Long Island was the master and commander of the independent music world. Bands were loud, heavy and wore their hearts on their sleeves. The history is undeniable. Heavyweights like Glassjaw, Brand New, Bayside and Crime In Stereo ushered in a new wave of noise, and it spread like a rash.
Alternative Press and Victory Records eventually preyed on the scene. Thankfully, the music withstood the test of time. The late-nineties seems ancient, but the pulse of Long Island’s soul is still alive. Newcomers like Nobody Takes Vegas seemed destined to carry the torch. Harrison, Nick, Jimmy, Rob and Jack have been creating music since 2011 and their sound embodies the raw, whirlwind of energy we’ve come to expect from the Island. Harrison took a few minutes to speak to Shiny Glass Houses about the band, their plans and what it’s like to represent LI.
SGH: How did the band come together?
Harrison: The band, in its current form, really began in December 2011. Myself, Jack, and Nick had been playing and writing for about a year before and went through a bunch of different rhythm sections before we settled on Nick’s co-worker Jimmy and my high school friend Rob. I really just made a bunch of well-timed phone calls and we were able to get to work right away.
SGH: What’s the scene like in Long Island today? There’s a strong pedigree of great, emotional rock and roll coming from your region. Does that history scare you a little bit? Influence you?
Harrison: I feel that today’s Long Island scene is very fertile ground for experimentation for artists. The national eye isn’t on the region like it was several years ago, but that provides very strong opportunities for a true grassroots rock scene. You’ll hear a lot of talk from time to time from people who feel that the scene isn’t what it used to be, but we couldn’t disagree more. We just think we happen to currently be knee deep in the growing pains of the evolution of a true DIY scene. We definitely have members here who like a lot of the local sounds, but we take it more as an inspiration, rather than be intimidated by it.
SGH: The EP is great, it channels the energy of early Used records. Plenty of raw emotion, but there’s still a conscious attempt to keep it melodic. Is there a “sound” you look to capture?
Harrison: Thank you! We’re really stoked that you like it! And Nick and I love The Used, so that’s a great compliment! I think that rock music is so fractured into a sub-genre thing, that it’s not always easy to just be a broadly-defined rock band, but that’s really the only dogma we have been working towards. We definitely look to cover new ground with each tune, but when you take the same five people to interpret those songs, the cohesion just kind of happens on its own.
SGH: You’re playing a booze cruise with two acts, living or dead, who’s sharing the boat with your band?
Harrison: We actually just played with He Is Legend, which is my personal favorite band, so that was sort of a personal milestone for me as a musician and really just another show for everybody else in the band. As far as the booze cruise goes, we pick two dead musicians: lets get a show together with Liberace and Buddy Rich.
SGH: Hitting the road any time soon?
Harrison: Our plan for this year has been to play as many Long Island shows as we can and to keep cultivating a local fan base. We’re looking to slowly expand outward, playing shows in the city, the tri-state area, and maybe even upstate New York. We are open to going anywhere people can hear us. It’s really just a matter of the when and the how.
SGH: Any plans for a full length?
Harrison: We really write songs all time and already have enough material to keep us very busy in the studio. The conversation has started regarding what kind of release it’s going be, whether we wait to record a full length or we record a longer and more ambitious EP. We’re not exactly sure. But everybody should expect something from us sooner than later.
SGH: Do you guys have label aspirations or would you love to keep it all DIY?
Harrison: Record labels are a facet of a weakening industry. By nature, they exist to innovate new ways to generate revenue rather than as a means to promote artists. With the way the internet has exploded, it’s becoming so easy to get your music to new listeners. We’ve only been active on Twitter for about a month, and our EP has already reached thousands of people who otherwise would never have heard of us. Between that, Facebook, and old-fashioned promoting and playing shows, we’re reaching a lot of people and learning how to do it more efficiently all along the way. Of course, if somebody with a real acumen for the business side of this came along and we thought the band could be enhanced, we’d be open. But the way we see it right now: we’re new and still have a lot to learn.
SGH: Last but not least…what are your drinks of choice?
Harrison: Diet Peach Snapple. Nick would be tequila. Jack drinks beer. Jimmy’s is NOS (energy drink) and Rob prefers Jameson on the rocks.
You can check out Nobody Takes Vegas and their debut EP at http://nobodytakesvegas.com/ Follow them on Twitter @NTVOfficial. Rock and roll is alive and well….tell all your friends.