USA Nails in interview: “we try not to think too much (…) we just go with our feelings”

USA Nails in interview: “we try not to think too much (…) we just go with our feelings”

| Abril 9, 2018 2:39 pm

USA Nails in interview: “we try not to think too much (…) we just go with our feelings”

| Abril 9, 2018 2:39 pm

On Saturday, April 7th, we interviewed the English band USA Nails, who were going to give that night, the last of the four concerts they had scheduled in Portugal. We wanted to know more about the band, seeing as their work is being recognized within the underground community due to their no wave/noise punk approach. As of now, they released three albums, two EP’s and some splits (you can find/buy all the work here), and you can read the full interview below, to get to know them better.

First of all, in your opinion, who are the USA NAILS? For instance your philosophy, ideas, paths as a band? 

Daniel – I guess everyday life. 
Steven – We did this because we didn’t know what else to do. It sounds quite sad, doesn’t it? (laughs). We’ve been in bands since we were very young. So yeah, it’s something we feel we have to do. That creative outfit, that’s part of being in a band. Living in social circles, writing songs about what is happening at the moment. It’s not complicated, so there is no philosophy. 
Gareth – I guess if there is a philosophy is more about in terms of the way we approach things. It’s quite instinctive, let’s say, and we try to do things quickly and not to think too much, just go with our feelings, through some writing. It’s quite impulsive. We try to capture the excitement about the first idea and something in that hopefully works. It will come across if you try to crystalize it quickly enough in that first instinct. 
Steven – Yeah, don’t overthink.

Do you create your music for yourselves first or for the public? 

Steven – Initially for ourselves. I don’t know thinking about how an audience would like it. 
Gareth – It’s very difficult. 
Steven – It probably would sound very different. If we don’t like we turn it around, it’s just in our own way.

What do you get personally from the music you make? 

Steven – Just satisfaction. We create something like a record, or we just listen back something we didn’t practice. 
Daniel – It is just creating something that is accidental or pre-meditated. Yeah, I think it’s like he said. It is just nice, to create something, from practicing to records and interact with people.

You released Sonic Moist in 2014 with a different line-up, a different guitarist, what are the main differences that you found between this first record and its successors? 

Steven – Just a different approach. I didn’t play guitar on the first record, I was just singing. So, it’s just a different way of playing. 
DanielStu, the guitarist, he played differently. He brought a lot of ideas to the table. I think when Stu left and Steve took on that role, it was naturally going to change because they both play guitar differently. It changed and then, naturally, the songs started arriving as a group. 
Gareth – So in the first album a lot of us, we would go away and we would bring material. It was a bit more planned, but I think these times went on. We do less and less writing separately and do everything together, to the point where I don’t even have a guitar in my flat anymore because I only play the guitar in the rehearsal room when we are together.

Your first EP is Sell Sell Sell right? Then you released Work Work Work. Will the next EP be called Buy Buy Buy? (Just Kidding) 

Steve – I don’t know, yeah. 
Gareth – That wasn’t on the table, but maybe it’s too obvious (laughs). 
Steve – The idea of doing the EP’s was just trying to record something a bit different because we usually go to the recording studios to do the albums. We wanted to get it more lo-fi sound. Our drummer Matt he just moved away, so in the last EP, we don’t have drums on it. We have a drum machine instead, so we were flirting with the idea of not having a drummer or such. And now we have got Tom.

Talking about Work Work Work, the EP that granted you your first tour around America. What were the differences you found in American musical culture and the European one? 

Steve – Well, to be honest, the circles we are playing are usually small D.I.Y. promoters. Things like catering, dressing rooms are very strange for us. 
Daniel – Our first show in America was a house show in the woods. And I was like, ok. So there’s is a lot of similarities I guess, but because America is this so far away country, you don’t really know what to expect. But it was literally the same, you get in a van and play a show. Accents are different. They do cassettes, that’s really nice.

In your last LP, Shame Spiral, I found interesting the fact that you have covered Grauzone’s “Eisbaer” hit. How did this happen? 

Steve – It was just our drummer Matt, he really liked the song and he wanted to do a cover of it so we just did it. 
Gareth – I think we try to jam through covers a few times in the rehearsal room, never thinking that we are do anything, but for some reason, this time we just thought: “Oh it would actually be quite nice to put that on a record”. I don’t know why we decided to do it, but I’m glad we did it. 
Steve – It’s a good song. It seems to fit on our musical style… 
Daniel – Yeah, one bass line.
Steve – Some stabby guitar thing.

Are you going to play that song tonight? 

Daniel – No. We are doing a mix tonight of all three records and one of the EP, and then some new stuff.

Can you share with us some artists that you have been recently listening to? 

Daniel – Yeah. Marbled Eye, I believe they are from West Coast of the States. They got two EPs out now, really good. They’ll be doing a European tour, I don’t know if they are going to Portugal but if you can track them you should, so let’s say Marbled Eye

Gareth – Let me see. 
Daniel – Oh this great band from London, Bo Gritz.
Gareth – Hopefully they will be touring Europe soon, they are very good. 
Daniel – Yeah, they are really good. Weird angular guitar music.

DanielDead Tenants from New York City, we played with them. They are like two brothers that play with a really shitty drum kit, but that sounds great.

Daniel – Oh yeah, Gumming
Gareth – From Richmond. 
Daniel – There’s more but I can’t remember.

To finish what are your thoughts on Portugal? 

Daniel – It’s beautiful! The food is amazing. Your English is great, it’s brilliant, for lazy people like us that only speak one language. 
Gareth – The streets are very small though, we got a big van. 
Steve – We got stuck, quite a few times.
Gareth  So many times, we got stuck in the van (laughs). But that’s more about us than about Portugal. 
Daniel – The way you pronounce your words seems different from how it spoke but that’s cool, that’s really nice (laughs). 
Steve – When you’re on tour you don’t really have the chance to see much. Oh, and nice Coffee. 
Gareth – Good pastry! 
Daniel – Yeah, Pastel de Nata is lovely! 
Steve – We met some nice people last night, that was a good gig. 
Daniel – We really want to come back.

Are you going to come back? 

Daniel – We would love to! 
Garreth – I would like to come on holiday, though, so that I could see everything and enjoy it without having to worry about things as a soundcheck or being aware of it. But yeah, it’s a really nice country. 

Ok, thank you. Anything else you want to add? 

Daniel – Thanks for the interview.

Interview by: Sónia Felizardo
Photos by: Edu Silva