Kyle McCarthy

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Kyle McCarthy in 2013
NIIC, Live at FA: United 2015.
NIIC, Live at Furpocalypse 2016.
NIIC, Live in Philadelphia, 2017.

Kyle McCarthy, better known by his stage name as NIIC the Singing Dog or just NIIC (pronounced "nice"; born May 24, 1990), is a musician, performer, and producer based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He is best known for his viral track "Paws to the Walls", which became a meme within the furry fandom. He specializes in making electro-pop and indie dance-pop music.

Biography[edit]

Kyle McCarthy was born on May 24, 1990, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Music Composition from the Philadelphia based University of the Arts in 2012 and received the "School of Music Award: Scoring for Media" award during his studies there. After a period of living in New York City in 2013, he has since moved back and currently operates as NIIC the Singing Dog in Philadelphia out of the NIIC Music LLC company, which he is the founder and owner of.

Kyle was a guest of honor at both FurryCon (New York) and FangCon in 2014 as well as Fur-Xoticon in 2016. He was also a guest of honor at Megaplex XVII in 2018.

Character[edit]

Kyle's character, NIIC the Singing Dog, is an anthropomorphic dog through which he performs and produces original indie dance-pop music. He has performed at various festivals, conventions, and bars across the U.S. and the Greater Philadelphia area.

A green akita inu, NIIC was first conceptualized by Kyle in February 2013. NIIC was inspired by a dog from Kyle's early childhood - a relative's husky named Nicki whom Kyle briefly grew up with. The unconventional green color of the character was chosen due to the significance of the color green in Kyle's life and to reflect the character's vibrant and energetic personality, and was first mocked up by furry artist Casparr.[clarify] Kyle began the promotion of the green dog and its music within the furry fandom in March of 2013.

The Singing Dog is a revival of a previous anthropomorphic musical project Kyle had developed in Philadelphia, a web show puppet series called Sebastian the Singing Cockroach - a self-absorbed part-time artist and cockroach that worked at a city coffee chain and frequently lamented about being under-appreciated by the rest of society. Upon discovering the difficulties of operating puppets, musical scoring, and video editing as a one-man team, Kyle revived the project in 2013 upon discovering the furry fandom and tweaking Sebastian to a live-acting musical performance, i.e. NIIC the Singing Dog.

Design[edit]

NIIC the Singing Dog was first designed digitally by artist Casparr. The first consistent wardrobe of NIIC to appear in various pieces of artworks was conceptualized by the Canadian artist Vallhund, who was also responsible for creating NIIC's signature logo (the headphone paw prints frequently displayed with NIIC).[citation needed] The first mascot costume modeled after NIIC's final design was constructed by New York crafters Blix Fox (head) and Faris Batwan (arms, paws, and tail). NIIC's most current costume was crafted by Grimmkitty Productions (head) and Sassypup Creations (arms, paws, and tail).

Music[edit]

NIIC’s music style has evolved considerably over the course of his career. His early work, Unleashed and NIIC the EP, the latter being released in 2013 and the former in 2014, mostly consist of a fusion of electro-pop and dance-pop, with catchy hooks and energetic vocals. The lyrics often focused on themes of romance and desire, hedonism, embracing your inner freak, partying, and living life to the fullest. After the release of his second album, Instinct, in late 2014, NIIC’s style changed considerably, down to the voice, sounding deeper and more natural instead of the previous high-pitched autotuned vocals seen in Unleashed and NIIC the EP. The lyrics shifted toward a more grounded portrayal of everyday struggles, utilizing metaphorical storytelling that mirrored the complexities of life. That being said, some songs still remained more upbeat party-centric style reminiscent of Unleashed. This dichotomy set the stage for Beast, NIIC’s third album, which builds upon the foundation laid by Instinct. The album doubled down on exploring profound metaphors, with a central theme revolving around escape and self-discovery. Beast takes on a more pronounced rock sound, interwoven with tribal influences.

NIIC's three major studio albums all follow an overarching story established in the first tracks of the album. In Unleashed, the story starts out with a young girl going to the pet store with her mother and picking out a puppy, later revealed to be NIIC, and attempts naming him, to which NIIC loudly cuts her off and tells her that nobody names him, and is then implied to have escaped from the store. Instinct picks up following the events of Unleashed, beginning with a news broadcast in which the anchors explain that after a freak accident at a power plant in North Jersey, a "giant green dog" (NIIC) has been spotted running around Philadelphia. Beast expands on the narrative established in the previous albums. It reveals that NIIC was captured by scientists after escaping the pet store in Unleashed and taken to a secret laboratory beneath the aforementioned power plant in Instinct. Beast implies NIIC is currently on the run, possibly in a jungle, and being pursued. Escape, NIIC's upcoming fourth album, is expected to continue the overarching storyline.

NIIC's vocals are typically accompanied by energized and syncopated synthetic backing tracks, dispersed with live instrumentation. Kyle produces all songs within Pro Tools and mixes them through an Apogee Quartet console. His microphone of choice is the dynamic Shure SM7b, and incorporates virtual instrumentation software into his tracks, such as Kontakt, EastWest, Superior Drummer, Trilian, and Stylus RMX.

Discography[edit]

On April 11th, 2013, Kyle released several "rough drafts" of songs that would appear in future albums, such as NIIC the EP and Unleashed. It was originally entitled Paws to the Walls but was never formally published as an official album. Two songs that were uploaded to SoFurry and FurAffinity around that time were never officially released in any capacity, those being "Bah Dee Oop! Thank you!" and "Thanks for Watching Me on F.A.!", both of which are now only available on SoFurry as NIIC has since deactivated his FurAffinity account in early 2020.

It was not until July 2013 that Kyle released NIIC's first project, "NIIC the EP", during the opening of Anthrocon 2013. NIIC the Singing Dog's first full-length album was released on Valentine's Day of 2014, titled "Unleashed". NIIC's second album, "Instinct", was debuted at Fangcon 2014. "Beast", NIIC's third album, was released and toured in 2016. In 2017, NIIC released a special Christmas-themed album titled "Deck the Dogs", which included remakes of earlier Christmas singles like "All I Want For Christmas Is a Boy" (2013) and "The List" (2014).

In addition, NIIC has also released cover tracks and song commissions that are not yet compiled into albums, but appear piecemeal on various media websites such as SoundCloud, YouTube, BandCamp and formerly HypedSound and Grooveshark.

In July 2018, NIIC announced in a Q&A on YouTube, that his next album, Escape the Humans, was set for a late 2018 release. It eventually ended up being delayed. Despite fans' and backers' frustration over delays and radio silence, NIIC promised more transparency in an update posted in January 2020. After a two-year absence, NIIC resurfaced in 2022 and resumed work on the album, providing Kickstarter updates and conducting backer-exclusive streams showcasing album progress. The album has yet to be released as of 2024, and it is unknown how much progress has been made.

Singles[edit]

  1. T.B.U.Y.G.F.U. (Wanna Break Up? Version) (2013)
  2. Paws to the Walls (Fursona Version) (2013)
  3. Paws Up! (feat. Hixbi Fox) (2013)
  4. All I Want for Christmas Is a Boy (2013)
  5. The List (2014)
  6. I Don't Need Love (2015)
  7. Fall is Fallsome (2015)
  8. Into Night (2016)
  9. The Next Horizon (Acoustic Version) (2016)
  10. Broke On Christmas (2018)
  11. I Want You To Unwrap (2020)
  12. Thirst (2021)
  13. Something In My Teeth [MEEN's Theme] (2022)
  14. Sheptember (2022)
  15. Fight on Through (2024)

NIIC the EP (2013)[edit]

  1. Oh Yeah, Baby!
  2. In Love With the DJ
  3. Make Me Your Beat
  4. Never Catch Me
  5. Arcade Desire

Unleashed (2014)[edit]

  1. Introduction: My Name is NIIC
  2. The Singing Dog
  3. Whatever U Want Me 2 Be
  4. Paws to the Walls (Album Version)
  5. The Bass Drop
  6. Freaks
  7. Do What Feels Good
  8. T.B.U.Y.G.F.U.
  9. Knock, Knock
  10. All We Need is Distance
  11. There's No Good in a Goodbye
  12. Take Me Higher
  13. Unleashed

Instinct (2014)[edit]

  1. Introduction: Breaking News with Julia Meisgeier
  2. Instinct
  3. It's How We Do
  4. We're Taking Back the Night
  5. This Land is Ours
  6. Not Going Home Tonight
  7. Brush Yourself Off
  8. The Best Thing That Happened
  9. Incoherent (Bee Sae Bai)
  10. My Friends
  11. Jack of Hearts
  12. Our March
  13. 'Til the Music Stops

Beast (2016)[edit]

  1. Introduction: I Am
  2. Beast
  3. Howl At The Moon
  4. The Next Horizon
  5. PhD In Mixology
  6. Could You Ever
  7. Heart In Me
  8. The Watchmaker
  9. We Are Lovers (Of The Light)
  10. The Dog House
  11. Thank You (For Being There)
  12. President Of The United States Of Dance
  13. Our Time Will Come

Deck the Dogs (2017)[edit]

  1. My Wish
  2. The List (Remastered)
  3. All I Want for Christmas (All I Want for Christmas Is a Boy Remastered)
  4. Once Upon a Holiday
  5. Brand New Year

External links[edit]

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