Progress. Evolution. Risk. Never Shout Never has always been a band that takes chances, ruffles feathers, and at the end of the day, follows its own path, regardless of outside pressures or opinions. This rings true in their latest musical endeavors .NSN front man Chris Drew often puts a mild - to extreme - psychedelic spin on his music. It's easy to hear the influence of earlier psych-rock such as Beatles and Bowie laced into NSN's catalogue.
After the huge-sounding, Dennis Herring produced, alternative pop-rock success, Black Cat, the band is following up with something a bit more personal. Recording with engineer Jeff Smith at his studio in Springfield, MO, only an hour from the band's home base of Joplin and the same studio where severalNever Shout Never records were recorded (including 2011's Time Travel), it is a return to roots in many ways.
The Black Cat Tour, NSN's first headlining tour of 2016, is several weeks in. Chris and I keep up while he's on the road regarding Loveway Records dealings and our vaporwave-ish experimental dance music project, Ganza. Instead of just asking questions that seemed fitting, I gathered a collection of inquiries from fans via social media. Below are Chris's answers to your questions.
You are currently in the studio recording a new full length album. Overall, how is the recording process and musical chemistry working out?
We have put in about three weeks total on this new record, and so far, so good. It's more of a conceptual piece leaning towards a more psychedelic approach. We started out with the more folky instruments, then added some drums and bass. The vocals so far have a kind of late Beach Boys vibe to them. When we go back this time I'm going to be adding a bunch of samples and analog synth. It's going to be slightly reminiscent of the formula we had making Time Travel.
Is there any special instrumentation being implemented?
We are definitely experimenting with new instruments. We are trying to have a stellar blend of folk, rock, psychedelic, and groove. We've also been incorporating more horns than usual.
What are some lyrical themes you're exploring?
This whole record tells a story about a character. It tells a story of low to high. Definitely more poetic than our last release.
How would you describe the sound you're achieving with your latest work? What kind of emotions does it provoke?
It's definitely emotive. It starts with a more melancholy vibe but eventually evolves into joy.
Have their been any experiences or travels that have influenced your songwriting that you would like to share?
I wrote the majority of this album when I was living in Los Angeles. The character was inspired by a few different people that I met out there. Specifically a couple girls I shared some late nights with. It's about escaping the plasticity of western society and finding a true peace.
Would you say your new material is a big departure from your latest album?
Yes, it is definitely a drastic change. This is us being able to fully experiment and make something strange.
What music is currently influencing you?
I'm always listening to classic bands like Pink Floyd, the Beatles (specifically their later work), Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Beach Boys. As for super modern stuff... Beck, Animal Collective, Arcade Fire. David Bowie's newest record was amazing. That's just to name a few.
What kind of experience should fans expect from your upcoming live performances?
We are now about half way through the Black Cat Tour. It's been super chill. Great shows, good peeps. We are playing a lot of older stuff, and a few new ones. Also playing some sweet covers. Our stage is rainbow themed!
Your birthday is coming up. What would be the ideal birthday gift?
I don't usually like to celebrate my birthday, but if someone was to get me a gift... probably vegan snacks or herbal tea.
What is a location you haven't performed at that you would like to add to the list?
I've already been there but I want to go back to Japan. We didn't really get to spend much time there. It's just such a beautiful country. Would love to check out some old temples.
Are there any other details about the new album you're ready to reveal?
It's called Violett. We're planning on releasing it this summer.
Ben Wayne - Loveway Records / Ganza