The four-piece broke out of New Jersey’s boundaries and took on The Big Apple, and have since played shows at: The Mercury Lounge, Boontunes and Meatlocker. Audiences at these gigs made instant comparisons to Blondie, and their debut single suggests that Jack White had some influence on the guitar parts.
Gig Soup’s James Handler found out some more about the band, their influences and their debut single.
Firstly, could you introduce the band and tell us something interesting about yourselves?
- Jess Kenny – Vocals/Tamborine/Synth (Jess has 3 cats and a hedgehog)
- Jon Paul – Bass/Vocals/Organ (Jon is originally from Sunny South Florida but he’s all Jersey now)
- Mike Montalbano – Drums (Mike consumes more weed daily than food, Don’t worry its organic)
- Dr. Baron – Guitar (Baron received his Doctorate from the University of Cairo Online in 2006)
Jessica said that the single is based on the idea that “we get so deep down in a negative situation that we stop seeing the beauty around us (the ‘Heaven’).” What specifically did you have in mind when describing the beauty around us as this, and was there a particular event which made you realise people are negative too often?
The political turmoil in America this last year really opened our eyes to how short sighted most people are. A lot of folks spend their entire day focused on social media platforms that capture you in a sphere of compliance. They surround themselves with a cognitive bias unintentionally just by letting Facebook and Twitter validate their existence. If you want to find the “Heaven” out there sometimes you have to look headlong into evil and survey where you’re at. I can’t remember how many times I found myself looking for trees when I’m already in the woods. Maybe that’s just human nature to ignore the best parts of life and dwell on the negative, but being human is overrated. Peace of mind is all around you, sometimes you have to take it.
Who would you say are your biggest influences in the world of music, and which other band do you think The Nectars can be most closely associated with?
Each of us come at Punk from such different worlds that sometimes it’s easier to discuss the band’s we don’t draw from but we all line up on Nirvana, The Wipers, The Pixies, Television, The Velvet Underground, Blondie, Bikini Kill, Richard Hell, Merle Travis, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, etc. It’s a bit out of fashion to be a four piece rock band in 2018 but we see ourselves as the next link forward, pushing how far drums, bass, guitar, and some yelling can go.
[contentblock id=141 img=adsense.png]
How long have you all been playing in a band together for? How did you guys meet and realise you should form a band?
Mikey and Jon have played together as a rhythmic unit for years, briefly cutting out a space on alternative radio with their past project Basic Vacation. After BV’s fold the boys knew they needed to run back to their Jersey roots and harvest the raw, feminine music they had both fallen so deeply in love with. After holding a few practices Baron and Jess found their respective spots and the band was formed!
(For Dr. Baron) Which artists inspire you and have shaped your playing style the most?
As a player, I’m heavily influenced by other guitarists like Freddie King, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, and more modern bands like Nirvana and The Strokes. My roots are heavily based around the blues, but my style gets a little more fucked up and fuzzed out. Thanks for the Jack White compliment btw!
What influences you the most when writing songs? “Heaven” is a very original, unique-sounding track which must have taken some time to perfect. How long was the process from writing to completion?
We’re constantly listening to new music and use ‘Reddit’ as a gateway to daily new sounds. We’re big hip hop fans and a lot of the punk rock energy has followed that sound so we’re all ears. The song itself embraces a bit of Latin rhythm as an homage the great 70’s NY/NJ punks that sourced exotic grooves in the same way… There is so much Spanish Harlem on those early Blondie records, or on Bruce’s Rosalita for example. That’s where the riffs started but it bloomed to so much more. We wrote it over the course of a weekend at Studio G and had our good buddy Michael Grubbs helped address some organs/ideas throughout.
Would you say that the video for your debut single is an accurate representation of what we should expect to see at one of your live shows?
Absolutely! Our favorite shows are the ones where there is no disconnect between audience and stage so please by all means, run up, grab the mic, get weird, and let loose. Shows have become so stagnant with half the crowd looking at the musicians through their phones, that we’re willing to do anything to get you in that sweaty moment. That said, our shows are a safe inclusive place for any and all walks of life, with the exception of Donald Trump.
If you could all be in one other band, who would it be?
Jess Kenny – this is a tough question … but I would probably have to pick Sufjan Stevens! I would love to perform alongside him because not only is he a spiritual guru for me, but the outfits and choreography that he and the rest of the group use to put on a show are super stellar!
Jon Paul – Sonic Youth because I like it loud.
Dr. Baron – The Strokes! Their music is so much fun to play and the guitar parts/solos are great.
Mike Montalbano – Led Zepplin
Which bands are you all most proud to say you have seen in concert?
Collectively we’ve all seen some amazing shows. Here is a very brief list of favourites: Arcade Fire, Kanye West, Bon Iver, TOOL, Neutral Milk Hotel, Fleet Foxes, Weezer, Surfbort, The Pixies, Incubus, The Chariot, Slayer, Marilyn Manson, Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hil, Etc.
Moving away from your debut single… When can we expect to hear news about your debut album?
Not sure if we’re supposed to mention this or not but we’ve got another single called “I Want It!” looming large on the late February Horizon followed by our attempt to launch Jess to the planet Jupiter. We’ve been trying desperately to find funding for this project as it sits very close to our collective hearts. So far Space X, NASA, and a few Chinese Investors have all ignored our calls but that’s really no reason to fret. The brilliant chemists back at Nectars HQ are already devising components for the spacecraft and progress is at an all-time high! Blessings from Toynbee.
Can our readers look forward to any gigs over here in the UK over the next few months?
Right now we’re waiting for confirmation from our bookers but it appears we will be in Foggy London town sometime near the end of May with a small string of additional UK & German dates to follow! So excited to make it across the pond, and excited to meet you! Thanks again for the interview! Cheers.
‘Heaven’ is out now via 7Hz Productions. Their debut album is due to be released this summer.