Meet Nick

Composer Nick Norton, seated in front of a bright, multicolored wall. Photo by Brandon J. Rolle

Nick Norton is—like you—made from materials forged in the cores of stars. He was born in Los Angeles approximately 13.6 billion years after the universe and a few million after vertebrates began to interpret vibrating air as sound. He has been making music ever since, these days spending most of his time finding ways to combine vintage synth grooves, field recordings, acoustic instruments, temporal experimentation, and studio magic into tactile sonic experiences.

Nick’s debut album Music for Sunsets was released on people places records in late 2023. About it, Foxy Digitalis saidMusic For Sunsets is an expansive sonic treat. There is so much thought and craft in each of these 12 tracks, it’s hard to believe this is only his debut. Within these lively ambient soundscapes, moments are held with care, and the inward searching becomes a beautiful sonic glow. It’s a wonderful record.” Mixed by GRAMMY nominated producer Lewis Pesacov, the album is available on all major platforms.

Nick grew up going to shows in the Ventura County punk scene, playing sax in his school’s jazz band, and spending summers on Catalina Island. He went to college at UC San Diego, where he discovered minimalism, noise rock, and avant garde classical music, and graduate school for composition at King’s College, London, UC Santa Barbara, and a whole bunch of garages, studios, apartments, backyards, beaches, mountains, bars, libraries, clubs, restaurants, lakes, forests, glaciers, and deserts. While finishing his PhD, with a thesis titled “Concert Production As Composition,” Norton founded and ran the experimental concert series Equal Sound in LA.

He was working in live sound and recording when the pandemic hit in 2020. Seeing his musician friends out of work, he put up an online fundraiser with Equal Sound. It went viral. While Equal Sound’s Corona Relief Fund, with the help of a team of volunteers, raised and distributed over $100,000 to out-of-work musicians, Norton worked himself into a psychotic break that resulted in hospitalization. Doctors diagnosed him with bipolar 1 disorder and, during the manic phase, he ruined his romantic relationship, lost his apartment and business, and spent himself into bankruptcy. After moving in with his mom, the severe depression that normally follows a manic episode set in, eventually returning him to a psychiatric care facility after months of being unable to leave the couch.

After getting out, he started spending his time googling “career change mid 30s” and “longshoreman salary” until stumbling his way into the online certificate program in digital audio post production at Santa Monica College. Before long he started getting hired as a music and sound editor for film and tv, and having to focus on work gradually drew him out of his depression.

Norton’s home studio developed alongside his improving mental health. Every new piece of gear, every new library of sounds, and every bit of learning about production necessitated a new musical experiment. His issues would disappear completely whenever he had his head down discovering new musical worlds. When he had been in inpatient care, one of his therapists had said Nick had to have a project for when he got out, and he always responded “make a record” without believing it. These new pieces, inspired by his work in sound, became that record. As he wrote Music For Sunsets little by little, it turned into an audio document of his recovery, self-acceptance, and musical discoveries, as well as, eventually, an exploration of his newly found, happier world.

In April of 2023 Nick finally earned enough days as a music editor to join the Motion Picture Editors Guild, a long held career goal, and in September of that year Music For Sunsets finally came out to rave reviews. Last Day Deaf called it “absolutely captivating” and said that Nick’s music “invites you to embark on a sonic journey that’s as diverse and vibrant as the city he hails from, a musical exploration where boundaries blur and creativity knows no limits.”

In addition to his regular work in film and television, Nick now plays in the band Whiler and teaches music production at Santa Monica College. A student of Zen Buddhism, he enjoys punk rock, cinema, travel, fancy meals, sci-fi, art, dogs, political philosophy, and being in or near the ocean.

Norton EDIT-6

Press Quotes

A composer and sound artist to be reckoned with.

A touch of old school magic, a touch of delight.

Tome To The Weather Machine

Norton’s pieces are visceral sonic haiku which pair modernist sonorities with clever conceptual underpinnings.


Guitar noise, on a high plane of sophistication, fit to melt steel beams. When it hits you, it hits you HARD.

A Fool In The Forest

...always on the verge of an intense climax, yet meditative at the same time. It’s ambient/drone music that’s harsh around the edges, but with a hypnotic quality that makes it something much more than its effects.

Treble Zine

Hearing Nick Norton’s crazy piano deconstruction, All the Wrong Notes, was like sticking your head on rattling piano strings as Richard Valittuto banged away.

LA Times

Formidable and powerful, I could easily imagine Mirror Smasher Zero being extended into a much longer minimalist work.... It reminded me, in a very good way, of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music in its powerful, gyrating, and relentless sonic attack.

New Classic LA