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Inglorious - We Will Ride - Spring 2021

The Future Of Rock is a phrase every single band would be delighted to have pointed in their direction. In fact it’s perhaps the biggest complement that could ever be paid to new artists. UK rockers Inglorious were the recipients of such a label from Planet Rock Radio back in 2016. As much as this may have put such a wonderful spotlight on them, there must surely have created a huge amount of pressure to actually live up to this statement. Well, as the band approach their 5th anniversary, and on the eve of the release of their 4th album We Will Ride, the rock community – industry and fans alike – would undoubtedly agree that Inglorious have maintained the right to wear this title. We Will Ride is Inglorious’ best album yet. Original members Nathan James (vocals) and Phil Beaver (drums) are joined by new recruits Vinnie Colla (bass), Dan Stevens (guitar) and Danny De La Cruz (guitar), and together they have created 11 wholly outstanding, arena-ready classic rock tracks. Even at this early stage of 2021, We Will Ride is a contender for Album Of The Year. We are aware of what a strong statement this is but if the cap fits… And it’s on a cold and wet January evening that we catch up with Phil at home in Warwickshire to talk about how the album came together. As ever the drummer is in fine spirits and although he has a love of Horlicks, Phil has tonight traded this for perhaps a more rock ‘n’ roll bottle of Corona. As the UK continues to flood, our conversation begins… 

It’s a hugely exciting time with the new album We Will Ride being released on 12th February. What sort of thoughts are going through your mind at album release time? 

Really, at the moment, not a lot. Generally speaking, in the past, I would’ve been thinking about playing live and getting the whole sort of live thing together but at the moment it’s not really on my mind at all. It’s just kind of something that’s happening, you know? I’ll be honest, it’s not really crossed my mind! (Laughs!)

We Will Ride is the band’s 4th album and it being released on pretty much the 5th anniversary of Inglorious the band. And you’ve had the most incredible journey. Being labelled as the Future Of Rock, a hugely loyal fan base and live shows that have seen you tour with some of the best bands around and gracing the biggest stages. Taking yourself back to February 2016, how does it feel to look in the rear view mirror at such incredible success? 

It’s just a bit surreal I suppose. I don’t know if it ever really sinks in when you play some of the places like Donington main stages and touring with Steel Panther. It’s all such a blur I’m not sure it ever really sinks in. Unless you really concentrate and look back and think. If I do think back it’s always about recognising what an opportunity that was and what a life we live. 

As a band with you always moving forward and focusing on growth, I guess you would hardly ever get the chance to catch your breath and reflect. 

I think that’s exactly right. It’s just a blur and it happened so fast. When you mention 4th album I just think ‘Well hang on a minute, we’ve only just started this, haven’t we?’ but no, it’s been five years! Time flies when you’re having fun – it really does, it’s true.

Before we talk about the music, let’s talk about the incredible new band members joining Inglorious for We Will Ride. Vinnie Colla plays bass and Dan Stevens and Danny De La Cruz are the new guitarists. Not only are they stunning musicians but they are also incredible performers. How have they influenced the sound of We Will Ride? 

Everyone has their own sort of musical personality and when you add the flavours together you get something. And now we have this new mix of influences and style. It’s great! Nathan and I are so happy with what’s happened and I feel like it’s moved us in the direction that I personally had been thinking would be nice: to make something that sounds a bit more current, a bit more fresh. And I think it definitely does sound fresh at the moment. All band members were involved in the writing. We’d do a bit of writing on our own and then we’d get together in certain groups of people: me, Danny and Nathan, or me Dan and Nathan or Vinnie and me – we’d get together. And this was before Covid. The album is all written pre this madness that we are having at the moment. Different combinations of people. Dan would have a riff and we’d work on it together… it’s been a real sort of team effort. It’s not like any one person has done the majority or anything like that. It is a real sort of team spirit that we’ve got going on.

I mentioned here about the new recruits being great performers and this is beautifully demonstrated on the album’s video for the first single and opening track She Won’t Let You Go. This is a song about a red haired lady with a nasty reputation and it was written from a very autobiographical standpoint following a night out in Camden. What can you tell us about this? 

How do you know that?! (Laughs!) I wasn’t there! Nathan doesn’t kind of let on too much and I don’t ask too many questions (laughs!). I know about as much as you in that there was some crazy, crazy girl who was a bit of a pain in the arse to be honest!

I think one wonderful qualities about the new line up is the amazing and indisputable chemistry you all have – chemistry that simply oozes through every frame of the video for Medusa. It looks like you all had so much fun making this album. How much would you agree with that statement? 

Oh, 100%! It was so much fun because not only were we all making a record together for the first time but this was the first time any of us had actually seen anyone else apart from our families for months. So to actually see your mates again was such a blast and we had so much fun it was absolutely brilliant – but professional fun as well. I know we have a bit of a reputation for burning the candle at both ends a little bit but we were actually really focussed and professional for this, and we just laughed! Instead of drinking all night, we’d sit up - me and the 2 Dans in particular – and we’d drink Horlicks and watch videos of the great Muse documentary on You Tube of them making 2nd Law. So we’d just stay up watching videos on You Tube, drinking Horlicks and laughing! It was a really, really nice experience for all of us and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that. 

One of the things I love about that particular video is that the fact you are having so much fun makes me want to watch it again and again. But let’s just stick with the track Medusa because this is the first Inglorious track to feature slide guitar and it was co-written by the incredible Joel Hoekstra. I’m guessing that this collaboration came about from Nathan’s friendship with Joel from when they worked together in Trans Siberian Orchestra. What does it mean to have Joel’s talent represented on the album? 

It’s great! He is such a lovely guy, we all love Joel and he is a phenomenal guitarist. An absolutely unbelievable player! It’s great – he’s in Whitesnake for God’s sake! Why wouldn’t you want to do a track with a guy from a Whitesnake?! (Laughs!) It’s cool, man!

Note from the Editor: We asked Joel Hoekstra what meant to work with Inglorious. This is what he said:

“It’s great fun for me! They are younger, up-and-coming kind of guys. So it’s not like a legacy act. Inglorious are actually a current band with that classic rock sound that’s great fun. They’re all great guys, very talented. I co-wrote one track on their first record and then Nathan asked me again about this one and we ended up connecting on 2 ideas. I’m thrilled to have those coming out and be a part of their story. It’s great!”

For We Will Ride you chose to work with producer Romesh Dodangoda who’s worked with bands such Motörhead and Bring Me The Horizon. Interestingly, this is the first time you’ve worked with a producer. Why was now the right time to make that decision and how did Romesh get the best out of Inglorious?

We probably should have worked with a producer before (laughs!) but now we’ve done it, it’s like ‘Oh, this is easier!’. It’s nice because you’ve got an executive to make the final decision on something, not to say that we regularly quarrel about anything, it just takes the pressure off. So we throw in our pennies and he’ll say “Right, that’s what we’ll go with”. So it’s just simple – no arguing. He got the best out of us by mainly letting us do our thing. We had free reign of what we were doing really. He wasn’t even guiding us necessarily but once some idea would come up he would say “Right, that’s great, let’s do that.” We just sort of followed his intuition, you know? It was absolutely brilliant!

The title of the album We Will Ride is the same as the closing track to the album. We Will Ride sounds like a statement of intent and of a band fired up for action. Is that a fair thing to say? 

Absolutely! It was actually my idea to use We Will Ride as the album title. It’s a little bit corny because our last record was a Ride To Nowhere, but that is such a coincidence. So to go from that to we will ride it’s sort of us saying “Look, shit happened, whatever, we’re back and we’re going to ride”. 

It’s great to see a band investing in how the album is presented visually. How did the concept come about? 

Nathan has a lot to do with this kind of thing and he gets people in to work with him to explore his vision. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but every album except the last one has had a girl on the front cover.

I do approve of such things, Phil! 

(Laughs!) A good album cover does draw you in. There’s a lot to be said for that. And the whole concept of making a record is art, so why wouldn’t you invest in its appearance, the one thing that’s going to attract somebody? Even on streams, you still see something that attracts the buyer. You don’t just look at the word Inglorious for example, do you? You do see a cover of some description that attracts you… or not! (Laughs!)

Let’s move on to live plans. Inglorious have a mighty 22 date UK tour due to kick off at the Engine Rooms in Southampton on 22nd April. With the band not being able to play live for such a long time, how much are you looking forward to this tour and what can fans expect? 

Oh, very much looking forward to it! I just worry that it’s not gonna happen with everything that’s going on. I can just see it being pushed back again. Regardless of that, yes we are bursting to go out and play. We just don’t want to be at a point where we’ve recorded another album before we tour this one. 

That is an interesting point because when I reflect on your last album Ride To Nowhere, I feel that there was so much left in the tank, and I wonder if it’s been able to fulfil its potential, especially as the majority of 2020 was a write-off. Do you share this view?

Yeh, I guess so. We didn’t get a planned chance to play it all that much did we. The last time we played was October 2019. It’s just all gone Pete Tong hasn’t it!

As our conversation draws to a close we reflect on and what a wonderful album We Will Ride actually is. It’s also wonderful to see the huge sense of positivity within Phil despite all the setbacks that Covid has presented to the band. Together we have spent much of our conversation laughing at adversity, and it’s perhaps this sense of ‘looking on the bright side of life’ and a massive sense of fun that allows all Inglorious’ music to resonate so strongly with their fans. 

We Will Ride is available from 12 February. To find out and to preorder, visit www.inglorious.com. In the meantime, enjoy the video to She Won’t Let You Go below.