Austin-based rock group, Nominee, have had some interesting times so far in their career. Check out what the lead singer of this week’s AOTW has to say about the band’s musical influences and how their new EP, Drag Me Out, came to be.
– Introduce yourselves!
I’m Chris, I sing for Nominee.
– Who or what are your musical influences?
The first bands that made me want to play music were definitely Blink 182 and Saves The Day but as I grew up my brother exposed me to more and more music that molded the way I wrote. When I first heard Blink, I learned power chords. My brother was listening to Turn It Around by Comeback Kid so I wanted to play two steps and break downs, and when I got super into Jimmy Eat World I bought a delay pedal. Anything I used to be a part of was a product of what I was exposed to, but now I think it’s more a blend of everything I’ve ever wanted to do.
– Any non-musical influences?
It’s still music, but I’ve always really appreciated a really powerful film score. The way music and film can come together to invoke emotion always gets me.
– Some of you were members in other groups before Nominee – how did you all come together?
I’m originally from New Jersey and I moved down here to join Nominee but before that, Steve and our original guitarist, Nate had met in a guitar shop, I believe. They had really similar influences and clicked right away. After that they connected with Andy and Cam, our bassist and drummer. Nate was a good friend of mine from Jersey and when they had a few demos, he sent them my way and I moved down a couple weeks later.
– Any particular favorite parts of the creative process?
My favorite part is definitely how it feels to make an idea complete. We have really strong feelings about not settling. We won’t use something were not 100% excited about and that can become really frustrating. But when instrumental, lyrics and melody come together exactly the way you want, there’s no better feeling. It’s addicting.
– You just had a new EP, Drag Me Out, come out – what was that process was like?
Writing Drag Me Out was one of those things I was just talking about where it was incredibly frustrating but rewarding when all was said and done. We wrote probably 10 songs that we never ended up using because we weren’t thrilled with them. We spent a year writing and when we finally had 5 or 6 of the songs that we loved, it was such a great feeling.
– Drag Me Out has a lot of personal influences – how do you as a band want to use these stories to speak to your audience?
The record is mainly about my struggles with bipolar disorder and how I let it ruin a lot of different aspects of my life before dealing with it. I was diagnosed when I was 16 or 17, and my embarrassment of the disorder kept me from telling family and friends about it.
More than anything, I just want anyone dealing with similar issues to know that they’re not alone. We as a society need to be more open about these things.
– Tell us a little bit more about your work with “Hope For The Day”!
Hope For The Day premiered Retrospect, a song that’s about not letting your past consume or control you. Moving on from something that holds you back is way easier said than done, especially when you rely so heavily on the same thing that’s creating friction. I have such a respect for Hope For The Day’s message and to have them premier one of our songs and include us in their journey was humbling to say the least.
– How do you think being in Austin has shaped your experience in the music industry?
While Austin is the “live music capital of the world” our genre has a very small scene in comparison to other cities of the same size. When we first started playing shows here, it was really tough. The music scene in New Jersey was very DIY and it was really easy to get added to shows. Here, all of the venues are super legit and book up really far in advance. We had to learn how it worked down here to gain momentum. Once we found a few other bands in the same genre as us, a community really came together. DIY venues started popping up and venues started becoming more accepting of the stye of music vs the blues, rock and indie genres that they were used to.
– What can fans look forward to in 2017 from Nominee?
Touring. We are going to tour more this year than we ever have as a band. We’re putting our lives on hold to make sure Drag Me Out can be heard by as many people as possible.
– Dream performance venue?
I’ve been playing music and touring to one degree or another since I was 20. I still haven’t played Chain Reaction. It’s definitely on my bucket list.
– If you could go back in time to see any performance, who would you go see?
I’d love to see Queen with Freddie Mercury. I don’t know exactly what it is because there are a lot of bands that broke up that I’d love to see, but I always go back to Queen.
– If you could have a genre or style alter ego, what kind of music would they play?
I’d love to play acoustic/electronic stuff one day, postal service kind of stuff. I’d also love to play piano well enough to incorporate that.
– Any current must-listen to songs?
I recently revisited Peripheral Vision by Turnover and it’s such an incredible record. Cutting My fingers Off has been in my head all day every day as of recently.
– Any pre-show rituals?
We’ve recently started warming up our voices in the van together. We also play an unhealthy amount of dice.
Keep an eye out for more content coming out this week from Nominee, including an Instagram takeover tomorrow, February 28th!