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The Raw Nerves

The Raw Nerves

Interviewed by
Danielle Street
Friday 27th April, 2012 8:18AM

Formed out of the ashes of Death Valley, Auckland-based garage punk band The Raw Nerves have just been announced to be supporting Wavves when they come crashing onto our shores next week. UTR had a chat with frontman Rory ahead of the much-anticipated Auckland show...

First off a three-parter of a question to get rolling, who are The Raw Nerves, how long have you playing together and what do you sound like?

Alex plays bass and sings back-ups, Rob plays drums and yells sometimes, Dave plays guitar and does the leady stuff, and I play guitar and sing too.

We did our first show just under a year ago and we play garage punk with a bit of doo-woppy girl group kinda stuff in there. But we've got a new song that sounds a bit like Slayer. It's just fast party music.

You and guitarist Dave Taylor both came from Death Valley - how did the evolution into The Raw Nerves happen?

Pretty much when we knew that Death Valley was coming to an end we both liked the idea of trying to write songs together as that was something that we hadn't done before. We'd meet up at my place once a week and just listen to records and talk about what we'd like to try and do.

Dave had already come up with the name and I think that became a good touchstone for the kind of songs that we wanted to write, like doing the name justice or at least making a degree of sense you know.

We got booked to do a show before we had any songs but luckily the ideas came real quick and somehow Alex and Rob came on board and got us afloat. 

Your song 'Nazi' doing the rounds on the bNET, what's the story behind Nazi?

It's just a fun dumb song that I wrote. I like the idea of cautionary songs, you know those 60s hits where it's all like 'that boy's no good!' And you'd be pretty pissed off if someone you cared about started dating a skinhead because they really are no good. They're the worst.

Also, our friends Caoimhe and Lucy from the Drab Doo-Riffs came in and sang the response lines in the choruses and that certainly sweetens it up some.

I dig the lo-fi Nazi video, how did that come about?

Our buddy Ian Brown came and filmed us playing at a party and cut the footage together from that. He'd borrowed a VHS camera on the day and was still working out the light settings, plus it was really dark to start off with and so that's why it kind of looks like outtakes from the Paris Hilton sex tape.

Are the Japanese subtitles actually the song lyrics?

I'm told they are. I really hope they are.

The Raw Nerves have been announced as the support act for Wavves along with Street Chant, how did you hook that up?

When we put out the Nazi single we just sent it to a bunch of places. One was Mystery Girl and a few weeks later I met Lucy who works there and she said she really liked the songs. Sure enough she asked us to play. It's going to be a rad show.

The Raw Nerves, while not surf-punk, seems to have those elements running through it... what influences do you draw on for your sound?

Um… Like bands? Not so much the surf thing... I think Rob's probably the only one who knows how to surf. I saw Jaws when I was way too young and it did a lot of damage. I think the main idea is trying to create something fun that people can party to, using the more self-deprecating realities of everyday life as the stock. Like chronic boredom and mean girlfriends. I don't know if that's the right answer.

If you were putting together your dream concert line-up, dead or alive, how would it look?

The Ramones at Whammy Bar. Obvs.

I heard you guys have an album in the pipeline which is coming out on vinyl... what's it called and what stage is that at?

It's going to be self-titled and it should have just arrived at the pressing plant in Tennessee.

What's the benefit of releasing your album on vinyl?

We're really lucky to be releasing it through 1:12 Records, who just put out the Gaytime record, and they're only doing vinyl releases. It'll be available digitally as well but I think there's no substitute for the physicality of just holding a record. Plus it should sound shit hot on vinyl too.

You bass player Alex, who is a sound engineer, has a real thing for vintage style recording that must be beneficial to your sound?

Yeah totally! He's our Joe Meek.

Tell me about recording the album, where did you do it and what was the process like?

We did the whole thing in one really nondescript room. We spent a day setting up and sectioning off the amps and drums as best we could and getting the mic placements right. Then over the next two days we recorded all the songs live to an 8-track. Most of them were on the first couple of takes.

Dave overdubbed a little bit of guitar and we did some backing vocals, handclaps and tambourine. Thanks to Alex it was all finished pretty quick.

We mixed it in one night with this guy Greg Brice who has this studio called Ekadek and he builds all this crazy analogue gear, which suited how we'd recorded it really well. Then Karl Steven took it to York St to do the final mastering.

What was the biggest lesson learnt during the recording?

PMA all day please. Thanks.

(PMA = Positive Mental Attitude)

Three must-have things to get through recording are...


Have you got any plans after the album release in June... a tour... maybe a hook up to California to visit Wavves?

Haha well Rob's actually from California so it'd be easier than you'd think to tour over there.

At the moment though we're doing a release tour in June and pretty excited to be heading down to the South Island for the first time. Also we're taking our friends Las Tetas on the road for part of it and that's going to be heaps of fun. Look-out for posters and dates soon!

Catch The Raw Nerves and Street Chant support Wavves next week in Auckland - click here to secure your place.


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