By Ian Smith
I caught up with Nest Egg to coincide with the release of their latest album, ‘Dislocation’.
This is your third album and you are heading towards 10 years of existence. Firmly part of the establishment! Tell us a little about how the group started.
Harv: Yeah I guess it's been nearly a decade now. Strange to think about. Nest Egg started as a recording project between myself and our longtime friend and collaborator Cyrus Shahmir. The first sessions were in April or May of 2011 and were essentially just Cyrus and I but did feature a few other friends as well on percussion and sitar here and there.
The first LP came from that time period and was called ‘Billion Year Voyage (to god)’. That's the only release that didn't include Ross and Thom. Ross and I have been playing music together for upwards of fifteen years now in a lot of different incarnations and he was involved in some of the early Nest Egg shows off and on. He and Thom joined the group officially in June of 2013 and we started releasing demo tapes and touring that fall.
Your second album came out on Fuzz Club in 2018. Do you feel that this record is a natural continuation?
Thom: Yeah this album feels like a continuation of the last record. We tried to implement a darker theme to this one but it all seems to blend together naturally. The recording techniques we used were the same thanks to the virtuous hands of Cyrus Shahmir, our recording engineer and the other OG member of Nest Egg. He and Harvey started the group together back in 2011 and Ross Gentry and I joined in 2013 He’s adjusted the dials for the past three records and it feels like he’s never left the band even though he lives in LA, on the opposite side of the country to us.
Harv: The record on Fuzz Club was actually the third record. There was ‘Billion Year Voyage’ in 2012, then ‘Respectable’ in 2015(?), I can't even remember what year ‘Nothingness is not a curse’ came out. Oh, I guess that was 2018. I'd say this record is a continuation of the last, but I think that's true for all of them. I think you can track the lineage of the trajectory from ‘Billion Year Voyage’ all the way through every cassette, 7", LP, etc. ‘Dislocation’ is probably the most obvious continuation from its predecessor but it definitely has its own character. The record sounds meaner to me in production, and certainly darker in content. I was in a pretty dark place for a lot of the process of writing this record which comes through for better or worse.
I can appreciate the Krautrock influence in the music, which has been previously documented, but I am hearing an almost early-80’s industrial feel to the percussion. Is this kind of clash something that you will look to explore further?
Thom: Thanks! I am always looking for new ways to anchor the beats differently from each other. Nurse With Wound is definitely an influence. We recently found an early version of “Eraser” that we used to play live and it sounded very much NWW inspired. Before practices I’ll listen to something like Can for drum ideas and deconstruct a few things and see how my approach would be, then apply them and see what works and what doesn’t with the guys and create a new rhythm. I enjoy those moments when new patterns emerge from what wasn’t expected at the time.
Do you have any plans to tour Europe when things return to something like normal?
Thom: Yes! We would tour Europe anytime we got the chance, and especially after “Dislocation” is released and touring and shows become normal again. It'll be a good chance to bring our good friend and sound engineer, Arieh Samson along. He's been deep in the music industry and showed us the ropes when we toured overseas in 2018. Let's hope we get back to it in 2021!
Harvey: We're looking very much forward to a chance to go back to Europe. We did a few weeks in December of 2018 after ‘Nothingness’ came out and I think we'd all agree that it was the highlight of our time as a band thus far.
How has lockdown been for you?
Thom: Lockdown resembles a time out version for adults. We are all sent to our rooms (homes) and instructed to stay in seclusion and think about our actions, but it’s up to our ‘parent’ (government) to release us when they think we’ve learned our lesson. I’ve enjoyed my time during Quarantine besides not being able to practice as frequently as we once were. It definitely has given time to think and reset what our future will look like. I cannot wait for when touring and shows will become normalized again, but until then we are isolating and thinking about what’s next for the band.
Harv: I'm trying to look at the positive aspects. It's not very often in someone's life that they get the opportunity to stop everything for four months (so far) and gain a new perspective. I know that musically I very much needed to stop the rat race aspect for a moment and remind myself why I love it. I remembered that first and foremost I fucking love sounds, very very much, and I fucking love making sounds with Ross and Thom. It's really a special thing. I can't wait until we can get back to it, write some new material, record the next record, and go back on tour. I think we all probably laugh the most when we're travelling together.
Dislocation is out now on Little Cloud Records / Acid Test Recordings.