Interview: NTH RD talk new single, patience and tactile writing

Credit: Martin Wood

Melbourne melodic metalcore act NTH RD have come straight out the gate to make 2022 their own with no signs of slowing. The quartet recently shared their anthemic new single and video “I Watched You Fade Away”, just four months after their debut EP Panic, exploring loss and change.

We caught up with vocalist Jordan Kellaway and bassist Lucas Banim to chat about the song and more.

JK: “Realistically, it’s been the first year that anyone has really heard of us. We’ve actually been around for five or six years at this point. We went through a bit of a rebrand and kind of started fresh over the lockdown then came back and hit hard. It’s always funny when people say ‘You sound fully formed like you’ve done this before’, because we have.”

LB: “It was two years straight of not being able to do anything. We had actually written the whole EP beforehand in 2019. It gave us that time to sort of work out the other bits and pieces around the music. That’s what we spent that whole time working out.”

“I Watched You Fade Away” is a dynamic and powerful track with captivating visuals. Wandering verses with djent chugs and lush vocals transition to a huge chorus with clever arrangements and blistering screams. The latest effort from the Melbourne act is a combination of their previous works condensed into one epic track.

LB: “It was actually written throughout the lockdowns, a year after the rest of the songs. We pretty much said from 2022 onwards we want to be releasing every couple of months, we didn’t want to slow down.”

JK: “After Panic, which was something quite conceptual and heavy, we wanted to kind of condense that emotional weight into something that was a little more pop structured. It’s about the loss of someone significant in your life, but they’re still very much alive, you just watch them change into someone else and that whole metamorphosis.

“I was really proud of writing out those lyrics, and I think it was one of the first times I used pen and paper rather than jotting down notes on my phone. Because it’s something tangible and you’re actually writing stuff into existence, it has more stakes almost and makes you write with a bit more intention.”

NTH RD worked with producer Christopher Vernon (Belle Haven, Future Static, Tapestry) on the single, the man to know in the local heavy scene. The band couldn’t express their gratitude enough for being able to collaborate with such a legend.

LB: “We’ll always sing his praises. When we first came in with him, we knew nothing. We were so naïve. We wanted to do all these stupid things and Chris just had to kind of hold his breath and would just be like, ‘Look…’”

JK: “I don’t think we paid him enough for what he did. He was kind of like a counsellor as well. We were just these excited kids who didn’t really know about the inner workings of metal music.”

The song blends heavier styles with contemporary electronics to create something unique and enthralling. From the nu-metal breakdowns to the pop-punk hooks, we asked the band about their collective influences.

LB: “I think at the time there was a lot of Loathe and Deftones going around. We looked at the EP as a whole and we were like, ‘We’ve got all these edgier tracks, we’ve got all these softer tracks, we want something that kind of compresses all of the EP into one song’.”

JK: “We’re very much about writing choruses as if they weren’t metal songs at all, which is something that I’ve always wanted to bring to the table. When I fell for Deftones, I fell hard. I’ve got a White Pony tattoo on my leg.”

Citing Deftones and Bring Me The Horizon as major influences, the boys are beyond keen for Good Things Festival. Speaking of live shows, NTH RD recently supported Suspyria at Stay Gold in Melbourne with Harroway and Ransom Revue.

JK: “We love the Suspyria boys. When we first dropped “Wearing Thin”, our very first single, they were right there to support us. We’d never met them before and they just turned out to be the loveliest guys and it’s always a pleasure playing with them.”

LB: “Referencing the first show we played with them compared to now and seeing how both bands have grown within a space of six months is so sick.”

We asked if they could give us an inside scoop on whether there are any more shows in the pipeline, but they’ve instead opted for a well-earned rest over the Christmas period.

LB: “We’re taking a break at the moment, we’ve been pretty hectic in the last couple months with the EP. We’re planning to get back into it full-on next year with gigging and releasing, for sure.”

JK: “We’re not taking any significant time off, there’s always something in the works. During the last few gigs, we’ve already been back in the studio. As we come towards the end of the year, we just think it’s important to slow things down for a bit, look at what we’ve done this year and be proud of it.”

So, what are their big goals for next year?

JK: “We weren’t able to go interstate this year so that’s definitely on the list. We’ve been playing the Panic EP for a whole year now, the songs are becoming muscle memory and I’m starting to kind of crave playing new music. Then I realised it’s only been Melbourne.”

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