A year ago, if you had told Nick Lutsko that one of his songs would reach 10 million people in two days, he might not have believed you. And he certainly didn’t think it would be for an emo rendition of President Donald Trump’s tweets.
But that’s exactly what happened when a song he created for Super Deluxe went viral this week.
Since Sunday, the video for “Trump Tweets as an Early 2000s Song” has been viewed more than 10 million times and received notice from multiple national publications, such as BuzzFeed, Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, The AV Club and Advertising Age.
Pitchfork said, “The song is a strange caricature of early ’00s emo, with earnestly whiney jangle giving way to screaming and surprisingly heavy drums.”
COS said the song fits Trump’s style because “he behaves more like an angsty teenager when given a Twitter account and no supervision.” The emo genre became popular in the early 2000s for its expressive, confessional lyrics.
A Chattanooga musician, Lutsko was the winner of the 2016 Road to Nightfall competition. Along with his band, a mix of life-size puppet people, Lutsko has been hard to ignore around the city. His original songs offer a playful, wild ferocity with melodies you’ll be humming for days.
“I never would’ve dreamed I would have a song that I wrote about Donald Trump reviewed by Pitchfork,” he said. “I’ve never been attached to anything that has had this kind of publicity.”
His work with Super Deluxe spawned from a video/song project he did for Vic Berger and Tim Heidecker (of “Tim and Eric”) at the 2016 Republican National Convention. A fan since high school, Lutsko noticed the two were doing live daily Snapchats from the convention on Facebook and had an idea.
“I was sitting in my room and playing the bass and it just came to me,” he said. “I thought, ‘I could spend the next 12 hours recording this thing, but it would be stupid.’ Because I’ve done so many things like this and nothing has happened before.”
Despite everything telling him not to complete the project, he finished the song-which required him to sort through hours of Alex Jones soundbites-and tagged the project on Berger’s and Heidecker’s Twitter accounts.
“The whole time I thought nobody was going to listen to it,” he said. “But they tweeted back and said they loved it. So I told them I would get to work on the Democratic National Convention version.”
The Berger and Heidecker videos were produced by Super Deluxe, which is how Lutsko was able to form a relationship with the content company.
After the two songs were complete, he offered his services to Super Deluxe, not expecting them to take him up on his offer.
“I just told them that I write songs for a living and if they could use me in any way to let me know,” he said. “That was in July, and the first job I got with them was in August.”
Since then, Super Deluxe has served as Lutsko’s primary job. He has produced several other songs, including a parody of office life, a song about Snapchat’s dog filter and the popular “Monster Bash” song at Halloween.
Although his use of Trump tweets in the style of Bruce Springsteen was well-received, his latest effort, casting the president as an emo version of himself, has touched on something different.
“This is the third song I’ve done with Trump’s tweets,” he said. “I think I’ve done six total, and a couple got shelved. I think a big part of the success of emo Trump is the nostalgic factor. A lot of millennials aren’t nostalgic for Springsteen.”
Most of his Trump tweet videos were created before the election results.
“They didn’t want to do much on Trump for a few months,” he said. “Things took a weird turn after the election . It set off a weird chain of events. But then, they emailed me and said, “I think it’s time to bring emo Trump back.'”
Even though his focus has been on Trump, he personally doesn’t want to get too politically involved in the work.
“There’s always a line, but I don’t know where it is,” he said. “With Trump, I don’t feel like it’s politics. I’m using his words and maybe changing the context or tone, but I try not to get too political. I feel like Trump exists in a world outside of politics.”
Although the band has been quiet, he said new Nick Lutsko and The Gimmix music is coming. His last album was 2015’s “Etc.,” which featured songs such as “All Shook Up” and “By & By.”
In the meantime, he said he is always open for collaboration and projects.
“I definitely want to do more freelance work, but I’d love to write more songs for companies,” he said. “I don’t know how much of a demand [there is] locally for this kind of stuff.”