Musician, librarian, poet and PhD student: Caleb Nichols has done it all.
The San Luis Obispo local has been a musician their whole life, first delving into the DIY folk-punk scene in 2005. Nichols’ first musical venture was a project called The Bloody Heads that released an album titled “Picking Up Your Pieces.” After this project, Nichols went on to join Pitchfork buzz band Port O’Brien in the mid-2000s. The band toured nationally with M. Ward, Nada Surf, Bright Eyes and the Cave Singers. This eventually led Port O’Brien to tour Europe with Modest Mouse.
After living the musician’s life for a decade, Nichols decided to pursue a Masters degree in Library and Information Science. This led them to become a librarian at Cal Poly, where he currently works, in addition to teaching some Composition and Rhetoric courses. In addition to this, Nichols is a poet and author — his poetry won them an Academy of American Poets University Prize. He is currently working on a PhD dissertation in Creative and Critical Writing at Bangor University in Wales. Additionally, Nichols runs the SLO Book Bike, a curated pop-up book shop specializing in poetry, fiction, and memoir.
In 2020, Nichols marked their return to music with a new collaborative project, “Absolute Boys” by Soft People. Nichols and his partner independently printed vinyl of this new track, to sell to their listener base, family and friends.
Little did they know, this vinyl would lead to a major record label deal. During the height of the pandemic, Nichols and his partner were left with dozens of copies of vinyl left, so they started sending them to record labels. With this luck, the team at indie record label Kill Rock Stars picked it up and gave it a listen.
“They did not like the record I sent them, but it showed them how committed we are and led them to find my old work in the more indie-rock style I am currently working on,” Nichols said.
Nichols is releasing a new double single today, Tuesday, February 22nd, or as he calls it “Twos-day” due to the date reading 2/22/22. The tracks, “Feeling Like Breaking” and “Without You”, are available for pre-save here. Nichols will be releasing a full length album later this year.
Nichols is touring with MAITA, fellow record label mates, playing tracks from their new albums.
Tour dates are as follow:
2/24 San Francisco
2/25 San Luis Obispo
2/26 Los Angeles
More details are available here. Tickets are $10 each, and guest are required to show proof of vaccination for entry.
Arianne Landers is a content writer and DJ trainee for KCPR.