Interview by Adrian Hextall
Picture Credits: Nadeem Nazerali
“The future of rock and roll.” Planet Rock Radio – Paul Anthony.
Inglorious are five young men with a mutual love and respect of the classics of Hard Rock music, big guitar riffs, and soulful vocals.
Formed in February 2014, the band is fronted by Nathan James, who made a name for himself having sung for the multi-platinum selling Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Scorpions guitar legend Uli Jon Roth.
It’s not been an easy path for Nathan. However… fortune favours the brave and as we speak to Nathan via the universal medium of cellphone, he speculates, on his way home after buying the latest issue of Classic Rock magazine, as to why Paul Anthony speaks so highly of him.
NJ: We’ve had such good responses and reviews with the album, especially yours. (The MGM Review of Inglorious début is here:)
MGM: We absolutely love it, honestly.
MGM: Yea. How can we not? I can’t imagine that you’ve had a negative review?
NJ: I was a little bit pissed off with Classic Rock’s 7. I think it’s definitely more than a 7. I’m afraid that was a bit tough. Also, it did not give any information to back up why it wasn’t an 8 or a 9, which pisses me off as well. If you’re gonna give it a 7, at least say why it’s not an 8 or 9 – you know what I mean?
It’s amazing, it’s amazing. They kept saying it was amazing. Everyone’s great, blahblahblah. 7 out of 10. That sounded like 9 out of 10 would be the score, but whatever.
MGM: The odd thing there, as well, of course, is they bought into you guys, really quickly. I mean, they championed the Burn video really early on as well. So they were on board from almost day 1.
NJ: Yeah, I feel like they wanted.. I don’t know.. I feel like.. I don’t know. I feel like you really have to prove yourself for that magnitude. And maybe it will take two albums too for them to get really behind me.
MGM: You haven’t been around for 40 years, so you’re still the outsider…
NJ: No, that’s true. And we have to wait for the cover, It’ll happen when everyone else gets 6/10.
MGM: Look at the other support you have got as well. Paul Anthony (Planet Rock radio) backing you up to the eyeballs in the moment, haven’t you?
NJ: Yeah, Paul has been amazing. Darren Redick (Planet Rock DJ) was the guy who first took on the support for the band as well so they’ve been really good to us.
MGM: Are you surprised, or do you guys , you know, think that “we worked at it so hard actually, it’s just rewards?
NJ: Yeah. It’s, for me personally, this journey’s been a year longer than everyone else’s. It was a year before I found the band, I suppose, Colin, Wil, and Phil, so, I kind of… it’s been coming for a long time, but you have to do it properly. And that’s what I’ve learned, is that because of the great management team we have and also Frontiers have been amazing, it’s been really, really long, and well done, and well managed from the get-go. And as well as having enough time to write and record an album that we’re really proud of, and we really think sounds great.
MGM: I mean, for me, looking at you guys from the outside, I mean, it looks like you’re on a very sturdy ship that’s clearly been sailed in the right direction.
NJ: Yeah. We’ve got an amazing management team. They also look after Yes, Asia, and some other awesome big old bands. The chairman, Martin Darvill wasn’t really in a position in his life where he’d wanna even take incoming bands. You know? He was like: ‘I’m doing all right; just [got] comfortable.’ But when he heard us he said “I really wanna get behind you.” He introduced me to Derek Shulman who obviously signed Bon Jovi, and is behind some of the biggest names in rock, so for him to give you a seal of approval.. he would say ‘listen, this guy is a great singer. We’re gonna make him famous and you’re gonna love him’, and that’s exactly what happened.
I’ve been doing it for a long time, but.. what’s really exciting about this is that, I mean, is that I get to sing songs that I’ve written. And that we as a band have written them; we’ve produced the album, and for the first time in my life I’m not singing someone else’s stuff. Yeah, you know, I’ve always been hired as a voice, not as a writer though, a musician. So, it’s a really, really nice feeling.
MGM: Now you’ve used the word, I was going to ask you about it [The Voice], because I remember seeing you do it, my family loved your audition, myself, my wife, my daughter – we’re huge Bon Jovi fans, you know. We heard you. You came on, you sang it, absolutely nailed the song, and of course, no turn around. Do you think that things like that ultimately help you? Do they focus your resolve, or does the video footage of you being on the show help attract people who say they [the panel of judges] missed a trick?
NJ: Well, that’s exactly what happened when I was on The Voice, Trans Siberian Orchestra saw my Voice video on YouTube, and approached me directly as a result. I got a message on Facebook, saying: hi, come and see our family in America and then they flew me over to audition, treating me like an absolute rock star, picking me up at the airport. It was like a dream come true. It was awesome, but for me, musically, it’s not what I’m born to do, and what I’m born to do is sing this stuff, sing classic rock. I like putting on a big show, which is what I tried to do in The Voice, but.. [they weren’t ready].
MGM: Now, in terms of where you are now obviously, you’ve got this voice that’s clearly noticeable to everybody. It is a perfect classic rock voice. And the album itself, I mean, our review certainly recognizes that it roots firmly in proper classic British rock. You’ve nailed it perfectly. Did you write as a five piece, did the guys all contribute; did you have a lot of the songs ready to go but you needed the band to help you present it?
NJ: No, it kind of happened in all sorts of ways, which is why I’m so buzzed about it. We basically recorded – we did half of the album while I was on tour, on tour in America with TSO, and all of the guys were sending me demos of backing tracks and then I was like writing lyrics at night, so the songs and writing melodies and these things and sending them back messages saying drop it down a key, or lift this one up instead, and it kind of worked like that. And then when I got home from the tour, I also had the opportunity to write with them and do some rehearsals. We had a bucket load of songs and I think it’s a real joining of minds, we polished them all up; take, Until I Die, which is the last song we wrote. We did that in about 25 minutes in the studio. And then Holy Water, which I got the inspiration for, lyrically, from a song David Coverdale sang on Northwinds.
It’s the first lyric of David Coverdale’s Northwind’s album. And I thought I’m just gonna give him a nod. It’s been really cool honestly, it’s good to write with other people, but we had a bank of 30 songs to choose from. You know? We had 30 songs that we wrote, 22 to record, and then obviously picked the 11 for the album, but yeah, we’re now looking forward to doing the second album, that’s for sure.
MGM: Will the second album be fresh, or you will be able to dip into that pot of left over songs?
NJ: It’s gonna be a couple of things there, maybe a couple of things that are being reworked, and I’m thinking about two or three off the top of my head which will definitely be on there. We have two songs in the list that kind of do the same job. We put one aside and just kept the other one. I don’t like being bored. There’s nothing worse than listening to an album by young band and every song sounds the same. They’ve been told that’s gonna sell them loads of records. I’d rather make an album that sounds fun and mature, or something that I’d like to listen to, something that tells people exactly what we are, and that’s what this album does. It shows people what we can do.
MGM: Definitely. Definitely. I mean, you mentioned Holy Water. That, for me, is the highlight of the album. I mean, that’s my personal favourite, the one I keep managing to hit repeat on. And it takes me 5 or 6 listens before I can sort of force myself off of it and carry on with the album, you see what I mean.
It’s almost a little like that could be your Still of The Night, the showcase song on the album, for example, you know. It’s very impactful, that particular track, isn’t it?
NJ: Yea. I love doing it. I love singing that. And for me, it shows people up until that point on the album they’ve just heard a lot of me being the bravado, you know. So it’s nice to show them some vulnerability and to give them a different [style] to my voice, I think very clean in the verses, and it’s really soulful, which is a real change.
MGM: Following on from your tour with The Winery Dogs it’s then your headline show. And I think that’s the one, I would imagine you guys are the most excited about because it’s the 21st of February. so it’s the official album launch date, doesn’t it?
So people will get to hear the songs if they downloaded it, and maybe get their copies on the 20th, or something. So that is going to be awesome. People are gonna know the songs; people are gonna not have a clue what’s coming, because we’re also bringing in a proper show, we’re bringing in a full lightning rig. That’s one of the things I always wanted to do, so if you’re gonna do it, do it properly.
MGM: Gone are the days when you can just get up on stage, look a little bit scruffy, but play good music. You’ve got to bring the whole ensemble with you these days, have’t you?
NJ: Yes, it’s a package. You’ve got all the same people; people go to gigs to escape. That’s what we’re gonna try to do, make people forget all the shit that’s going in their, in everyone’s life; it’s always some shit going on. So if you can go out and enjoy a band, and enjoy some music for 75 minutes, have a few beers with your mates, then we’re very pleased we can offer that.
MGM: You say about 75 minutes. Have you got more than the album to play?
NJ: Well, we did a few covers. We’ve also got, we’ve got those 11 songs that did make the album, you know, and then we got songs that hopefully we’re gonna write on tour and perform as we do it. When we were on tour for a long period of time, I reckon we’re gonna be able to write a song in the bed and then perform it that night, which is a very terrible thing to do. But that’s how we work, you know. We write quickly, we get it done, and yeah, it could be something new every night, you know what I mean?
MGM: If people are getting something that’s not on your studio material. It makes you sit up and take notice, because you go on thinking what was that, what was that? Can I find a copy of it on YouTube? I’ve already [heard somebody’s taped that?] and I wanna hear it again. And if you can’t find it, it’s one of the reasons to go back and see you again as well, isn’t it?
NJ: Exactly. And that’s what we’re all about.
Inglorious headline the Islington Assembly Hall this Sunday February 21st 2016.
Our feature on ONE TO WATCH in 2016 is HERE: