It`s Valentines! What`s a better way to celebrate the day than interviewing a band we have fallen in love with? Let us tell you about this particular bunch of talented friends who are shaking up entire indie scene in West Midlands and turn heads wherever they go. Despite their young age – they are determined and focused, they relentlessly play up and down the country, including gigs in London, they gathered themselves invitation from This Feeling and a mention in NME by Alan McGee himself. They are more than ready to leave their mark on the scene and follow the likes of The Blinders, False Heads or Avalanche Party to bigger things and bigger stages. We won`t be surprised to see them going to SXSW next year.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the independent music circuit – please meet The Novus. We had pleasure and privilege to sit down with vocalist Connor Hill to speak about their upcoming tour, Birmingham music scene ad recording with Wizard of Wolverhampton.
Tom Rhodes (guitar)
Tyla Challenger (bass)
Euan Woodman (drums)
Connor Hill (vox)
The word “Novus” means “new” in Latin. What does it mean to you? A new beginning? A new chapter in your lives? New music? Or maybe the explanation is very simple and it just sounded like a good name for a band?
Connor Hill: The Novus does mean new in Latin. Not many people know that initially (laughs)! It also does mean a new beginning I guess – myself Tom and Tyla were in a band before and wanted something new and more us – but ‘The New’ sounded quite boring. We went through loads of names, but The Novus for us sounded like it fitted well; and no one else had the name.
You come from Stourbridge and Birmingham, the second biggest city in the UK. Brum has a powerful musical scene: from indie to metal, grime and rap. Tell us about your beginnings. How did you meet and when did you know you wanted to play music together?
Connor Hill: Myself, Tom and Tyla (guitarist and bassist) met at school when we were 11. We were all in bands throughout school together and we only initially connected with music so I guess we knew we were wanting to play together. Tom and Tyla asked me if I wanted to be part of this new band they were creating and that was that! We met Euan (drummer) at a gig he was playing at and managed to poach him and that’s how the band formed.
The Novus has been compared to The Clash meets Kings of Leon (half way) with a bit of Joy Division, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath thrown into the mix. Would you agree with being squeezed into the new garage/psychedelia genre alongside IDLES, The Blinders, Avalanche Party and Shame? We have to admit that your music is more melodic and blues-y at times. There’s definitely The Doors and Jimi Hendrix hidden somewhere under all those distorted guitars.
Connor Hill: To be compared to the names mentioned is mad for us, we love all the bands mentioned and the garage/psych scene is an amazing one to even be considered to be a part of. We do take a big inspiration from Jimi Hendrix as well but we listen to such a wide range of music, we have lots of little inspirations from different places. Every review of us someone hears something slightly different, which is good for us to see where people think we fit.
On 2nd of November 2018, Raw Sound TV filmed your concert at O2 Institute 2 in Birmingham. The show received very positive reviews. Connor you were described as “teenage Mike Hucknall joining Pearl Jam or Rage Against the Machine”. We don’t see any likeness to the Simply Red singer (maybe the hair do?) but the resemblance to Eddie Vedder and Zach De la Rocha is quite convincing. During performances you jump into the crowd, run from one end of the stage to the other, command the crowd to come closer. Would you agree with this description?
Connor Hill: (bursts into laughter) Hucknall is definitely to do with the hair- wish I did look like him!! I guess I would agree to an extent, but for me, my stage presence is more of an alter ego than me personally – which is what I love so much about performing. For me, I don’t really take that much of an inspiration from people to do with my stage presence but more just go with what my head thinks I should do and roll with it.
Despite forming in early 2017, you shared stages with Karkosa, Velvet Tides, Riscas, Ivory Wave and Pale White to name just a few. You have a strong following in your home town and now you are off to pastures anew to conquer other parts of the UK. Is the tour with This Feeling helping? How many shows have you played with them already?
Connor Hill: We aren’t doing a tour with This Feeling right now. Not yet anyway, but we have played a few shows in Birmingham with them. It’s always a good night and we get a good few cans of Red Stripe out of it so that’s enough to win me over!
At the end of last year, several zines and promoters put you on their list to watch for 2019. On 29th of January you played alongside Young Garbo, Chris Grant, Nadia Sheik and Christian Pattemore at Social in London. Was this your debut in L-Town or have you played there before?
Connor Hill: We’ve played London a couple of times before but we do have plenty planned for the capital in the future. It`s always a warm reception and we love playing there!
You are working on new music and we heard that you have chosen The Wizard of Wolverhampton himself – Gavin Monaghan (The Pagans SOH, Editors, The Sherlocks, The Blinders) as producer. Are you able to tell us anything? Will you be recording at his Magic Garden studios or somewhere else? Is it going to be an EP or a full fledged debut album?
Connor Hill: We are going into recording with Gavin in the next couple of months and recording a few tracks, nothing confirmed as to yet but we have some good plans lined up for them. Gavin is a genius and we connect with him and Joe at Magic Garden so well. He isn’t just a producer, he is someone who helps you think about further development of your music to make it the best you can be and that man knows everyone! They are great people to be around and the vibe at Magic Garden Studios is great, we love making music there. All I can say I guess is stay tuned for what’s to come because we are really excited about it.
It’s only February but your calendar is getting busier and busier. Where can we see you later this year? Any booked festivals or gigs we need to attend?
Connor Hill: So far we have the following dates:
13th April – Camden Assembly, London (Youth Music charity gig)
Event Page donations welcomed
These are just the ones that are confirmed, we do have quite a few in the pipeline!
Last question are always fun at Indieterria. Let’s pretend that you were invited to any party in the world and you can take two rock and roll legends with you. Where are you going and who’s coming with you?
Connor Hill: Jimi Hendrix and Flea from RHCP would probably be my choice. Flea I imagine would be a laugh, Jimi would just be the guy that gets us into everywhere because everyone knows him. I would probably go to somewhere like Vegas with them – would be jokes. If you want to find out about the other boys, catch them at a gig and they’ll be happy to have a conversation. Big love.
You can follow the band on social media at the following links:
We don`t usually link to entire gigs, but you need to see The Novus live and RawSoundTV recorded their performance at the end of last year – and it is a jaw dropper. If you have 30 minutes to spare – see the footage and then book yourself a ticket for the real experience. You will not regret. Believe your friendly A&Rs on this – we know talent when we hear it. And The Novus are pure talent.
We will be reporting back on The Novus on this blog. Not only because we are very curious what they have created with Gavin & Joe at the Magic Garden Studios (by the way – Happy 30th Anniversary guys! What would the local and national music scene do without you?), but because we simply want to follow their journey to bigger, better things. There is so much promise and so much passion in this band – and more importantly – so much love for music and art. How can we resist? How can anyone resist?
Till the next time,