Sometimes life is so fluid you just have to go with what you have. After all, a rolling stone gathers no moss, brother.
Jake Boes (bass/vocals), Zach Bond (guitar), and Devin McGrath (drums-touring) will be coming out on the road from the safety of the Boston, Massachusettes area to rock your sludge filled minds as Nihil. The band is in the stages of dropping an album, Foundation on Submerge Records, swinging an East Coast tour and giving some love to us here at National Rock Review. Not only did Zach talk about all of that, he broke open our very under-caffeinated minds with a favorite quote and a mic drop out the door.
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NRR: Thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for National Rock Review. What’s been going on with the band, Nihil, so far in early 2016?
Zach Bond: Thanks for having us, So far this year we have released two singles, launched our IndieGoGo campaign (early pre-sales), written and recorded a full-length album, produced a music video, spent two weeks on the road, and booked a two-month eastern US tour. We have been busy, to say the least.
NRR: You have an Indiegogo campaign going for funding of a new LP. What can you tell us about the idea to use crowd funding for Foundation?
Zach Bond: We chose to use Indiegogo as an early pre-sale format so that we could offer some interesting contribution options. We felt that it would give potential contributors a better look into what it takes to get an album off the ground.
NRR: When the band first formed, was it always meant to be a two piece outfit?
Zach Bond: Nihil was originally designed as a three piece, with Jake and I writing and demoing the tracks on our own and our former drummer, Max Bond, coming in later to produce and perform the percussion section. After he left early this year to pursue other things we decided to move forward as a two piece. In that time, we have found a new drummer who will be filling in for our upcoming tour. Our new drummer, Devin, recently played his first show with us in Providence, RI.
NRR: Very cool. Okay, “Gears” is your first single off the new effort, Foundation, correct? What made that song good enough to be the banner track?
Zach Bond: “Enslaved” was the first single released just before we left for tour in December. After “Enslaved” was released, we chose to release “Gears” to more directly show what we could do. We feel that “Gears” allows listeners to hear a more encapsulating tone, better reflecting Foundation as a whole.
NRR: We’ve recently lost a few big names in music starting with Scott Weiland and Lemmy to Bowie and Frey passing, among others. Do you have any fond memories of any of them by any chance?
Zach Bond: I grew up as a huge Weiland and Bowie fan. I honestly donâ€™t remember the first time I heard Bowie, and that is likely because I was still in the womb. David Bowie was and is an amazing artist in every sense of the word. I believe the world is a better and more interesting place because of him. The same can be said for Weiland, although much of his time was lost to his drug addiction. I got my first Stone Temple Pilots album, Purple, in middle school and that album got more play than anything else, and it still does to this day. Sometimes things just come together in a band and Stone Temple Pilots, for me, had a perfect mix.
NRR: I’ve seen your sound described as sludgy alternative. Is that an accurate description of your style or do you prefer another way to describe how you play?
Zach Bond: I think itâ€™s pretty accurate. There are so many genres these days itâ€™s tough to explain to anyone what you sound like. We tend to just tell people we are hard and heavy, but sludgy alternative has a nice ring to it.
NRR: Did you find the local Boston scene to be more supportive or more adversarial coming up?
Zach Bond: It can be a bit of both. Like most cities itâ€™s about who you know. If you donâ€™t make friends you will likely have a hard time finding places to play. Due to large organizations like Live Nation, small bands are finding it harder and harder to find a place to play. Luckily we have some good friends over at Oâ€™Brienâ€™s in Allston, a suburb of Boston, and they are always happy to have us back, and we are happy to play.
NRR: More bands seem to be doing VIP deals on tour or really being creative with their merch. How important are these things for you not just as a revenue stream, but as a way to interact with your fans? And how would you do yours?
Zach Bond: I think this most important part about fan interaction is just being there and listening to what people have to say. Anyone who doesnâ€™t want to connect with another human being probably shouldnâ€™t be doing this. I am not saying you have to talk to everyone or even be the most out going person. Just be willing to talk to people. The only way you get better as a band is from listening to, not only yourself but your fans. And to any band out there who is doing VIP, please engage with your fans. They donâ€™t need a shut-off, holier-than-thou rock star; they need someone to look up to. Be what you want to see in others.
Regarding merchandise directly we are currently focusing on having interesting merch items. We have some new shirt designs coming out in a couple weeks, just before we leave for tour, and we are really excited to expand. That being said the largest expense any band sees upfront is merch. Even small merch orders can cost thousands of dollars.
NRR: Is there a moment, that thinking back on it now, in your career, with any band now, that you can’t help but still feel a tad bit embarrassed about, makes you laugh about despite yourself, or just still makes you shake your head in disbelief? A Spinal Tap moment if you will, that you’d be willing to share with me?
Zach Bond: Luckily I have never fallen of stage, but there is still time. I donâ€™t know if there is anything has been truly embarrassing, although every once in a while, no matter how many times you play the same riff or sing the same part you will inevitably miss a note, or say the wrong word, but as long as you get back on track it all works out.
NRR: We’ll have to check back with in a few and see if that changes. With festival season around the corner, where would you be a good fit for a show’s lineup?
Zach Bond: I would like to get into New England Metal & Hardcore Fest, we played a few years back with another band, but we are hoping next year we can work that out. We started this band right around the time most of the current festivals were booking, so we havenâ€™t had much of a chance to get out there and look into what our options might be as of yet.
NRR: Okay, fair enough. I’ll hand over the bedazzled National Rock Review microphone, don’t mind the faint smell of tequila on it, is there anything you’d like to plug or mention before Taco Tuesday starts here at the ranch?
Zach Bond: Donâ€™t forget to check out our album pre-sales on Indiegogo and I will leave you with one of my favorite lines from Samuel Beckettâ€™s The Unnamable, a quote I feel reflects life as a musician and in general, “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”
Thank you National Rock Review.
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