Noiseheads are a DIY rock trio based in Florida that have been slowly gaining a solid underground fanbase and musical foundation for themselves. In 2013, the band released their debut LP, 1994, which was positively received here at Alternative Nation. More recently, the group has revealed their first material since in the form of a 3-song self-titled EP. We spoke to frontman Nick Gray about the EP, the common phrase ‘rock is dead,’ and his future plans for Noiseheads. Check out the full interview below. You can also watch the band cover Nirvana’s “School” live, filmed by Alternative Nation’s Doug McCausland.
Live cover of Nirvana’s “School” featuring Orange No.9’s Tod Elgnis on vocals
Let’s start at the beginning. Can you remember the event that sparked your initial love for music?
Nick Gray (frontman): Music has always been a big part of my life. I come from a musical family, so that definitely helped cement my passion for it early on.
And was there a moment that you realized music was not only going to be a passion, but also a career?
Nick: I’ve been playing since I can remember, but I started recording my own stuff when I was about 15 and kept at it until one day I had a song that caught the attention of an indie label. Up to that point, I had been doing it just for fun, but that was the first time I had ever thought about making any sort of career out of it.
You’re releasing your three track self-titled EP next month. I was hoping we could talk about each song lyrically. Let’s start with “Carpet Kite.”
Nick: We were rehearsing on new ideas one day and my drummer says, “You know, we should write a song called “Carpet Kite.” The very next idea we jammed on, I wrote the first line “Stole the sun rolling on a carpet kite,” and it just stuck. The song is full of references to aliens, authority, and a gazillion other things.
Next would be “Millennium Loser”…
Nick: I felt like that title, which was decided after recording it, sort of summed up what I was trying to talk about in the song. I don’t really ever start out with a clear idea as to what a particular song is going to be about, and this was no exception. But if you really try to figure it out, I think I’m talking about our generation’s sense of nostalgia for things, which seems to be multiplied a thousand times over in the social media age.
And last but not least can you talk about “Fellow Man”?
Nick: “Fellow Man” is the subject, victim, hero, criminal, etc., in every news story there’s ever been. A lot of what we see in the media tends to be meaningless bile blown up out of proportions, when events that actually matter don’t get the proper attention they deserve. So, this song is about those entities exploiting people for their own selfish purpose.
Official music video for “Carpet Kite” off new self-titled EP
Were there any artists you used as inspiration for this material?
Nick: I think if you listen closely to any of our music, you’ll hear a lot of different influences. I will say that I’ve been listening to Weezer’s entire discography for about a year, so that probably had some influence on the newer stuff, haha.
It’s been two years since your debut LP, 1994, came out. Can you reflect back on the writing and recording process of that album and if it differed from this EP?
Nick: 1994 being our first release, I felt like it had to be perfect. I was happy with the way recordings turned out, but I felt like I spent way too much time on it. This time around, once I wrote a song, we’d hash it out and press record pretty soon afterwards, which I think allowed us to harness some of that fresh energy. Recording it ourselves again, I didn’t just want to create the same sound as before.
Cover artwork from debut LP ‘1994’
About a year ago, you announced you met up with Cage the Elephant’s ex-guitarist Lincoln Parish to record some material. Did that material fall through or is it still to come?
Nick: We did meet with him about a year ago and I think we all got the vibe that it wouldn’t have really worked out. He kinda has his thing that he does, and we thought doing our own thing would ultimately turn out the way we wanted it to. No hard feelings though, he’s a cool guy.
I think one of my favorite Noiseheads’ tracks is “Divination” from way back then. Will the song ever get an official release on an album or do you see it just being a stand alone track?
Nick: We just recently did an unplugged performance for a televised program called “StudioAmped,” similar to Austin City Limits, on a regional PBS affiliate station. We had a few special guests musicians for that show, and I wrote out about 60 pages of sheet music for it. “Divination” was one of the tunes we played. I don’t know if it’ll ever get a proper release, but maybe one day.
Live performance of “Divinations” on StudioAmped
If someone runs up to you in the street and yells, “rock is dead!” What’s your gut reaction?
Nick: “Shut the fuck up.”
Who’s to blame for these “rock is dead” accusations? The record labels, Spotify, music listeners, Kanye West, or Gene Simmons?
Nick: Everyone is to blame. In all honesty, there’s some hard truth to a few of Gene’s statements. Rock is thriving in a lot of places, just not in the US. The old business model for record labels has failed, and so there goes any money they would’ve given to new promising bands. Who really listens to the radio anymore? The big wigs have no idea how to make anything new appeal to an audience, so they’re putting their money into “sure things,” resulting in most of US pop music sounding pretty much the same for the last 10-15 years. It really is a fucking mess.
Do you see the status of rock and the music industry shifting to a better place anytime soon?
Nick: If it continues as it does now, I really don’t. The only people that can save it are the listeners. You can’t just listen to someone you like and say, “Oh, they’ll make it,” because it’s just not going to happen these days without your active support. Go buy band shit. Go see a rock show. Quit waiting for someone else to make it happen. Go and make it awesome for you and everyone else. Pretty simple really.
What is the status of your ‘Rock is Dead’ project?
Nick: We wanted to release new music first before we moved forward with it, but I think that’s the next step: creating a compilation of new rock bands that consequently tour the entire US together. I just hope I’m not the only one excited about that.
Alternative Nation’s 2014 Reader’s Choice Music Video of the Year “Dust”
To give a brief touring history on Noiseheads, you’ve shared the stage with The Psychedelic Furs, Framing Hanley, Puddle of Mudd, and Fuel. Are there any big names I’m leaving out?
Nick: We’ve shared festival bills with Collective Soul, SOJA, M.U.R.S., and K. Flay as well. However, our favorite shows are with other upcoming groups. Every band on our current east coast tour is badass.
Who’s on your bucket list for touring with?
Nick: I absolutely love Soundgarden, Weezer, and Foo Fighters, but if I could afford to take every NEW rock band I enjoy on a massive world tour, I totally would.
What music styles or genres do you think you plan on experimenting with in the future of Noiseheads’ music?
Nick: Who knows? I think Noiseheads will always be predominantly rock, but if we can ever get to a point where the 3 of us can venture out to do other projects, I’m sure some will be surprised as to what we might individually come up with.