Musician Nicholas Baker is well on his way to creating a special niche in the Los Angeles music scene with his eclectic and vibrant style of Afro Cuban music and jazz. The drummer is constantly hustling by playing gigs all over town. He’s also been busy working on a solo album for the past few years. This super savvy “man-about-town” is making strides with his music and he’s also quite the dapper gent. With movie-star looks that resemble a young Al Pacino in The Godfather (sprinkled with some Richard Gere}, we were thrilled to collaborate with him on a Ponyboy menswear editorial, dressing him in vintage finds from the 1940s-early 60s. This was an easy gig for Nicholas, who has also dabbled in modeling over the years. We love spreading the word about young, new talent and eagerly await his future musical endeavors. “The world is yours” – Scarface. Photography/menswear stylist Alexander Thompson. Photographed in New York City. https://www.instagram.com/nicholas.s.baker/?hl=en
PONYBOY: You’re from Los Angeles. Were you born and raised there?
NICHOLAS BAKER: I was – grew up in the valley!
PONYBOY: What was your upbringing like?
NICHOLAS BAKER: Imagine the movie The Sandlot, but with skateboards. ha! ha!
PONYBOY: Have you always been into music? How did you get into playing the drums? Do you play any other instruments?
NICHOLAS BAKER: I have. I started actually playing when I was 8, which is when I met my mentor who taught me Afro Cuban percussion. I then decided to get a drum set and then picked up guitar and piano for writing purposes.
PONYBOY: Tell us about the musicians that you listen to and that you’ve grown up on who have influenced you.
NICHOLAS BAKER: Giovanni Hidalgo and Jose Luis Quintana aka (Changuito) – the two greatest conguero’s. I also loved listening to jazz and rock. For jazz, I loved Miles and Chet, and for rock, Cream and the Jimmy Hendrix Experience.
PONYBOY: What musical projects are you involved in as a drummer?
NICHOLAS BAKER: Right now I’m truly all over the place. Being a studio drummer in LA, it’s best to be as versatile as possible. For example, last month I recorded for a musical, played multiple jazz gigs, an alternative rock gig, then a rockabilly gig, all in the same week. haha.
PONYBOY: The music we’ve heard you play on Instagram is quite beautiful, bringing back memories of say 1940s Cuba or Miami. Describe the aesthetic and/or sound that your music represents to our readers.
NICHOLAS BAKER: My personal project right now is called Là Lom. Our goal is to preserve and modernize the sound of 1930s-40s Cuban jazz.
PONYBOY: What is the meaning of Là Lom?
NICHOLAS BAKER: Los Angeles League of Musicians.
PONYBOY: It seems like so many bands that we’ve known over the years are always looking for a good drummer. Why is there always a need for drummers?
NICHOLAS BAKER: I think the key lies in versatility. You have to have a good ear not only for rhythm but also with melodies and chord changes. It helps you make informed decisions on dynamics and where the music should go. Also, communication skills are key!
PONYBOY: Who would be your dream band or musician to drum for?
NICHOLAS BAKER: Right now I really love what Anderson Paak and Bruno Mars are doing with silk sonic. I would love to play percussion for them!
PONYBOY: We read that you were working on a solo record. Please tell us about it.
NICHOLAS BAKER: Yeah, been working on it for a while. Imagine sweeping strings on Old Nat King Cole records, mixed with 1930s Cuban music.
PONYBOY: Do you sing as well?
NICHOLAS BAKER: I do, but really enjoy making instrumental music. If one of my solo songs asks for it, I might have to lay a track down. We’ll see!
PONYBOY: Your style of dress is impeccable. We know you are a big fan of UK menswear designer Scott Fraser. What other labels do you wear?
NICHOLAS BAKER: Yes, I am! What an artist. I also love My local Angeleno Monsivais & Co., FRIED RICE NYC, YSL, and Paloma.
PONYBOY: As far as vintage menswear is concerned, what stores do you shop at?
NICHOLAS BAKER: For a lot of vintage I’m pretty particular, so I honestly do deep internet scanning. Sometimes the 100th page on eBay kind of stuff. haha! I’ve also been lucky to have had a lot of friends who have given me my favorite pieces that I have cherished through the years!
PONYBOY: How did you get into modeling?
NICHOLAS BAKER: Well, I was 17 and starving in college, and was trying to figure out a way I could make money and have time to go to school. So I thought might as well give it a shot!
PONYBOY: Since events and shows are pretty much back to normal, where can one see you playing in the Los Angeles area?
NICHOLAS BAKER: I’ve been playing all over LA since mid-June. The best way to see where I’m playing next is to follow my IG: nicholas.s.Baker – always changing venues!
PONYBOY: What do you foresee in your future as far as your music is concerned?
NICHOLAS BAKER: I just want to play and travel the world with as many great musicians as possible. So that’s the goal! Keep playing with new people and music and expand the mind!