Nolita View is a South London-based indie band who have been together for about a year-and-a-half. Their newest EP “Wasted Dreams” marks a more brooding and subtle style, a slight departure from their previous, perkier records. The band has consistently produced EPs over their short career and through their regular output, we can follow their maturation and growing sophistication as musicians and songwriters. All that said, the band hasnt sacrificed much for their deeper, more artful new sound; Wasted Dreams still retains much of the catchiness and toe-tapping quality in their earlier work. In this interview, Alex (the guitarist) discusses the bands plans for a full-length album, and even offers some advice for fledgling British musicians. Enjoy!
Lola Who: How long have you been playing together?
Alex: We have been playing together for about 18 months but some of us have played together in previous bands.
Lola Who: What are the band members’ musical backgrounds?
Alex: Mike, Will and myself often swap instruments between guitar and bass. Mike is a decent drummer so this can all be pretty helpful when working on new ideas.
Lola Who: Are all the members native Londoners?
Alex: Yeah, were based in South London. We have a studio we use in Battersea. A few of us are originally from Chepstow in Wales, and Tom is from Yorkshire.
Lola Who: You have released four EPs to date. Do you have any plans to release a full-length album soon?
Alex: Yes, and we would definitely like to. The issue is that we all have full-time jobs so we often only manage to get three or four tracks together at one time. This is the problem with living and making music in London, its just so expensive. The cost of living keeps rising and, as a result, the majority of new artists are being (or have already been) driven out. Even in the seven years that Ive lived here, you can see a pattern of communities of artists moving further and further away from the centre of town. I would probably advise new bands to live somewhere cheaper for a while, where there is less pressure, and then come to London when theyre ready and have got an album of tracks with them.
Lola Who: How would you describe the progression the band has made over time? The earlier EPs seem to be peppy indie rock of the turn-of-the-decade, whereas the newer songs seem more meditative, almost as if the different instruments are speaking to each other. Is this a fair assessment?
Alex: Well that sounds like a compliment, so thanks. The longer we play together, the better it all gels. You start to know when to leave space for each other and things like that. In terms of the songs themselves sounding less peppy, I think this was probably made more subconsciouslyas you get older and more experienced you learn a little more restraint. Or you just get more depressed, Im not entirely sure.
Lola Who: How do you compose your songs? Is there a principal songwriter?
Alex: No real principal songwriter. Someone will often bring an idea to practice and then we will all chip away at it. Generally, whoever came up with the idea has the final say.
Lola Who: What is your favourite type of gig to play and a favorite venue?
Alex: I guess one where we are into the music of the other bands that are on the bill. Favourite venue: we played in Brixton at a place called the Windmill over the weekend and that was a really cool place to play. Nice sound, good atmosphere, etc. Not an overly aggressive door charge that you feel guilty about inflicting on people.
Lola Who: Who would you say are your biggest influences? Id say your sound is characteristic of turn-of-the-decade indie rock but with a greater influence from new Wave bands of the late 70s-early 80s. Maybe some Madchester?
Alex: Yeahdefinitely older bands like Talking Heads and The Replacements have been an influence. This new EP seems to be compared to Modest Mouse quite a bit. Never really been into the Manchester scene.
Lola Who: Why the name Nolita View? Are you big fans of the Manhattan neighbourhood?
Alex: We took the name from a song by the National called “Driver Surprise me” which I was listening to a lot when we started the band. Also some of us lived together in New York when we were younger, not too far from Nolita.
Lola Who: All of your EPs’ album covers are dusty or lowlight photographs of urban/suburban scenes. Why have you chosen this pattern for your cover art?
Alex: These pictures were all taken by my sister and I just thought they looked pretty coolno real thought process behind it other than that. I did hope they would fit the vibe of the music and I think they do in the most part.
Lola Who: Are there any events or releases coming up about which youd like to tell our readers?
Alex: We have the final track from our new EP and a video up soon and then therell be more gigs over the summer which were looking forward to. Itll all go up on our websites. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.