Dan Briggs, Nova Collective – 14/3/17

Just hot off the heels of their latest album release, we got to talk to Dan Briggs of Nova Collective about taking the project on tour, what inspires him and whether he would eat food that screamed.

For those who are not familiar, how would you describe Nova Collective?

Free falling through a black hole and being shot through a tunnel that is reminiscent of the psychadelic boat scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “There’s no earthly way of knowing Which direction they are going! There’s no knowing where they’re rowing, Or which way they river’s flowing!”

A lot of people are probably wondering, are you planning on taking the band out on tour?

Absolutely, the live potential of playing with the four of us is so exciting. I really think the songs are going to grow and evolve from night to night, in an impovisational sense but also what’s written on paper I think will just expand the more comfortable we become with it. We’re shipping our album around trying to land a support tour in the fall in either the states or Europe. We’ll see what clicks!

What would be your favourite stop to play and why?

I guess if we could play at one of the space stations or I don’t know.. I’m always enamored with small theaters, like taking the idea of a grand space where you’d see a symphony and shrinking it to like a 100 person capacity. I think that would serve this music well.

What other bands would you like to have support you if you were headlining the tour?

Yngwie Malmsteen is of course at the top of our list, but I can only imagine how thoroughly unimpressed he would be with our material. We’ll play anywhere with anyone at this point! We’re not in a position to be picky, we just want to play in general but also in a situation where we can stand to pick up some new listeners. I’d hope anyone who enjoys going on a bit of a musical journey would enjoy what we’re doing.

You have recently released your new album ‘The Further Side’, how has been the response so far?

It seems like it’s been very positive which is nice but not overly important. I turned a deaf ear to reviews years ago when outlets either panned things BTBAM were embraced for by our fans, or when a certain publication said there was “too much saxophone” on a Trioscapes record- where literally there are only three of us haha. I’m just glad the record is out there for everyone to take in now and that people are connecting with it, that’s very exciting and hopeful for us getting out there and doing our thing.

Who were your main inspirations for the record?

I mean these dudes are all so inspiring to play with, every small thing someone came in with seemed to produce so much from everyone else. For everyone involved I think it was exactly what we needed, a group of composers in their own right looking for a new challenge and to hear things that made them think and write differently. I wouldn’t take on a new project unless I thought it really was pushing me somewhere new I hadn’t been before and I’m so thankful to have been able to start a group with these gnarly musicians.

How was the whole recording/production process of the record as a whole?

It was a great bonding experience for us because it was the only time the 4 of us have all been together, as we’re a half American half British group. Seeing that we clicked so well in person and working creatively together was huge and super exciting. Every day we were picking out and sharing choice music to and from the studio, which was about a 15/20 minute ride, and we exposed each other to a lot of new stuff during that time. The Brits were exposed to kombucha for the first time and that was a big part of fueling our sessions, as well as Nintendo 64 of course…and youtubing Yngwie interviews and Sun Ra videos back at the hotel.

What are your favourite tracks on the new record?

I love them all for different reasons, but maybe “Cascades” at the moment. We captured a really driving feel with the song without it ever getting overly distorted or heavy, but the song has the energy and dynamic excitement still. I really enjoy how that arrangement worked out.

What got you into wanting to be in a band?

90s Alt Rock! I feel fortuanate to have grown up during probably what will be the last era of solid rock radio. Hearing Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Sponge, Candlebox…I mean every day, that made me so excited to play. I would draw flyers for bands I wasn’t even in yet, stage plots.. I was in my first band when I was 12 and 20 years later it hasn’t stopped and I just keep taking on more and more.

What moment when writing this record did you feel that you had something amazing?

I think we felt like we had something new and interesting in terms of our repotoire and what we’ve done with our other groups, we had something we couldn’t quite descibe easily in a few words which is always exciting to me, and even from song to song on the record it’s pretty different while retaining the same general idea throughout. It was an exciting writing session and I’m looking forward to more in the future!

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself as a human growing in the band and personally?

I like to think I’m constantly growing as a musician and over time it became more important growing as an arranger than you know, the technical prowess. I grew up running my scales and shredding and that becomes emobdied in you, but it’s not defining. I think we were excited to make a record that was well rounded and had those exciting moments but also exciting moments sonically and at lower dynamics, just in a lot of different ways than just ripping non stop for 40 minutes.

What advice would you give to upcoming bands?

Listen to everything! Music theory is a language and sort of analysis of what you’re doing, so maybe it’s good to have an understanding of why things are happening and why they’re working, but it’s not the be all end all. It helps in conversing about music for sure. I don’t know, just get on allmusic.com<http://allmusic.com> , search for a record you like and start reading through the credits, who worked on it and what else they worked on, what those artists did after and before that. I’m obsessed with doing that, I could spend hours and hours just digging around and it’s what makes the journey as a musician so exciting, whether I’m on my computer or phone or at a record store.

Has there been any other bands on your radar you think people should check out?

Led Bib are an exciting band out of the UK writing some really cool freaky new jazz stuff.. Free Salamander Exhibit is the new Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum group and their debut album lives up to all the expectations and then some.

What has been playing on your iPod/MP3 player recently?

Ambrosia “Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled”, David Torn “Cloud About Mercury”, Marc Ducret “Tower Bridge”, Laurie Anderson “Mister Heartbreak”, Gin Blossoms “New Miserable Experience”.

Is there any projects you would like to work on as well as Nova Collective musically?

I have a record I’ve been working on very gradually over the last 5 years that I may actually be able to start recording this year. It’s the closest thing to a solo record I’ve done so far, but it’s going to be a huge undertaking so I need to start planning it out as it’ll have to be recorded in a few different locations. Of course I can’t do anything easily haha.

What would be a dream tour for your band?

If we could be Yngwie’s backing band, I think we could take him to some pretty demented heights. Hit us up man!

What items would you associate with your genre?

Synth brass, octobans, gongs, double neck guitars, headless basses, capes, moon boots. Didn’t ELP do a show on ice, or Rick Wakeman or someone?

If each band member was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, who would you associate with who?

Matt could live on pizza, so maybe he’d be Michaelangelo. Rich would be Shredder because he loves kung fu movies and is the ultimate ripper. Pete would be Splinter because he’s the zen master and a PhD physicist. I’ll be April O’Neil because she’s got that bad ass yellow jump suit.

Would you take $1,000,000 but every time you ate food, it screamed as you were eating it?

No, that’s weird and scary.

What are your plans for the rest of 2017?

I’m going to watch a lot of basketball and then a lot of baseball, I’m going to go on hikes and swim in the ocean with my girlfriend, I’m going to chase our dog all over the place, hopefully I’ll get some great records and have some inpsiring writing sessions and shoot I need to buy a grill and get ready for grilling season. Also we need to buy some more indoor plants for our house and get ready to set up our garden, I think we have a plot figured out. I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes. Also I’m seeing Anthony Braxton for free in a couple of days and that’s pretty amazing and I’m sure will be very inspiring. There’s going to be a new Alien movie soon that hopefully won’t suck, and I know Stranger Things season 2 will probably be awesome and oh year Twin Peaks is coming back soon. I have a lot on my schedule!

Any final words to your fans?

Many thanks for checking out the album! Look for us live in 2017, either in America or Europe, and hopefully everywhere in the next year or so!

Nova Collective – The Further Side [REVIEW]

More progressive metal and rock are making their waves into the scene with each band showing off more of their unique abilities. One band that is looking to showcase that is Nova Collective with their 6 track release of long and winding musical creations known as ‘The Further Side’.

Kicking off with a near ten minute colossus, ‘Dancing Machines’ opens up with a piano lick before the drums start to take the reins and flavour it up to feeling much more of a cohesive jazz unit. As the track changes its moments, the band know how to follow each other really nicely with their technicality and ability to replicate each other really well. What is really nice to see is that each band gets a moment to make themselves shine and that motif flows throughout the entire record with a very powerful sound that boosts through the speakers and creates something astounding for the listener. ‘Cascades’ throws you into the mindset of being in a japanese RPG soundtrack, roaming around the open worlds and getting into turn-based combat with creatures around the world. The atmosphere that is reeking from the keyboard is breathtaking and the intensity is only heightened with the carnage of the drum fills and the guitar/bass backing.

The record still keeps itself being unique and exciting from ‘Air’ making you feel very light on your feet but having that power to feel just as gripping and structured as the previous tracks to ‘Ripped Apart  And Reassembled’ which immediately sounds like an old school game menu with the electronic sounds that are emanating from the track with the bass guitar having a little bit of its own highlight throughout the track. The band certainly know how to bring enjoyment and a modernised sound to the jazz flavours with the longer tracks showcasing more of their versatility over a longer timescale. ‘State of Flux’ is a great example of that with its time signature switches and tempo changes with the whole track in one section by the last few minutes seeming to go on this somewhat dark and twisted route within its chording. The record closer, which is the title track to the record, only pushes that amazing quality forward with more emphasis on the melodies being showcased as well as it feeling just as much of a cohesive unit as it it right at the beginning.

The four piece may make you want to break your instruments in frustration for not being as good as them, but marvel at the creation they have put into the world and giving you a new breath of fresh air in a sea of progressive rock. This album is a perfect listen for anywhere you happen to want to listen to it and will be something that will only push the band further.