An interview with Nathan James is always fun, especially when you see him, even on the screen of your computer. On the way of delivering their 4th album, for which we couldn’t talk about much, since it wasn’t recorded yet in mid-June when our interview took place, we talked about all sorts of things. The truth is that Nathan tries to describe the album and he also tells us all of its song titles and a possible album title. The only that is certain is that it’s heavily influenced by the current situation of the quarantine and social distancing, as well the recent turmoil in the States that socked the entire world and had a deep impact in the singer’s mentality and lyrics. Interview: Yiannis Dolas
Rockpages.gr: What have you been up to during the quarantine?
Nathan James: We’ve been writing the album. I’ve been writing the lyrics for the past four weeks. But, honestly, before that we’ve been in lockdown in the UK for 12 weeks now. I have no motivation for the first 8 weeks. I was kind of miserable, like everyone else in the world right now, I didn’t want to write, I didn’t want to listen to music… I just wanted to watch Netflix, eat pasta and shit… I was not in a good way…
But, now I feel I have a deadline to work for, because we are getting into the studio right now and it gets moved back. So, now I feel more positive, I am looking forward to actually getting in there and getting these songs out of me…
Everyone who has seen the band live, or has seen live videos of this new lineup, knows how incredible they are and especially the young energy of my lead guitar player, Danny. He has brought something to the band that I am really feeling excited for people to see on the album. He is 20 years old and that’s the first riffs that are coming out of him. He’s just brilliant.
(…) he likes the great guitar players… Yngwie, Slash… he likes playing great riffs. It’s not just playing songs or notes. He really loves making music and I think for a 20 year-old that’s rare. While most young players like to play guitar in their bedroom and play as many notes as they can, as fast as they can, whereas Danny likes to create things that make people feel something. So, there are some Yngwie influences, Slash’s influences… some early Blackmore… Dio… there is a lot of heavier and more dramatic sounds I suppose!
Rockpages.gr: How did the isolation during the lockdown affected your lyrical themes?
Nathan James: I never wanted to be political in any way. What’s happened in the last 12 weeks and especially the last month with the “Black lives matter” movement… I found myself really upset and very angry. So, I wrote a bit about those feelings and experiences and figures in the world that are just horrible. So, I wrote about some of my experiences and my understandings of what’s happening in the world right now. It’s very easy to write very miserable and sad songs when everyone is miserable and sad. There’s nothing happy to write about now. It’s definitely a heavy album and I sing about stuff I’ve never sung before.
Rockpages.gr: Tell us about your idea to make a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Paul Rodgers…
Nathan James: I had this idea, after I saw the terrible version the American actors did, I don’t know if you’ve seen it… Gal Gadot, the actress, who played “Wonderwoman”, and Will Ferrel… they all did this terrible video of “Imagine” and it was terrible, because only two of them could actually sing. While the others were terrible. Also, they were singing lines about “imagine no possessions” and they were sat in a mansion in LA… it was the dummiest thing I’ve ever seen.
So, I said to my friends “why don’t we do a version of this great song that people love and try to raise some awareness for some charity in the UK”. So, I started calling my friends, I called Jeff Scott Soto, Michael Sweet, Dave Kilminster… I called all my best friends in the business…and then I called Jasmine Rodgers, Paul’s daughter, who is a good friend of mine. And I said to Jasmine, “I’d love you to be on this, also if you want to ask your dad… I’d love to have him as well. Then I got an e-mail from his wife saying “he’d love to do it”. When I go that e-mail of his wife with the attachment of his video I couldn’t believe it! It doesn’t happen every day you know! But, I think what’s interesting about being in quarantine, being in lockdown is that even people like Paul Rodgers get bored. These people suddenly got all this time, so you can talk to them. And you can interact better with them, because no one can do anything else, except being online right now.
Rockpages.gr: Some media call Inglorious the “future of rock”, how do you feel about that?
Nathan James: The people that should be behind us, which you’d imagine it would be the British music press, isn’t always behind us. Classic Rock magazine have not helped us at all. Which I find insane, when all the press and rock press around the world says “we want the next rockstar, the next big voice, we want the next great guitar player, the next… and I come along with a great band and a great guitar player and we haven’t made a bad album, it’s fair to say… we haven’t done a bad album. And they don’t jump at it. They’d rather support the bands that America continues supporting, like Greta Van Fleet, or all these other bands.
They asked and asked for someone with charisma and rock talent and a great rock voice to come along and I came along… I think it’s too much for them! People in England try to be modest, they like everyone to be an underdog. And there’s nothing about me that’s an underdog.
If people enjoy what we are doing and want to write great things that’s amazing. If you don’t… it doesn’t matter… because, I still get to this and thousands of people come to see us play. So, I am just happy that in 2020 a rock band can have No.1 album in the UK and play to thousands of people. And that to me, when all you hear from people like the Gene Simmonses of this world that “rock is dead”, is very amazing to me that I still can make a living singing rock’n’roll music. As long as I can do that I feel like I’ve won. It doesn’t matter what people say.
Rockpages.gr: One may say that older singers who can’t deliver how they used to back in the day should retire. Should they?
Nathan James: To me it’s like telling a dog not to bark. A dog wants to bark. A singer is supposed to sing. And these older people that are doing it regardless of how great they sound or not, if some people wants to pay the money, they should be allowed to do it. I don’t know if I can ever imagine my life not singing. So, I look at someone who is at their 60s, or 70s… yeah, I would probably like to do the same. Even if I sucked, I’d want to sing, because that’s all I know… that’s what I love doing! I love singing!