Inglorious have just released their debut album, so we took the chance to talk with their charismatic singer Nathan James (also known from Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Uli Jon Roth) before their show at Z7, Switzerland.
You’ve already been touring since a couple of days, how was the tour so far?
It’s been amazing, we’ve done eleven shows so far. It’s been incredible, it is just the best tour to be on.
Even when compared to a big tour like the one you did with Trans-Siberian Orchestra?
Yeah, for me it is, as I get to sing my own songs. It is very nice to do your own songs and I think it fits musically very well together with The Winery Dogs.
How do you handle it with your voice, what are you doing not to catch a flu?
I just have to wear a scarf all day, even if it is hot. Drink lots of tea and just get sleep, as sleep is the most important thing. And we are struggling with that because we are touring on a Van, you saw the bus?
Yeah and why is that?
Cause it is too expensive.
So you stay in a hotel during the nights?
Yeah we stay in a hotel in the night. It’s much cheaper that way.
So and that’s why you don’t get enough sleep, or then you have to go to bed right after the show.
Yeah pretty much. (laughs) And who wants to do that? Not when there is beer in the fridge.
Ok yeah that’s too bad. Then you should go to bed right after Winery Dog have finished, then you still have time to drink a couple of beers.
Well, we’ll see, maybe not tonight because tomorrow is a day off.
If I understood that correctly, Inglorious was mainly founded by you, Nathan, is that right? How did the idea come up? Did you get tired of singing the stuff other people told you to sing?
Yeah, I started the band two years ago. Originally it was a solo thing. It was supposed to be a solo album and then after I finished the album, I realized that I don’t want to be solo, that I don’t want to be Meat Loaf. I wanted to found a kick ass band and that’s what I did. It just takes a long time to find the right people. And it really took a long time and I wanted everyone to be British in my band, because it is easier.
Mhhh, somehow you didn’t manage that.
(Laughs) Yeah I just couldn’t find a guitar player in the UK. And I auditioned 30. Thirty guitarists and not one was right. I had to go all the way to Sweden.
Ok, and how the hell does a Swede end up in a British band?
(Laughs) I did a tour with a British Bass player and when I was looking for a guitarist, I just messaged everyone and said “tell me the best guitarist you know”. And he send back Andreas’ name, I checked him out online and then I had a meeting with him.
But he was still in a band Crazy Lixx, doing totally different music.
He was doing very sleazy stuff. He wasn’t really enjoying that. Which was good for me. So he left that band. He came over to do a festival in the UK, with his old band. And then after the festival he came to our studio, and jammed with us for like four days, then he went home, and the next time he came we recorded the album. That quick. In two weeks.
How about the other members? Did you know them before?
I auditioned them two years ago. We connected through other people. I did a tour with the Bassists cousin, so he suggested him and the drummer and the bass player had been playing together for 17 years. They come as a package.
You used a nowadays very uncommon way to record the album, you didn’t use the usual line by line recording method, you all played the song together in the same room at the same time and recorded it like this (organic way), like they used to do in the 70’s, 80’s – why did you choose to record it like this?
To get the energy and also because we are good enough. I think people record it the other way because they are not good enough. It is very easy to cheat when you are in a separate room you can do it 100 times. We don’t do it 100 times. Everything on the album every instrument is one take. So when they play and someone fucks up in the second verse, you have to start again even if you played great.
So how long did it take to get the first song done there? To get used to this?
We recorded the tracks for 22 songs in four days. This is really good. And then I did my vocals in another four days. So if you look at it, it took maybe 10 days for the whole album.
Wow, that proves that you are good musicians. So you recorded the vocals separately? But like this you still can hide mistakes or add a second take etc.
No, everything is one take, there is no tweaking, nothing like this. I sang into a microphone that was 50 years old. And there where compressors that where 50 years old. So everything was very old and analog. I wanted it to sound like me favorite albums.
And that was?
Deep Purple, Rainbow, early Whitesnake, early Iron Maiden.
You surely proved your skills as musicians by recording the album this way. Now thinking back to this experience, would you record the next album the same way?
Yeah I think so. It depends we also produced this album ourselves. So we didn’t work with a producer. So maybe the next album will be with a producer and if he says “let’s do this thing a little differently” that we might go for it. But I think it is nice on our first album to show the world, we sound the same in the studio as on stage.
And that you are very good musicians too.
Yeah. Cause in 2016 there is a generation of kids who can’t.
You mean without the fixing and playing over and over again.
Yeah. And we are not about that!
Really good, you also produced the record all by yourself, was it because you exactly knew what you wanted and could do it yourself the best, or you didn’t find a fitting producer and so decided to do it yourself?
Not really, every producer that we spoke to had ideas. But I had such a clear vision in my mind what I wanted it to sound like, I know that when I listen to this album I am still proud of it, even if no one else likes it, I can say, well I don’t care because it sounds fucking awesome to me. (laughs)
So it is your baby and then you have to do it this way.
Yeah and strangely enough, it is the same way I recorded the Uli Jon Roth album where I sing on. And I learned a lot from that, because the energy from the album is totally different to when you are in a studio and you confined and you can’t change things, you make a little mistake, but it maybe it makes it better, you know? It is about making something that will never be the same again.
I saw that you are very active on social media….
I am a whore. (laughs)
… you mostly answer your fans on FB, share private things on Instagram etc.….
Do you think nowadays an artist needs to be so close to the fans to build some kind of a relationship with them?
Yeah I think so, they are the reason why we get to do this. So I should give them something in return.
Are you not afraid they use it against you, or your loved ones?
No not really. I think if people are that mean, then it is a very sad world that we are living in.
Well, I’ve seen and heard a lot about this kind of things already, that’s why I ask. I mean you show there pictures only in underwear and…
Who me? Well…(laughs) I have lots of female fans if it makes them happy it is ok…No? (Laughs)
SO the next thing is a Nathan James Calendar coming out?
Yeah next year (laughs)
Nathan, you played with TSO on stages that were way bigger than the ones now on this tour, you are «only» a support act on this tour, how is the feeling for you, I guess still it doesn’t feel like a step back on the career ladder?
No (with a totally shocked face) the total opposite! No, because in TSO I’ve never got to do what I wanted, you are told how to sing, you are told how to dress, how to act, also when to eat, when to take a shit (laughs) You’ve got told everything. And this here is just we get to do what we want. We get to play our songs, we can play whatever the fuck we like, we can do whatever we want. It is just being myself and also the chance to be on tour with such a great band. For our very first tour to land a tour of this size is really good. Tonight this will be our 15th show as a band ever! Which is just crazy!
Do you think the Uli Jon Roth and TSO helped you to gain a name in the scene and now to be more successful with your own band?
Yeah. And I really enjoyed that time. We played Wacken and then I quit. It was just the biggest gig. There was 80 000 people, so where do you go after that? I kind of felt that I’ve reached my peak. And then the other thing was financially: until we got a record deal, TSO was paying for Inglorious, all the money that I was earning from that was subsidizing this band. And that is why we got to record the album and we didn’t even had a label, we finished our album before. Because I paid for it with my TSO money (laughs)
It is your baby, so you have to pay for it. (laughs)
Yeah that’s right (laughs)
What do you prefer the big stages or the smaller ones where you are closer to the people?
I like the in-between. I like to see enough people but I need room to run around. I like moving. When we have space. We all like to move. Tonight we got a lot of room, so we will use it.
I also saw that you post a lot of pictures of animals and children.
Yeah I love animals and my niece.
What would you do if you wouldn’t be a musician would it have to do with one of these?
I would be a farmer. Yeah 100%, I love animals and I love farming.
That’s very uncommon for men nowadays to like animals.
I know but you know lot of rock stars like animals. Ozzy Osbourne has how many dogs? On TSO our keyboard player Jane Mangini used to bring her dog on tour in the tour bus.
So how many animals do you have?
I have a python, I have two dogs a puppy who is 10 weeks old, Oh I miss him very much.
Oh I can imagine. What’s his name?
His name is Rocky.
Yeah (laughs) I have two dogs, the python and I had a lot of chickens and ducks as a kid, also two pet pigs but they died like three years ago. They were old but they were very sweet. Pigs and goats, and chicken and ducks and geese so when I make lots of money I am going to buy a farm and live in my farm. Wear a farmer hat and drive a tractor.
Good idea, so what is your favorite animal then?
Lions, because this is me. I have a lion ring.
That is why your hair is like this (laughs) And it’s surely also your zodiac sign.
Yes, Leo, it will be my next tattoo. I am not sure where.
You have quite a few others tattoos too.
Yeah I have a snake, I have birds as I love birds. A sexy lady and more birds.
Oh you would have been very interested in what happened today in my garden. There was a sparrow hawk who catches a little sparrow and ate him in my garden, it was really interesting to watch that.
Oh nooooo, that’s sooo sad (laughs and makes a sad face) But that is nature, nature is awful.
Ok the last one: Tell us something that so far no one knew about you?
Buh, I don’t know, maybe that I am a farmer. Ahh…let me think….. It is sooo hard! I am allergic to cats. I love animals but I hate cats. So sorry! If I am near a cat I cannot sing, I cannot breathe… I hate cats there you go: NATHAN JAMES HATES CATS!
Oh no, well you don’t really hate them then, you just can’t be around them.
Yeah but I also don’t like that they are not very lovely (laughs)
Oh, they can be…
No, they can’t. They are not very lovely, they are mean. (laughs) With a cat it is all on the cat’s claws.
Oh ok well, then no cats for you, but thank you so much for your time and all the best.
Thank you so much!
Photos: Band/Nedim Nazerali