Nux Vomica’s latest, self-titled, album is one giant mass of quality. No need to say more than that. You should go and get it. So without further ado let’s find out a bit more…
For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!
I’m Just Dave, vocalist and percussionist. Not familiar with my band? Check us out here:
Give us a bit of history to Nux Vomica.
We’re a punk band who learned how to play better, so now people call us “extreme metal”, which is appropriate considering how much Mountain Dew some of us drink. We started in Baltimore in about 2003, moved to Portland in 2006, had some lineup changes ending in 2008, and here we are. Our 3rd LP is out now and we have a slew of other releases. For the last year we’ve taken time off to work on other projects, and our guitarist Chris had a baby. This year we hope to get back to jamming and playing shows!
What are your influences?
This is a classic interview question, and in our case it’s so hard to answer. Here’s a very incomplete list of band members’ favourite bands: CRASS, VIOLENT FEMMES, PUBLIC ENEMY, MORNE, BLACK SABBATH, METALLICA, MISFITS, BLIND GUARDIAN, CEE-LO GREEN, DEVO, THE B-52S, PUBLIC ENEMY, DEAD MOON, THE RESIDENTS, LOW, DYSTOPIA, JUCIFER, QUEEN, MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE, JAY REATARD, HIS HERO IS GONE, AMEBIX, THE CURE…. I’m just stopping there.
What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?
THIN LIZZY – Live and Dangerous. Damn good house cleaning music!
What did you want to achieve with your new album?
We wanted to agree on anything. Since that was obviously not gonna happen, we figured we’d cram our songs full of so many ideas that they became almost 12 to 20 minutes long. Then we had to figure out how to put it all on an album that sounded cohesive. 5 years later, it’s out!
Are you happy with how it turned out?
Yes we definitely are. I think all the hard work and time we put into it is very apparent. No part of any song went unscrutinized by us. We got very meticulous about how we wanted everything to sound, and some of us went back in the studio multiple times to re-record parts. In particular the extra percussion was an issue. Trying to do what we do live sounded like a clusterfuck, so we scaled down the extra drumming. I think it turned out great.
What can you tell us about the lyrics?
“Sanity is for the Passive” is about the idea that being labelled “insane” to me means you are reacting correctly to your surroundings in this world. Being labelled “sane” means you have been successfully assimilated into the insanity. “Reeling” is about a guy I knew who almost drank himself to death. People had to break into his house and take him to detox. Empty vodka bottles were littered everywhere. I’m pretty sure he is drinking again these days. “Choked at the Roots” is basically my theory on how people started down the path to being power mad ruiners of everything. Overall this is very dark album lyrically. Read all the lyrics here:
Give us a bit of information on the songwriting process.
Usually one person has an idea of the entire song structure and brings the riffs to practice and we all pick it apart and build on it. We rarely have a plan of the length of a song, we just let it grow and if it starts getting boring we start scrapping parts and re-working others. We spend a good deal of time on transitions between parts. We like to the longer songs to flow well and remain interesting. We try to avoid the typical “this part ends, the guitars bring in the next riff, everyone else joins in” way of writing punk and crust songs. The lyrics for these newer songs were largely written at practice while the band was jamming. That was because the songs started getting too long and complicated to just bring a bunch of lyrics I wrote and fit them in like I used to.
We have about four new songs, and we were working on more last year before we decided to take a break. The newer batch of songs are more thrashy and shorter than this LP, and people were really into them when we played em live. We also started playing a WAKE UP ON FIRE song that was never recorded. I think once we get back to jamming we’ll see where we’re going beyond that.
What’s next for Nux Vomica?
Practice! We haven’t played in a year. We need to re-learn our songs, shake off the cobwebs and get back to it. I think we’re ready.