photo by David Anderson

Nicola Schultz

Nicola was the bassplayer and sometimes vocalist in Swirl, the band who soared with releases such as The Last Unicorn and Aurora.

May 2024

Sons for Strength

Nicola  has just released her seventh solo album  Sons for Strength – written, recorded and produced by Nicola and mastered by William Bowden.

“The release consists of 9 tracks of ethereal, dream pop that reflect on love of all kinds. These tracks are simple verse about human nature which I hope people find uplifting.”  – Nicola

Music takes me to another place, always will. During the 90s I played bass and sang in the Australian indie band Swirl. We started in a northern beaches garage (actually, in our case it was a yurt and a granny flat), as many bands do, and soon our musical chemistry was good enough for us to begin playing the Sydney pub circuit and build a following. Luckily Nic Dalton and Stephen Pavlovic, two of the mainstays of the Australian independent music scene liked what they saw in Swirl and we were soon releasing records and touring. We enjoyed numerous releases through Half A Cow Records in Australia, Kitty Records in Japan and Dirt Records in the US.

Swirl had fun touring America twice, being called one of the top 10 buzz bands of the CMJ Music Seminar, and zigzagging across the country in a van, dodging deer, playing local bars and clubs with underground bands and more well-known ones like Yo La Tengo, Luna, Sunny Day Real Estate, Straitjacket Fits and Mo Tucker’s band.

In Australia, we supported international acts My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and The Lemonheads, played the festival circuit, and toured with local bands including Ratcat, The Hummingbirds, Plunderers, The Falling Joys, Underground Lovers, You Am I, Crow, Sidewinder, Tumbleweed, Glide, Smudge, Disneyfist, Bluebottle Kiss and The Daisygrinders.

Being part of Swirl was a great experience and flatteringly Drum Media’s Mark Neilsen rated us as criminally underrated, while Revolver Magazine’s Mike Gee rated Swirl’s song Dark Star as amongst his Top 50 Australian songs of all time.

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By 1997 it was time for me to move on and I left Swirl. Music is a passion that never leaves you though, and one day I found myself knocking on the door of Troy Horse studios in Brisbane. Much to my delight Mickey Levis, who had recorded and mixed Swirl in the old days, opened the door and was soon producing my first solo recording, an EP Searching for the Goddess which was released in 2008.

Simon Topper, Rave Magazine said,

Searching for the Goddess…is the sound of an artist. Creating art. The local singer-songwriter has compiled a variety of songs on this EP that are achingly gentle on the ears, like a series of tunes played not by traditional guitars and keyboards, but carried in on the breeze…what is virtually audible is Nicola Schultz pouring her soul into this serene project.

This was followed up with an album Union in 2010 produced by Brian Mann. Union had some success, gaining radio airplay in Madrid, San Francisco, and Canada, and was picked up as the official backing music for the 2010 ATOM Awards (Australian Teachers of Music) hosted by Vince Colosimo in Melbourne’s Regent Theatre.

Photography is another passion of mine and in 2008 I was asked to exhibit my photography series The Magic in Nature in the ArtGroupie 2008 exhibition in Sydney and contribute the song Shih from Searching for the Goddess to the exhibit CD. Happily, I was asked back for the ArtGroupie 2012, which displayed my Coming Home photo, and had the single, Dance of Life from Soundtracks for Carparks on the ArtGroupie 2012 exhibit CD.

Between 2011 and 2013 I also jammed intermittently with Ben and David from Swirl and in 2012/2013 we played three reunion gigs, two of which were fundraisers for the If Its Catchy It Means You Stole It documentary by Jarrad Kennedy about Nic Dalton and Half A Cow Records.

My second solo album Soundtracks for Carparks was released in 2013, produced by Mickey Levis near Castlemaine, Victoria with contributions on violin and sitar by Nicolas Lyon. This was recorded off the grid at Mickey’s home studio.

In 2016, Cherry Red Records in the UK, released a 5 CD Shoegaze compilation entitled Still in a Dream with Swirl song, The Last Unicorn being the only Australian contribution.

In 2016/2017 I wrote my third solo album God is Light inspired by my personal journey through cancer, surgery and chemotherapy. The songs were written on guitar and piano and I also composed string scores for some songs. The album evolved with producer Mickey Levis and his counter melody contributions on guitar and bass guitar. There were sessions involving percussion by Jess Ciampa, piano performed by Phil Dooley, Seaboard by Simon Lee, violin by Tim Wickham, cello by Alex Voorhoese, and an additional harmony to the track, Fly Me to the Moon by Annie Morabito. The album was recorded and mixed in 2018/2019 in Bendigo, Mount Macedon, Canberra, Sydney and Woy Woy, with mastering by William Bowden.

In 2019 it was the 25th anniversary of Swirl’s The Last Unicorn release and Library Group Records in Sydney reissued the album on double vinyl. In the following year, Sound As Ever (Australian Indie 1990-1999) released The Shoebox Diaries, compilation #1 which included a demo cassette version I had digitised of Swirl’s song Brand New Day featuring Sean Andrews on operatic vocals.

I completed a Bachelor of Education Studies degree at University of Canberra in 2021 which incorporated music study at ANU School of Music. This was an opportunity to develop processual techniques and included songwriting, musicianship, music technology and film composition.

I used these skills to then record, produce, and mix my following four albums titled Majesty, Field of a String, Love, Lawn & Seagulls, and Sons for Strength which all receive airplay in San Francisco and Berlin, as well as on Australian community radio stations. I played and wrote all the instrumentation apart from the drum loops on 7 tracks from Majesty which were created by Simon Lee.

I am pleased that Martin Gooch’s short folk horror film Death Loves Her Raven which premiered at Vue Cinema, Leicester Square, London on 1 May 2024 uses two songs entitled Auxilio Divino and Nautical Smiling from my 2022 album, Field of a String.

Video

Buy Music

Sons for Strength
released May 2024

 

Love, Lawn and Seagulls
released August 2023

 

Field of a String
released November 2022

 

Majesty
 released Friday 2nd April 2021

 

Soundtracks for Carparks

 

Union

Searching for the Goddess

God Is Light

Discography


Sons for Strength

released May 2024

Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Synths (inc. piano & strings), Mandolin, Drum loops & samples.

Written, self-produced and self-mixed by Nicola Schultz
Mastered by William Bowden 2024
Charcoal drawing: William Aylward, Photograph: Ben Aylward
Cover art layout by Nicola
Digital release © Nicola Campbell 2024 ℗ Nicola Campbell (Australia)


Field of a String
released November 2022


Majesty
released 2nd April 2021

Soundtracks for Carparks

Mickey Levis: guitar, bass, string arrangements
Nicolas Lyon: violin, viola and sitar
Nicola Schultz: guitar and vocals

Produced, engineered and mastered by Mickey Levis in Castlemaine 2012
CD release C & P Nicola Schultz 2013 (Australia)
CD design and layout by Trevor Keeling [Flower photography by Nicola Schultz]


Union

Brian Mann: guitar, vocals, bass guitar, keys, percussion
Nicola Schultz: vocals, guitar, keys, percussion
Greg from Shamboliks: National Guitar on track 10

Produced by Brian Mann and Nicola Schultz
Engineered by Brian Mann, Brisbane 2009
Mastered by Mickey Levis, Castlemaine 2009
CD release C & P Nicola Schultz – Swan Songs Publication 2010 (Australia)
CD design and layout by Trevor Keeling [Artwork by Jordana Archer]

Searching for the Goddess

Mickey Levis: guitar, bass, percussion, string & drum arrangements
Robert W Miller: cello
Nicola Schultz: guitar and vocals
Mark Wilkinson: guitar on track 4
Brian Cachia: drums

Produced & Engineered by Mickey Levis at Troy Horse Studios, Brisbane (2005)
Mixed by Mickey Levis at The Shack, Byron Bay (2007)
Mastered by Don Bartley at Benchmark Mastering, Sydney (2007)

CD release C & P Nicola Schultz – The Lotus Press (TLP01) 2008 (Australia)
CD design and layout by Jo Grant [Artwork by Jordana Archer]

God Is Light

Mickey Levis: guitar, bass, ROLI Block & harmonies on track 3 & 8
Nicola Schultz: guitar, vocals & harmonies
Phil Dooley: piano
Simon Lee: seaboard
Alex Voorhoeve: cello
Tim Wickham: violin
Jess Ciampa: percussion
Annie Morabito: additional harmony on track 3

Written by Nicola Schultz 2016/2017
Produced by Mickey Levis in Canberra, Sydney, Woy Woy, Bendigo & Mount Macedon 2018/2019
Mastered by William Bowden 2019
Digital release C & P Nicola Schultz 2019 (Australia)
Cover and artwork by Chris Kavanagh
Pastel drawings & photography by Nicola