Bristol trio Our Nameless Boy have shared the video for new single ‘Not Thinking of Home’ ahead of the release of new album ‘Colour From the Doves’ (pre-order via Bandcamp here) in June. To mark the news, we had the chance to have a quick chat with the band about their background, influences, signing to Beth Shalom Records and recommendations.
Tell us a bit about the band and where you’re from/how you formed.
Iain (vocals, guitar), WIll (drums) and Richie (former lead guitarist, played on “Colour From The Doves” about 3 weeks before becoming a dad) were previously an indie pop band called Daylight Fireworks. Whilst Richie was finishing post-prod on the last DF album, Iain started writing demos and the group decided to develop them into something new and different, and so ONB was born. Our ethos continues to be simply to make music that we enjoy playing in a room together. Nothing gets churned out simply because we think it sounds like “us” and therefore is good enough to put out into the world, which goes some way towards explaining why it takes us so long to finish songs.
How did the signing to Beth Shalom Records come about?
We’d put out 2 singles prior to working with BSR, who very kindly released our first 5-track EP, “Tomorrow I’ll Be Scared Again” back in… I want to say 2018? I honestly don’t remember exactly how it came about. I think I was sending annoying speculative emails to a bunch of labels and Joe was one of the polite few to reply! We for sure hit it off and he’s been nothing but generous and patient with us, particularly with this album as we had it finished right before the first lockdown and sat on it for almost a year before deciding to plough on and make the most of the situation. BSR is a label with an incredible ethic and an enthusiastic approach to progressing their artists, and we consider ourselves very fortunate to be working with them.
What can we expect from Our Nameless Boy over the course of 2021?
We have been exercising a fair degree of caution in these strange times, particularly as we are quite spread across the South of England. However, we are adapting to changing times and making the most of what freedom we have. Will spent his week off his day job filming and editing the video for “Not Thinking of Home”, we’re now able to start planning rehearsal time for next month onward, and look to bring on another guitarist so that, with any luck, from Autumn we can start playing shows with nothing holding us back. In the meantime, expect more singles and videos, some filmed acoustic performances and possibly even one or two full band sessions in the pipeline as well. And, of course, the album release in June, which is going to be such a huge moment for us. Oh, and in all likelihood we’ll be working on new material because that’s what we enjoy doing the most!
How would you describe your sound to someone who’d never heard you?
We very much have our inspirations and references, and we’re not afraid to acknowledge that that is the case. But often, talking to people after shows, we get band names thrown at us that we never would expect. Deftones is one, Pixies, At The Drive-In, Biffy Clyro. It might have something to do with how f*cking loud and hard we play, constantly trying to play above each other… They key elements of our sound, though, are the quiet/loud dynamic, always playing with song structure just enough to keep things interesting without going into 7 minute prog territory, and adding a subtle level of complexity to arrangements that often result in nary repeating verse dynamics or sneakily added/removed beats. Yet another reason it takes so long to write songs we’re happy with.
How important is it to use songwriting as an exploration of painful experiences?
For me it’s pretty much vital. For a start, unlike my wife, I am not the quickest to process information, thoughts and feelings. I envy that. But I also find there is sometimes a barrier within me that prevents me from voicing something directly. I can overthink myself out of nearly any conversation, no matter how trivial, either because I will play something out in my head long enough to not feel the need to do it for real, or I can find some negative possible outcome from opening up. So there’s not many people I’m comfortable being that way with. Songwriting is an extra avenue to quietly explore my own mind and help make sense of things that I’m often just to slow to understand!
Who are your favourite bands and what are your biggest influences (can be outside music)?
Between us, our favourite bands include but are not limited to Manchester Orchestra, from whom I took notes on chord voicing and tuning early on, Death Cab and Brand New, who were both a huge vibe inspiration for us starting out (shows our age) and whose influence is undeniable and appears to still permeate even the younger alternative bands today, bands like Refused and ATDI for their massive, frenetic performances, The Early November, Biffy and Jimmy Eat World, whose records really highlight the mad songwriting skillz, and artists with a really unique delivery and voice, such as mewithoutYou, Pinegrove, Listener, Julien Baker,..
Favourite activities and recommendations (music, films, books, TV, hobbies, activities etc)
Will is big into running. He’s run virtually every day for well over a year now, not just to the end of the street and back either; he participates in marathons and all sorts. He is also big into photography and videography (WillD Purcell Media). Ben and I are both massive guitar/bass gear nerds (not that we can afford to be!) and he is also into gaming, firmly in camp Playstation. I love surfing and can’t wait to get back in the water, along with exercise in general, learning to code, and playing guitar, funnily enough. We fully endorse all these activities.
Name five bands that would be on your ideal festival line-up?
Oof, I can’t speak for the others on that but for me it’d have to be all bands I’ve never seen live before and that I know give epic performances. So, At The Drive-In (third mention now!), mewithoutYou, Vukovi, Julien Baker and Incubus.
What are you most looking forward to doing once all restrictions are lifted? And what will be the first song you play when you can hang out with all your friends or family once again?
Jamming and gigging with ONB. I cannot wait. I’m warming up my amp in anticipation as I write this. Also holidaying with wifey, seeing new places, eating new food, ugh. Oh and surfing. Surfing my face off. Meeting Ben’s imminent baby. Seeing everyone I know and talking for hours with them about nothing. So. Many. Things. The first song ONB will likely play in a room together is either going to be “… Home” or a new one we’ve been working on called “Mr. Right”, which we’re massively stoking on. The first song we’ll stick on the speakers when we’re playing basketball (badly) and drinking Corona in Ben’s brother’s garden will probably be something like “Here We Go” by Lower Than Atlantis.