Interview JARED JAMES NICHOLS
Jared James Nichols (guitar & vocals) & Dennis Holm (drums) – Saturday 17 June 2017
« We are hot as shit and jetlagged as shit but we had a great day» – Jared James Nichols
How the hell are you guys?
Jared: We’re good. We are hot as shit and jetlagged as shit but we had a great day. We didn’t know what to expect, I just said “Let’s go out and rip it” and we did. We had a great crowd. For a 10:30 slot on day 2 when everyone should be hung over we had an excited crowd and got called out to play one more song.
How does that feel coming off normal club tours?
Jared: We want to do it more. We are just dipping our toes into European festivals. We did a few cool ones in the past but they were smaller. This was our first truly huge one and we are getting the bug now to try and do this more to get this on the radar.
Obviously this was one of the biggest crowds you’ve ever played too…. How did you adjust your stage presence for it?
Dennis: Outdoors you get really excited. And your adrenaline pumps out. Outdoors is different than indoors. We have done some big shows indoors but outdoors you need to tone it down otherwise you will collapse because of the heat and sun.
Jared: You can burn out quick. The thing for me, when you play a big stage you have to make every move count. When you’re playing a club you can play fast and everyone can hear it perfectly. But when you are outside it’s better to play shit that’s going to stick. Not only that but physical movements… I can start running around and get out of breath! It’s a different animal. When I was up there I was even saying to myself “Man, I love this!”
There’s obviously a large improvised element to what you do but do you feel like if you start playing more outdoor stages you are going to have to change your general songwriting?
Jared: Yeah. I’ve always had that mentality. There was this band Free in the 70s who supposedly wrote their songs during soundchecks in massive halls and small arenas. Their philosophy was less and more and designed for the space. In my writing I want to add a sense of nothingness and a lot more space because it’s interesting to play with that element. Not a lot of people do.
Especially when you have massive tone like you do… silence would be…
Jared: More powerful than the tone itself! There’s so much we want to do and explore with that. It’s a whole new soundscape. Doing these outdoor venues is exciting because there’s so many new factors.
Dennis do you slow down your playing for these spaces?
Denis: Yes, it’s like he said with his guitar solos. I try to cool it down with the fills and let it resonate over the crowd. I play half the notes.
Jared: It’s not about your skill as much as your musicianship so that it sounds good. Sometimes I hear a band play and someone is burning away at it but I’m getting nothing because it’s a wash. Not to put anyone down because everyone should do what they want, but for me space is going to be in my head.
We talked about this when we lost spoke, but you’ve had a whirlwind couple of years… do you see yourself going back home to reconnect?
Jared: It’s funny because living in LA I bitch all the time about it. Between being out in the road and doing a million things at once trying to come up in the ranks and then to be back in LA in the rat race that that can be it definitely gets stressful for all of us. Whenever I do go home or go down south I recharge and you realize what really matters and what doesn’t. The things that bother you and that really matter… you make mountains out of molehills. I see myself, once I get my foot in the door, going back down south. I’m just going to bury myself somewhere down there and get a little studio setup and have the guys come down.
Obviously Dennis is Swedish, do you have a culture clash between the two of you ever?
Jared: A little, but not in a negative way!
Dennis: We are both from the countryside so…
Jared: I think moreover it was that he was a heavy metal kid and I was a blues kid and we kind of pushed it together and melded it into what we are doing now. It’s different on a world level because… Sweden’s not bad but him primarily speaking Swedish and me only speaking English… when we were first starting and speaking English it was hard…
Dennis: I was intimidated. He was the first person I ever met who only spoke English. So when he said he wanted to do a shuffle I was like “Uhhh” trying to figure out what he meant.
Jared: Stuff like that had an impact for sure. But to be honest when I see the guys it doesn’t even come to my head. It’s not even a thing anymore. Those differences are either in the past or we know how to get through them. It’s like anyone in the world. I don’t care if you’re from the next town or the next continent, some people gel and some don’t.
Dennis: We all respect each other and each other’s beliefs.
Jared: At the end of the day we just want to make great music.
What pulls you together as musicians?
Jared: It’s our drive. The one thing that’s kept the three of us together is playing music. We have our own lives and goals but we like seeing the world and doing crazy stuff! I say to these guys whether we do it until we are 85 or this is our last gig the drive has kept the flame burning, even in the shittiest of times!
Dennis: Even from our first gig to getting here, every step is exciting!
Interview: Matt Bacon.