For a large portion of bands, the means of creating musical art is not a just a hobby, but a means of obtaining crucial catharsis. Whilst some create music just to experiment with sound, others use the creative process to explore, process and ultimately purge trauma that has been plaguing the mind and soul. One band that fully fits into the later category is the Bristol based alternative emo outfit Our Nameless Boy, a band who utilises the frantic and urgent dynamics of the genre to expel toxic personal trauma from the past.
Taking direct influence from the turn of the century American emo sound that was popularised by artists such as Manchester Orchestra, The Early November and Dashboard Confessional, Our Nameless Boy take the quiet and loud dynamic that hallmarked the era before reinvigorating it with modern haste, frantic energy and raw emotion. Whereas the band initially penned their love for the sound with their 2019 EP Tomorrow I’ll Be Scared Again, recent times have seen the group tightening their output to truly amplify the inherent unfiltered emotional power that serves as the crux of their work. Released just recently, the group’s latest single ‘Not Thinking Of Home’ see’s the band made anew and serves as the introduction to their unfiltered and uncomfortably intimate forthcoming long play Colour From The Doves.
Whereas the aforementioned single was recorded a year prior to the rest of Colour From The Doves, the overall album is a seamless exploration of a trauma that hopefully only a few will find themselves subject to. Frenetic in it’s delivery, scattered in sound and haunting in subject, the record see’s vocalist Ian Gorrie chronicling his life threatening battle with testicular cancer via the means of sincere emotional noise that both overwhelms and pacifies the mind. As the record narrates his illness and the subsequent aftermath such a horrific illness leaves in it’s wake, Gorrie and Our Nameless Boy poetically swerve and dive through a plethora of musical systematics in the key of their chosen genre in such a way that’s intended to be unpredictable and disorientating. An authentic portrayal of trauma, the record see’s the band using their art form to make sense of such a traumatic experience and to keep such lasting agony at bay.
With Colour From The Doves released June 4th via Beth Shalom Records, we spoke to Gorrie about the record, the sound of Our Nameless Boy and the nature of catharsis. Listen to the new track 'Less On The Mill' below!
For those new to Our Nameless Boy, how would you briefly describe the band?
Ian: "I would describe ONB as a band that loves getting in a room together and creating. We overthink everything and take our time writing songs that we are always excited to perform, that are maybe just about complex enough to be considered interesting to some whilst hopefully retaining some sense of immediacy and leanness. That's the goal anyway."
Musically, what are your main inspirations?
Ian: "A lot of late 90s/00s emo. The quiet/loud dynamic never fails to rev our engines nor does the frenetic energy that the likes of At The Drive-In and Refused somehow manage to put down so brilliantly on record.
You’re set to release your debut LP Colour From The Droves later this year via Beth Shalom. Can you elaborate on the lyrical themes within the record?
Ian: "The whole album documents my experiences overcoming testicular cancer, and the various ways that it affected my life and the people around me. It touches on certain dichotomies of feeling entirely isolated and yet simultaneously thankful to be surrounded by so many loving and caring people, and of knowing that I was at times in a ward with people that had much more devastating forms of the disease than me and yet still feeling utterly petrified, trying to make sense of why these things happen and reasoning with my own locus of control (blaming myself). All that good stuff."
Was the recording and writing process a cathartic one?
Ian: "Big time. There is a residue from that time that I don't think will ever leave me, but writing these songs gave me a means to process certain facets of what happened, bringing things to the fore that I hadn't recognised in myself prior to doing so. Recording some of the vocals was at times surprisingly difficult, thinking back. There were times when I was just entirely transported back and would then become cognisant of the fact that I had Daly (George, CFTD's producer extraordinaire) and the others in the other room listening and giving me delivery notes."
You released your first single 'Not Thinking Of Home' recently, what has the reaction been like?
Ian: 'Not Thinking Of Home' is a song that we knew early on we would put into the world in some form or other and, as a small, unknown band we're so grateful for all the support we continue to receive through the community we're a part of. Everyone who shares our stuff, preorders the LP or puts kind words down about us for others to see, and even those that take the time to check us out but think, "Nah, not for me", are so appreciated, I can't even.
The single was recorded approximately a year or so before the rest of Colour From The Doves, did your direction change since recording the track?
Ian: "If anything it set the tone. We were still finishing up a few of the 16 songs we'd eventually demo for the album and we all wanted to take that song to The Ranch and try a few things out. We used that session to test out a key sonic theme that we had in mind for the album, which was 'disorientation'. The experimentation and the layering of different instruments and tones was absolutely a precursor to what would happen when we returned to record the rest of the album."
The sound of Colour From The Doves is very skittish and unpredictable in nature. Was this a conscious choice?
Ian: "Yes, absolutely. Both lyrically and musically, that was the goal, an extra means by which we could attempt to convey what it's like to go through what I and we all went through. Rather than clinically dissecting each element of that experience in turn, we wanted to convey those elements more as they were lived, which is far less structured, far less simple, predictable or easy to process."
Bristol is renowned for it’s alternative music scene, did the city and it’s scene influence you in any way?
Ian: "Bristol has been our home for 12 years now. We've shared rehearsal spaces with Turbowolf, hung out at very early IDLES shows and very late Halo shows, become "band friends" with Muncle, Blank Atlas, The Travis Waltons & Lonely Tourist, and found absolute GOLD in the likes of Soeur, Lung Money, Sun Spot and Pushing Daisies, whilst having several of the country's best venues such as the Exchange, Louisiana, Mother's Ruin, Stag & Hounds, Crofters Rights right on our doorstep to go see and play shows. Which is all to say that we're just trying to keep up with the amazing amount of talent this city and it's incredible, nurturing community seems to breed.
Finally, what do you want listeners to take away from the record?
Ian: "This album discusses things that I can't help but feel relatively few people can truly understand. And I would never wish that anyone did. The best thing I could hope for is that people recognise that their experiences are their own, and see that the same goes for others. We cannot and should not presume to fully understand the intricacies of what others are going through in their lives. We should instead try to be sensitive, open and patient with those around us, just like the people referenced throughout the album."