Hailing from Glasgow, NEVADA BASE are the newest addition to the Black Lantern roster. Celebrated for their live performances, which have seen them play high-profile support slots for the likes of New Build, Metronomy, Silver Columns, Late of the Pier, and Memory Tapes.
Combining elements from indie, synth-pop, disco and electro, they are quintessentially a tight, rhythm-driven band with killer pop hooks, and their label debut FORESIGHT is an earworm track which will stay with you for weeks after you hear it.
Black Lantern’s roving reporter ALEX BURDEN interviewed the band in advance of their new single, which you can stream and download below.
You are one of the newest additions to the Black Lantern camp – how did you get involved with the label?
We became aware of BLM after they put out some tracks by our good friend Magic Daddy.
Where did it all start for you as a group? How did you meet, and how did the idea of an electro pop band form?
It started out with Andy and Albert just jamming together, discovering Kraftwerk and italo disco, picking up a mad keyboard player (Gus) and finally a German exchange student called Johannes who brought the whole thing together. He introduced us to Ableton Live (a company he now works for) and we recorded our first demos with him. Look out for his remix of Foresight under his Raketenbus moniker…
After a few months he had to head back to Germany before we’d played our first gig. We started off with purely electronic beats but now have live drummer Calum for added groove (and balls) as well as James on synths and samples.
Most exciting moment onstage so far for you?
Supporting New Build at a sold out Captains Rest. Loved that show.
So, the ‘illiterate Talking Heads’ description from your Facebook page – can you tell us a little more about that?
Haha! That was a review of our first single in The Skinny by guest reviewers The Phantom Band. I believe they gave us two stars for being “difficult to pigeon-hole.” I’ll take it.
What hardware / software / real instruments or sounds do you use?
On stage we have drums, bass guitar, guitar, synths (Prophet 08, Korg R3, MicroKorg) a Roland SP404 for samples and an MPC for sequences.
In the studio we work mostly in Ableton Live but tend to use more classic synths - a Roland Juno 60 and Moog Rogue feature on Foresight. Yamaha CS01 is all over Hindsight.
Tell us about ‘Foresight’, your new release for BLM.
It’s our first recording with live drums and shows the more discoey, funky side of our sound. B-side “Hindsight” is another flavour of our sound with a more downtempo, hypnotic, almost hip-hop vibe.
Who are the electro pop artists you rate the most, and why?
Georgio Moroder is responsible for Donna Summer’s I Feel Love. Just a beautiful song produced in such a futuristic way.
What sounds are integral to your productions to capture the electro vibe?
We use a lot of arpeggio sounds; often driving 16th notes that give an almost mechanical feel to contrast the live instruments. We use some samples too, as well as sequencing for some baselines which again gives a more clubby feel because it’s much tighter. Also essential is a drummer who can play tightly in sync with these electronic elements.
Who does what in the band, and what element(s) do you think each member brings to the music?
Calum plays drums and brings sheer energy.
Andy provides the solid low-end on bass guitar (often with added funk) as well as occasional synth duties.
James provides synth soundscapes from driving bass rhythms to spaced-out chord sequences, as well as funk guitar on some tracks.
Albert’s guitar playing also tends towards the punk-funk side. He’ll occasionally bash away at some keys. Or a cowbell.
Albert leads the singing, though we do make frequent use of group harmony vocals onstage.
Who would you most like to tour with and why?
Talking Heads. They might tell us about some good books to read.
What has been your most enjoyable track to produce to date?
Foresight. Recording to analogue tape at Green Door studios was a new and exciting experience, both sonically and in terms of workflow. Definitely something we want to repeat.
Which synth is the most favourite to use and why?
The Roland Juno 60 just has an incredibly simple interface and such a lush sound. The Roland 101 is similar too - these old synths are just so immediate. No menus or screens, just twist the controls and see what happens…
What are the themes you like to tackle in your lyrics?
This has changed over time. I mostly try to sing about things that I think or feel strongly about but place them in a context or story that anyone can hopefully relate to.
Having said that, technology is a recurring theme… I’m sure there are others.
How do you NOT want to be perceived, or who do you never want to be compared to?
It’s not something we’ve ever talked about really, and I don’t think comparisons with individual artists mean that much. One thing we have discussed is how we have quite a diverse sound from song to song, and we’d like to keep it that way. There’s always a temptation to “define” your sound; to settle on some “formula” and I hope that’s something we never do. (We won’t.)
Where do you want to take the band in 2013?
We want to finish more recordings and put them out. We have a lot of stuff in various stages of production so we’ll be working hard on that.
We always love playing live and have some great shows lined up already. More of that would be just swell.
Your music straddles both club and gig scenes, easily entertaining both audiences - is there one you personally prefer to the other and why?
Club nights are fun because they’re generally much later, the audience is more lubricated, there’s lots of dancing, jumping and physicality.
But a great gig usually feels more special. You feel like you’re connecting with people in a more personal way. And gigs can get pretty sweaty, too…
Are there any not so obvious / subtle musical influences in your music? I just interviewed a glitch hop artist whose main influence was John Carpenter compositions…
Lead singer Albert is of Lebanese descent and you can hear hints of Arabic melodies and percussion sounds and so on. The percussion in Hindsight is a good example of that.
Also, I’m sure we’ve nicked at least one synth line from Dr Dre…
Who would win in a fight amongst these early titans of synth-pop: the Pet Shop Boys, Erasure or New Order?
It would be New Order, hands down. You could probably prove this mathematically.