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dinsdag 29 januari 2019
INGLORIOUS: The Road to Maturity!

Interview with singer Nathan James from Inglorious by Vera in January 2019

With their previous albums ‘I’ and ‘II’, English melodic metal collective Inglorious made a prosperous start. Now we have album number three called ‘Ride To Nowhere’, a record that shows diversity and maturity. Every rose has its thorns and we found out that no less than three members left the band right after the recordings. No worries, in the meantime band leader Nathan James has found proper replacement and is more than ready to hit the road for a third attack! We had a nice conversation with him while he was on the road to the next show.

As I understand you are in the middle of a series of shows for an operatic performance of Jeff Wayne’s ‘War Of The Worlds’, isn’t it?
Yes, a big show. That is correct.

How did you meet Jeff Wayne?
I think my manager sent him an email when new shows and tours were announced. I got to his studio and got the job. I play the role of ‘the voice of humanity’ and I like these performances a lot.

This is going on since November till late December, isn’t it?
Yes, it is going to be finished in about seven days. Only the UK this time. It has been a fantastic opportunity. We have been playing the biggest venues in the country. It has been amazing. It is going well.

But let us talk about Inglorious. You have founded the band in 2014, soon joined by the guitarists. What made you found this band?
I had found a man who suggested to form a band around me, Derek Shermann. He is the same man who signed acts like Jon Bon Jovi in the eighties and he did some great things. He told me to form a band and then get a record deal. That happened. Next step was making a record and that’s how the ball got rolling.

With your first two albums you got already rave reviews…
Yeah, we got really good reviews and on our second album as well. We are really happy to be welcomed and praised to this level. There’s not many bands out there like us in the UK. I think people enjoy having a band like us in British music, rock ‘n roll driven. That might be the reason for our success.

Indeed, sometimes you remind me of David Coverdale, but also of Led Zeppelin. These were the big bands in the past, from Anglo-Saxon countries anyways…
I love those bands. These are definitely my influences as a singer and my influences as a band as well. I don’t think we sound like one band. I think it is more of a hybrid of those different bands, of those different voices, which I think is important.

The album is diverse. You start with a couple of strong songs, but my favourites are the last four songs of the album. Any comments on that?
Oh well. Thank you very much. I like the last songs very much too.

Okay, we are going to come back on the songs soon, but first another question. Did you do many shows for the former albums?
No we did not really tour or do many gigs, we wanted to have a new album first. We were busy with that. We did some big festivals. We played Download Festival main stage, which is a huge festival in the UK, that was quite cool. But we have done two good albums, I wanted to make it three before going all the way in playing live. The bar was high to surpass our previous albums, but we did our very best to come up with a staggering result and I think we managed to do that. We wanted to have another album out straight away, so we could stay in that momentum.

The title ‘Ride To Nowhere’ sounds darker than usual…
Yeah. We did not want to go on with just numbers, we wanted a name for this third album and the name came obviously from the song. It is more or less about a friend of mine who is going through really sad stuff. Some bad times. It is a phrase that he used when he got involved in those problems. It is all about drinking and drugs. I thought it was a good title and similarly I lost my grandfather last year.

I am sorry…
He passed away in April, it is okay. It was my grandparent, but for me it was the first time that I lost someone in my life. For me it was a very sad time. I really questioned my morality. I really questioned my life and what I was doing. When I actually picked the title, I was in a very sad place and in that moment I really saw what the point was, because I just lost someone I loved so much. Losing the first one is very sad, that goes deep.

In the lyrics you are sometimes very optimistic, yet sometimes you go deeper into very sensitive sad things. This contrast works very well…
For the first in my life I wrote lyrics about myself. I used to write about relationships between other people, I wrote about characters. Now I have written a lot more from my side and my feelings which is very new to me. I am really happy with that approach and I think you notice that. A song like ‘Glory Days’, a song like ‘Queen’ which is about my mother, a song like ‘Liar’, it is all about my relationship with people. These lyrics are very personal to me. I am happy with the result.

There’s a lot of emotion in them…
Absolutely. Especially ‘Glory Days’. I cried when I recorded this in the studio, it goes so deep. I could not help but starting to cry. It is a very sad song.

’Ride To Nowhere’ has epic riffs, but then it goes like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath blend together. Do you agree with that?
Yeah absolutely. I wrote the vocal line actually in one day. But I am glad you enjoy it.

Another song I would like to hear some more details about, is ‘I Don’t Know You’…
My best friend has written the majority of this song with our guitarist Andreas. She wrote about her relationship coming to an end. As soon as I heard this song I was amazed and asked her to include it on the record. Luckily she agreed. I am very lucky to have her. It is a fucking amazing song. You can really feel the emotions in these lyrics and Heather is my best friend, so I was very angry and upset for her too, so I tried to channel those emotions into my performance.

Who were the main composers for the music for this record?
I picked the lyrics and the melodies and the instrumentation, the chords and the music was done by everybody else. We all write the music together in a room, then I go away and then I write my melodies. The other guys firstly come up with the music and then I find my words and the melodies. That’s the way I like to work, because words are very personal, I need some isolation. You have to be satisfied with your words, before you put them out for the public. When I write a song, it has changed completely by the time I record it. Words last forever and I want to make sure that they are right.

So you have to wait until the right emotion comes up in isolation… to find the right words…
Absolutely and as I said, I write about people I love and people I hate, so you have to be sure you put it correctly, since a song will last forever. You have to be happy with what you have said.

What are the things you hate in current England?
Have a guess (laughs). Well… I love England and I love being English, but I am also happy when touring. I have found a balance. Now I live on the countryside in England. I do not live in a city. I live on a farm, very far away from London. I really feel comfortable and happy over there in the calmness, but next we go on tour and have a crazy life, go partying and drinking all over Europe and that’s amazing as well. When I come home I can relax and surround myself with my family, my animals and everything I love and make me happy.

That’s a good balance indeed…
I have been living in London for two years and I would never do it again. It is not for me, it is too crazy and hectic.

Did you always live in England?
Yes, actually I have spent a long time in the US when working for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which I did for three years, but I am very English.

What about your relationship with Uli Jon Roth?
I love Uli. I still speak with Uli from time to time. He is a great guy and a wonderful musician and guitarist. I never forget the gig in Japan, where we recorded the DVD. Tokyo. An amazing place. When I was with Uli, I actually got to perform at a festival in Geneva and I sang with Steve Vai and Steve Morse and Uli, a Jimi Hendrix jam, which was amazing. Uli has been a fantastic person to me. A proper guitar master.

And Trans-Siberian Orchestra? Wasn’t that a very strict organization and rules?
Of course. You have to be strict, there’s a lot of things going on, with a lot of people. In order to make it happen, there have to be rules. Well… you got to be professional and I guess that is what I learned from Trans-Siberian Orchestra. You have to work hard, but I like that. And I like people who try to be the best. I am the same now, I treat people with respect, but they have to work hard. It is a job. You have to respect your job.

For some Finns it is all about fun…
(laughing out loud) Haha, for some sure. I do like to have fun, but when you are at work… we never drink before a show to make sure we know what we are doing. We try to be polite, we try to be on time, we try to be nice people. We are very serious about what we are doing.

What about the making of music videos?
Yes, we are going to have another two video clips, the latter one is coming out in January. One I am excited about. It is for ‘Glory Days’. I directed the music videos and did the clothing and the choreography. I shot the video with a photographer. I am involved in every aspect of the band since the very beginning. Also the artwork I did. If you want to present yourself to the world, you have to present yourself the best you can. Very simple.

Is there someone in the band you already knew before?
No, as suggested by Derek, I held an audition. I did an open audition for people from all over the world. I definitely got it right from the first time. Of course, like in any band, even with David Coverdale, you have line-up changes, but now my band in the UK is doing well. It is much easier for people in this band than for me. We have shows, we have success, it is all they want as musician. Having enough money to be just a musician, that’s a wonderful position to be in.

So you can live from the band?
Yes. From this year on, we can. It has taken four years of hard work, but finally we manage to do it. Yes, it is a proper business and we can actually enjoy without a worry for money, just focus on music.

That must have been your goal from the beginning…
It is a dream come true. That and my animals, then I am happy. I have many animals. Three pigs, a lamb, I have fifty chickens, twenty dogs, cats, (sums up even more – Vera) we have lots of space and it is wonderful to live with them.

But when you look at the stars at night, it will be wonderful!
It is perfect. When I get upon the hill, the view is magical. I have never seen stars until I was out on the countryside.

Where I live there is too much light pollution. I live in Antwerp.
I am excited about coming to Belgium again. We always have a nice time in Belgium. We enjoyed Graspop and Alcatraz festival. Last year we played in a tent at Graspop and this time we are going to play on the main stage. That’s amazing!

Good luck with delivering the goods!
Thank you very much. We have ten shows with City Of Thieves in the UK, then we have five shows in Europe and then the festival season which is going to be fun. We are looking forward to that.

Geplaatst door Vera op dinsdag 29 januari 2019 - 14:50:22
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