When we say “handmade music,” we really mean this sense of crafting something , of touching something – not so much the technique or the technology as the intention behind what you do. In a striking film portrait of Nick Zammuto for nakedmusicians.com, the craft of living is spotlighted as much as the craft of music making.

Nick, is known for his role in duo The Books (with Dutch-born Paul de Jong), and their distinctive, rhythmic, homebrewed-original sound. Here, he covers his manipulations of everything physical and temporal. Sound sampling is a tangible process, the poetry of things put together and assembled in surprising ways. So, too, is his life in music, as he talks about raising kids and literally building a home. They are all of these activities a way of stopping and shaping time, of composing yourself and your loved ones into the future. The resulting sounds and stories might just make you want to move around.

You can learn more about Nick on his site:


Burlington, Vermont-based filmmaker Matt Day is responsible for this gem.

And if you’re in the Eastern USA, you can catch Nick live:
FEB 3: Mass Moca, North Adams, MA
FEB 4: 92YTribeca, New York, NY
FEB 6:Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA

Sounds from his new EP, via SoundCloud:
Zammuto – Idiom Wind EP – Make Mine, London UK by zammuto

  • Really enjoyed that. Thank you. Any idea what that 45 record played for child?

  • Eric Carl

    Super nice little feature! Really enjoyed it.

  • istillgotmyguitar

    I really dig the reviews and opinions about music you have on your blog. Great post, keep up the good work. Thanks. IStillGotMyGuitar

  • Thanks for the head up. This is incredible!

  • Jack

    Peter you do a stand up job, bringing the good stuff to me. Very inspiring!

  • Really enjoyed this, too – and glad to find that NakedMusicians link. I found this to be inspirational – more because of the way he's living his life with his family. Going through my own midlife crisis at the moment, so the first thing I felt when watching this video was regret. I was reminded of this quote from Emerson:

    "In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another. "

  • spazmatron

    So what does this dude do for a living? I'm gone from morning till night working a job I hate, so that I can pay for a house I don't really like, and a car to get me to the job that I hate. Meanwhile my kids are wondering when daddy is gonna come home from work to see them for 5 minutes before bed.
    -Then I see this dude hanging out with his kids, working in the garden, building a house, and playing in his man cave. How can I be him??
    —and the music is good also.

  • It's really nice to see another musician integrating family life and creativity rather than putting the former off in favor of the latter.  It's too often the case that the two are seen as being at odds with one another.  From personal experience, having a family has made the time I have to compose (which is admittedly less that what I had before) much more inspired and productive.

  • Zoopy

    I loooove The Books and Nick Zammuto is living the dream.

    awesome. <3 <3 <3 much love from oregon to the books

  • phil

    Not quite sure I get how that laser thing worked … any ideas?

  • Mike

    I think its three green laser pointers pointed a mirror oriented at 45 degrees.  The mirror is near a speaker so that it vibrates to the music.

  • Daneil

    Anyone know what the first track in the video is called?

  • Great short film. Inspiring processes and working methods.

    I’ll miss The Books

  • I love this guy's music! What a great combination of electronic and acoustic, musicianship and audio engineering. Thanks for posting this!