‘Nephu Huzzband’ Get Candid: Recording On No Sleep, Drinking With Fans, Scaring Pretentious Art Kids, and the Beauty of Water and Natural Noises

NEPHUHUZZBAND_022 editNottingham’s Nephu Huzzband delivers a raw punk-rock debut album that is charismatic to the core. Eighteen months in the making, Elementary was finally released at the start of October and the band’s hard work seems to be paying off. NME has described the four-piece as “gawky depressed underdogs [that] are painfully brilliant,” and I assure you that is a compliment. There in fact is something painfully brilliant about their sound and this truly makes them a band to be on to lookout for. Their EP, Papers, was released last year and received national support in the U.K. with endless airplay, and built expectations for their debut album. With Elementary, Nephu Huzzband has not disappointed.

When it came time to dig deep and discover what makes Nephu Huzzband tick, Guitarist Adam Popple and Bassist Jamie Barrow decided to take on the challenge. Vocalist Tom Bentley and Drummer Rob Challinor had no objections.

1. How did Nephu Huzzband come about?

A: Adam: We all met at school and were all listening to similar bands. Everyone wanted to be in a band so we did the obvious thing and decided to start Nephu Huzzband.

2. When you’re writing music – what’s the process?

A: Adam: We all come up with ideas on our own, which is what I really like about our writing process. When we do this it allows every band member to add their own sound and own influence to a song. When actually bringing a song together, we do it in the practice room […] basically bringing together our ideas into one.

3. You’ve released an EP and a full-length album: has writing gotten easier with time?

A: Adam: I think it’s fair to say it’s getting easier as we go on. Over the last couple of years we’ve had a lot of time to refine our sound and figure out what we really want to be doing. This creates a comfort zone for us all when it comes to the writing periods […] it’s definitely made a huge difference from writing the album as opposed to the EP.

4. How was the in-studio experience? Best / Worst moments?

A: Adam: Again, the in-studio experience is getting a lot easier to deal with as we’re getting more experienced as recording musicians.
My worst moment when recording the album would by far be the session where we recorded several songs, one being “No, Not Ever.” I used to work in a nightclub in Nottingham called Stealth and I had to catch a train straight after my shift, straight to the studio. I was absolutely brain-dead from work, bearing in mind it was a 12 hour shift, and I was practically hysterical with tiredness when it came to doing my takes. However, I ended up doing some of the best guitar takes I’ve ever done! By the end of the day I’d been awake for 37 hours [and] unfortunately, when it came to retiring to the hotel room, it turned out Jamie had booked the room for the wrong night! So, we trawled the street of Shepherd’s Bush for a free room. Fucking perfect.

5. Did anything really surprising happen in the studio?

A: Adam: Yeah, doing my best takes in my worst stare ever!

l_a9a5d1a2f06e06594d0fdd4593be02786. How would you describe your sound in one word?

A: Adam: Twat. Some people choose to describe us as the pioneers of Twatcore, but I’m not sure whether there’s much of a market for that!
Noisy-post-punk-indie-rock. When hyphenated that’s one word, right?

7. If you could collaborate with any artist or band, who would you choose?

A: Adam: I would love to collaborate with The Mars Volta.
Maybe Joan of Arc as their back catalogue is so varied. And it’d be interesting to see what Tim Kinsella would do when working with a sound like ours.

8. What’s been your best gig so far and why?

A: Adam: The best gig, I feel, we’ve ever done would probably be when we played downstairs at the Bodega in Nottingham. There was a real buzz around the entire crowd and we put on a really energetic show. Couldn’t have gone any better really.
Any gig where people get into the music and then come and talk to us afterwards. It’s nice to meet people and get drunk with them.

9. When you’re touring, what’s one thing you can’t live without?

A: Adam: Coffee, wherever I go, but also music. It’s good to have an escape from your own music when on the road or in the studio.
It might sound obvious, but water. Whenever I leave the house I have a bottle with me. I get thirsty all the time.

10. Top standout moment so far?

A: Adam: Mine would be when we were at the MPG Awards where we were nominees for the “Best Live Album 2008” alongside Dave Gilmour and Girls Aloud. It was an experience I really never thought I’d come across, but there you go! I just wish I was more sober for it.
After our first gig in London we went to a house party full of really pretentious art kids, so we just put on over-the-top Northern accents and scared the shit out of them.

11. Bonus question: If you had to listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A: Adam: At The Drive-In’s “In/Casino/Out
Jamie: I’m not sure I could just listen to one album for the rest of my life. I’m fairly sure it’d drive me crazy. I’d probably choose to have no albums at all and just listen to natural noises.

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