Words x Interview: The Nude Party

Left Bank College Presents: 5 Minutes with The Nude Party’s Patton Magee

You formed in 2012 at Appalachian State University, and — six years later — are touring with The Arctic Monkeys and Jack White, two of the biggest rock acts of our time. How do you even begin to describe that?

We are super fortunate to have a full team of badass women working behind the scenes with us, namely our booking agent Kiely Mosiman and our management duo Cara Merendino and Amanda Soltis. They are the ones that have gotten our videos and our record in front of people like Jack White, and in front of the Arctic Monkeys.

The Arctic Monkeys and Jack both liked us enough to bring us on to play some shows with them. We’re really lucky and grateful to them for having us. We all put a lot of work and sacrifice into the band, and it’s really validating to get to play before legends like them, and then to see them play. Sometimes I get to thinking we are pretty cool — pretty good — then I see Jack White just absolutely dominate the attention of 5,000 people, and the way he seamlessly runs the show without a set list. He and his band are amazing. There’s usually a pretty good reason that thousands of people will turn out to see a band like Jack’s or the Arctic Monkeys. It’s ‘cause they’re fucking good. Seeing people perform like that reminds me we’ve got a lot of work to do. It stokes the fire under my ass.

You’re part of a new wave of psychedelic, vintage-inspired rock that’s growing beyond the mainstream media, a new type of “outlaw music.” How have you taken that sound and made it your own, and how does it feel to know that you’re successfully making music outside the fringes of what’s commercially popular?

I think the idea of mainstream music has kind of frayed out in the last decade. It seems to me there isn’t really one main genre surrounded by tiny subcultures anymore. There’s a lot of genres now, all with their own fanbases and cultures surrounding them. There are bands you’ve never heard of that sell out tours in big rooms, then, on the flip-side, there are major artists that everyone’s heard of, but neither you or your friends ever listen to. So I don’t think that we’re making music outside of the fringes. I think we inhabit one of many overlapping “bubbles,” but, like any artist, I hope we eventually transcend that.

The Nude Party listens like a mixed drink of Southern music from the 60s and rock groups from Laurel Canyon and England; who would you say has had the greatest influence on you, when it comes to writing and performing? Who would you say is the most surprising influence?

It’s probably no surprise that we love the Velvet Underground, Bowie, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, Animals, all that really good 60s and 70s stuff. The amount of classic country we listen to might be surprising, and maybe that will bubble to the surface and start to influence us more in the next album. We also have this really great “bad country” playlist that we play in the van a lot, really shit songs that are fun to listen to: country-rap about dipping, disingenuous patriotic shit like Blake Shelton. Hopefully the bad country doesn’t show up as an influence!

What’s the creative process like? How did it change from Hot Tub to The Nude Party?

We’ve gotten better at playing our instruments, for one. We acquired instruments at the same time that we started the band, so, skill-wise, we really started at the bottom. But I think our style and skills are just enhancing and becoming more interesting over time. At first, we were excited just to be able to play a riff together. Over the past five years, we naturally raised the bar for ourselves with every record and show. Our influences have diversified.

We live in a time where rock music rarely tops the charts, but that doesn’t keep fans from packing into rock clubs, buying vinyl, and being just as devoted to their favorite bands as fans were in the 60s and 70s. Why do you think rock is so important, and how are you carrying on the legacy? On the other hand, how are you blazing your own path?

Other genres die out, but rock ’n roll just adapts and keep pushing. I don’t know where it gets its magic permanence from, I just know it’s good and I like it.

What’s your ultimate bucket list concert? Any band, any era.

I’d love to see Neil Young in any capacity, with any of his backing bands, or solo with an acoustic guitar and piano. He’s my favorite songwriter of all time.

Photo by Mike Belleme

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