Talent to the nth degree
They are young, fearless and immensely talented. Appreciated by critics and audience alike, the quintet mysteriously named nth cave is taking the West Midlands music scene by storm. They are yet to release their debut album and their members may not be old enough to enter the venues they play unaccompanied, but their music and stage presence are drawing crowds that would make senior or well accomplished acts jealous. SLAP Magazine sat down with brothers, Hector and Fergus Brazier to learn more about the wunder kids of Worcestershire.
SLAP: nth cave is a very unusual name. Can you tell us where does it come from?
nth cave: The first period of nth caves existence we went pretty much unlabelled, because we weren’t really regularly gigging and we had no real original material to share with anyone. At this point, our high school music teacher would refer to us as “Danni and the Elements”, which we met with quite a large amount of distain, but we had no real other ideas for band names so we kind of went with it for a bit. After a while we started doing a few gigs and had started to write some original song ideas. At this point we were desperate for any name other than “Danni and the Elements”. We started playing about with some ‘band name generators’ on the internet. After a few hundred attempts it churned out “nth cave” which we all agreed ‘isn’t really too terrible’. And I think that’s how we all feel now. It’s not too terrible but it really isn’t great. It just does its job as a band name. Our music really speaks for itself, I think, and the fact there’s no real “epic story” or anything behind our name represents our rejection of some of the more pretentious and faux-intellectual characteristics that a lot of other bands strive for.
SLAP: You started out as a 4 piece but expanded by adding Lauren Mulhearn on bass. Your original bassist Alfie Newman moved then to second guitar. How did the line up change affected you musically? Is it easier or harder to play as a quintet?
nth cave: nth cave was always intended really to be a quintet. We actually started out in high school as a five piece. However the second guitarist just had too many other commitments (jobs and family stuff etc…) and this, combined with a growing amount of musical difference, led to us and him growing apart. So we started gigging as a four piece, but with the majority of the songs and covers being designed for a band with duel guitars, there was a notable ’emptiness’ about our sound. This is when we started looking for a bassist, who appeared in the form of Lauren Mulhearn via Twitter DMs. After a couple of rehearsals she was up to speed with our whole set and we started gigging as a five. This was met immediately with positive responses. With the second guitar adding stability to the foundation of the songs this consequently allows for notably more freedom and expression in both the lead guitar and vocals
SLAP: Your guitar player Fergus and drummer Hector are brothers. Yay or nay for having your sibling in a band? Is any sibling rivalry involved in the music making process?
Fergus: Nah there’s no rivalry, as long as we’ve both played instruments we’ve jammed together so we’re normally pretty aware of each other’s styles and mannerisms in music.
Hector: There’s no problem with siblings bring in bands together, I doubt that anyone can’t think of a band with brothers or sisters. Oasis, Peace, Cage the Elephant, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and that’s only a few. Oasis may not have ended that well but their initial success or any bands success isn’t hindered by having siblings together in the band.
SLAP: You recorded your BBC Introducing session at the Phoenix Theatre in Ross on Wye in April 2016. How do you remember this experience?
nth cave: nth cave’s BBC Introducing session was a brilliant opportunity for us, as a band. However I would say that it came about at the wrong time for us. At the time of the session we were still playing as our original lineup and consequently we were musically driven in a fairly different direction to the one which are now. As well as this we still had little to no popularity at all and we had yet to even make a dent in Worcester’s local music scene. This meant that our session (unsurprisingly), as generous as it was from BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester, went pretty much ignored. Since then we’ve really grown as a band and developed a lot more of a style. Despite this, the most recent music that we’ve sent to BBC Introducing was acknowledged but not broadcast which is a shame because we all really appreciate the work that BBC Introducing do for unsigned artists, and we just wish we could ‘get in on that’.
SLAP: Sonically you place yourself between Wolf Alice and Nirvana. Who else would appear on your wall of fame?
Hector: Personally I see nth cave as the coming together of a wide array of genres and styles, with band members contributing to our songs based upon their own musical upbringing. With individual influences ranging from jazz to hip-hop to pop punk our music is filled with hyper-subtle references to some of this music. I would like to point out at this point that nth cave are most certainly not a “jazz, hip-hop, pop punk group”. That honestly sounds disgusting. It is because of this fact, however, that sometimes it can be quite hard to place our “middle ground” musically. Artists such as Wolf Alice and Nirvana are fairly influential to the majority of the band and its because of this that we place ourselves (somewhere) within the “alternative/indie” genre.
Fergus: nth cave’s “Wall of Fame” really does have to include some of the artists that we regularly cover like The Strokes, Pixies and The Wytches. I would say, it’s through covering artists like this that we have really started to improve our own, work taking influence from the upbeat guitar driven pop sound of The Strokes, the intense dynamics of Pixies, and even some of the sonic elements found within the heavy lo-fi surf rock of The Wytches.
While our singer’s voice has been regularly compared with artists such as Broadcast and Stereolab, her largest influence, vocally, comes from the work of Kasabian.
As well as these artists, bands such as Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Pond and The Velvet Underground, I fact the bands writing style is particularly influenced by the likes of The Velvet Underground and that whole alternative New York scene, as far as I’m concerned Lou Reed, as well as being the ‘god father of punk’ is the father of all worthwhile western music. These artist would all feature nth cave’s ‘Wall of Fame’.
SLAP: nth cave is making a name for itself on national independent scene in record time. You started in late 2013, two years later you were featured on Andrew Marston BBC show. This year you played all important venues between Bristol and Birmingham. You leave your competition far behind.
nth cave: We’re pretty happy with what we’ve achieved over the past year gigging, mainly in Worcester and Birmingham. We’re set to play in Hereford next month but are yet to play in Bristol. The music scene right now is great down there so hopefully we’ll make it. It’s a dream of ours to be able to play in every city in the UK so we have a long way to go yet.
SLAP: Our favourite track is entitled “Bass”. You even shot a popular video at the Birmingham City University. Can you tell us something about the song? Working with film students must have been a fascinating experience.
nth cave: So the student who was our main contact for it was Petko who was a technician at an acoustic gig we played. He decided that we were the kind of band he wanted for his music video module so he chose one of our songs and we got an audio recording session and a video recording session at BCU. We’ve had loads of good feedback from it and we were really impressed by how professional it looks so thank you to Petko and his team for making it and thank you to everyone who watched and shared it. We heard from someone recently that part of the most recent Star Wars film was filmed in the same studio as our video which is insanely cool if it’s true. One shame about the video is we didn’t have Lauren in the band when we were working on it; it would have been great.
SLAP: After a string of successful singles, it is time for a full release. Can you tell us more about your first album?
nth cave: Well we’re still deciding what would best for us, to release an EP or a full album. Either way we want to go to the studio soon but there aren’t any actual album plans yet, but we do have lots of ideas for its artistic structure and a lot of album name suggestions. For now though we’re happy with working on our material and gigging. We really, really hope there will be an album eventually though.
SLAP: Your future is already looking bright but things will only get better. What can we expert from you guys in the next months to come?
nth cave: To be honest we’ve got no set big plans other than the occasional gig. We are however hoping to hear back from a couple of festivals that we’ve applied to play at. As far as our own material goes, it’s just a case of getting some recording sessions done. We certainly have enough original work to put together an album, it just all depends on what opportunities arise for us. We’re hoping to work more with Boneyard Sessions to increase exposure for some of the more talented (yet under-appreciated) bands in the Worcester music scene. So overall we want to get our original material together and get ourselves out there as much as we can, and hey, if someone wants to offer us a sweet record deal? We’d consider it. Hopefully this’ll be the busiest and most progressive year for nth cave and we’ll just keep up what we’re doing and see where it takes us.
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nth cave has been announced as one of the first bands to play this year`s Worcester Music Festival. And we cannot be more excited.
Come back again, next edition of Indieterria will be slightly different. For the first time, we will have a solo artist on the hot seat!