Jared James Nichols Hits New Levels Of Musical Freedom With Latest Album BC Exclusive: Interview With Jared James Nichols
LOS ANGELES, CA- I first heard of Jared James Nichols back in 2015 when he released his debut album “Old Glory and the Wild Revival”, and I’ve been dying to see him perform live since. Though I know very little about the technical aspects of electric guitars (I literally had one lesson on an acoustic guitar), I know a good tone when I hear one, and Jared kills it whenever he plays his guitar. The way he really digs into his instrument to pull out some really earthy blues sounds is what got me hooked, and I’ve been streaming his music since).
With his latest self-titled release, I got hear a new side of Jared. He explores new sounds with this album, and I’m all for it. In a article for metalplanetmusic.com, Jared commented the the album was, “My version of rock ‘n’ roll with a little more humanity […] a day in the life with the ups and downs, but it musically rings true to who I am as an artist. I’m not trying to be anybody but myself and play the music I love for today. I’m giving you loud ass guitars and no fucks given rock ‘n’ roll, and I’m loving it.”
I’m loving it too.
Prior to his performance at The Peppermint Club in Los Angeles, Jared was kind enough to give me a few minutes to chat with him about his new album.
Blurred Culture: I’ve been dying to see you perform live since 2016. Got hooked with “Get Down”, and watching all the videos of you playing on Youtube, pick-less, man… Thinking, that dude’s calluses must be thick. I’ve been listening to the new album. Love it. I find it interesting that you self-titled the album considering that it’s your third album. Also, I read that this album was recorded live. Was that an effort to… I don’t know… get it back to just a more raw …. authentic… feel?
Jared James Nichols: Yeah. The reason about it being a self-titled record… and honestly… with the whole idea, and the essence of the whole record, is the fact we want it to bring it back to that live feel… that live energy. Trying to translate that in a studio, which has always been really hard to do for me. I remember we were playing a show a few years ago, and a guy came up to me and said, “Hey, man, you sounded incredible. I wish your album sounded like you do live.” And it kind of stuck with me. So instead, with this record, I flipped the script. We went into the studio. We recorded in Nashville, and we recorded straight to tape. No metronome, no click…
Blurred Culture: One track?
Jared James Nichols: Yes, the band’s on one track, and then I sang over it. So, imagine us walking into this amazing studio setting up as if we’re going to play a show… Or if we’re setting up like we’re in a garage, getting it all miked up perfectly… and we just went for it. So our producer would literally say, “We’re rolling.” And we’d all look at each other. And we’d go into it.
Blurred Culture: That’s crazy. When you record your vocals separately… I know that you’ve also talked about how in order to get the vocals right, the way you want the vocals to sound…
Jared James Nichols: I was holding a guitar, yeah.
Blurred Culture: Are you playing the guitar while you’re recording your vocals?
Jared James Nichols: No. I was just… it was points when I was singing that I’d actually just hold my guitar and act like I was playing it. It’s almost like the guitar’s my comfort blanket. Like, even right now we’re sitting here, you might see me just do this [Jared reaches for his guitar] just to hold it. And it’s like my little toy, you know what I mean? With this album, there was a lot of time to where I thought to myself, ‘Okay, cool. I am going to play this stuff live. So I want to make sure, whenever I record, I can directly translate to the live environment.
Blurred Culture: It’s kind of funny, man. You’re such a beast with your playing. So confident. It’s surprising that there a bit insecurity in you.
Jared James Nichols: Yeah, I think also not only like insecurity… but there’s a piece of me that… I don’t know how to translate it… It’s almost as if I feel like when I’m holding a guitar, or when I’m playing the guitar, it’s when I’m most comfortable in a way of like expressing myself. So even as a singer, it’s almost like it’s my shield. It’s like my “insecurity blanket.”
Blurred Culture: So the album. Self titled. It’s more of a true reflection of you and the way that you sound.
Jared James Nichols: Yes.
Blurred Culture: Of the 13 tracks, is there a song that… to you… is perhaps symbolic or represents the collection as a whole?
Jared James Nichols: I think there’s… and I could name a few… but the one that I would say right out the gate is the second song on the record. It’s called “Easy Come, Easy Go.” What that symbolizes… It’s not only the energy of the band together as a unit, but it also is… from a songwriting term, I feel like it’s the lane that I really, really wanted to shoot for on this record. And from a sound perspective, I feel like it encapsulates what I’ve been trying to capture. It’s almost like catching lightning in the bottle. So when you listen to that… like I said… you’re hearing this live, stick of dynamite going off, but you’re also hearing a band that’s just wailing and we’re all in sync with each other. And I think that’s a really cool aspect of this record.
Blurred Culture: Stylistically, I felt like you were experimenting with a whole bunch of genres.
Jared James Nichols: Oh, yeah.
Blurred Culture: And I know you’ve talked about like all the bands you grew up listening to and stuff like- kind of felt maybe a little bit of grunge sneak in there. A little bit of a Sound Garden, “Outshined” influence sprinkled in there.
Jared James Nichols: 100%
Blurred Culture: Where did you draw the most influence from during the writing process?
Jared James Nichols: Honestly, what I tried to do is, when I was writing, I just tried to chase that feeling where I tried to knock down any borders of like…. “Okay, I got to write a song that kind of sounds like this,” or, “I should really stay in this lane.” Instead, I tried to take these songs and let them kind of choose where they wanted to go. And there was a lot of times where I’d do stuff and I’m like, “Okay,” I listened back to it and go, “That’s way too country,” or, “That’s way too….”…. You know what I mean? So what I tried to do was, I picked the collection of songs that I felt like, both represented me as an artist, but also showed that I was okay embracing maybe some genres that I’ve never tried or that I’ve never felt I could put on a record. And I think with this one, we did try and experiment not only with the songwriting aspect, but we were experimenting with the tones. There are points on a few songs where I use an organ speaker for my guitar, like on “Shadow Dancer” and “Out of Time”, and we mess with delays. And I think “Out of Time”, that solo section, to me, that’s like, super grungy, super cool. And there’s just a lot of cool stuff that I think we captured on this record that we haven’t yet.
Blurred Culture: I’m a big fan of Shadow Dancer. That song rips.
Jared James Nichols: Oh, cool! Thanks, man.
Blurred Culture: You were just talking about using different pieces of equipment to get different sounds and tones. You mentioned this idea of getting new sounds from your instrument in other interviews. Like the interview where you point to the guitar George Thorogood gave you.
Jared James Nichols: Yeah.
Blurred Culture: I just want to explore that idea. Other than use third party equipment, like the organ amp you talked about earlier, how do you find or create new sounds? Are you actually changing your style technique on a constant basis?
Jared James Nichols: There’s been both. One of the things, it always comes from this idea. I’ll write something on the guitar or we’ll have a part… Since we’re only a trio, I often think what can I do to expand the sound? What can I do to bring in an outside element that might make people go, “Well, I wasn’t expecting him to do that,” you know? I wasn’t expecting that time. So that’s where the organ speaker came in. And there’s even other stuff like- I use, what’s called an octaver which makes my guitar almost sound like a bass guitar for certain parts on songs. Because I think it just keeps your ears kind of guessing what’s going to come next.
Blurred Culture: If you recorded everything on one track, does that mean you didn’t do any overdubbing
Jared James Nichols: There’s only a few overdubs on the record, and what they were done with was, I didn’t overdub anything on the record that was another part, as if someone else was in the band. It was almost like effects were overdubbed. So, there was a crazy splash of a reverb on a guitar. I literally went like…
[Jared demonstrates with the guitar he’s holding what he did to create the splash of reverb]
Jared James Nichols: And then another thing, we did a guitar part backwards, and we put it in the back.
Blurred Culture: Are there’s some parts of songs where you’re playing two parts?
Jared James Nichols: No, what that is, is that’s an actual delay pedal that we have.
Blurred Culture: So you’re kind of looping yourself…
Jared James Nichols: Yeah. And I was able to play one part and go over it. Which is really cool.
Blurred Culture: And that’s all done in one take.
Jared James Nichols: That was all done in one take.
Blurred Culture: That’s fuckin’ sick bro.
Jared James Nichols: It’s pretty cool, right? Also it kind of … This record helped me prove to myself… because people who say, “Oh, that record… you know, they cut that live and then sang over,” and I was always like, “I want to do that!” So I finally was able to do that with this one.
Blurred Culture: I think it’s very raw album. I think it sounds really good.
Jared James Nichols: Thank you, man!
Blurred Culture: And I think it was perfect that you self titled it because I do feel like it’s almost your rebirth in the musical sense.
Jared James Nichols: Totally.
Blurred Culture: Anything you want to go out on?
Jared James Nichols: Man, I just … I would like to say that I hope to not only have everyone check out this record, but also, if we come to your area, come see it live because what you hear on the record is what you’re going to get at the show, and I think that’s a really cool aspect of it. And yeah, hope to see everyone on the road and jam the record.
For the record, Jared, Dennis Holm (drums) and Diego Edsel (bass) absolutely killed the performance. Jared is right. What you hear on the record is what you’ll get at a show. Ten fold.
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