative rock icons of the ‘90s and recontextualizes their

musical contributions for the present and future. For Nic Collins, the hypnotic drum machine was an ode

to the legendary industrial band Nine Inch Nails, while the organic drumming style pays homage to his

drum hero, the late great Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters.

Better Strangers is an intersectional experience that blurs lines and disregards categories. It is abrasive

and uncompromising. It is dynamic, authentic, and expansive. Its members hail from different corners of

the world, as its music draws from the different corners of human creation in a unique synthesis of

genres. Influenced by the best elements of hard rock, psychedelic, hip hop, metal, grunge, progressive,

and shoegaze, Better Strangers occupies its own space within the continuum of music – while paying due

respects to the giants on whose shoulders it stands. Better Strangers is bringing it back by pushing it

forward.

The band is composed of lead singer deCasa, guitarist Joey Rodriguez, bassist Yang Waingarten, and drummer Nic Collins.  “But I Don’t Know Your Name” was written and recorded at Brain Damage Studios

Studios in Dania Beach Florida, and mixed by Grammy winner James ‘Jimmy T’ Meslin, with the music video directed by Andres Birnbaum.

The band was formed in the unlikely city of Miami, Florida; -another dimension where Latin, electronic, and hip hop dominate the local scene. One might attribute this music culture for inspiring some of the track’s more modern and electronic sounds; another might claim that the song’s main influences come from the giants of the 90s alternative music, as well as rock contemporaries like Royal Blood, Young The Giant and Turnstile. Both would be correct.

On Saturday, March 26th, 2022, Nic Collins sat behind the drum kit in front of a sold-out crowd at

London’s O2 Arena for what would be Genesis’ last public performance — a final goodbye for one of the most iconic bands in music history. With countless hits and deep cuts that span over 50 years, it was an emotional event for concert attendees and Genesis fans across the globe. Nic’s performance was

dedicated to Taylor Hawkins, who recently passed away in Colombia. The Foo Fighters drummer was

Nic’s hero and friend. His death was a tragic loss for the music world.

One might assume that such a high-pressure gig would be too much for a 20-year-old to handle, but for

Nic it was 17 years in the making. Nic received his first drum kit at age 2 and began playing at age 3. It

wasn’t until seeing his father Phil Collins’ 2004 “Farewell Tour” that a young Nic cemented his vision for his life as a musician. By the time of the 2016 “Not Dead Yet” tour, Nic had spent over 12 years honing his craft before having the opportunity to drum for one of the world’s most accomplished drummers. At the age of 15, Nic was performing in stadiums, arenas, and iconic venues like the Royal Albert Hall, Hyde Park, and Madison Square Garden. The tour spanned 4 continents and 25 countries in front of over

2.1 million attendees. As a young teen, Nic had achieved goals most musicians don’t reach in a lifetime.

This experience, – combined with relentless practice, wild passion, strong work ethic and vision – is what

developed Nic into one of the world’s top drummers. Music Radar included Nic as #2 on their fan-voted

list of “The 5 best prog drummers in the world right now”, and Nic was recently featured on the cover of

French drum magazine “Batterie”.

While touring the world with his father Nic was pulling double duty as the drummer and one of the

songwriters in Better Strangers, a band formed with longtime friends Yang Waingarten and Joey

Rodriguez. Nic and Yang forged a friendship in middle school when Nic moved from Switzerland to

Miami. Waingarten (Bass) and Rodriguez (Guitar) are both virtuoso musicians in their own regard and,

like Nic, began their musical journey at an early age. Joey started playing guitar at age 8 while Yang

began playing various musical instruments at age 6.

History tends to repeat itself. Much like early Genesis, The Beatles and U2, the band’s origins can be

traced back to middle school, where Waingarten and Collins formed their first band Countdown. The

band played one cover song: The White Stripes“7 Nation Army”. It wasn’t until 2015, when the band

auditioned Rodriguez, that the core was formed. Over the next few years, the trio played under several

different names, with several different singers. They would perform covers, as well as their own funk,

rock, and jam inspired songs.

The band gained notoriety in South Florida, building a fanbase and performing several high-profile gigs,

including opening for Phil and Orianne Collins “Little Dreams Foundation” benefit concerts, as well

as slots on the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival and the Montreux Jazz Festival. The band

would regularly sell out the hipster bar Gramps in Wynwood, Miami. It was at such shows that the

unreachable goals of becoming world class touring musicians became reachable to Waingarten and

Rodriguez.

In 2019 the band parted with their singer and were left without a voice. For the next year, the purely

instrumental band practiced and wrote relentlessly. In 2020, the world stopped in its tracks due to the

COVID pandemic, and the search for a voice was halted. The group was stuck in limbo.

They had all but given up when the power of Social Media led Austin, Texas based singer “deCasa”

(Luis Santiago) came to them via Instagram. While scrolling through Instagram deCasa came across a post actress Lily Collins had made about her brother Nic. He eventually found a post the band made a

year earlier, in which the trio advertised their search for a new singer. After debating contacting the

group for 2 weeks, deCasa emailed the band for consideration. Given the distance, the band sent him

2 demo tracks to write to as an audition.

The musical chemistry was instant, and they began writing songs together remotely much like The Postal

Service did in a pre-Zoom era.

The 4 began writing songs inspired by classic and contemporary bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers,

Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Radiohead, the Smashing Pumpkins, Royal Blood, Turnstile,

Tame Impala, Young The Giant, and Porcupine Tree, while returning to the raw power and

musicianship of monolithic rock greats like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath and Genesis.

Singer deCasa and bassist Yang share a mutual love for Rock Latino greats such as Calle 13 and

Black Guayaba

Lyrics are inspired by lead singer deCasa’s life experiences. Some real, some surreal. “It’s hard for me to sing about things I can’t really connect with. Most of what I write is directly inspired by personal stories or by the ones of close friends. That authenticity has a huge effect on the delivery when we record or play live.”

deCasa was born in Puerto Rico, and was raised on a combination Latino music and rock icons of the era. The Matador Bongos were omnipresent in his grandparents’ countryside home – the place his musical passions were spawned. “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t playing the drums.”

Bongos turned to a toy drum kit, which turned to secondhand kits, and in 7th grade deCasa got his first classical guitar. After moving to Texas and leaving his drum kit behind, he immersed himself in guitar, teaching himself by mimicking the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ John Frusciante.

While studying Computer Engineering at Texas A&M, deCasa used his field of study to convince his parents to buy him a laptop, with which he would produce electronic music on GarageBand. Throughout his years in college, he would work to support his musical habit, reuniting with the drums, picking up bass, and producing his own music. “Then I ran into the problem of ‘Nobody will listen to my music w/out vocals’… do I hire a ghostwriter? How does that even work?”

So out of necessity, deCasa started writing and recording his own vocals. Without any former vocal training, he developed his own instinctual style and played into his natural rasp. He spent a lot of weekends in Austin, Dallas, and Houston in underground scenes, taking inspiration from the rich musical cultures of each city. After performing DIY shows throughout Texas for a few years, he reached out to Better Strangers, which is where our story begins.

The band begins 2022 with earning their stripes on the road, cutting their teeth playing in clubs, festivals and support slots across the United States, United Kingdom & Europe. 

Website: www.betterstrangers.net 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/betterstrangers.wav 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bttr_strngrs 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bttrstrngrs 

Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@betterstrange…

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/13nv0…Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/bet…

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