the AU interview: New Street Adventure (UK) on No Hard Feelings, influences and more!

Following the release of their debut album No Hard Feelings back in October, we caught up with frontman Nick Corbin from New Street Adventure, a new wave soul band from London, to find out a bit more about the band, their debut album, and their new single “Be Somebody”.

How did New Street Adventure come about?

It was originally a university venture. I’d never been in a band before and quickly realised I could make something of it, so eventually, I moved to London and started recruiting musicians. The line-up we have now has taken a while to put together, but it’s the right one!

What/who was it that first drew you to, or turned you on to soul music?

It was my Dad, otherwise known as ‘The Big A.C’! He took me to my first Northern Soul all-nighter at The 100 Club a few years ago and I was hooked. That has led to a love of all good soul music, which has heavily influenced the stuff I write.

Who do you consider as being influential to both your musical style or sound and your writing style?

From the soul world, my heroes are Bobby Womack, Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye. People with unique voices who made a difference with the power of their songwriting. I’m also a huge Arctic Monkeys fan and I love acts like The Specials, Ian Dury and The Clash. All great lyricists.

What is the story/inspiration behind your album No Hard Feelings?

The underlying story is one of struggling to succeed. I grew up in a place where higher education was seen as the only key to success. But all it did for me personally, was slow me down. That meant I pretty much had to start again when I moved to London and a lot of that is reflected in the record too. The difficulty when you’re putting songs like that on an album is achieving some degree of balance, as there has to be some positivity in there somewhere! I think both lyrically and musically, we managed to do just that. Everyone has their gripes with life and everyone experiences the ups and downs of relationships, so hopefully this is a record people can relate to on many levels.

What is the story behind your new single “Be Somebody”?

I wrote the track after an ‘incident’ in our student union. I went to a state school and until I started university I hadn’t had anything to do with people who had been to private school. There were a lot of Oxford/Cambridge rejects around and a lot of people with a chip on their shoulder, which I found perplexing. I couldn’t understand why someone’s background would make them superior to me in their eyes. We were always getting into trouble when we went out.

There is a degree of social commentary within your lyric writing, and lyrically songs like “A Little Alarmed” have a slight political element to them. Do you see yourself as a political band?

I’d stick to social commentary on this one. I can see why people may think “A Little Alarmed” is political, but essentially it’s me giving advice to my 17 year-old self, saying, “You don’t have to make up your mind right now. It’s not all going to go tits up if you don’t go to university!”

It is a problem though; you can study anything now and most people just go to uni to get pissed and get laid, then come out in thousands of pounds of debt they’ll never pay off and end up doing something completely irrelevant to what they studied in the first place.

How did you approach the songwriting on the record? Was it a case of lyrics then music? or start with a melody or a riff and build from there?

It changes song to song really. The most interesting one I guess is “On Our Front Doorstep” because it started as a poem. I don’t write poetry at all, but it just happened one night when the London riots were going on and we were stuck inside watching the news waiting to be told they were coming our way! I had all the words before any tune came to mind, which is never normally the case.

What has the reaction to No Hard Feelings from both fans and the press been like so far?

It’s been great. We’re delighted with how it’s been received; people really seem to understand what we’re trying to do. We see ourselves as part of the new-wave of soul bands and all the reviews we’ve had totally get why.

Seeing as we’re closing in on Christmas, what have been some of the highlights of 2014 for the band?

Releasing the album was huge just because that huge body of work is finally out there for all to hear. Our launch gig at The 100 Club was really special too. It was great to go back there after a couple of years away.

And likewise what does 2015 have in store (so far) for you?

We’re headlining the Jazz Cafe in Camden on March 12th and that will be part of a new tour to promote the next single, “The Big AC”, which comes out March 9th!


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Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.