NØMADS Premiere “Ataxophøbia”, Talk Inspiration and Long Road to PHØBIAC

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“I think patience is always a good principle in music.”

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Meredith Schneider | April 26, 2017

by Kiki Conway

Part three of Brooklyn’s post-indie duo NØMADS‘ year long journey to the release of PHØBIAC is a little ditty entitled “Ataxophøbia”. We’ve got the exclusive premiere of the hard hitting, percussion-driven track right here, right now. So check it out, let us know what you think, and be sure to read on for more intelligent gems from Nathan himself.

What was the first track/album you heard, and who introduced it to you?
 
My first “track” was introduced to me on the playground in 4th or 5th grade…. Sir Mix a lot. “I like big butts”….. I think I’ve probably come a long way from that tape as both a listener and maker of music, but it’s safe to say my parents were intrigued when I brought that home. Then again, they bought me Snoop Dogg’s first album Doggystyle the following Xmas, so maybe they were into “socially experimental” parenting. I definitely get my taste in synthesizer sounds from that album…. 
What’s the origin story of NØMADS?
 
The origin story of NØMADS goes back awhile. Originally, we started playing the material as a 3 piece with a mutual friend, Max Tucker. I grew up with Max in LA before he moved to Northern California, where he became friends with Garth…. Garth originally played guitar and Max played drums in the project, before we morphed into the 2 piece style we mostly use nowadays. We’ve been trying to maximize that sound on the first album and some of Phobiac, but we’re gradually moving back towards a 3 piece.
 
How would you describe your sound, specifically?
 
I would say our sound is pretty fuzzy and post-punk-esque at the core. We try and maximize the sound a 2 piece can produce and creating material that works both in an instrumental / more technical approach, and within conventional song structures. I’m equally influenced by progressive 90s bands like Trans Am and Tortoise as I am by bands more contemporary proggy bands like Battles or Suuns.
PHØBIAC is a very drawn out – and well put together – endeavor. Do you find that you’re getting impatient for people to hear the entire project while you’re putting out one song per month?
 
I’m just trying to get this music out in the most straightforward way possible. I think patience is always a good principle in music, and releasing a track a month feels right for this set of songs. Since the concept is more the statement, I’m not really concerned with when or how the “traditional” release gets out. It’ll be a small-run vinyl pressing anyway, so there won’t be a lot of physical copies out there to begin with. 
 
Where did the idea for PHØBIAC come from?
 
The idea for Phøbiac came when I stumbled across a website called the Phobia List a few years back. It’s a super old-school, generation 1 internet site that some curious fellow named Fred Culbertson made after putting together a compendium of psychological fears from textbooks and miscellaneous medical publications he’d found. Reading through all of the listings just got my mind running on the greater science of fear, and its role in how we absorb information today. 
 
April’s track – “Ataxophøbia” – is exquisite. Can you tell us what inspired this specific track, by chance? The song is about the fear of chaos and disorder, and then it explodes into this chaotic cacophony of incredible instrumentals. Was it meant to be ironic in that way? 
 
“Ataxophobia” is often talked about in the context of OCD, but I think it can be thought of in a deeper sense. I think we often view our lives through the prism of organization and routine, but that can sometimes be a trap. I think order can sometimes be a handcuff to self-expression, and chaos can sometimes be really liberating. I guess it’s a song that tries to illustrate the dual nature of order in our view of our respective lives.
 
Big Data’s Lizy Ryan worked with you on this track. What was that like?
 
Lizy is an unbelievable singer, and I think her voice lends a really nice calm to the song. She’s also my ladyfriend, so it’s nice to know that our voices actually work together in harmony.  

You are about to perform at Third Man Records. What are you most excited about with that performance? 

I’m most excited to play at Third Man because the commitment to the art of vinyl is so apparent. Being a technophobe and not the most digitally savvy music business guy, I much prefer handing a record over to someone rather than uploading a WAV file. It just feels like more of a human thing. It’s the difference between writing a letter to your Mom on Mother’s Day and sending her an e-mail. 

What’s up next?
 
Next up we will be releasing “Chronometrophobia” (the fear of clocks) in May, and doing a residency in NYC at Piano’s in the lower east side. I’m trying to book as many tiny, DIY shows as I can this summer, so anyone who has a PA and a basement should look us up!! We are just trying to do as much grassroots stuff as possible to workshop the new material. We also have a Daytrotter session planned for the beginning of June, which should be a lot of fun. It’s a great opportunity to try and capture the live element in its most raw and vulnerable form.
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