By Kris Peters
HEAVY music has never really cracked the ARIA charts. The overwhelming majority of albums recognised in the Top 100 have always been mainstream bands, so when one of the metal family manages to thrust their name into the hallowed spotlight, it is always cause for celebration.
Nails, hailing from Oxnard, California, debuted at number 93 on the charts last week with their third album You Will Never Be One of Us and according to vocalist/guitarist Todd Jones the chart position is vindication of the finished product.
“You Will Never Be One Of Us is about fake people,” he offered. “You put your passion and your energy into what you do: for me it’s music. Music is my passion and I assume it’s probably yours as well. But there’s not a lot of gain from what we do as far as money goes. We just do it because we love it and when you see someone try to do what you do, but they don’t put the respect into it, or the care into it, or the attention to detail that you do into it, it’s really disheartening and that’s what it’s about. Those people will never be one of us.”
The eclectic ferocity of the music is highlighted by the bands approach to their songs, with brutally short, tight efforts – Cry Wolf from Abandon All Life comes in at just 23 seconds – to the epic and gritty, They Come Crawling Back, which assaults the senses for over eight minutes, providing a depth and scope with relentless precision.
“When we set out to write a song we don’t think about how long we want it to be,” Todd explained. “We think about the vibe that we want it to encompass. Sometimes we have lightning bolts of energy that are short and quick and sometimes we like writing really slow stuff. Sometimes the songs are three minutes, five minutes or eight minutes. We just write the songs and make sure they’re not boring and try to make them the best we can. We kind of go where the song needs to go or wherever the song takes us.”
You Will Never Be One Of Us also sees Nails release their first album for new label Nuclear Blast Records, with Todd enthusing that the union is perfect to take the band’s music to their target audience.
“When Nuclear Blast approached us we told them what our expectations were, they told us what their expectations were and we were able to make a deal,” he said simply. “As far as the expectations go, we wanted to keep our freedom and be able to write the songs we wanted to write, and record them where we wanted to record them and get the artwork done the way we wanted it to be done. The recording budget was also something we asked about, like how much money they planned to give us to record and once we agreed on those things it was an easy decision. That’s one thing that is important to me is that we get enough money to record and press our records to our satisfaction and if that happens then the label has fulfilled their end of the deal as far as I am concerned. Everything else is just kind of an added bonus.”
“Probably the biggest attraction with a label like Nuclear Blast is a bigger recording budget and bigger distribution. Maybe we could reach certain people that we wouldn’t have been able to reach before but otherwise it’s business as usual. As far as the music goes and as far as the kind of music we make it would be the same no matter what label we were on. Really it’s just about how much backing the record has.”
Not only have Nails attracted the attention of music fans, they have also been noticed by their peers, most notably Soulfly’s Max Cavalera, and Todd says the endorsement of people the band grew up idolising is further proof of their growing success.
“He said the last record that we put out before this one was probably the heaviest record for the last 20 years,” he enthused, “and I was blown away! I grew up listening to Chaos A.D … the most gratifying thing I’ve ever had by doing Nails is other guys in bands that I grew up listening to have given us respect. Phil Anselmo gave us respect. Barney from Napalm Death gave us respect and those are the most gratifying parts of being in this band is when those guys say ‘hey, your band is good’, and when I hear that…. it’s cool man. It makes me feel like we’re doing something right.”
You Will Never Be One Of Us is out now via Nuclear Blast. You can check out our album review here: https://heavymag.com.au/nails-you-will-never-be-one-of-us-album-review/