New album Sitcoms for Aliens is out now.
Th 90s are dead! Long live the 90s! Over the last few years, there seems to a bit of a resurgence in the raw and wry approach to rock music that was prevalent in the 1990s. This makes me happy on the inside. One such band is Florida’s Noiseheads. Over the course of two albums and an EP, the quartet have pummeled ears with music that is direct, grungey, and catchy as the Spanish flu.
We spoke to Nick Gray (vocals/guitar) to get the skinny on what aliens think of sitcoms, his desire to create a massive underground music festival, and the death of rock ‘n’ roll.
Overblown: Your new album is called ‘Sitcoms for Aliens’. What would an alien think of Seinfeld?
An alien would think, “A show about nothing? That’s SOOO earth.”
Overblown: You have a new song called ‘Wait’ out at the minute. What inspired that song?
The band was in the process of relocating to another state to be closer to bigger metro areas, which ultimately didn’t happen for a number of reasons, and it was written in the middle of all that. The song is about wanting to change and not wanting to change, a bittersweet “goodbye” to the things we loved and a “see you never” to the things we hated. It’s a cynical, aggressive, and poignant song.
Overblown: You have a sound that is very mainstream 90s alternative rock. If that makes sense. Bands like Stone Temple Pilots and the like. What is appealing about this sound for you?
When the band first started, I had felt there was something missing on today’s rock radio: an emotional and/or intellectual connection, something that was present throughout a lot of the great music from the 90s. But honestly, what we grew up with was what our parents blared around the house – 60s and 70s music, bands that many of those alternative groups from the 90s were influenced by, which is probably the reason why people say we sound like those bands as opposed to just ripping them off.
However, as we’ve grown as a band, it’s become more about preserving this style of music. Not to say there’s nothing new or exciting happening, but rock music has lost its cultural relevance. It’s had its time, done what it needed to do and likely won’t return to the height of popularity it received. Our role as artists is to be an authentic portal into that world for those who need to visit it.
Overblown: Your vein of rock seems to be dying at the moment. My friend claims that rock is the new jazz. What do you think of that statement?
I agree, completely. There was an article I read by Bill Flanagan of the New York Times, and it was a fantastic analysis of the chronology of rock music and how it had a similar arc to jazz. This may be incorrect as I’m going off memory but the article stated something to the effect that jazz lasted about 65 years, from inception to cultural peak to resurgence to where it is today. Going back to the roots of mainstream rock, let’s say Roy Orbison or Elvis Presley around 1955 (there were others before them but just for the sake of conversation), that was over 60 years ago. There are a handful of other comparisons the article draws to, and it makes a whole lot of sense.
Personally, I’m okay with that. We don’t choose when and where we’re born and part of life is accepting who you are when and where you are.
Overblown: Having said that, I’ve heard there’s interest from major labels. Is that true?
From who? haha… there has been here and there. The truth is there’s no money in it for them for the type of music we write and perform, so we’re destined to be a self-run, self-funded organization forever, which is probably for the best. We’ll always keep our options open but America isn’t the best landscape for new alternative rock.
Overblown: There does seem to be a bit of a revival of bands in your vein though. Like Nuns of the Tundra. Do you know them?
I don’t know them and had never heard them until today, I like what I’m hearing. I think there are other bands out there who feel very similar to the way we do about things and have probably had similar experiences with music growing up, so it makes sense that there would be a handful of bands keeping that sound alive.
I do think at some point we should all work together, maybe come up with the next biggest underground rock festival or something. I would love to just put on a massive underground tour with all of these bands, totally DIY… the anti-thesis to the Coachellas of the world. If you know anyone interested, hit me up.
Overblown: I also love your song ‘72’. There are some absolutely epic guitar solos in that. What inspired that song?
Thank you – I had the main riff and chorus melody/lyrics for some time but could never find a home for it until now. The production of it was actually inspired by some modern influences, the goal being just to make a really big sounding song. My dad would tell stories of going on road trips during the 70s, and I made a connection with those to the vibe of this track, hence the title.
My favourite moment of the entire album is the rock organ solo on that track.
Overblown: Who are your favourite band out and about at the moment?
So many bands… some of the big ones: Foo Fighters (love their latest record), St. Vincent, Weezer.
Some not so big but should be: God Damn, The Black Clouds, False Pterodactyl, Elise Trouw (multi-instrumentalists unite!)
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