The last time REDEFINE caught up with New York’s Nightmare of You, the Long Island quartet had just released their self-titled debut and were on the verge of hitting it big. Alongside tourmates like Fall Out Boy and Gym Class Heroes, Nightmare of You were able to gain a wide variety of fans across the board, appealing to new jacks who discovered pop-punk recently, as well as people who grew up with British-inspired pop music.
August 2009 Interview
Well, not entirely nothing. The band shortly split with East West Records, a subdivision of Warner Brothers operated by Triple Crown Records founder Fred Feldman. They kept their boutique imprint, The Bevonshire Label, and independently released the melodious EP, Bang.
On August 4, 2009, the band’s latest album, the tongue-in-cheek-titled Infomaniac, came out, with Nightmare of You on the a full U.S. tour supporting their newest opus.
Unlike its predecessors, which recall the peak days of ’80s dance jams, Infomaniac relies heavily on dub-inspired grooves and highlights the group’s heavy-on-hooks-and-sarcasm approach to pop music.
“I think the sound is constantly in flux… we’re always experimenting with new things, and we have very many influences, so it’s kind of hard to commit to one kind of music,” says singer and guitarist Brandon Reilly.
Reilly and guitarist Joe McAffrey are the chief songwriters of Nightmare of You, and their audio visions have been able to guide the duo from an idea to a cult favorite.
“I think Joe and I find it a bit boring when you have this equation to how you make records,” adds Reilly.
When asked about their songwriting approach for their new album, Reilly and McAffrey explain that they reduced the amount of synths, horns, and electronic effects that were heavy on their debut, which helps the band with their ability to recreate the songs in a live setting without compromising what people would hear through their speakers or headphones.
“That’s how we ended up producing the songs,” says McAffrey.
“We just kind of go with it, and we don’t plan things to be a certain way,” says Reilly. “We just see what happens.
Adding to the band’s shift in sound is their new rhythm section, comprised of drummer Michael Fleishmann and bassist Brandon Meyer.
Reilly and McAffrey have also positioned The Bevonshire Label to be a fully-run record company for the band’s affairs, unlike other bands in the music scene who’ve been granted their own vanity labels.
“A vanity label is just a logo,” says McAffrey. “You have to look at what’s behind that. Who are the players on that team who are pushing the product?
“For us, The Bevonshire Label currently just releases Nightmare of You albums. Considering that we’re pretty passionate and serious about our music, we do the best job we can… It’s very much a learning process.”
INTERVIEW CONTINUED BELOW
Along with gaining new members and pushing their records through their own label, the band is regaining the momentum that slowed following their break after the release of Bang.
“We’re definitely realizing that we have to work really hard, and we’re not in a position to be lazy,” explains McAffrey.
“We did a U.S. tour off of the EP as well,” adds Reilly. “Just sorting out whether we were going to self release [Infomaniac]. We were talking to a few labels, and we weren’t sure of what the plan was yet.
“Ultimately, we decided to it ourselves,” he continues. “It takes a lot to fundraise the money.”
Getting back to the van, Nightmare of You began a heavy touring schedule midway through 2009 by supporting Saves the Day and Alkaline Trio before heading off on their own marquee tour.
Now with Infomaniac in stores, fans can expect to see a lot more of the band in the coming months.
January 2006 Interview
Given the bands from which vocalist/guitarist Brandon Reilly and drummer Sammy Siegler have emerged, NOY could’ve been a giant disappointment. Instead, the band, rounded out by bassist Ryan Heil and guitarist Joseph McCaffrey, have stormed into the music world with a barrage of clean channel guitars and thought-provoking lyrics.
“Songwriting started at the end of The Movielife,” said Reilly. When The Movielife broke up in 2003, the Nighmare of You demos surfaced shortly after. Songs such as “Yuengling” (renamed “I Want to be Buried in Your Backyard”) and “No Uniform is Gonna Keep You Warm” were hooky jams that paid homage to 80s bands, such as The Smiths and The Cure. Unfortunately for Reilly, he was in a limbo that prevented him from finding a label to release his new band’s tunes. “I was bound to Drive Thru [Records],” explained Reilly. “I didn’t want to be on Drive Thru. [I felt] the music wasn’t suitable for the label.”
As the dust began to settle on their worries with Drive Thru, Nightmare of You sought out to finally find a home of their own. “We were set out doing [the album] through a major label deal, but the response was hot and cold.” According to Reilly, the trend at the time was garage rock like The Strokes and The Hives.
The band soldiered on, releasing more demos through their bare-bones website and opening for bands like My Chemical Romance. Suddenly, a slew of bands that had built their sounds around new wave and dance punk began to come out of every which way.
“It was horrible,” recounted Reilly. “It seemed like everyone was influenced by bands from the 80s. After we recorded the demo, The Killers came out.”
Listen to “Heaven Runs On Oil”
Luckily for Nightmare of You, Fred Feldman, who had founded Triple Crown Records in Long Island, was moving on up to Warner Music’s newly resurrected East West imprint, which stood as their rock music division. “We trust [Feldman]. He felt that a longer career is important… Bevonshire [was a way to] start the indie way,” said Reilly.
The Bevonshire Label is Nightmare of You’s label and they are its proprietors. While still part of the East West family, Bevonshire is a way for the band to escape the major label pressure of selling units. “I didn’t want to wait two years [and get put on the back burner.] We wanted someone to put it out, and ultimately, it’s under the Warner branch.”
Though Warner’s current roster includes superficial musical acts such as Diddy, Kid Rock and Ryan Cabrera, the songs on Nightmare of You’s self-titled debut are far from the ideologies of their label mates.
The album’s closer, “Heaven Runs on Oil,” is a politically heavy song and an indictment of the government’s actions in Iraq. In a recent interview with MTV, Reilly called it “the most important song on the record.”
“I’m a big lyrics person,” said Reilly. “Lyrics [are] the most important thing.” And it shows on songs such as “Dear Scene I Wish I Were Deaf,” which strikes at hipsters of all scenes. “It’s general. I’m not picking on certain people,” he said. “It’s funny because those people [are into the song.]”
Another track, “Thumbelina,” draws its inspiration from the Tom Robbins’ novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, which is something different, because Nightmare of You is from a genre that typically emotes from the heart, rather than the mind. “The book was bizarre,” Reilly said. “I wrote a song based on the story and placed myself in the song.”
When asked about if he had expectations for the future of his band, Reilly laughed and seriously answered, “Unfortunately I do. But I think we made a sweet record.” And his goal for Nightmare of You echoes the band’s lyrics: “We want to do it all.”
For this quartet, these goals will probably be more of a dream than a nightmare.