Interview: NOMADS

Steeped in cinematics, NOMADS’ 2012 self-titled debut was piqued with instrumentals layered and atmospheric, as jarring in its most subtle, airy moments as it was in its most anthemic. The duo of Adam Korbesmeyer and Elijah Bisbee recently released their new piano-laden single “Horizon”, a teaser of what to expect on their upcoming album When Those Around Us Leave, and we talked to the band about the direction of Leave, their sampling of natural sounds, and how their past has lead them to NOMADS’ current sound.

 “The overarching theme of Leave is coping with loss. There’s just something about piano that creates a space for that mindset.”

You recently released a new track, “Horizon”, from your upcoming album, When Those Around Us Leave, that’s heavily piano-based like “Home” from your self-titled album. Is that telling of what we’ll hear on Leave?

Absolutely. Adam bought a piano between our first album and writing for this next record and the general vibe of When Those Around Us Leave lends itself to more piano-based melodies. The overarching theme of Leave is coping with loss. There’s just something about piano that creates a space for that mindset.

One of the most unique characteristics of NOMADS, especially being a band based in a city environment, was the use of nature samples throughout the album. How did you decide to use those? Were they organic or found samples, and, if so, how did you find and choose them?

That’s actually kind of a funny story; when we were recording NOMADS we noticed crickets on the tracks when we turned up the room mics. After we heard them, we felt that it brought a depth to the songs that music itself couldn’t. We went out the next day with a Zoom recorder around the city and recorded a couple hours worth of ambient noise in Cleveland. It was pretty cool for us because that whole album was geared towards the history of Cleveland, so it was only fitting to fill the album with noises from the city.

You said in your documentary short, before NOMADS, you hadn’t played with an instrumental band for quite some time. As the band began to take shape, was it a natural transition?

When we first got together and started playing we started to bring ideas to the table and they all just lent to instrumental songs. One of my personal goals as a musician has always been to create a space for people to be inspired; not necessary spiritually or emotionally, but just to walk away feeling like the music connected with them. Being in NOMADS has given me that chance without the challenge of writing super meaningful lyrics.

Can you tell us more about your songwriting process?

Adam and I send a lot of iPhone voice memos back and forth. We both travel a decent amount for our “real” jobs, so we don’t have much time to sit and collaborate in the studio. We do most of our writing separately and then as we’re compiling ideas we add, subtract, and change parts we’ve been working on. From there we’ll record a demo to listen to and then continue the process over and over again.

Whenever the band gets together, what always seems to make its way back into rotation? 

We always find ourselves listening to Del Paxton (close friends from Buffalo), The Six Parts Seven (Ohio based band), Sigur Ros, & Nights (amazing Cleveland-based band). When we’re on the road we listen to a lot of NPR and comedy podcasts. We sometimes get a little music-ed out, if you know what I mean!

What’s your favorite thing about Cleveland and playing in Cleveland?

Neither of us are native Clevelanders, but we’ve both fallen in love with the city. Adam has been here for five years and I’ve been here for about four years. Our collective favorite things about Cleveland are: Lake Erie, the Metro Parks, the people, and the food. Having played in other cities, we also love Cleveland venues; they always treat local bands really well!

Visit the band at their official website and keep up with them on Facebook.

Select interviews will be printed in the Big Guide Book and CD samplers of  Brite artists are available as a Kickstarter reward. Get them both with the Music Lovers Pack and support Brite Winter on Kickstarter here.