When Andrew McDougal of St. Anthony moved to Memphis recently, the group lost its front man, and Fayetteville lost one of its more promising bands.
Lucky for us, that led to the formation of a new and equally promising band called Niall, which is fronted by Neil Lord (the other half of the creative-force behind St. Anthony).
If you’re not familiar, Niall is a four-piece rock outfit which also featuring three members of the Memphis Pencils. They have a deliciously lo-fi, 60’s psychedelic/retro-inspired sound, and their recordings are a densely-layered collage of melodic guitar work with distorted, echo-y vocals that provide an extra dimension to Lord’s complex melodies. Live, there are a few less layers, but the band makes up for that with a lot more energy.
Niall recently released an EP of b-sides, and you can hear more of their material on their MySpace page. You can also see them at Maxine’s on Friday with Twin Killers (Baton Rouge) and one of Lord’s other projects, Voyageurs.
We tracked Neil down for an interview recently, and he was nice enough to answer some questions for us.
Fayetteville Flyer: What have you been listening to lately?
Neil Lord: Pretty much anything from the Woodsist label. Not Not Fun is putting out some really great stuff too (High Wolf, Pocahaunted, Magic Latern etc.). I recommend most people check out those labels. Ducktails have been in rotation constantly for a while now, along with a stellar album from this guy who goes by White Fence.
FF: Who’s in Niall right now, and how long have you guys been playing together?
NL: Niall is currently JD Paul, Reed Faitak, and Joel Paul. These songs played during the Niall set were never intended to be played live, but JD convinced me to start playing them (with him on drums) around June of this past summer. We recruited Reed and Joel slowly over time. Reed in late summer, and Joel in early autumn.
FF: What are some other bands you guys have been in/are currently in?
NL: The rest of the band is also in Memphis Pencils. I’ve actually been thinking about convincing Martin Bemberg to wear my clothes, adopt my mannerisms and front the band, then i could just sit back with my arms folded, nodding approvingly. JD also plays in Messy Sparkles. I play keyboards and guitar for Voyageurs, and drums for a new project called Swimming with Brian Kupillas from Where’s Lawrence? and my roommate Jared Hennessy. I don’t know, its just really nice to sit in on a project and if it works, it works, and you keep going with it. There are some future projects developing as well including Jimmy Spice (Voyageurs) and Kale Ogle (High Magic).
FF: I’m always curious to know how bands write. Do you write together or does someone bring in the songs pretty much finished?
NL: I usually write and record the whole song first by myself, have the vibe completely out of my system, and then bring the chords and structures to the band and let them interpret the song however they feel. They’re all incredible and are very intuitive when it comes to getting my point across.
FF: This question has two parts. Part 1: How do you perceive the music scene in Fayetteville right now? Part 2: What are some local bands that everyone in Fayetteville should know about?
NL: The music scene in Fayetteville right now is just multiple parts to a collective whole. So many supportive musicians willing to collaborate and constantly becoming more and more productive ultimately leading to a healthier artistic circle. More summarized, I think that Fayetteville’s music scene right now is really, really great. Some local bands that everyone should know about are definitely the Egyptr/Faunxz outfit. Those guys slay in a whole new way (you can quote me on that). Perpetual Werewolf has also been pushing the limits on the heavier side of Fayetteville. Brian Kupillas (Where’s Lawrence?) has an ambient folk album under the moniker Wandering Lake that you should ask him for a copy of. Jimmy Spice has also been busting out some of the sweetest bedroom recording jams i’ve heard in a while. Find a way to hear those, too.
FF: What do you do to Neil’s voice to make it sound so reverb-y on your recordings / at your live show? Wait. Is it just reverb?
NL: On recording, that effect is usually brought on by either tremolo or distortion. I use plenty of reverb on the instruments, so that can occasionally bleed over, effecting the vocals in some way. Live, I run my vocals through a short-timer delay, just to sort of snag a classic rockabilly/psychedelic tone. It’s always fun to see how you can manipulate things and immediately take jarring turns in style.
FF: How much recorded material do you guys have, and how can I get all of it into my iTunes?
NL: Well, I recently released an EP of b-sides that were just sitting around from the past couple of winters. That’s free on my Bandcamp page. I have an album called Wet Matches that’s totally done and just waiting to be released. I also have a split cassette with Brian Wolf (aka The Kicker Knot) that should be out sometime in the future thanks to Single Girl Married Girl out of Philly. If you want any of that stuff, just ask and I’ll send it to you.
FF: I’ve asked a lot of bands this question, and still haven’t received a satisfactory answer. When CD’s are gone (and they almost are), what will bands call their album release parties? Will they still have them?
NL: I think they’ll just have parties for themselves, for finishing something ambitious. You know, like, “I did this thing! Isn’t that awesome?!” and everyone you say that to will say “Yeah! That’s really awesome! Can I come to your party?!” So, I guess what that means is the party will just be called Finished Product Party. And yes, bands will always have “Finished Product Parties”.
FF: What’s next for you guys? Fame? Fortune?
NL: We’re just playing shows right now. I’ve got a couple songs prepped and ready for a new EP. A tour would be nice, but we’ll see. My friend Mike Bailey in Savannah Georgia is working on a really awesome music video for us right now. You should check out his stuff on Vimeo, it’s so good. Also, we will be transporting the project to Austin TX in the near future, so that’s exciting as well. To be honest, we’ll still probably be broke and recording in our bedrooms though (and i don’t mean for that to sound cynical, because I don’t mind it at all).
Click below to hear House Bone, by Niall