British hard rock outfit Inglorious are getting ready to release their eagerly anticipated sophomore album next year.
Inglorious have worked relentlessly this year having toured with the likes of Steel Panther and The Winery Dogs as well as many high-profile festival appearances including Download and the Ramblin’ Man Fair, alongside several headline tours. Inglorious were also named “Best New Band” by Planet Rock in their annual “The Rocks” awards.
National Rock Review recently caught up with the band’s frontman Nathan James at the O2 Academy Newcastle on their recent co-headline tour with Last In Line to talk about life on the road, the band’s second album and their plans for 2017.
NRR: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us here today at National Rock Review we really appreciate it. So you are currently out on a co-headline tour with Last In Line, we are at the O2 Academy in Newcastle tonight. How have the shows been going so far?
Nathan: Awesome, I think it’s a really good match actually. Obviously, we are both classic rock and it’s nice and loud. Two singers with big high voices. If you like one band you should hopefully like the other. Yeah, it’s really nice hearing all of those Dio classics every night, I love Dio so it’s good fun to listen to that every single day.
NRR: It’s been a bit of a whirlwind last eighteen months for you guys, you’ve come a long way in such a short period of time. Have you actually had a moment to stop and reflect on your success?
Nathan: Not really, this last year has been so busy and we’ve only done eighty shows, but when you think about it, that’s actually a lot (laughing).
People kind of forget we didn’t start touring till February with The Winery Dogs, we did a couple of dates with The Dead Daisies, the Steel Panther European tour, this tour and two of own tours as well as loads of festivals. So it’s been pretty chaotic and we’ve also recorded another album in that time. It’s just turned December and we’ve done eighty shows and recorded an album in ten months, which is a lot. So yeah, I think I will probably get sentimental around Christmas maybe when I sit at home and I’m going oh wow, what a good year.
NRR: Like you just mentioned there, you’ve been working on your new studio album and I understand it’s just been finally mixed. I was just wondering if you could share any details about the album – when is it due to land, do you have a working title for the album yet?
Nathan: We’ve sorted the title out, that’s done, but I can’t tell you what it is yet. The other thing is it sounds incredible, we had Kevin Shirley mix it who has mixed some of my favourite records – Iron Maiden and Mr Big, Aerosmith, everyone including Black Country Communion. So to have someone of his calibre mix our stuff is just unbelievable.
We got really good quality recordings at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool, which is a studio not necessarily known for its rock, but it’s brilliant. Coldplay recorded “Clocks” there and we used the “Clocks” piano on our album. So yeah, just really quality recording. We wrote it all really quickly, that’s the one thing I would say. We wrote the bare bones of the album in about six days (laughing), which is pretty good.
We wrote thirty ideas, thirty songs and we cut it down. I can tell you we’ve got one more song on this album, so it’s a twelve track album, which is something that’s a little bit different. I really wanted a ten track album for the first album and the record label was like no, you have to give us another track. This time it just made sense, they were all good and we felt like they made sense in the order that they were in. So yeah we are very, very happy.
NRR: Where do you find the inspiration for your songwriting?
Nathan: I tend to not like to talk about myself, I find songwriters who do that a little boring and little bit self-indulgent I would rather write about – I don’t think that I’m a particularly interesting person, but I know lots of interesting people. There are lots of characters in my life that I’ve met and lots of situations that I’ve witnessed that I’ve thought that’s way more interesting than me going to the shop in my trainers, do you know what I mean? Which is pretty much what I do or walking my dog, they are not interesting songs are they?
So yeah, I write about my relatives, or I write about people that I’ve worked with or I write about other musicians, or I write about yeah, just people who’ve inspired me enough or made a negative or positive enough impact on my life to feel like there’s a song.
NRR: When I saw you perform at The Cluny in Newcastle over the summer, I remember you mentioned that you had done some work with Doug Aldrich. How did that come to fruition and what was the end result, is there a track on the new album?
Nathan: It’s not on the new album, but we have a three album deal with Frontiers, so hopefully it will be on the next one. I sat down with Doug whilst we were on tour and he just fired two ideas at me. I’ve still got them on my phone and I can’t believe they are there (laughing). Some days I look through the videos on my phone and just go, gosh do you remember that time I sat opposite Doug Aldrich and he actually said in one of the videos I gave this idea to David but he didn’t like it, and just couldn’t do anything with it. I went wow – David Coverdale sat in the exact same position and heard the exact same riff and yeah just didn’t want it, so I will have it (laughing).
NRR: When you first formed the band I believe that you were looking for musicians who could record in an organic way in order to feel that sort of live energy. I was just wondering with the second record, did you still continue with that approach with Kevin, still with everyone in the same room?
Nathan: Yeah, the whole band were in the same room at the same time. The only thing that went on after was my vocals and piano / Hammond parts, but that was more for mic-ing in the room. It’s nice to have everyone in the room at the same time.
Yeah, logistically it worked out perfect that way and it’s cheaper that way, you are not spending five days doing drums and five days doing guitars, you are getting the bare bones of the album down in three or four days. We did fifteen to twenty tracks in three or four days, which is pretty unbelievable actually.
NRR: Have you had the opportunity to road test any of the new material and what’s the response been like?
Nathan: Great, we recorded the video for one of our songs, one of the singles actually that’s gonna be on the second album, in Vienna on tour with Steel Panther. We recorded a video which was like a ten camera shoot live video, with three or four thousand people there. It was just too good an opportunity to miss really. So yeah, we did that and it went down really well.
The song “No Good For You” we actually performed at Download, which is going to be on album two, that also is going down really well, people are enjoying that. Yeah, it’s more of the same that’s on the first album, but we are keeping the big songs that are on the album, the epic songs to ourselves until we release it. There is some stuff on there that feels really big with big choruses.
The songs that people love the most on the first album were things like “Holy Water”, which people sing back to us every single night. So we haven’t written ten “Holy Waters”, but we’ve written songs with equally as big choruses so that people can sing them and enjoy them and we enjoy them as well.
That was my favourite moment of this year knowing that at Ramblin’ Man, I could see all of the people’s mouths saying the words that I wrote in my bedroom, it’s such a strange feeling, it’s really humbling.
NRR: What’s your favourite song to perform live and why?
Nathan: At the minute it’s “Inglorious” because it’s tricky. It’s got really close harmonies and some of these gigs the monitoring systems on stage are a bit hit and miss, so you just have to pray you are in tune with the other two guys and the chord and just really try and lock in. That’s a really great song and I co-wrote that with Queen’s bass player, a guy called Neil Fairclough. Yeah, I love that song, I think it’s awesome and it’s nice to sing, it’s a bit heavier as well. It makes sense in a set that’s quite up and down to give them that near the end.
NRR: Obviously, you’ve got a great voice. I was just wondering how do you keep your voice in shape on a long tour. Do you have any particular exercises that adhere to?
Nathan: Yeah, I drink shit loads of water, I sleep all day (laughing), because that’s when you repair is when you are asleep. So yeah sleep a lot, water, steam my throat, I warm up before the show and I warm down after the show. I also find that it’s not actually the singing that tires me out, I sing all day, it’s the speaking, I don’t know why it’s less natural to me than singing. So yeah, that’s all. I try not to drink, try not to, it doesn’t always work like that but I try to stay away from alcohol.
NRR: I notice you also performed recently at “An Evening For Jack” in London celebrating the work of Jack Bruce, what was that experience like?
Nathan: Insane. I walked into rehearsals the day before and as I walked in the room I was greeted by Dennis Chambers, who is the best drummer on the planet (laughing). Then I met Malcolm Bruce, Jack’s son. I met Lulu and Terry Reid and all of these people. Mick Taylor and then Steve Hackett, who I got the privilege of performing with and Trevor Horn.
I remember turning around during the show and seeing Steve there and he was playing his arse off, he was really going for it and we had a little bit of to and fro, we swapped some riffs and bits and pieces, I would do something and he would play it, it was awesome. I love Shepherd’s Bush Empire, I love these old theatres like we are in now. Yeah, it was a lovely, lovely experience, I felt awesome.
That day, I’ve spoken to Bernie Marsden a few times, but he pulled me aside and he said, Nathan, I really want to work with you on something. I was like ok mate, let’s do something and ever since then we text, we talk on WhatsApp, we are in touch to do something next year. So hopefully 2017 me and Bernie Marsden might do a little gig or something. It would be really good fun, he’s written some really not shit songs (laughing).
NRR: Obviously, we are coming to the end of the year now. What are the plans for 2017 for Inglorious?
Nathan: We are booking lots of big festivals at the minute. So we’ve just booked Copenhell in Copenhagen and we are doing Hellfest in France. We are doing another one as well, which I can’t announce, but another European festival that week. Just booking more festivals, going on tour. Hopefully, our album will be well enough received and Planet Rock and that will get behind it again and we can hopefully tour and get some more people along and play some bigger venues, keep doing more of the same. Yeah, we love playing shows, I want to do 120 – 150 shows next year.
The one thing that I did say to pretty much everyone is that I feel like although we are a young band, we are a baby band, we’ve really worked our arses off this year. All five of us have worked and our management and all of our crew and everything. It would be really nice to start feeling that hard work next year. I’m not having anyone tell me that we haven’t paid our dues yet because believe me we have, we’ve worked our arses off this year and individually we are not spring chickens you know what I mean? I’m 28 and I’ve been working my whole life towards this whether or not it’s Inglorious or not it doesn’t matter, I’ve worked my arse off and I want to start feeling the fruits of my labour next year.
NRR: That’s great. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us, we really appreciate it and good luck with everything that’s going on next year.
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