the notas cover EP

About two weeks ago, promising Dublin-based band the Notas uploaded their second EP Creatures of the Night to Bandcamp. A six piece hailing from Nigeria, France, Zimbabwe and elsewhere, the band have been ones to watch almost since they formed in 2010 in Balbriggan. State dubbed them one of its faces for last year after a strong 2011, yet they only released their debut EP last September. Their latest EP is a big step up, with a much fuller sound evident, particularly on the monstrous ‘Masquerade’. You can listen to Creatures of the Night below, and buy it on Bandcamp on a pay what you like basis. I asked Kain Devine of the Notas how they got together, what it’s like being a hyped band and whether, with all the nationalities that make up the Notas, do they even feel like an Irish band. The interview’s after the jump.

There are six members in The Notas. Introduce us to them, what do they play? How did you guys get together?
Maurice Hans – Lead singer
Mubashir Ali Sultan – Guitarist
Paul Morgan – Guitarist
Kain Devine – Synth and Guitarist
Alice Jacquier – Bass
Princess Siwela – Drums

However, lately we’ve been swapping around. We all play each other’s instruments in at least one song in the set.

We all went to school around the same area! Princess and Alice wanted to start an all-girl rock band but it didn’t really work out. Princess knew that Maurice and Ali wanted to start a band though so she got in touch with them and then Maurice asked Paul in French class if he wanted to be in a band cause he knew he played guitar! That line-up jammed together for a while, but they thought something was missing so Princess got in touch with Kain who use to play in another band around the area. He said yeah and then The Notas were fully formed. It’s kind of like the six degrees of separation way to start a band!

What is the dynamic like when you’re sitting down to write a new song?
It usually starts with one of us having a guitar riff or a synth lead and bringing it to the rehearsal space to jam out. One of us will just start playing something we’ve been working on and then if everyone likes it we start to work on it together and start building a structure and stuff. I guess you could say we have a pretty organic way of writing songs.

You’re all quite young and from a variety of different countries. Do you identify yourselves as an Irish band?
Most definitely yes. Although some of us were born in different countries and raised there until a quite young age we matured here and spent all of our formative years here. We like being known as a multicultural band but at the heart of it we are a proper Irish band.

What was the writing process like for Creatures of the Night? It’s about eight months since the debut EP so are these all brand new songs, ones that didn’t exist last September?
These were songs that were written directly after See You When The Sun’s Out so they’re not that new really. Kain had just joined the band and had a load of material and most of the songs were the result of jamming and expanding on them. We recorded them in the summer of last year as well but due to schedule conflictions with our producer and stuff it took way longer than we originally thought it would to make the EP. It kind of taught us to be a bit more patient though as when we were going into recording and stuff we just wanted them to get done as quick as possible so we could have something out. Taking your time when doing these things can be really beneficial though and we’re really proud of what we made.

Both Nialler9 and Harmless Noise, talking about your new EP, praised it but said that you’re so close to creating your own unique sound. Do you think you’re too in thrall to your influences? (Foals, Wu Lyf and Wild Beasts are the main influences, right?) Do you know what they’re talking about when they say that?
We definitely understand what Nay and Nialler are saying. As the songs on the EP were made when we were still kind of finding our feet as a band they are in debt to a lot of the bands we were loving at the time but I wouldn’t say overly so. Since then though we’ve really come a long way and I think a lot of the newer songs we are making are wholly of our sound and structure. We were recently described after a gig as atmospheric soul which I think is a really cool way of looking at what we do.

You don’t seem to play live overly often. Is that a conscious effort you’re making of is it just difficult to line up dates/get everybody together?
It’s a conscious decision. Last year we must have been playing about two gigs a week and if you’re appearing that regularly then people are going to get bored of the set so we decided to reel it back this year. That way the set still feels fresh not only to us but the crowd and new songs don’t become old songs too quickly.

What have you learned about the music industry in the three years you’ve been a band? Do you find it strange to be hyped? Is there added pressure?
It is strange being hyped. We went from playing gigs in bars in Balbriggan to being one of State’s faces and on Nialler9 and playing festivals around the country. Because of this I think the second EP did have a bit of extra pressure to it. Because we did take our time and not freak out about it we didn’t really notice it though. The main thing I guess we’ve learned is that this is the industry we want to be a part of. Day jobs now just wouldn’t suit us.

What else can we expect from the Notas in 2013?
Hopefully some new singles. Maybe a video and if things go well we can start work on our first-full length LP.