Tag Archives: Profile

A Creator of Sound and a Curator of Aesthetic, Loke Rahbek (Croatian Amor, Lust For Youth, Sexdrome, Vår)

loke I’d like to begin with the versatility in your orchestral range. Whenever I hear your music, I always expect something different. Where does that fascination of creating something new, separate, come from? Do you feel that separating each style of music with a different moniker allows for greater intimacy and individuality with the project? Can you elaborate why you choose a separate moniker for each project. 

LR: I don’t know, that it is so strange to want to do different things. I try and bike a new route to our store everyday and go to a new place to swim, I try and enjoy the view from as many angles as possible. I imagine that it will change with years, that I someday will know my favorite route, and my favorite part of the harbour, but it would be much too early to settle now.

The different projects all serve different purposes, they could not be one, or I don’t think they should rather. I look at them somewhat like different parts of the same body. Hands, ears ,eyes, genitals. They have different assignments, but work for the same machine so-to-speak. Or costumes in a big closet.

There is freedom in new names. That is an important aspect; to be totally free

What’s your writing process when composing new projects? Do you let influences submerge you entirely in what you want to capture or does influence bare a small presence when you decide to venture into new music projects? How does it effect the overall aesthetic of the composition? 

LR: It rarely starts with music, most often there is a picture or a word or a sentence. Something that gets stuck in the system. The writing process is different in every project and for every time really, sometimes I lie on my back for a long time and listen, sometimes I shout till I lose my voice. Somethings are best recorded early in the morning and some late at night, it depends the project and it depends on the day.

Posh Isolation really delves further into the realm of versatility with each of its releases. What do you feel are the important components/aspects when picking up a project and releasing it on Posh Isolation?

LR: It has always felt like Posh Isolation decides for it self what it wants to do. The pallet is broad definitely but, I think all the colours still match.

The visual aesthetic of the label is striking and abrasive. When you began Posh Isolation what was the attraction to the imagery attached to the labels art and music? With the aesthetic you adhere to, what do you want it to do to the listener? 

LR: The visual is the first meeting, the first impression. It depends on the story, it depends on the room, what indicators you want to give. If you are going to church you wont usually wear your bondage gear. If you go on a date you might wear a dress that you wouldn’t wear to a job interview. It is a lot like peacocking. Presentation is everything.

To go further into Posh Isolation, what was the initial idea spurred from and what is the symbolism behind the name? 

LR: The initial idea was to put out the first Damien Dubrovnik album. When that was done it felt like there was more to be done, now 130 releases later it still feels like there is more to be done.

When you create a new music project, do you find yourself thinking about the sonic aesthetic behind the project and then the visual aesthetic, which comes first or do you build an idea that revolves around both imagery and sound at the same time? 

LR: Well it is difficult to give a straight answer to a question like that cause it always changes, and it is never one or the other completely. I am not a musician, I don’t think in music most often, I think in images and translate them. But, I guess they correlate, the images follows the music and the word and vice versa.

What kind of transition is there into making music of a different style and how do you prepare yourself to enter a completely different mindset? 

LR: They [mindset] are different of course but, they are also there, all of them floating next to each other in the same bloodstream. Yesterday I read “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad by a lake in Sweden and it moved me, then I ate lunch. In the evening I saw my good friend play a beautiful piece in an old mine facility, with 20 meters or more to the ceiling. Then I checked my emails and after that we had drinks, I chatted about big and small with a beautiful girl, then I talked with a boy about making music for a long time. All those situations require different mindsets, each action or communication is unique. The day before I performed with Damien Dubrovnik and that, again, required something else. But, all the emotions and the reactions are in there, the hand that beats is the same hand you use to caress someones forehead or turn on a light switch or wash vegetables. Sometimes I shout, sometimes I scream, sometimes I sing or talk, the transitions are natural.

Do you find that the projects, though separate, interconnect with one another and help your composing? 

LR: Yes.

What was it like playing the last Sexdrome show? Do you feel that you will ever come back to Sexdrome or do you feel like the progression you’ve made in your career as musician has made you want to conclude the project permanently? While we are on the subject of projects ending, why did you decide to end Var and do you feel that the style of music Var made will ever resurface in your music again? 

LR: It is important to know when to stop, it is almost as important as knowing when to start. Everything moves and everything has a peak. Sexdrome ended because it had served its purpose. Playing the last show was an incredible experience; and the fact that it could be that proved that it was stopped in time. There is nothing worse than when people dont have a sense of when to stop talking. The same counts for Vår, it said what it wanted to say. In the end, everything must go.

Continuing with Lust For Youth, how do you feel about the groups gained popularity and lighter/brighter sound on International?

LR: I am very happy with the album and about the time we spent making it. I am curious to see what’s next.

What was it like writing a Croatian Amor album whilst writing the LFY album? 

LR: To be working on several different projects at the same time is not new for me. That is the position I have put myself in, they learn from each other of course, but they are also completely different.

The Wild Palms has a very unique method of purchase. Do you think you’ll have more releases which involve a level of highly significant level of intimacy with the album and in purchasing the album?

LR: I hope so, The Wild Palms has been a very rewarding experience.

How do you want/feel this to affect the listener when listening to the album?

LR: I touched upon this in another interview but, my hope is that the release will be a shared piece somehow. Equal in its communication, making the relation less asymmetrical. 

Now that you’ve concluded Sexdrome, finished The Wild Palms and International, what are you venturing in next? 

LR: That is a secret.

What’s next for Posh Isolation? LR: That is also a secret.

Profile: Craft Spells

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The title of Craft Spells‘ new album is quite the anomaly. The second full-length LP from the dream pop group is entitled Nausea but the melodies featured are so serene and lovely, nauseous is the last thing you’ll be feeling upon listening. It has been three years now since the endearing debut, Idle Labor, with an equally accomplished EP shortly following. Fans have been eagerly awaiting the new album as well as a chance to see the Captured Tracks darlings live. Violent Success was lucky enough to catch up with frontman and founder Justin Vallesteros before their stop at Chicago’s Township and chat about shifts between albums, major influences, and his best live show experience.

Violent Success: Between albums, have you noticed any significant changes in your songwriting process?

Justin Vallesteros: Sure, sure thing. On the first record, I really didn’t own any of the recording equipment that I used. So after three and a half years I acquired a lot of recording equipment and the sonics are a bit more broad- more atmosphere to the songs. And three to four years of life in general, I have more to bookmark into songs. So lyrically, there’s a big change as well and just the tone of everything now that I’m 26 years old; in and out of Seattle and San Francisco and just kind of found myself in a place where I’m a bit more confident in what I’m doing and what I want musically.

VS: So what do you think sets Nausea a part from Idle Labor or Gallery?

Vallesteros: Well the whole tone is completely different. It’s a lot of atmosphere. It’s more like my idea of composing an album rather than writing a record- a rock record. So that’s the biggest difference, really.

VS: Who would you say are some of the artists or bands that have influenced you in your own music?

Vallesteros: In the old music?

VS: Yeah

Vallesteros: Oh yeah, a lot of that C86 stuff and you know, the Factory Records stuff. The Durutti Column, New Order, The Cure…stuff like that. Pretty obvious things. Not much of shoegaze. I do like shoegaze but people have called that record “shoegaze” and I don’t remember any of that record sounding like shoegaze.

VS: Do you have any dreams collaborations? Anyone you’d really like to work with?

Vallesteros: Yeah! There are two Japanese composers, I don’t know if it’ll ever happen, but there’s this dude named Cornelius, he used to be a part of this band called Flipper’s Guitar. He makes music by himself now. His Wikipedia says he’s influenced by The Beach Boys and Beck and he’s a part of the shibuya-kei scene which is like jazz and trip hop-sounding music or kind of like city music. And that’s like what I love and I would love to work with him. And in the same case, Ryuichi Sakamoto is this Japanese composer who’s a part of this band, Yellow Magic Orchestra. Greatest contemporary piano player, to me and it would be a dream, for sure, to work with someone brilliant like that.

VS: So when you are writing songs, do you tend to focus more on your own personal experiences or things that you observe happening in the world around you?

Vallesteros: Both. I mean that all exists together. From the beginning, everything that I’ve done recording-wise has been kind of like a bookmark to my life. Each song is something to remember eventually, and a record is a good representation of someone’s time over a certain amount of years.

VS: So what’s your favorite part of getting to perform the material live?

Vallesteros: When we played Brooklyn at the beginning of this tour it was a 1500-person capacity place and it was so nice that everyone didn’t touch their phones. I didn’t see one cellphone and that made me so happy. It was almost like we showed up and then all of a sudden, we took everyone out of that world that they’re in and brought them somewhere else and that was really special to me. So I guess that was something new for me. Really taking people out of the mundane and bringing them to a new, whimsical world.

VS: So you’re on Captured Tracks which has a lot of rising talents like Wild Nothing, DIIV, Beach Fossils. Have you noticed if any of your labelmates have been influencing you at all? Do you guys get ideas from each other or collaborate?

Vallesteros: No. There are definitely some instances where you chat each other on G-chat, or whatever. But we just send songs to each other, we never tell them “you should do this” or “you should do that.” And when we all got signed we were kind of on our own. We were found by Mike Sniper at different times and didn’t know each other really so we have our own sound. It’s cool though, the first releases for all of those bands- we had this aesthetic that was like this huge group of bands that really had this vision and sound that was kind of relative. Over the years- most of these bands have a singer/songwriter that does everything in the band- it’s cool to see everyone branch out by their second record and just push the sound. It’s nice, in that sense, everyone’s branching out to their own thing. So it’s groovy. No one’s ripping off anyone yet. Not yet. I’ll call ‘em out.

VS: When you first started out making songs in your bedroom did you ever expect this project to turn into what it is?

Vallesteros: No, no. I’m originally from a town called Lathrop, which is kind of near Stockton, and the only band that really came out of their was Pavement. So that set a pretty high standard where everyone really didn’t make plans to get signed one day or tour or whatever. Yeah, I never expected it. So I had about five songs on Myspace, when Myspace was still a thing, and Mike Sniper randomly messaged me for mp3′s. All he wrote was: “MP3′s?” After that, I had a record done and that was it. So it was very natural and I’m still weirded out by it today, so it’s pretty cool. It still makes me happy, which is groovy.

VS: Say you had to describe your sound to someone who’s never heard Craft Spells beefore, how would you do that?

Vallesteros: Yeah, I think it’s relative. I’m a normal dud like everyone else. I’m not a personality, like “that crazy songwriter guy.” A real dude with feelings and that’s something people can generally associate with in their mid-20′s or even when they’re younger, however they wanna interpret it. I think I’m just relatable in that sense. It’s hard to describe the whole sound in general, but it just feels like your world.

VS: What do you want fans to walk away with with when they listen to your music or say, come see a live show? What do you want them to get from the experience?

Vallesteros: I want them to feel relieved from the oversaturation of just everything in this world. Relieved that you got to escape for like 45 minutes and relieved that you can actually listen to a whole record and read to it or work on your art to it. Instead of trying to focus on, “is this hip enough?” or “is this cool enough?”

(Bottle breaks nearby)

Vallesteros: That’s so sick! I hope that’s on the recording.

VS: (laughs) Probably

Vallesteros: Groovy

VS: I’ll be sure to include it when I’m typing it all up: sound of glass smashing!

Vallesteros: Yeah, cool. Perfect! But yeah, I hope they’ll take it and feel relaxed, finally. No anxiety.

Profile: The Ivorys

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Chicago is one of the biggest cities for music, filled to the brim with talented acts. So how do The Ivorys set themselves a part? By playing genuinely great rock music. With catchy guitar hooks, lively beats, and vocals that are juggled seamlessly between all three members, this power trio has been steadily making a name for themselves not just locally, but all across the country. Violent Success caught up with dummer, Brendean Peleo-Lazar and talked to him about the band’s influences, their live show, and having their songs used on major ad campaigns.

VS: How long have you guys been playing together?

Brendan Peleo-Lazar: I have been playing with Sam White (vox/bass) since we were wee young ins around the 7th grade, I think we were 11 and 12. The Ivorys as a name started early on in high school, then I met Neil Candelora (Vox, Guitar, Keys) at Columbia College in 2009 and we have all been playing together in lineup ever since.

VS: What is the songwriting process like for you? Is it really collaborative?

Peleo-Lazar: It really is collaborative, but I like to give my band mates space! Neil and Sam will most of the time bring in a melody and a hook and we will build from there on arrangement, drum part, lyrics, etc. Sometimes when we are not at our seven levels studios, the demo that Neil would make in his bedroom is sometimes the finished product.

VS: What has been your best live show experience thus far?

Peleo-Lazar: We really love playing great Chicago venues such as Schubas (when we opened for Oberhofer) and Metro Chicago, whether we are headlining or not. My personal favorite shows are the DIY house parties and loft shows that we throw by ourselves because everyone has fun at those!

VS: Is there a band that you guys are dreaming of going on tour with?

Peleo-Lazar: Arctic Monkeys, Jack White, The Redwalls, and Cage the Elephant are good contenders for who we would love to tour with someday.

VS: As far as your individual tastes in music go, are they pretty similar or is there a wide range?

Peleo-Lazar: The Ivorys have such a wide range of musical tastes because although we all enjoy similar artists, our backgrounds are way different. We listen to just as much hip hop as we do classic rock believe it or not! But truthfully we are lovers of learning and finding new bands as well as unheard recordings from the 20′s are just as important in order to stay relevant. When people say ”they listen to everything,” we really mean it!

VS: So your song ‘Maraca Song’ got picked up by Forever 21 for a major ad campaign. That’s huge! Tell us a little bit about how that came about.

Peleo-Lazar: We love to license our music as long as it is to products and campaigns that we enjoy, as well as we think the people who come to our shows would enjoy as well. Since we also write custom music for commercials, we got to know some companies who also license original music for commercials… turns out they liked our own Ivorys recordings too! If you dig around online, you would be surprised at the non- exclusive licensing submissions that you can be apart of. We are right now wrapping up a video shoot for a commercial the Ivorys are physically going to be in for a concert finding app in NYC- which also licensed our single, “Drink in Truth Out.”

VS: Being based out of Chicago, are there other local bands you respect or admire?

Peleo-Lazar: We have been really digging Bring Your Ray Gun, Mike Golden & Friends, Train Company, Holy Motors, the Lemons, White Mystery, The Redwalls, and new find, Miniature Tigers.

VS: Who are some of the artists who have had a major influence on your sound?

Peleo-Lazar: Jay Z, the Who (for the live show), Rolling Stones, Jack White/the White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Kings of Leon, early R&B/Motown, Avicii, Erik Prydz, Daft Punk, Kanye West.

VS: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you before?

Peleo-Lazar: “Catchy, dance paced songs that recall what people love about rock and roll, but pushes through current musical trends.” We love vocals and drums more than anything and we are a power trio. If throwback is a correct term then that is only because we don’t use synthesizers or auto tune in our tracks that we record. If you are not afraid to dance and sing back what you just heard on the way out of the club, then the Ivorys are a fit for you.

VS: What do you want your fans to walk away with, either from listening to your music or coming out to see you live?

Peleo-Lazar: We just want people to have a good time with catchy songs and to feel energized enough after our set to go out for the rest of the night and party.

 

Profile: The Analog Affair

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Long distance relationships can be tricky, especially when it comes to working relationships. And yet, members of the indie pop duo The Analog Affair make it work beautifully. Despite being based out of both Washington D.C. and State College, PA, Evan Baker and Cody Moser collaborate to create songs that are cohesive and clean as evidenced by 2013′s Wild EP. Combining modern electronic elements with a spaced-out, dreamy vibe, The Analog Affair‘s overall sound is fresh and encompasses multiple genres. Violent Success was lucky enough to get to talk with the duo about their musical backgrounds, writing, and their dream collaborations.

Violent Success: What are your musical backgrounds and how did you start playing together? 

Cody Moser: Like many people, I really started to love music and attend live shows near the end of high school/beginning of college. I picked up a guitar and keyboard in my early college years and began trying to learn some of my favorite jams. A lot of the songs were by bands like Brand New, Jimmy Eat World, and Death Cab.

Evan Baker: We’re both self-taught musicians.  One day in college I just decided to put the pen to paper and then add some music over it in Apple Garageband.  I’ve since picked up acoustic guitar, piano and am having a lot of fun using my NI Maschine drum pad. We knew each other through most of college (University of Wyoming). Unfortunately, we didn’t start creating music together until the last few months we both lived in Wyoming. Soon after that, we both moved to different parts of the world (Cody went to Tennessee to get his PhD and Evan went to China to study Mandarin). We continued to collaborate using technology. We now live about 4 hours from each other and are trying to make it a point to get together and practice/perform a live set in the near future.

VS: Talk about your earliest moments creating music…

Analog Affair: We started off extremely low budget. We each had a Macbook, a guitar, and Garageband. No microphone. Guitar and vocals were recorded straight into a Macbook microphone. And we had a blast doing it. Over time we’ve upgraded and added some much needed instruments and hardware to our collection. We’ve never recorded in a studio together. All of our recent songs were recorded in our respective apartments using Logic. Right now we’re both really into creating with the Maschine Groove Production hardware and software.

VS: What is your writing process like?

Cody: Our writing process has been fairly consistent for the 6 years we’ve been creating music together. Since we’ve pretty much always lived hours apart from one another, the most important aspect of our writing process is that we’re always providing each other with a lot of feedback and ideas to experiment with during the entire song writing process. The music comes first, the lyrics and vocal melodies come next, and the final arrangement comes last. The music part usually starts one of two ways (1) bass line first then keyboard/synth (2) or a keyboard/synth line first then bass line. Evan then works his vocal and lyrical magic on this ‘first cut’. We then experiment with slight variations of these pieces for additional sections/transitions in the song and repeat the process until we’re happy with it.

VS: When you’re writing lyrics, do they tend to be more personal or conceptual?

Evan: I try to make it a healthy mix of both. Some days I feel introspective and will draw on what I’m feeling at the moment, but it’s always a fine line with that approach because you don’t want to come off as whiney.  Other times it’s much more cathartic to try and piece together abstract phrases and concepts – the end result is a really open-ended passage that people can run with in their own ways.  Either way though, I just try to be sincere in what I write and avoid as many of the pop clichés as possible… most of the time at least.  If you listen to a few songs like solstice you’ll see less the high-concept lyrics, more the “I’m getting some draannnk”.

VS: People tend to define an artist by one release…For this reason, do you think it’s better to release EPs than LPs?

Analog Affair: Good question. I think a lot of our fans may wonder about our unusual discography, which includes 3 officially released EPs alongside a bunch of technically unreleased singles floating around. We’ve been trying to put out a full length album for a few years now. The problem we have run into is that we’re constantly experimenting with aspects of different genres every couple of months. We love the versatility this has given us as far being able to pursue different styles, and it certainly challenges us as musicians, but at the same time it has also made it very difficult to create a batch of songs that are cohesive enough alongside one another make up a full length album.

VS: Assuming music is your first love, what form of art is second closest to your hearts either as makers or appreciators?

Evan: I love visual arts.  I was an ‘art kid’ in high school so I’d always spend time drawing, sketching or painting.  That’s somewhat dropped off though over the past few years as I’ve taken more of an interest in photography.  Ultimately though I’m always working on creating something because the process is pretty therapeutic.

Cody: I’ve always appreciated somebody who knows their way around a yo-yo.

VS: Is there a particular artist you’d like to collaborate with in the future?

Cody: Having Miike Snow remix one of our songs would be magical. I’ve always dreamed of collaborating with Thom Yorke or Jonsi, but who hasn’t?

Evan: Yes. Yes. and YES.  I recently discovered this Swedish electro producer named Saturday, Monday and it’d be insane to hear what he could do with our stuff.

VS: Finally, when writing a song, what do you typically find yourself thinking of most?

Cody: When working on the instrumentation, I’m mostly focused on finding a group of instruments that work well together, so I’m thinking of how certain instruments sound layered over one another and how the tones of the instruments complement each other.

Evan: Lately I’ve just been focusing on the groove – making sure everything flows and nothing is unintentionally fighting against the rhythm or sticking out.  The artists that I’ve seen become successful have a knack for that and for not overwhelming the listener.  It’s really interesting to look at the psychoacoustic side of music and why people find certain types of music more favorable than others.  There’s a lot of strange connections between the natural rhythms of the human body and music.  I also tend to think about will this be fun to play live and what kind of energy will this instrument or arrangement have versus another one… basically I think we both just obsess about creating music nonstop.

Profile: NØMADS

Dressed in a black oxford, buttoned to the top, and peppered with grey-scale tattoos, Nathan Lithgow, vocalist and bassist of the Brooklyn-based band NØMADS, seemingly personifies the music on the band’s debut album Free my Animal. His mellow, sweet demeanor set against this dark, abrasive wardrobe mirrors NØMADS’ sound, which Lithgow clas,sifies as “Post-Indie”, too cool to ignore the pretension in the term. With Garth Macaleavey on drums, this two-piece, friendship fueled dynamic accomplishes a complex sound, letting the animalistic theme of the album claw through fuzzy distortions and aggressive rhythms while primal revelations paw through soft vocals and carefully chosen lyrics. Before NØMADS took the stage to perform at their album release party, Nathan sat down with Violent Success to explain the inspirations behind Free my Animal, his new found single-dom, and the duo’s second album.

VS: Can you explain the title Free my Animal?

Nathan: I had an interesting year of upheaval. I was actually married up until a year ago. It’s kind of a funny thing. It’s the concept of shedding a skin in a way. I wrote this song 6 days after meeting someone who made me feel special, or desirable in a way. All the language is asking yourself to be free, to pursue your own desires and looking at those desires from an animal perspective. Not necessarily a sexual thing but more an overarching sense of liberation and allowing yourself to be that object.

VS: So that’s the overarching theme of the album?

Nathan: It’s in there. Like I said liberation and belief threads through it. The third song on the album is called ‘Cosmos’ and it’s about being abducted by aliens, so in that case the animal is an alien. It’s really the closest we go towards a romantic song in the album. It’s very fuzzy and distorted but the goal was to have there be a sweetness to balance out all the metallic, instrumental sound and production aesthetic. The melodic approach of the songs is set against the instrumental sound palette that we go for.

VS: Can you classify NØMADS’ musical genre?

Nathan: I was thinking “Post-Indie”, which sounds very pretentious but there’s a lot of music out there that’s muted emotionally.We tried to incubate the material with a deaf ear to everything that’s of now and really focus on words and expression set against our aggressive sound. “Post-indie” is not a real term but we’re a loud, two piece band and there’s a lot more technical playing. Garth’s a very talented drummer and a flow musician. You get him in the right circumstance and he allows himself to improvise and that’s what we captured in the recording of Free my Animal. It was really a “happy accident” because we’d been developing the material, just the two of us, during this intense time in my life so it was a great outlet for me to have my relationship with Garth in this band developing this material. We hadn’t played for three and a half weeks and couldn’t rehearse at our space so we went to a studio of another band Garth plays in, which was mic-ed up with Protools and everything, and we essentially ran all the songs one time, not to a metronome, in one session, and when we listened to the takes, it was very evident that the record was there as a spine. It was a bit of a lightning in a bottle thing. So much of that stuff that Garth plays in the album I had never heard before because it was in a scenario where he was his animal, and even as we go from recording and mixing it all together to playing it live, he still tries to capture some of the ideas but he’ll never execute them as well as he did the first time and that speaks to our intimacy as two musicians but also as friends, because we really do have a core friendship as a band.

VS: Do you think that contributed to the tightness of the album?

Nathan: Yeah like I said, it was a conscious process of making the songs work because I as a musician do all the writing and stuff but it’s nothing without Garth’s contribution because it’s really just the forms: the bass parts, the melodies, the words. As much as we can say to achieve some dynamic on the record when it’s all distorted and fuzzy, that was due to our process of incubating it.

VS: Can you cite any artistic influences that went into the making of Free my Animal?

Nathan: I’ve recently been taking a look back at Kurt Kobain, who’s twenty years gone now, and as I said it was a time of upheaval in my life so I really tried to pay attention to the words I was putting in. So Nirvana is a profound influence for me as far as using words in songs. I was also a huge fan of Rage Against the Machine in 8th,9th and 10th grade. I knew every word to Evil Empire and they kind of get a bad rap because of all the Rock shit that followed them. Our title track, ‘Free my Animal’, is definitely a Rage Against the Machine influenced groove. It’s sort of buried because of the style of vocals we have but to me, those records sound harder and more intense than anything I’d ever heard up to that point and still now. They’re really talented musicians and sold so many albums so as much as they were an anti-authoritarian, anti-society brand, they were a very successful group of musicians. Fugazi was also a big, almost philosophical influence for me because they were one of the original independent bands, when “Indie” wasn’t a sound genre and when it was an actual pragmatic description of saying “Were going to do this outside of the fold and keep an integrity to our output”, and that’s something that I think has been lost a little bit. I’ve done a lot of touring with My Brightest Diamond (Lithgow plays bass) where we played in Brazil, Australia, Sao Paolo and you ask people what kind of music they listen to and they say “I like ‘Indie’ music” and it has no reflection on the pragmatic element of that term. It just became mutated into a marketing term so saying “Oh, I’m in an ‘Indie’ band” means absolutely nothing to me. So when I say “Post-Indie”, it’s not to say there’s anything wrong with genre labeling, it’s just interesting that that term started out with a band like Fugazi, doing things completely to their own standards, and then having it become something else. “Indie” bands are on major labels, being described as “Indie” so it’s a little bit of a paradox. Again, its just classification.

VS: I just watched the music video for the title-track ‘Free my Animal’ and it’s pretty creepy. We see a man in the process of stalking his lovely female prey across a dreary looking New York. Do you identify as a predator or prey?

Nathan: I think we’re all predators and prey in different relationships we have. This past year is the first time I’ve been single in my life since I was 17, so there’s an element to my background with this album of losing everything and when you lose everything, you have nothing to lose. I’ve met a lot of people recently and it’s been a lot of fun getting to know them so the predatory element of the video is supposed to be creepy, to be an interplay of nature and the urban landscape as much as it is the hunter and hunted or predator and prey. To me, the idea was to have a duplication of a nature program, so that’s what a lot of the spliced animal imagery in the video is. Alex, who’s in the video, is one of my best friends. I’ve known her for 17 years. She’s an actress herself and when I asked her to be in the video she just said “Awesome let’s do it” and really embraced it. We shot her from 9:00 to 6:00 in the morning on a very cold night. It was funny to go for that creeper-cam angle and having your best friend be the person you’re stalking and then looking back at it thinking “Wow, this is creepier than I thought it would be.”

VS: Do you think the NYC landscape affected that predator-prey theme in the album?

Nathan: Yeah, the city really does inform how I process my life. I’ve been here for twelve years now and it’s always been a bit of an adversarial relationship; it is like a jungle for me because its just not always easy and the song ‘Blood in the Water’, the 5th song, is about the singular attitude of men in the city and it’s not saying positively anything, basically just that this is what everyone else does. Were all sharks circling. So that’s where the city comes into play.

VS: What’s your favorite song or band right now?

Nathan: I’ve been going back and listening to Trans Am, which is kind of progressive, mid 90′s as well as Tortoise, a great instrumental band. A lot of instrumental stuff. I studied jazz in school and was really into instrumental music and I’ve been going back and revisiting some of those things. Trans Am is a band that never really broke through in any major way but they’re very well appreciated in a lot of circles of heavy musicians. I really like the production of all their stuff, I think it’s amazing. There’s aggressive distortion and it has this iciness to it. A lot of it is synth based and base stuff which as a bass player I respond to. It’s kind of angular and jagged. That’s how I look at their catalogue.

VS: What’s next for NØMADS?

Nathan: Tonight is our album release party for Free my Animal but we have the entire next album written so were going to start recording about the first week in May and aim to have it done by September. It’s an album called Phobiac about 8 clinical phobias. It’s looking at fear in the modern age as a phenomenon but also finding ways to decipher certain fears. There’s the fear of darkness, the fear of insanity, the fear of dreaming, the fear of boredom, the fear of being alone, which is probably gonna be the single, and the fear of disorganization. A total of 8. It’s a concept album in a way but really just looking at these fears and finding ways of framing them. ‘Autophobia’, the fear of being alone, uses the metaphor of looking at yourself as an old man and seeing yourself alone and as much as it’s an image of you alone as an old man, it’s also questioning who’s behind the lens.