Florida band NRWO (Nothing Rhymes With Orange) are all set to release their second LP 'The Happiness Struggle' in the UK on May 4th. I caught up with Rich Coccaro to find about a little about the history of the band and to see what we can expect from the album.
How did you guys start out?
When I first started playing I didn't think about joining or starting a band, it kind of just happened. Carl was doing some singing on his own, he always wanted to sing in the band that I was trying to put together.. I wouldn't let him.. I told him he sounded and looked too much like that Bono dude.. Eventually after years of abuse and nagging, I gave in.. from then on we just started writing songs..
The both of us started getting into music and following bands at a very young age. My first show was The Police - Syncronicity Tour. Probably shouldn't have told you that because now you have an idea of how old I am.. Well I was about four or five.. Yeah, I made my dad take me.. That was kinda of the starting point. My first show was in a stadium and I was five.. that says it all..We've always had the mentality of writing BIG songs that could hold up in a stadium or an arena and I think that is reflective of the bands that we grew up listening to. I mean it's a bit more diverse these days but growing up with The Smiths, Oasis, u2, even Springsteen and Petty.. So that's where we've always wanted to go.. How does this record differ from your previous offering, 'Hello Mysterious'?
It's much better! That's the biggest difference I think..I wanted this album to be about songs that are simple and honest. I lent a hand in the writing a bit and tried to get Carl to go in a different direction from the past record. There were a lot of obscure references and I, as I'm sure most, had a problem connecting with. We were trying to be a band that we were not or will ever be and I don't even know what band that is..I think we've always had a much more understanding of what kind of band we don't want to be then the band we want to be. So With this album it was the two of us with an acoustic guitar taking personal experiences, stories, things that happened on a daily basis, relationships, etc. you know the usual, and just letting it go. This is how it is.. You're influenced by a lot of British bands. What do you think British bands offer than American bands don't?
I’m really not sure. Not to say that America doesn't have a ton of great bands I just think Britain has more. To me it's about great songs and less about who can be the most successful, make the most money in the shortest time. I think there is more longevity with bands from the UK. Primarily because I think the songwriting is better and the fans connect more with those types of bands.. You've supported the likes of RHCP and Doves, how did that feel?
It was good. Anytime you get an opportunity to play with bands that have inspired you in some way, it makes the shows that much more exciting. Also keeps us on top of our game. If we're supporting an act of that size, we better not suck! What have you got planned for the rest of the year?
With the release of The Happiness Struggle, we'll be heading back to the UK in August. Then hopefully a follow up tour in the states, and then hopefully a follow up to that tour in the UK, then back to the states... I don't want to go home, I'd rather just live on the road. Well maybe a week or two back home would be nice.. and I say that now but a month into it and I'll probably want to be back home doing nothing..
How has British reaction to you differed from in the US?
The reaction so far has been pretty much the same all around, which is good and surprising. I think it's still a bit early to know for sure but we're hoping both sides take a liking.. We've always focused more on the UK because we just felt it was a better place to get our music across.. As I mentioned before I just think there's more of an appreciation for music in Britain. If it's takes a while to break America then so be it..I think America needs their music spoon fed to them, so if that's the case, we'll do it. One at a time if need be. You always hear about bands breaking the UK before the US. Take Kings Of Leon. Perfect example.
What 3 tracks of yours should we track down and love?
Headlines And Deadlines Escaping Hell The Happiness Struggle... and the rest of the album.. There's a place in Wales called Blorenge, which does rhyme with Orange. Does this make you sad?
I actually think I've heard that before.. but no it doesn't make me sad. If anything, glad. Because now maybe we can change the name of the band.
Bands have been using the new wave of social media to enhance their status for years now; its most famous child perhaps being Arctic Monkeys, who raced to the fastest sales for a British debut album back in 2006. Now, however, social media has a new Queen. Noush Skaugen is probably the most famous female solo artist that you've never heard of and, remarkably, despite her unsigned status she's racked up a staggering 1.2million followers on Twitter (which is especially impressive when you consider that people like Stephen Fry have 1.3million).
Born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Persian Father, Noush has split her time between Sweden, France, the US and London, completing a law degree at Warwick University in the process. After gaining some musical success she decided not to follow a career in law and having gathered more support through podcasting and Myspace Noush released her debut EP 'Palomino' in 2007. This in turn led to prestigious prizes in the form of 'Alternative Pop Artist of the Year' at the 17th Annual LA Music Awards, and 'National Independent Rock EP of the Year' at The Hollywood Music Awards. She then followed this up with her first full lenth album, 'Lost and Found' in 2008.
Her rise seems to show no signs of stoppng and, after becomming the most popular unsigned artist on Twitter, she became the first unsigned artist to be invited to perform a live-streamed showcase from Twitter's San Francisco HQ earlier this month. On top of this she's had a successful slot at this years SXSW, has toured with the likes of Nine Inch Nails, TV On The Radio, Paramore, R.E.M., Joss Stone and The Mars Volta. Now with a new album due for release in the spring Noush is releasing 'Run Baby Run', her new single, in May, which you can see below. The video is a further example of the lengths that Noush goes to to connect with her fans; she recorded it especially as a thank you after reaching one million fans on her Twitter.
One of my favourite records is Steve Allen's‘How To Think’. Allen was a polymath and glittering star of American radio and television culture. How to think is in many ways a precursor to later advisory records such as ‘Wear Sunscreen’. “Use words carefully” or “Look for the evidence” are just two of the observations Allen makes for having an empathic, universal human understanding. Allen also has an innate ability of embedding and encoding each of these instructional observations within a beautiful suite of compositions that are the ultimate in easy-listening, while simultaneously mapping and explaining the psychic territory, inner mechanisms and cerebral topography of the human brain. You can hear it too via this link… Steve Allen - “How To Think” LP (ZIP file)