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Changing the Perceptions of Country Through Collaborative Arrangements
HOMETOWN: Brooklyn, NY
ARTISTIC APPROACH: To make music you’d hear at a family BBQ…right before your Grandma lights the lawn on fire.
Menacing as the name might sound, the Nightmare River Band seems a whole lot more concerned with being enjoyed than feared. Then again, if the subtle reference to an obscure Jim Henson movie didn’t go unnoticed, maybe that would have already been obvious. Either way, the irony is definitely not lost on lead singer Matt Krahula, who says that their songs are less about fear than they are about “love, loss, pain, drinking and healing, though not necessarily in that order.”
“We tried to take a step back and let the songs speak for themselves. We rebuilt a lot of our material from the ground up and embraced the fact that we are a country band.”
Krahula, who grew up on John Denver and Bob Dylan, and followed his passion for upright bass through a bachelor’s degree in Classical Music Performance, didn’t always have an affinity for the music scene he’s now a part of. It wasn’t until college that he began branching out musically and listening to the Talking Heads and the Pixies, the latter seeming to have an influence on Call the Cops!, their first album. However, the mindset seems to have changed a bit over the last three years.
“Call the Cops! has a very country punk feel to it. The approach often being loud and fast,” Krahula says, “On our new release, Last Goodbye, we tried to take a step back and let the songs speak for themselves. We rebuilt a lot of our material from the ground up and embraced the fact that we are a country band.” And although calling themselves a country band might be a tad misleading, the influence of country is unmistakable.
As the main songwriter, Krahula acknowledges, “the songs I’m most proud of are usually written in less than five minutes. Writing generally happens alone in my apartment,” and explaining why he favors arranging, he says, “Arranging takes place in a room full of people that you love making music with.”
Photo by Shervin Lainez