AN INTERVIEW WITH THE NUDE PARTY
The Nude Party will make you believe that time travel is real. Bell bottoms worn even on the basketball court and shows shut down by the cops for being so out of control, there’s no way these boys were born in the digital age. Their debut album feels like you’ve just dusted it off from the catacombs of your parents vinyl collection, a product of the summer of love yet not merely influenced by it. Reviving the rush of rock n’roll counterculture, Patton Magee (guitar, vocals), Shaun Couture (guitar, vocals), Alec Castillo (bass guitar, vocals), Don Merrill (organ, piano, vocals), Austin Brose (percussion, vocals), and Connor Mikita (drums, cowbell), infiltrate the internet age with their retro ‘boner pop.’ Outer Space cowboys, their western blues combined with the occasional spacey-psychedelics makes you unsure if they’re frequenting a honkey tonk or trying to drive that Chevrolet Van straight into space. Either way listening to The Nude Party makes you feel like falling into an alternate dimension where the past and future collide.
YOU GUYS STARTED OUT PLAYING SOME PRETTY WILD HOUSE SHOWS IN BOONE, NC. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE? HOW HAS THAT INFLUENCED YOUR APPROACH TO MUSIC?
The first people we ever played in front of were generally very intoxicated and excited just to see people play live music which makes for a good atmosphere to attempt being a band. We were unknowingly learning how to make music that would get people moving and having fun because we thought shows were normally like this.
WHAT’S THE ONE SHOW YOU’LL NEVER FORGET?
Usually really bad shows tend to stick out the most so there's a lot to choose from. We played a show in our garage during a festival we used to throw at our house in Boone where we were standing in about an inch of beer and being electrocuted at the same time while playing. It's actually recorded on a cassette somewhere. That was a more memorable one.
YOU GUYS TALK A LOT ABOUT THE BOND YOU HAVE TOGETHER. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE PEOPLE IN YOUR BAND? WHAT’S SOME OF THE BEST MEMORIES YOU’VE HAD TOGETHER?
Among many things I love that everyone is willing to dedicate their lives to making music and being in this band. It's a lot to ask of six people collectively to put their lives on hold for something like this. I could go deep down memory lane but I think finally booking a European tour has been a big milestone for us. That's something we've been wanting for a long time.
YOUR FIRST RELEASE WAS HOT TUB IN 2016, DID YOU HAVE A REALLY SOLID VISION FOR THE BAND? WHAT WAS EVERYONE’S INDIVIDUAL INSPIRATION AND HOW DID THEY ALL MESH?
Not necessarily a solid vision but we had almost an albums worth of material we had written over the last two years that summed up where we were at musically then. Ultimately the inspiration for the music we make points back into the meat and potatoes of early rock n roll. We can all feel it when something is clicking musically and the goal is to always have that feeling when writing.
YOU GUYS JUST RELEASED YOUR DEBUT ALBUM WITH OAKLEY MUNSON OF THE BLACK LIPS AND RECORDED IT IN WOODSTOCK, NY AT DREAMLAND RECORDING STUDIOS! HOW DID ALL OF THOSE FACTORS INFLUENCE YOU?
Oakley has been a good friend and mentor/manager figure for us since our very early days. He's seen the band grow through the years and knows our music as well as or better than we do. Having him producing was essential to getting the right takes and making the right musical choices quickly because we recorded it all live in about 4 days. Dreamland was the best recording experience we've ever had and doing it upstate made us feel right at home. Making a rock n roll record in a church also makes a lot of sense somehow.
THE ALBUM HAS A REAL RETRO CHARM, WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM? IS THERE A CERTAIN DECADE/ARTIST IN PARTICULAR YOU PULL A LOT OF INSPIRATION FROM?
While we do listen to a lot of current music our favorites tend to date back to the 50's and 60's eras of country, R&B, and rock n roll. Anything you enjoy and take in through art will naturally bleed its way into whatever you're doing personally and I guess that's the point. Buck Owens was an overall favorite on the last tour.
YOUR MUSIC HAS THAT TIMELESS QUALITY AS WELL, WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES A SONG OR A RECORD TRULY TIMELESS?
Thanks! A big factor is if it was written by The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. I also think nostalgia for times and places you may or may not have even experienced makes things timeless more than the actual music but who knows. Keeping things simple and speaking unconditional truths might help. We haven't really lived long enough to see anything we've grown up with pass the time test of many decades.
WHAT WAS GOING ON IN YOUR LIVES WHILE YOU WERE MAKING THE ALBUM? WHAT WERE YOU LISTENING TO? INTERESTED IN?
The album was recorded right after we moved from Boone, NC to the Catskills. It was a new chapter for us which gave a wind of excitement to a lot of what we were doing at the time. Adjusting to living in a tiny town with no friends meant making our own fun which resulted in playing and recording music in our basement every day. That focus was the whole concept of moving to NY so learning to create in a more serious manner was part of the process. We didn't have internet for a while but we had the first season of Curb Your Enthusiasm on VHS which got us through some tough times.
IN “CHEVROLET VAN” YOU DISCUSS A LOT OF CRITICISM YOU’VE RECEIVED FOR CHOOSING MUSIC AS A CAREER. WHEN DOES THE RISK FEEL MOST WORTH IT? WHEN WAS THE MOMENT YOU KNEW IT WAS ALL YOU WANTED?
There's always some moments of crushing self doubt but getting to not work a job most of the time and travel the world with your best friends to play music seems like a good trade off for the risk. For me, the part that flipped the switch was connecting with other people who love music on a similar level. It's a pretty good way to pinpoint lifelong friends when you travel and do music full time. We've got a lot of lifers now which feels lovely.
“WATER ON MARS” AND “RECORDS” ARE THE OTHER SINGLES FROM THE ALBUM, CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THEM?
“Water On Mars” was something we were messing around with instrumentally for a while and then Patton put some whimsical lyrics over it about a nice day in the park. The title comes from a line from one of our friends songs called "Something, Part 1" by The Savants. “Records” is an anti-love song that was originally a bit different but became countrified once our friend Catfish laid some pedal steel on it. His parts are the best points of the whole record.
SPEAKING OF RECORDS WHAT’S ONE THAT….
WILL NEVER GET OLD?
One we listen to a lot in the house is by a band called Los Saicos from Peru. I think it's a compilation with all of their best sounding recordings. Very cool stuff.
2. MAKES YOU NOSTALGIC?
I was gifted a Jonathan Richman record with the song "Summer Feeling" on it which became the anthem of the summer we left Boone. I have fond memories of drinking in our backyard and burning nearly everything I owned before moving to that record.
3. YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD HEAR?
I've been really into Cut Worm's new record Hollow Ground. He's an incredible talent and might be a reincarnation of one of the Everly Brothers.
STORY THAT SUMMARIZES WHO THE NUDE PARTY ARE?
Signing our record deal at Dave and Busters and spilling nacho cheese on it by accident.
photo by CJ HARVEY