In Conversation With Medium Build

Nick Carpenter, better known as the singer/songwriter Medium Build, uses his stage name as a safe place, a hidden basement for all his darkest fears, shortcomings, hopes, and dreams. The new Medium Build album ‘Country’ emits the same comfort of a locked-away vault of Carpenter’s released angst, looking for healthy moderation and making sense of his past without self-judgment. 

The songwriting of Medium Build’s projects resonates, questions, and narrates Nick Carpenter’s ongoings. ‘Country’ depicts the different variations of what it means to be home, almost entirely made on a famous music row in Nashville. Across all 12 tracks, Medium Build delivers an authentic insight into his mental wrestle with self-deprecating thoughts, poetically transformed into personal anthems in a once-in-a-generation voice. 

His unfiltered introspection is reflective and emotional, resonating with others who are also contemplating and urging change: “I need to grow up and take accountability for my actions, or I will lose everything,” Carpenter reveals in the interview. 

As he finishes a line of shows supporting Holly Humberstone across Europe and the UK, Nick Carpenter speaks to Noctis about his relocation to Anchorage, Alaska. He also opens up about his manic tendencies and sobriety and shares his favorite up-and-coming acts, which would make it to his one-to-watch list for 2024.

You can catch Medium Build’s brilliance at his headline show at Islington Assembly Hall in London on November 13th.

You recently finished supporting Holly Humberstone on her sold out tour across Europe and the UK. How would you compare her crowds to the ones when you supported Lewis Capaldi, FINNEAS, or Briston Maroney?

Ah great question. I mean let’s be honest the best fans in all of music are young people. They learn the words. They make signs and bracelets. I love the old men who come and tell me about their trauma but Holly has a lot of young fans and they’re so fun! Holly’s crowds are also pretty kind and polite. All of them have been super down to get quiet and listen to songs they don’t know. I feel lucky.

You previously said you’re always grateful to be a part of someone else’s evening, having to win new crowds over. Do your shows change at all when you’re headlining a tour like ‘Cutting Thru The Highlands’ across Scotland?

Hahah my shows change every night no matter what. I changed the set every night of the Holly tour and definitely fluctuates the more freedom I have. aka if I’m solo without the band.

What were some highlights from this set of shows playing for you own fans?

The Highlands were so beautiful and special. A few fans came to the shows but mainly they were just attended by townspeople who heard there was some music going on downtown. I love that. I love the trust and curiosity. Life is fun.

You launched Medium Build in 2015, why did you decide to perform under a pseudonym?

I think I didn’t want to be Nick Carpenter then. I often don’t wanna be Nick Carpenter at all. The moniker seemed like a safe place to hide. And if I got weird or too personal I figured the stupid name would scare people away from listening. 

What does your stage name stand for?

it just started as a joke but I think I like to think of it as a safe place for failure. Not too big not too small. Everything in moderation, even moderation.

What was the main ethos behind launching Medium Build, what did you intend to channel into it?

Just a weird place to hide. And I wanted to keep the flubs and fuck ups in the music.

You studied music at Middle Tennessee State, why did you decide to move to Anchorage, Alaska?

My brother moved to Anchorage in 2009 and I spent a winter out there with him when I was 18. The vibe got into my blood. And I continued to visit every year while I went to college. As soon as I dropped out of MTSU, I quit my job and went back to Alaska to be with my brother. 

If you could describe it in words, what does Alaska mean to you compared to other places you’ve lived in?

Alaska is just removed enough from society that it doesn’t feel like anywhere else. I can’t describe it without failing but everywhere I’ve ever lived has shaped me in some way. I love going for walks and learning the street names. I just want to sponge wherever I am. Alaska has a million things to sponge. I’ll never finish learning from the place. 

Congratulations on your new album ‘Country’. In five years time, what do you think you will be reminded of when listening back to this project? 

I will be reminded of a dude going thru a really weird year who maybe isn’t feeling well mentally but somehow spending a month laughing my ass off with my best friends making songs.

What chapter of your life are you tapping into on ‘Country’ compared to your previous albums ‘Falling Apart,’ ‘soft boy,’ ‘rough boy,’ and ‘Wild’?

I think I’m in my “I need to grow up and take accountability for my actions or I will lose everything” era aka grow up. Speak up. Love hard. Work hard. Aka this is the thinnest veil there’s ever been between nick and mb. Aka love and growth and pain and loss.

What concept of Country are you referring to?

Well we made most of the album on music row in Nashville which is famous for country music. So we’re having a little bit of a laugh with that. But besides that I’m talking about “country” in the sense of the place that I live in and “country” as in the lands that I drive around for my career. Or the “country” that you love. Whether that’s a nation or a geographic feature. Maybe it’s a huge city or maybe it’s a goat farm. To me country just means home or whatever that is for you.

The recent single ‘Cutting Thru The Country’ is inspired by a poem you started while driving from Alaska to Nashville. Could you share the cutting which set the foundation for this track?

Just a mental road trip alone for 5 days without A/C in August. Losing my mind and leaning into myself.

One of the other singles is ‘In My Room’ that is full of heartbreaking confessions and admitting to lack of self-love depicted in lyrical poetry. What piece of the puzzle does this track unlock?

This is just a classic Nicky C self soothing track. Making sense of my past with a huge rearview mirror. I try to give people and myself grace with the passing of time. Past examples of this type of work in the Medium Build catalog include,        ////little chubby boy, rabbit, downtown theater/////

Similarly to Taylor Swift, you enjoy putting easter eggs into your music, do you have a favourite one? What do they usually reveal?

Hahah I have no clue. Do I do that? I think I just like making myself laugh. Or maybe it’s more self referential. I think Taylor and I both wish we were rappers. Rap and hip hop always references shit or joins the conversation of society. 

Can we expect a few on ‘Country’?

You’re gonna have to listen to keep me posted. I think there’s a few laughs to be had.

Last year, you collaborated with X Ambassadors on ‘Friends For Life.’ The songs carries the main sentiment of nostalgia and reminiscing of more careless times (teenage bands, singing in basements). What was this concept initially inspired by? What do you feel the you perform this song?

So Sam from X Ambassadors came to me because he heard a Medium Build song called ‘Come On Back’. That song is about friendship and getting past pain, Not giving up. We talked about friends of ours for a few hours and wrote FFL that day. I write a ton of songs about friendships. I think about Jay and I in his Mom’s basement when I sing this one. 

One of your tracks, you sing about having rage inside of you. Who was Medium Build in 2015 compared to Medium Build today?

Medium Build in 2015 wasn’t super different than he is today. Insecure. Cocky. Goofing. Just wanting to make something that lasts longer than him. I’d say maybe age has hardened him a little but I think the time has offered him some insight into what matters most.

What is the current prevailing contemplation on your personal quest of human growth and development?

I think the themes for me right now are self discipline and self exploration without forgetting that I’m part of a community. Of many communities really. I’m trying to get sober and stay sober. I’m trying to learn how to sleep alone. I’m trying to learn how to say no and set boundaries. If I don’t change something I’m gonna die.

Could you tell us what your mantra ‘chaotic joy’ stands for?

I think I’m prone to extremes. A bit of mania you could call it. I used to be ashamed of myself as a child. I would play too hard or talk too much.  As an adult I’m making attempts to give myself the freedom to be messy and manic. But in a healthier capacity. Like maybe I just aim at something decent and if it’s messy it’s okay. Even as I say this I doubt it. I’m so scared of hurting people or causing pain with my carelessness. So much so that I will isolate myself when I feel my extremes coming on. Idk man I think the goal is to be yourself but for me that comes with a huge asterisk that I need to be right sized and not impaired with booze drugs or self loathing.  

You made it to Zane Lowe’s Artist To watch list for 2024. Who would make it to your list?

Philine Sonny (if you only say one this is the one)

Bethlehem Shalom


ML Buch

Zane Penny

Rosie Rush

Phoebe Go

Ashley Young

Victoria Canal

What else would you like to accomplish this year?

I want to start acting in Film/TV. I want to start writing fiction. Maybe TV or some short stories. Find new ways to be creative. I want to visit Japan. I want to get better at skiing and skating.

Tickets for Medium Build Upcoming UK/EU Tour

Follow Medium Build On Instagram

Words: Karolina Kramplova