VictoryRecords artists, Nodes of Ranvier, have stellar new disc out called Defined by Struggle. Guitarist, Jon Parker, took a few minutes to talk with BRB about the album, dream tours, digital music, and more. Enjoy.
And if you haven’t picked up Defined By Struggle yet, I can’t encourage it enough.
BRB: Defined by Struggle shows a pretty significant degree of maturity versus past efforts. How much of that is the natural evolution of the band, and how much was a conscious decision to stretch out on this album?
NOR: A lot of what you are hearing as maturity may be coming from the fact that three of the members have changed since the last album. We wrote this album from a completely musical standpoint without regard for vocals. It was a very step-by-step process, and I think that laid way to a much more concise sound this time around. We may not have as much diversity of sound as we have in the past but the songs are much more technical in their speed and material. We set out to write a weighty record and something that we felt had a common feel from song to song, without becoming monotonous. We are very happy with what we came up with especially under the weight of time constraints and member changes.
BRB: If you could put yourself on tour with three other bands of your choice, who would you pick?
NOR: The Black Dahlia Murder, Burnt by the Sun, MASTODON.
BRB: Who are some of your non-rock-based favorite artists? What is it about those artists that gets them on your favorites list?
NOR: First off would be Atmosphere. For not being the biggest fan of hip hop, I must say there is something inspiring about Slug’s material. I’ve been able to see the group once in my hometown and it was pretty much the most fun I could have had around a bunch of frat boys and ICP fans. Haha!
Secondly would be Sigur Ros. I guess some would consider them a rock-based band, but because I cant find a way to classify them I’m adding them to the list. Their music does something to my spine that I cannot explain, and it literally gives me a hopeful feeling just in listening. This band is a gift.
Thirdly, I’m a big DJ Shadow fan. The Private Press is a record that I can listen to in almost any mood and especially when I need my mind to be doing two or more things at once. I appreciate the blending of elements that I myself would never have thought to put together.
BRB: Do you have any themes or sources that consistently provide lyrical inspiration?
NOR: The ins and outs of life have always played a particularly large part in the lyrical content of this band. A lot of songs are stories about problems we’ve faced and struggles we’ve bore. We want to put a positive spin on a sometimes grim world. It’s something that gives us reason and purpose to do what we do and play music that moves us personally. In a way, we live through the things that this band has brought about for us. It’s bigger than its members. It’s a message and a way of life.
BRB: How have social media sites like MySpace or PureVolume benefited Nodes of Ranvier?
NOR: Free access to press is always a good thing. Many people would have never heard of us if it wasn’t for these sites. Now, more than ever, it seems that the world of music is more about listening than buying. With so much to choose from, bands need all the help they can get to stay alive. We have appreciated the ability to run these sites by ourselves and stay in better contact with the people who would consider themselves fans. It’s a great tool for us to keep our music in the listeners’ ears.
BRB: Do you think the increasing popularity of iPods and digital downloads will eventually render CDs obsolete? How do you think this will affect a band like yours?
NOR: It’s hard to say. Books are very prevalent. I’m still buying vinyl. While I’m sure the digital world will continue to decrease hard copy record sales, I think that the music industry will never die. It may not be pretty, but something will have to take place to make some order out of all this. The attention that iPods have brought to the individual enjoyment of music has given people the ability to branch out their own musical tastes. For an off color band like ourselves, I’m sure this has been helpful.
There you have it, folks. Big thanks to Jon for taking the time to go into such depth and detail. The album, again, is called Defined By Struggle and it’s in stores now.