Inglorious - Summer 2017

The new album

On 12th May, British rock band Inglorious released their incredible and highly anticipated second studio album. Simply entitled Inglorious II, the record sees the band exploring a similar highway to that driven on last year's self-titled debut but this time they have absolutely stepped it up a gear. Its 12 tracks preserve the very best ingredients of 70s and 80s classic rock but with a youthful glow. The band have squeezed the sponge of creativity to combine simple riffs with beautifully clean runs, imaginative lyrics, and beyond all the most captivating vocals, creating a body of work rarely seen on a second album. In fact, though already a modern day classic, Inglorious II is better than their debut. With this release Inglorious continue to justify the ‘future of rock’ label bestowed upon them last year and prove yet again that despite their classic sound they are indeed the freshest thing on the menu.


We catch up with lead singer Nathan James on a gorgeous, hot Saturday evening in the beautiful setting of Sonning on Thames. The setting’s allure is further enhanced by the simple fact that we have taken root in the beer garden of The Mill pub, it's rock credentials massively amplified by the fact that its perimeter wall is shared with the home of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. And it's a very excited and driven Nathan that greets us today. The band have just returned from Jersey following a charity gig that nearly didn't happen. The airline failed to deliver their instruments with their suitcases but thankfully, with only minutes to go, the last bag containing all the bass player’s pedals arrived thus allowing the chaos to subside and an incredible show to be performed. It must have been an overall very stressful experience but you would never though this to be the case. Nathan is relaxed and clearly in a very happy place. With the hot weather balanced by the ice cold beers before us, our conversation begins...

I would of course like to talk about Inglorious’ second album Inglorious II but before we do let's take a moment to reflect on the last year. You released your debut album and you spent the last 12 months touring with bands such as Steel Panther, Last In Line, The Dead Daisies, The Winery Dogs, and played festivals such as Download as well as your own headline shows. How does it feel to have had such a hugely successful year and what were the highlights for you?


The highlights for me were probably Rambling Man and Download. They were just believable. I think that's the first time I realised we were doing something people would liking. When you hear 10,000 people singing Holy Water back at you at midday on a festival stage it’s quite an incredible feeling. That was my absolute highlight and also just getting great praise for an album that we all worked really hard on, you know. On that album we all worked so hard and I was so nervous because it's the first time I'd ever written any lyrics or melody to stuff of my own so I was really nervous about it. That's the thing I'm most proud of definitely. 


You've just released your incredible new album Inglorious II which is simply a stunning record. Tell me about the approach you talk to writing and recording album.


We follow the same process pretty much where we all got together and in the same room which I find really important. I don't believe in the ‘writing all over the world’ nonsense that a lot of bands do now. It's great that technology has given people that but I would rather look at people in the eyes, throw ideas in and change them, and people not get too offended, you know. It's very easy to let something pass if you are listening to it in a rush or something, whereas if you're sat opposite someone you get an honest reaction And that's how I believe we get to the place we do with our songs. Anything that people are uncomfortable with we change there and then and we get the best results so that’s our key. And the other key is to record it in the same way. So everyone in the same room at the same time apart from myself just because if we do something 5 or 6 times my sixth take might not be as good as my first take! (Laughs) We just keep that live energy and we really enjoy playing together so it's a really hassle-free experience in the studio. It's also economical, you know. It's cool that the boys recorded the main bulk of the album in three days.

And that is an important consideration, the economics of it all.


Yeah, if you want to make an album that's great, and you don’t want to do it in a bedroom – and what people do in their home studios, that's really great, but there's nothing like the sound of a big old desk, old analogue gear and amazing rooms. We had a slate room and all these incredible spaces to make sound. So you have to be able to spend the money on those important things and we are lucky that we don't have to spend a lot of money for days. It's a very short time and we are in and out. 


For this record you worked with Kevin Shirley, one of the world's very best producers who’s worked with bands such as Aerosmith, Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin . Kevin mixed the new album and even said he thought you were the best English band since Led Zeppelin. And he is a man who knows what he's talking about! What was it like working with Kevin and also to hear his incredible statement?


Unbelievable! We got to work with Kevin because I fell in love with his mixes on the Black Country Communion album, and our bass player Colin loved what he had done with Mr Big. I just got my manager to shoot him an email to see what he'd say, thinking he was too busy because he's doing the Black Country Communion album and he's always busy with Joe Bonamassa. I wasn't even expecting a reply but he said he would love to do it! So we went from there and honestly he kind of works like we work: really quickly and really efficiently. He knows exactly what he's doing and what he wants and he mixed the whole record in four days. We love the sound of this album. We think it sounds really big and really live and really exciting. He really nailed what we wanted.


A few months ago Inglorious parted ways with guitarist Will Taylor and it's quite interesting that he was actually replaced with the original Inglorious guitarist Drew Lowe. Now let's just for a moment go right back to even before when you released your first album. Inglorious released many You Tube live-in-the-studio performances of songs such as Deep Purple’s Burn. And it was those videos, with Drew on guitar, that were in part instrumental in kicking off this huge buzz that has since snowballed around the band.


That video, is the reason we got a record deal without a doubt, the video of Burn so I agree.


So there can be no question of Drew’s incredible skill and performance. So why wasn't Drew around for the release of your debut and what does it mean to have in back in the fold? 


It's amazing to having back first off. He is our bass player’s cousin and he is the reason why we have the bass player and drummer in the band. He introduced us. The problem was in the beginning I didn’t have as much control over A&R decisions. Someone we were working with who was kind of taking an A&R position believed that I needed someone slightly more showy let's say, because I'm quite the character I'm told, and they wanted me to have someone to like match and someone who is a little bit more flamboyant. It was nothing to do with skill because Drew is an unbelievable guitar player. But Drew is now very comfortable, I think he didn't want that pressure either and there is a lot of pressure to that. He would much rather play rhythm and lock in with his cousin and mate Phil who he's known for 30 years. So it's a real good situation and he is so happy in the band, we’re happy to have him back, and the awesome thing is now we have someone in the band who understands us enough to really improvise and play solos so it's a really strong match for talent. Hopefully different but they both bring stuff that the other one can't and I think that's really important.

Getting back to the new album, before it was released we had a taste of what was to come in the tracks Read All About It and I Don't Need Your Loving, the latter providing the most gorgeous clean guitar intro followed by intense, cool and infectious riffing, absolutely taking the listener by surprise in the most wonderful way.  So your fans had huge expectations of the full album but you have absolutely delivered, evident by the fact that the album entered the official albums charts at number 22. But the real test in many ways is the fans. Inglorious had their album launch show at Islington Assembly Hall on 19th May. What was the fans’ reaction to the new material?


Unbelievable! Obviously they’d had the full album only for about a week by the time of the launch but they obviously listened to it because the 800 people who were there were singing along with Read All About It, Making Me Pay, High Class Women at the end of the set and I Don't Need Your Loving, so it was amazing to see those people singing the songs which were so new and I'm looking forward to going out on tour in October and people really knowing the songs, loving them and really making them part of this summer. I think that's the cool thing I remember about being a kid - and obviously I'm a fan, this is the reason I sing this music, we are fans of this music - I remember discovering an album early in the summer and it becoming my soundtrack for the summer. I hope that's what this becomes for quite a few people this summer. I’d love people to say ‘I went on holiday to this place and I listened to this album the whole time’ or ‘we got married this month and this is what I remember’. I'd love that to happen this summer. I'd love for people to really embrace this album and come and watch us on tour at the end of the year.


You will shortly be kicking off your European tour which begins in France on 16th June following which you have some festival shows and in October a full UK tour. What can fans expect from these shows?


A good mix of both albums. If anyone was at the London show, we tried to bring more production on board, some lights and some fun, you know. No crazy gimmicks but just more of a show. Also, we are a much tighter band than we were 12 months ago. We’ve played together a lot and we’ve really tightened up the rhythm, enjoying each other as friends and also as musicians. So we are really pushing ourselves. We are just absolutely loving it and having a really good time. People will see that when they come and see us - we never take them for granted.


So with a strong line up and the fact that you have avoided the curse of ‘the difficult second album’ do you feel you have the launch pad to take Inglorious to the next level?


I really hope so, yeah! I just think we need more people in the mainstream to get behind it. I think there's only so long you can ignore something, and I think eventually the producers of Jools Holland or Radio 1 or whoever it may be need to just go ‘Okay, this band are making waves in their genre’.  We have an incredibly loyal fan base and if we're appearing in charts with these people and getting number 1 albums in the rock charts, they need to take notice because we're not going anywhere. The next time we do an album it will be better – again – and we'll make more noise about it and we will have more fans buying it and we're going to tour this year. We are just going to keep going until the whole of the UK, the rest of the world and the music personnel know about us.


As our conversation draws to a close, we reflect on the fact that Inglorious are totally deserving of huge success. First and foremost they have the talent and 2 incredibly strong albums. What they also have is the hunger and determination to succeed. We also reflect on Nathan's desire for more people in the mainstream to get behind the band. We couldn’t agree more. Those within the rock circles already recognise everything that Inglorious has to offer and their army of loyal fans certainly don't need any convincing. It would therefore be entirely fair for the mainstream media to welcome the band. It would also be very unfair for us to keep the band to ourselves.


To find out more about Inglorious, the new album and forthcoming tour, visit www.inglorious.com.