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Interview with NAILS; Vocalist and Guitarist Todd Jones on Slayer, Nardcore, Touring and Their “Album of The Year” [w/ Audio]

Southern California-based hardcore metal-punks, NAILS, are killing it! We were recently afforded the opportunity to speak with NAILS vocalist/guitarist, Todd Jones, and found him to be both articulate and a real down-to-Earth person.



Southern California-based hardcore metal-punks, NAILS, are killing it! They recently released You Will Never Be One Of Us (read our review here), one of the most anticipated heavy albums of the year, and the rave reviews have been pouring in! We were recently afforded the opportunity to speak with NAILS vocalist/guitarist, Todd Jones, and found him to be both articulate and a real down-to-Earth person. In true NAILS fashion, I kept the questions on target and to the point…this is what Jones he had to say.

You guys are the featured band on this month’s Decibel Magazine. The headline reads, “Album of the Year?” How does that make you feel?
Jones: A little bit of pressure. It’s great to be on the cover of Decibel. It’s fucking awesome that they would showcase our band like that and it’s a bit of a trophy for me because I’ve been reading Decibel probably since 2005. I’m psyched about that, but as far as what they said on the cover, “Have they made the album of the year?” It’s nice that they said that because with them phrasing that question gives you the assumption that they think our album is worthy of album of the year so far. That’s certainly a nice thing for anybody to really think of our band. That’s cool. Do I think it’s album of the year? I have no idea. I like our record, I’m pretty stoked on the record we made, but Gorguts put out a pretty awesome EP. If they got album of the year I wouldn’t be mad.

So your first 3 LPs (not including EPs) consist of a grand total of 52:49 seconds of music. What is the likelihood that we’ll see a NAILS album that is actually over a half hour long?
Jones: Probably very slim, not any time soon anyway. Maybe as our band progresses we’ll make longer albums. The last three have been progressively longer, so, who knows? The type of music that we play and the kind of style that we lend, nobody really needs a 30 minute NAILS album.

There are a few songs off of You Will Never Be One of Us that have some whammy bar love ala Slayer’s “Reign in Blood”. Are you guys big fans of Slayer or is that just coincidental?
Jones: Slayer’s my favorite band of all time. Slayer and Minor Threat are my two favorite bands of all time. I wanted a little bit more of a Slayer influence on this record. I’m glad that it’s coming across, I’m glad people are picking up on it. It’s not something that I see as a shameful thing. I don’t think we’re necessarily ripping off Slayer, but it’s when you try to do something and people pick up on it, it means that you did something right.

I happened to watch one of your videos about the making of the album, specifically the second episode where you discuss the meaning of the title, “YWNBOOU”. I think the explanation was pretty significant and important for people to not confuse the point that was being made in regards to that title and its meaning. Can you touch on this for a minute?
Jones: I knew that when we called the record You Will Never Be One of Us, I knew that it was going to be something that was misunderstood by people. Then on the other hand, I knew that anybody who was actually interested in what it meant would look into it and more likely than not they would probably make an emotional connection with it. I feel like that’s an emotion that anybody who has ever really truly been down for something that he’s probably felt. It’s not just music, it’s really anything you’re passionate for. If you’re passionate about something, you dedicate yourself to it, you want to see only good things attached to it as well. When you see somebody who comes along and uses that and abuses it and only uses that for bad things, you’ve got to separate yourself from that person because they are not like you, and you are not like them. You need to get the fuck away from them. I think that’s an emotion that anybody felt that’s ever really truly been dedicated to something.

With you guys being based out of Oxnard, California, would you say NAILS is resurrecting “Nardcore” in a way? Or, are you guys just doing your own thing?
Jones: I don’t live in Oxnard anymore, but that’s where I grew up. I live in Orange County, California. John, our bass player, lives in a neighboring city of Oxnard and Taylor lives in the San Fernando Valley near LA, technically in LA County. We’re kind of spread out in California. When we practice we practice at Taylor’s, that’s kind of half-way point between me and John. We just tagged ourselves as an Oxnard band just because that’s where I’m from and I think it’s a cool place to be.

No, Nardcore has…No. Nardcore is a very specific thing. Nardcore is a specific sound. To really be considered a Nardcore band you have to be rooted in punk, period. Which we are rooted in punk, but the fact is I don’t live in Oxnard. Taylor and John are from Oxnard but we aren’t a Nardcore band, and that’s that. I’m very proud of Oxnard, I’m very proud of Nardcore. In some way I, as a person, do represent those things, but as a band that’s not really what we’re about. I wouldn’t want to impose on the older Nardcore guys or my peers who are in Nardcore bands. I don’t want to be an impostor to that scene even though I grew up in Oxnard and I came from that place and I came from the Nardcore scene. We’re not a Nardcore band, but I’m proud to say I’m from Oxnard, California and that’s where I come from.

Check out the song “Life Is A Death Sentence”

You’ve stated before that NAILS will never tour extensively. With the probability of YWNBOOU being a tremendously successful album, have your thoughts regarding this changed?
Jones: No man, I’m not cut out for touring full time. The lifestyle that I want to lead doesn’t lend itself to touring full time, so we will never tour full time. We like playing about four to six weeks out of the year and getting out as much as we can and having fun, playing shows and celebrating our music with our fans, but unfortunately, we’re just not going to be a full time touring band. There’s going to be places in this world that we never go to or maybe that we only ever go to once. I say that with a little bit of sadness. I feel bad that we have fans in remote places that really want to see us that will probably never see us. That actually kind of hurts my heart a little bit, but that’s just not the type of band we are. We can’t please everybody, unfortunately.

I have one final question for you, where do you see NAILS in 10 years?
Jones: Same place we are now, making music and playing shows. We started this band with the intention of doing two things, which was making music and playing shows. That’s pretty much where we kept our goals at. We’ve let our band grow organically and we’ve done things organically. We don’t ask to be on record labels, we don’t ask to be on festivals, we don’t ask to be on shows. We just kind of do our own thing and try not to impose on anybody. If somebody wants us to be a part of something, they can ask and maybe we’ll do it, maybe we won’t. We’re just stoked.

All we want to do is make music and play shows. Sometimes popularity wavers, goes up and down. In five or ten years, to answer your questions directly, in five or ten years I don’t know where NAILS is going to be at. I don’t know what our short term goals are, but our long term goals are just to create our own music and just to play some shows. We might be playing less shows or we might be playing the same amount of shows, but I look at NAILS as a band that will have longevity. There’s no question in my mind… Will the band exist in five or ten years? Yes it will. Will we be firing on all cylinders? I don’t know, but we’ll still be playing music and playing shows.