Ahead of their appearance at Reading and Leeds Festival this weekend, we had a quick chat to Night Riots about some of the sounds that helped shaped their awesome new album New State of Mind which is out now on Sumerian Records.
Before you delve into their stereo six, here’s the video for “Talk About It” to show how those inspirations helped create the sound on New State of Mind:
01. INXS – Kick (1987, Atlantic Records)
– “New State of Mind” drew so much inspiration from Kick whether we knew it or not. The anthemic feel of Michael Hutchence vocals mixed with the repetitive guitar riffs and simplistic drum beats dug itself into our collective conscious and spread its influence throughout the record. As a guitar player I was looking for a way to insert vibey, hooky, ear worm riffs while allowing the vocals room to float above. Songs like “New Sensation”, “Devil Inside”, “Need You Tonight” acted as guidelines for how guitar NEEDED to be played on this album. If you listen to “Enjoy the Ride” and “Leave us Alone” (to name a few) you can hear the major INXS influenced guitars that seeped their way into the songs, providing groove and hook without getting in the way of the vocals. Not to mention “Never Tear Us Apart” that, cmon has to be one of the best on the album, and (whether we want to admit it or not) gave us a base for songs like “Loyal to the Game”.
02. Depeche Mode – Violator (1990, Mute Records)
– Not unlike the previously mentioned album, Violator provided a very important foundation of inspiration for us to build off for New State of Mind. “Personal Jesus” perfectly mixes the simple yet undeniably hooky guitar played by Martin Gore, haunting yet confident vocals from Dave Gahan and the looping drum tracks and synths provided by the rest of DM (Sorry guys can’t remember your names). “Enjoy the Silence” is a sad, minor love song that can’t help but make you want to hold someone (or something) you love in your arms and sing the chorus over and over to them. Then Gore’s riff comes in and you want to die and live forever all at the same time. However this album’s influence made its way into NSOM its very apparent once you know to look for it.
03. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012, Interscope Records)
– When we went into the studio to start recording we wrote out a mission statement that defined and focused our goals for New State of Mind. Part of this was blending our natural 80’s influences with modern hip-hop vibes. A year or so ago while on a 3 month tour we played this Kendrick album on repeat the entire time. Before the tour we barely knew the greatness that was Kendrick Lamar but by the end his beats, flows and lyrics became part of our collective being. This is where we drew from when we needed a solid hip-hop influence for the record. Songs like “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”, “Backseat Freestyle” and “Swimming Pools” exhibit such mastery of the English language and flowing poetry that we couldn’t help but interpret the meanings and add them to our tool kit for the album. Throughout New State of Mind you will find bits of pieces of these Kendrick Lamar tropes whether they were intentional or not. Not to mention the infectious beats and use of vocal manipulation.
04. Sublime – Sublime (1996, MCA)
– Though this album came out when we were kids it has been stuck in all our heads ever since. The undeniable vocal hooks and upbeat reggae beats dig themselves into your brain and set up permanent residence. If I had to pin point exactly what it was from Sublime’s self titled album that influenced New State of Mind I don’t think I’d be able to tell you. But c’mon who hasn’t played any one of their many hits over and over and over while BBQing on a warm Sunday. Vibes like this are what we really wanted to translate into NSOM. We wanted an album that people could dance to or put on at a party or listen to on their Beats headphones in bed at night. Sublime offers the perfect cheat sheet to complete all these goals. From “Wrong Way”, a song about a 13 year old prostitute, to the surf rock guitar and very real lyrics of “April 29, 1992” to a beautiful take on killing the guy your girl is cheating on you with in “Santeria”, Sublime reminded us that yes, the lyrics are important, but its the soul, vibe and emotion of the melodies that really grabs the listener. Seriously, how many millions of people have sang along to “Santeria” not knowing that its about killing Sancho?
05. Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine (1989, TVT Records)
– Ok this album is dark and heavy and full of all the rage you need to get out as angsty teenager. PHM creeped its way into our collective catalog sometime during the pre-production of New State of Mind. One day, stoned out of my gourd, I became a conduit to whatever you want to call the “Music Gods” who distribute inspiration to us willing and waiting musicians. On this particular day a song came out that I dubbed “NIN Jam”. This dark, writhing, sub synth laden tune came out so naturally it was almost scary. On top of the synth foundation we recorded the simplest yet most perfect “drunk dad” riff I had ever had the pleasure of creating. This song later became “Enjoy the Ride”, the last song on the album but the first one recorded in the studio session. Listening to it now I can plainly hear the inspiration from “Head Like a Hole” and “Sanctified”. Now, since I’m not the main lyricist I can’t speak to the lyric influences from NIN but if you listen to “Leave Us Alone” and “Enjoy the Ride” you can pull out some undeniable NIN tropes.
06. [Curveball Answer] Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (1973, Harvest Records)
– I’m pretty sure every band these days strives to make their own “Dark Side of the Moon”. Arguably one of the best albums ever created, this album takes you on one of the most epic auditory journeys you will ever experience. Did we draw directly from this Dark Side for our album? I don’t think so. But the Pink Floyd paint brush makes many strokes across the canvas of New State of Mind.
Whether you’re focusing on the lyrics, the melodies, analog synth arpeggios or David Gilmour’s elusive guitar tone, there is endless inspirational material to choose from. Lyrically “Time” hits home to anyone who has ever felt like their lives are passing them by. Every year as my birthday approaches its hard not to think “…and then one day you find 10 years have got behind you, no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun”. “Great Gig in the Sky” offers a beautiful arrangement of chords to support one of the most magnificent female vocal vamps known to man (in my humble opinion).
Then comes “Money”. The oddly timed (7/4) riff that drives the whole song convinces you that you aren’t grooving to a very odd time signature, when indeed you are. C’mon count it… 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. What?? Yeah its that convincing. Oh did I mention the saxophone to guitar solo that completely blows your mind? Yeah there’s that too. I could go on on about this album but I’ll call it here. It’s just an undeniably amazing album that I’m sure will continue to influence rock (or any) bands for decades to come.
New State of Mind is out now on Sumerian Records and you can pick up your copy from here. The band play the Festival Republic Stage at 7.10pm on Saturday (Reading) and 7.00pm on Sunday (Leeds).
08/22 – London – Borderline
08/24 – Reading – Reading Festival
08/25 – Leeds – Leeds Festival