Lemmons guitarist, Blue Velvette band member, former sushi chef, first-year music major, Sioux Falls native, Beach Boys fan. These are just a few ways to describe Nic McGuire.
McGuire is working on their (preferred pronoun) own album under the name Pretty Boy. The name of their album hasn’t been released yet.
McGuire records all the tracks for the record in their dorm room in North Complex.
“I wrote a lot of music by myself and I always had a hard time trying to find a way to get a group together, so I said, ‘Screw that, I’m just going to do it all by myself,’” McGuire said. “The album is coming out soon.”
Pretty Boy’s sound is created entirely by McGuire and their layering of guitar, bass, vocals, keys and sampling. They record on four-track cassette recorders.
“I use this crappy four-track cassette recorder and then when I’ve used all four tracks, I take the crappy cassette and I record onto the other four-track,” McGuire said.
Some of the sound influence is attributed to the Beach Boys, especially Brian Wilson. Wilson was known for his harmonies and his unusual yet innovative pop compositions.
“What really draws me into the Beach Boys is that Brian Wilson was a literal genius,” McGuire said. “They are well-known for making happy music, which is profound because they’ve written some of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard. Their versatility makes themvery interesting.”
McGuire said other influences for their album are Miniature Tigers, Bobby Vinton, 70’s soul and Rick Schair.
“Schair releases a lot of music really consistently by himself, and every time he releases something, it sounds nothing like whatever it was he had come up with a month or two before,” they said. “I think seeing how an artist can experiment within the confines of pop music is interesting.”
McGuire also said Alan Palomo of Neon Indian is a significant influence.
“When (Palomo) first started making music, he didn’t know how to write music so he thought of it (as though) he were writing a screenplay,” they said. “I try to do that as often as I can because I think it results in an interesting writing style, just approaching music as something other than music and seeing how it turns out.”
McGuire came to USD because of its music department, they said.
“USD has been really good because of the practice rooms,” they said. “It gives me the chance to work on a whole piano. It’s a pretty mellow environment. My guitar lessons have probably had some influence on my playing with Pretty Boy.”
The name “Pretty Boy” relates to Nic McGuire’s personality, in a way. They noted that it was in part for their dog, but also relates to McGuire’s identity as genderqueer.
“It’s from this comic called “Pretty Boy,” and it’s about this gay kid that gets beat up because he’s really effeminate,” they said. “I kind of sympathize with that, being an effeminate person.”
McGuire often finds that their gender ebbs and flows from day to day, they said.
“It’s hard to explain,” they said. “Some days I feel male, sometimes I feel female, sometimes I feel neither or in between. I don’t think I’m strictly male or female. I wouldn’t say I’m strictly both or anything.”
McGuire has found the gender-inclusive housing in Olson Hall to be an accepting community.
“I’ve had a pretty positive experience,” McGuire said. “There’s a lot of good people, so it makes it a comfortable living environment for a queer person. Most queer people I encounter are usually pretty nice people and they want to know about you.”
Growing up in Sioux Falls also proved influential for McGuire and their music, they said.
“Now that we have Total Drag and Icon Lounge, we’re really starting to see the music scene again,” McGuire said. “Aside from the music scene, the visual art scene is also really good. There’s a lot of creativity in Sioux Falls. You kind of have to look for it, but once you find it, it’s a really warm, welcoming environment.”