BOLD, the highly acclaimed debut album from the Canadian trad trio NUA has been an artistic achievement. Now they are working on something else exciting… a new album. I initially talked to fiddler, James M. Law for the interview but he was in the middle of teaching at a fiddle camp in British Columbia, so he handed me over to bodhrán player, Jacob McCauley. It’s a collection of ideas from the three members including guitarist, Graeme McGillivray.
What’s new with NUA?
Jacob: Tunes, tunes,tunes! It’s been a fun year for us as we have been steadily working on new material for our upcoming 2015 album. It’s not something we necessarily planned for at the beginning of the year, but I’m sure many musicians can agree that it’s hard to switch off the creative juices, so to speak! Especially musicians like ourselves that enjoy writing new tunes together. As we started working on new tunes, we realized that if things keep going the way they are then we would most likely have enough new material to record a new album this Fall. Since our debut album BOLD was only partially written within a few months of the recording and partially written as much as 3 or 4 years before, we all mutually felt that working on new tunes in the near future was inevitable. It’s been great so far and we’ve been enjoying the writing process as we work together on arrangements and putting together new sets.
Can you tell us something about the new tune Virginia Jigs?
Jacob: Well speaking of new tunes! The Virginia Jigs set is our latest fully arranged composition. It began with Graeme writing the first tune and from there we decided it would be great to add another original jig to make it a set. James composed a brilliant new jig to follow Graeme’s jig and from there it went to working on the arrangement. On paper, it actually seems to be one of our more simple or straightforward sets, without having a bridge, solos or any non-traditional aspects. But the arrangement itself with all of its little rhythmic changes and tricks actually make it quite a challenging piece to play. It’s certainly a lot of fun though and we wanted that to come through in the video.
Do you find shooting videos exciting?
Jacob: It’s a lot of work and pressure to get it done, but it’s certainly exciting to get to the end result. Besides having various live performance videos, it’s our first sort of studio performance video. Not really a music video so to speak (although that may happen down the road) but a performance video filmed with multiple HD cameras and using studio mics. It’s a nice way to reach out to our fans as opposed to just recording an audio track and releasing it. We will certainly be doing more in the near future!
What’s the direction of sound on your upcoming project?
Jacob: It feels a little early to fully be able to describe what the direction and sound of the new album will be. But I think it’s safe to say that there will be definitely a different story or adventure than BOLD. It certainly won’t be a BOLD part 2! There are so many factors that can lead to the writing of tunes and the current mood we are in. BOLD certainly had a theme and an adventurous quality that lives up to its name. Our next release will simply tell the story of the mindset we are in this year and simply be a different sort of adventure. There is also the fact that unlike BOLD, the new album will all be written in less than a year and thus will most likely have a very consistent flow to it. That’s something we all feel excited about and we know that writing material in this fashion is always the best way to create that consistent mood and adventure throughout the album. We’ve always felt that although we do not incorporate any vocals to tell a story, our tunes do the storytelling and create a mood and adventure that is unique to the listener. Almost like reading a book and letting your mind create the images of all of the surroundings, characters and overall atmosphere.
It’s impossible to say what that adventure will be like, but as our writing continues I think it’s safe to say that we all feel like the material is fresh and a nice change from our material on BOLD. However, one thing is for sure, it will sound like NUA!