Interview With Nathan James - Inglorious
On 25th October 2018, three members of London-based rock quintet Inglorous announced their sudden and immediate departure from the band - just three months before the release of a third album and the start of a ten-date UK headline tour. We talked to frontman Nathan James about the new lineup, the latest record and treading the boards
Please tell us about your new album, ‘Ride To Nowhere’. What inspired the record and what were the songs and title track written about? Do you see it as a progression from your previous albums?
It’s definitely a progression from our last two – it’s very different, much heavier, much more emotional, much more driven. The majority of the songs this time, were written about my feelings and a couple of stories about people that I know. It’s the first time I’ve ever really written about my relationship with people and my feelings about people, as opposed to just writing from other people’s points of view. The title track came from my grandfather’s passing and I had a couple of months where I was really down and thinking about my own mortality, which is quite dark, but I’m really happy with how different it is and I’m really excited to show people that we can do this as a band.
How hard was it to replace the three band members who left and prepare your new bandmates, Danny Dela Cruz, Dan Stevens and Vinnie Colla, for the upcoming tour in time?
It was quite hard replacing them all, because I wanted the people coming in to be different. I didn’t want it to look like we were replacing people, I just wanted to bring in new, incredible talent, that could play the songs as they’ve been written but could also bring something of their own to the band. That was the hardest thing, but Danny the lead guitarist – I always wanted him in the band from the moment I met him at 16. He’s one of my best friends and I’m super excited that I’m going to get to stand on stage with him and play these songs. It’s pretty awesome. It was really hard to find a replacement for our bass player Colin, who contributed a lot to the writing of the music.
What do you feel your new members bring to Inglorious?
I think going forward what I am excited about is that everyone is a really strong singer – we didn’t have that in our previous lineup, so the backing vocals are going to sound great! These guys are hungry, they feel like they’ve got something to prove to our fans and to doubters, so I think it’s going to be a very electrifying tour and I think people are going to really enjoy the energy that these new hungry guys bring to this music.
After the shock departure of Colin Parkisnon, Drew Lowe and Andreas Eriksson, you received criticism for claiming that Inglorious was your band – do you feel you’ve given your former bandmates enough credit for the contribution they made to the music and songwriting?
They contributed to the songwriting, which is a definite fact, and I’m thankful for their time and what they brought to the band. In the beginning they auditioned to be in this band, and I wanted to be surrounded by the best musicians in the world and believe I was, and for that I’m really thankful.
You have a large and loyal following, but faced a backlash from some fans in the wake of recent events. Do you think there’s anything more that can be said or done to win those fans back round?
I’m not really concerned about that. People never know the full story, so if people want to listen to the music, which is ultimately what it’s about, then cool. If they don’t, then move on. I think in the UK we are still flying the flag for British classic rock music and I think it’s good for people to support and get behind it. I’m very proud of what we achieved as a lineup, but I’m really excited about what this new one can achieve as well.
You’re heading out on a major UK headline tour later this month where you’ll be supported throughout by City Of Thieves, who were relatively unknown until the support announcement was made - how did the pairing come about?
We have the same record label and they asked us if they could do the tour. We obliged as we thought they’d be a great opener for us. I think it’ll be a really good night for young, British rock music, which is what we’re very, very passionate about.
You’ve performed on some pretty big stages with Inglorious – what’s been your biggest and/or favourite show so far?
I think last year we had our biggest UK gig - Download’s main stage - which was unbelievable, as you can imagine! We were on really early, at 11:30am on the Sunday morning, and I thought no-one was going to be there. I thought everyone was going to be in their tents, hung-over, and we walked out on stage and the crowd just kept growing and growing and growing, and by the end of the set there were probably about 15,000 people there! So that was an amazing feeling and also the thing about those festivals is you get to be backstage with your heroes and with utter legends. We were walking around and Sharon Osbourne was eating her dinner on the table next to us, it was just insane! They’re the best days and the best gigs I think.
Is there anywhere you haven’t played yet that you’d like to?
I really want to go to South America. Our highest listened-to country on Spotify is actually Brazil, so it would be great to get over there.
Last November and December saw you star in ‘Jeff Wayne’s The War Of the Worlds’ as ‘The Voice Of Humanity’. How did it feel to be personally picked by Wayne for the role and are you planning on appearing in any more theatre productions this year?
Being in ‘War Of The Worlds’ was amazing, it was a dream come true, and the fact that I spent so much time with Jeff at his home studio recording the song and making sure he was happy with it. He’d never met me before – he auditioned me in the studio and I did one take through the song and they went really quiet in the mixing room, and I thought “Oh God they hate me, they think I’m rubbish, it’s just going to be awful”, and then he just came into the room and said “Erm, well… it was perfect! Do you want another go or shall we leave it there?” So it was a real honour and amazing that he thought my voice fitted the music that he wrote forty years ago. It did kind of pique my interest in doing other theatrical things, but obviously it has to be something that I really want to do, because my priority is my band. The reason I did the tour is because I love the music and I got to perform at some amazing venues – The O2, Manchester Arena and all these incredible places - so it would have to be something special, or a part that I’d really love to play, and also it couldn’t take up too much of my time. I’d only be able to do it for a short while because I’d be concentrating on the band.
If you could play any role, what would it be and why?
It would be Jean Valjean in ‘Les Miserables’… because I think it’s the only thing that would make my Mum proud of me!
If you had to choose between performing with Inglorious or being a West End star for the remainder of your career, which would you choose?
Definitely Inglorious, because I don’t like the monotony of doing eight shows a week. I don’t get any joy from that. I like performing in different places. I like being on tour and seeing different countries, new cultures and new audiences. Every audience is different and I find great joy in either winning them over or catering the set on the fly to their needs and what they’re reacting to. Also there’s nothing quite like singing your own music and hearing 10,000 people sing it back to you.
And finally… Fans often comment on your ‘glorious’ mane – care to share your secrets??
Yeah! My secrets are: I don’t wash my hair a lot. I wash it every three days and I use a product called ‘It’s A 10’. It’s like a leave-in conditioner and basically you spray it on after you’ve been in the shower and it’s what makes my hair not feel like straw, which, with hair as bleached as mine, is pretty amazing!
The new studio album ‘Ride To Nowhere’ is released on 25th January 2019 through Frontiers Music Srl and is available to pre-order at: http://radi.al/RideToNowhere
The official music video to the new single Where Are You Now? can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeb1As36m3k
Nathan James - Vocals
Danny Dela Cruz - Guitar
Dan Stevens - Guitar
Vinnie Colla - Bass
Phil Beaver - Drums
UK Tour dates:
Mon 28th Jan 2019 - Engine Rooms, Southampton
Tues 29th Jan 2019 - Academy, Bristol
Thurs 31st Jan 2019 -Waterfront, Norwich
Fri 1st Feb 2019 - Shepherds Bush Empire, London
Sat 2nd Feb 2019 - Institute, Birmingham (Frontiers Rock UK Festival)
Sun 3rd Feb 2019 - Rock City, Nottingham
Tues 5th Feb 2019 - Boilershop, Newcastle
Wed 6th Feb 2019 - Garage, Glasgow
Thurs 7th Feb 2019 - Academy 2, Manchester
Fri 8th Feb 2019 - Arts Centre, Bingley
Tickets are on sale now from all usual outlets
Inglorious online shop: inglorious.com/shop/
Frontiers online shop: frontiers.shop/