Wait, didn't The Raging Nathans like just release an album? They sure did. But that was almost a year ago and the Dayton, OH punks figured it was about time for another full-length. The result? 'Waste My Heart', out today on Rad Girlfriend Records (US) and Brassneck Records (UK), which finds the band stepping it up in every way that you can step things up. We talked to Josh Goldman and Nick Hamby about being on a creative peak.
PRT: You guys released ‘Oppositional Defiance’ less than a year ago, have since also released a split with Reaganomics and are now back already with a new full-length. I’m guessing that’s what you get when you have the luxury of being in a band where all four members write songs?
Nick: It definitely is a plus. We’ve always all written songs but right now we’ve had the most consistent lineup we’ve ever had and that certainly helps when it comes to writing and working out new material.
Josh: Don't forget our splits with Starter Jackets and Dead Bras in 2020 too. Also, only three of us write songs! Patrick merely plays the drums. That just makes us that much more impressive.
PRT: How does songwriting usually work with you guys? Does everyone come to practice with fully completed songs and then you decide as a band which ones you’ll keep? Or is it more of a collaborative process?
Nick: Typically everyone comes with a complete song with all of the parts already worked out. We are all pretty open to suggestions and everyone kinda works out their own parts but very rarely do we start with nothing and collaborate on a song together. Parole Violation was one of the rare songs we all kinda wrote together. Everyone contributed something.
Josh: Having a little computer rig and being able to dmo songs at home has really done wonders for each of us in terms of output. We are also trying to switch it up a bit and write a new record where the process will actually be all of us in a room collaborating and writing songs together. We have two so far and they are pretty cool.
PRT: Even though it has been less than a year since ‘Oppositional Defiance’ came out, the songs on the new album already feel more well-rounded and tighter. Is that you guys feeling more and more comfortable as songwriters?
Nick: Thank you! I think so too. But yeah, I really think it has to do with us finally having a consistent lineup. We are working with each other really well right now and we are all comfortable and familiar with how we write and play together. It’s pretty cool.
Josh: I also think it has to do with pushing each other to write more songs, to write better songs and this need we have to constantly keep moving. We did spend so much time with revolving members and touring members. We were always having to teach them old songs or rehearse for a show instead of getting to focus on writing new material. Being at home for the last year has really helped us focus on moving forward instead of constantly looking in the rear view.
PRT: Not only does everything sound tighter on ‘Oppositional Defiance’, the album also just sounds better, I think. Is that Luke McNeil’s doing? What was it like working with him?
Nick: Working with Luke is amazing. I’m a big Copyrights fan so I was personally pretty stoked to work with him. Luke is a fantastic songwriter so he’s always listening and coming up with suggestions and ideas to make the songs the best they can be. He really cares about making a great finished project so I think we owe a lot of the way Waste My Heart’s sound/feel to him and his recording.
Josh: I think Oppositional Defiance sounds great too honestly. The two are just different. We did use all of our own gear on "Waste My Heart" though so I think that it sounds a little more like us because of that.
PRT: Next to Raging Nathans, Josh also plays in the Dopamines and Nick now has Houseghost as well. Are those other outlets something you feel like you need to do or more for fun?
Nick: For me personally, I always have so many creative things I want to do and I’m almost always in multiple bands at a time. A band like Houseghost is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I’m glad it’s finally out there for people to enjoy.
Josh: The Dopamines just happened naturally. At the time I was kind of like a hired gun or a touring member for a bunch of different bands. When they asked me to join it became permanent pretty quick. It was easy to do because they aren't as active as The Nathans. I also love filling in for bands and touring. It's opened up a lot of doors for me. But, being able to focus on the Raging Nathans almost exclusively for the last 15 months has really helped get us to where we currently are. My time and attention hasn't been so divided.
PRT: Josh, next to being in the band you also run Rad Girlfriend Records... generally speaking, does that make thing easier or harder for you?
Josh: Running the label is great for The Raging Nathans. We never have to worry about if some label wants to put out our record or have to worry about what people think. There is a lot of freedom that the band enjoys because I run the label. RGF has been steadily growing for a little while now so the challenges are beginning to come now in terms of how to balance bands, jobs, and family. If i could quit my day job and focus on the label I think I would have an easier time balancing things but im not quite there yet.
PRT: With live shows hopefully making a comeback in the not so distant future, are you already planning on going out there to support ‘Waste My Heart’?
Nick: I hope so. We’ve got a few shows planned for August with Canadian Rifle from Chicago. We’re playing FEST again. Not sure what else is in store for us this year.
Josh: I'm down for whatever. But I don't feel the need to tour just to tour like I did when I was younger. I still have a nagging urge to tour but I want to hold off until we earn some shows that are really great or a tour that really kicks ass. It's harder to leave now for weeks on end and not know if you're gonna get paid or if you're gonna play for 5 people in Kansas on a Monday night. I'd rather spend that time with my family. But the short answer is yes, we will be touring.
PRT: How many songs do you already have for the next album?
Nick: We’ve got 15 new songs ready to record with Luke again! I’m stoked!
Josh: And we got a few more recorded for a more hardcore record we are looking to write soon. Those records are gonna be called "Hate Cops" and "Still Hate Cops".
PRT: And if you in fact are ‘Dayton, Ohio’s #2 punk band’, who’s number three?
Nick: It doesn’t matter because we are actually the worlds last great punk band.