Interview with THE NOLAS
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Manny: I first got into music because of seeing my uncle play guitar at home and the radio was usually on and we had quite a few classic vinyl’s. I’m not quite sure what else i may have got into, Sales I suppose.
Joey: I grew up in a musical family, but I was more the music fan than the musician. My dad was a songwriter and was in many bands as a singer/guitarist, so I watched a lot of gigs growing up. I had access to many instruments (drums, guitars, piano, etc.) but they were always too intimidating to me. However, it wasn’t until I attended my high school variety show, where I saw Manny playing with his band. It inspired a few of us that had instruments to form our own group and we played the following year. I chose drums because I was the only one who had a kit (I didn’t know how to play) …I’m also an Engineer, but no matter what I do, making and performing music will always be in my life.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Manny: I enjoy nature and hiking, working out and relaxing watching a good movie/ show or reading interesting books and stories. i think the storylines and the movies and books/stories i read influence the music and lyrics. Also travelling and meeting new people from around the world can help develop a writer’s world.
Joey: I used to travel a lot prior to the pandemic, so that was always a great inspiration for creativity. Not only for our songs, but also our band name is also travel inspired. Or else I’m listening to new music to see what’s sounding good to help inspire my next songs.
How long has your band been around?
We had our first spontaneous jam in 2013, so officially 10 years as The Nolas.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are born and raised in Montreal and grew up in similar backgrounds and on family traditions as first-generation Canadians to Italian immigrant parents. Living as Italian Canadians in Montreal has had a huge influence on our music. The mix of Canadian, Quebec and Italian culture/music, makes us able to channel all different vibes and sounds. Also, being anglophone Quebecer Canadians, we were raised on and highly inspired by American Pop culture. Also, Montreal is a special place, unlike no other. The people and the city have this special charm like no other. It’s a cool vibe fun place to live and visit, making it a core influence on our music.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
We visited New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) in 2013 and totally fell in love with the vibe, the food, the people, and history. It felt very similar to Montreal with an edge. We discovered Bourbon Street and Frenchman Street, and we were all super impressed by the “real deal” music, musicianship and artistry that was on display. A real NOLA vibe! Shortly after, we were having drinks with some friends and reminiscing about the trip. It just came to me (Joey), “We are The Nolas”. It was a unanimous decision, and we haven’t looked back.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
A NINKASI DU FAUBOURG - Showcase in Quebec City Lounge
We were invited to play a showcase after the release of our first EP, and it was our first gig outside Montreal. We were the only English singing group in the lineup. We started the set, and everyone was sitting in their chairs at their tables. As the set progressed, we can see the crowd start to buzz and all of a sudden, we go into a So Fine’s guitar solo bridge and the people literally exploded out of their seats. They didn’t stop dancing till the end of the set. What a great night!
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Cafe Campus, Le National, Underworld are all cool places to play in MTL. Courcelle Bar has an amazing open mic night on Sundays. We dream about playing at the Fillmore, The Whiskey, The Troubadour, M-Telus, Wembley, Madison Square Garden and of course Bell Centre.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Aerosmith, GNR, The Tea Party, Foo Fighters, RHCP …so many ..
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Play live every chance you get! Record your rehearsals! We still don’t do this enough. We wrote some fun tunes on the spur of the moment jams we recorded. Our debut EP was built of, “Hit record and see what happens. No expectations. Just feel it.”
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Do it now! Practice more! Take more lessons and strive to be better. Take more chances. You’re better than you think as long as it’s real.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
BMX, it is a very honest view of the neighborhood and people that we grew up around. It reminds us of our childhood, and how it’s inspired our musical journey.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Dance the Night Away is always a crowd pleasure. A bopper that people like to shake and dance too. It’s a fun one!
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
We all gather inspiration from different places. We might show up with an idea or a “almost” finished song, and it’s presented to the “panel”. The song might change depending on the input from the rest of the band. Inspiration comes from life experiences, movies, conversations, catch phrases, a movie/TV show/ book, news, relationships, or sometimes the melody (no words) can sometimes drives the song.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We are positive cool vibe group, and we like to have fun with our music. Whether the song is happy, sad, sexy, bouncy, mysterious, we like people to feel good when listening.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We’ve known each other practically all our lives, we are family. No egos. It’s all about making the song better and respect for the vision of the creator of the song. Positive constructive criticism and feedback is encouraged. We are here to help each other create amazing music, and we have all different opinions and experiences. If we don’t agree on something, we encourage to explain why and just not say a flat “No”. Nonetheless, we usual deal with disagreements straight on and don’t let them linger.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We have been writing a lot over the last 3 years. The songs are finally coming together, and we plan to release another 5 songs in the next 12 months. We are currently confirming dates for local shows for this upcoming Fall season.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Our LinkTree https://linktr.ee/thenolas
Listen to our music on all digital platforms Apple Spotify YouTube Amazon….
Checks us out on all our socials (Instagram, Tik Tok, Threads and Facebook)