Interview: The Bloody Nerve

Rather than go down the traditional route of releasing a 10-12 track, 45-minute-long album, Nashville-based duo The Bloody Nerve have chosen to release their latest music in four separate acts, with each act acting as both a standalone release and part of a full-length album to come at a later date. Until then, The Bloody Nerve – Stacey Blood and Laurie Ann Layne – will release each act on CD and to streaming sites, with the first act ‘All Blood, No Treasure, Act I: Retrograde’ (made up of three tracks: ‘A Million Arms’, ‘What’s It Say? (About You)’, and ‘Roads’) available now to devour. We caught up with Stacey and Laurie Ann to talk about the thought process behind the individual acts, as well as thinking outside the box when it comes to marketing, and just how cool Stacey’s bass-playing dad is. But only one place to start though, with the burning issue that couldn’t wait any longer…

Laurie Ann – how many times a week does someone get your name wrong and call you Laura Ann?

Laurie Ann: All the time! My mom should have just called me Laura Ann and been done with it! It’s gotten to the stage now that I don’t even bother correcting someone who gets it wrong!

Sometimes that’s the easier option! Now, in the initial planning stages of ‘All Blood, No Treasure’, once you got the idea of separate parts into your heads, was that it – nothing could change your minds?

Stacey: I think once we committed, there was no changing our minds because I am horrible about changing my mind! I change my mind every ten seconds, but with this, there was no change. This is stuff that we have worked on for years and we have come up with a body of songs where some were related and some weren’t. It was kind of a mongrel a little bit. You can hear our sound transforming, and we had passed that event horizon where we should have probably released our second album, as we were in that moment…

Laurie Ann: In the beginning, around 2018, we were writing, but we didn’t know what we were writing for. We didn’t know if it was going to be a concept thing, was it going to be an EP or an album? We just wanted to be creative. We had released our debut album ‘Taste’ in 2015, and we had all this time, so we started writing again, but as I said, we didn’t know what we were going to do with it, and then the pandemic hit and we realised; wow, we have a direction here. And, some of the songs that we were working on, we put to the side, and Stacey actually went back into his own older songs from before we even met, to bring a few of them into this album. It just made sense.

Stacey: I took a look at all of the songs with decoder goggles and I was able to see what ones were right for -, there were some that didn’t make any sense, but now when you put them together…it’s like a complete sentence. We don’t like putting an album together for no reason, I know that it’s hip and cool to say that it is not a concept album but of course it all means something, people like to pretend that it doesn’t, but it does. There is a long, extending arc to the story of this whole album, it goes through archetypes and all kinds of rising and falling actions that are going to go all the way through Act IV…

Laurie Ann: Or Act V…

Stacey: I can’t even say definitively that there won’t be an Act V as we are doing this as we go. But the general themes are pre-covid because I have been exploring them since I was in tenth grade, and they always interested me. ‘Roads’ has pandemic type language but what the song is about really is the culture wars of the twentieth century, like Soviet culture wars…believe the dream, that kind of thing, and that was where it came from really. But it ended up sounding pandemic which is really spooky that only seven months later it all happened…

Images of a dystopian future feature heavily throughout the videos for the tracks, and now we have TV shows like Squid Game picking up the baton and running with the same themes, you guys are trendsetters!

Laurie Ann: [Laughs] I would say so! Because we really don’t give a shit! [Laughs] Expressing how we feel…a lot of people are afraid to touch on it, we’ve noticed that there are only a handful or artists touching on it, not many…

Stacey: And those that do, get body-slammed, so why would most people speak out…but we don’t care.

Laurie Ann: Exactly. It’s not like we are signed to a major label, where that would become an issue. We are on our own here and do everything ourselves, so we have that ability to speak our mind, which is beautiful. We have our own platform to do that, and that’s important.

On that note, I’ve asked American artists about where they stand on whether or not musicians should use their platform to create discussion and debate about world and political matters, and actually had one artist who replied “I’m going to have to plead the fifth on that”. He was worried about potentially alienating half of his audience if he stated his opinions…

Stacey: There is a lot of that going on, and to be fair I can sympathize a little bit with that. They might be in contract and have to consider other people at the same time. Not everyone can paint their face blue and yell “Freedom!”…and I get that because they might have employees that they are responsible for, and they will have bills to pay and need to put food on the table, and all those things, so I can totally understand that. Some of these people count on other people to stand up and say these things. If you go to a concert and someone gets up and starts dancing, they are not really the leader, it’s the second person that stands up and does it with them that is kind of really the leader, because if the first person stands up and no-one else follows, then he is deemed to be an idiot. People sometimes have to see others saying and doing things, and then it starts to snowball, they get brave and realize that it is okay to do this. A piano is not going to fall out of the sky and land on your head if you say something. Twitter might put you in jail but who cares, screw them…

Laurie Ann: The more you speak out, the more comfortable it becomes, and the more powerful it becomes.

A million arms raised are more powerful than just the one…

Stacey: And those million arms could be disastrous, or they could be used for doing something good.

Talking of something good, with you guys being your own cottage industry, it must be important for you to have The Bloody Nerve physical product for people to hold in their hands…The Bloody Nerve soap for instance is particularly unique!

Stacey: It is, yes. I’ve always thought that people don’t buy music; they buy the thing that the music is on. We saw that with digital files; people had no guilt about stealing anything when they were illegally downloading music. But they would feel guilty if they walked out of a record store with a CD or a vinyl record!

Laurie Ann: People like things to hold onto. Like the soaps! [Laughs]

I haven’t opened my soap, it’s still wrapped!

Laurie Ann: We’ll send you another so that you can open one, and keep the other one sealed! They are very good!

Stacey: One of the things that I would like to do away with is bands apologizing for selling stuff. Sometimes it’s almost like they are ashamed to sell something. The fans want your stuff, man, there is nothing wrong with it…trade is peace, man!

As a fan, when you know that the money is going directly to the band, it makes it easier to part with your money…

Stacey: Yes, I like seeing bands embracing their entrepreneurial spirit. For some reason, some people think that artists can’t be capitalists, they think that artists can’t make money and still be an artist. A few years ago someone asked me I would rather be critically acclaimed and not rich or would I rather be rich. And I said that I would rather be rich. Let’s face it; Sgt. Peppers was written by four very rich guys, rich has got nothing to do with it. All it means is that I have got more resources to grow, maybe give other people some opportunities, create jobs, build a bigger platform, record music the way that we really want to record it. You have to have the ability, but you also have to have the means. I just wish bands and artists weren’t bashful about it, there is no reason to be bashful about it.

Laurie Ann: It takes a lot to make an impact, and actually make something from music. Everything has to be firing on all cylinders to make something happen. Sell everything that you can, man! Sell the sweat off your body! True fans will want anything that you’ve got to sell, it’s of value to them. To them it is gold. I think it was Whitesnake that I just saw that sold pillows! Well, if you are a Whitesnake fan then you might want a Whitesnake pillow on your bed!

Stacey: We’ve just dropped about $250 on all the Killing Joke reissues, so we are hurting!

Can’t beat some Jaz Coleman and Killing Joke…

Laurie Ann: He has his own hot sauce now!

Hot sauce is so trendy now! It seems that every other musician is selling their own brand of hot sauce…

Stacey: We have ours coming soon, we’ve got The Bloody Ass-blaster coming out very soon! [Laughs]

Unable to sit down for a week afterward?

Stacey: That’s right! We want you standing up at the show! Social distancing…six feet apart!

Stacey, you freaked the hell out of me with your face makeup on the video for ‘Episode 3 – Roads’…

Stacey: That was the idea!

Laurie Ann: I’m sorry, I did his makeup, did I scare you?!

Not so much scary, more creepy, like the Child Catcher in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, or Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka…bizarre…

Laurie Ann: There is a little bit of Jaz Coleman in there, we didn’t really think about that, but once it was finished, we were like…oh my god, that’s so freaking Jaz!

Will there be a vinyl version of the entire album once it’s completed?

Stacey: We have a very specific plan for this [adopts classic old-school British accent]…see here 007…pay attention…by the time that we get to the end of the individual releases, we will probably do funding for the vinyl, as it is expensive and takes a long time to press. It is a painful process. We will do it anyway, but if we can get it funded in the run-up then we will be able to do it quicker. A lot of it depends on hope quickly we can get on tour, because if we can get on tour then we will move them.

Laurie Ann: Everyone is doing things differently now, everyone is looking for that special way of reaching their audience. Gigs are still being scheduled but then…boom… canceled!

Stacey, you have your Dad playing on the EP with you guys, not only can he play…

Stacey: It turns out…he’s not a slouch!

Yes! But he also has the coolest name ever – Bobby Blood!

Stacey: Bobby Blood, yes…

Laurie Ann: People usually think that it’s a stage name, but it’s not.

Stacey: This is a true story; he went to Hollywood in ‘66, he was a horn player but he quickly learned that he could get more gigs if he doubled on bass. The guys in Blood, Sweat, and Tears used to joke around that they wouldn’t let him into the band even though he was a great player because with his last name they would have to pay him royalties! Dad lives ten minutes away so we are always working on stuff together. We have got some work done for the later Acts, ‘Act II’ is in production, so we have some of the bass tracks down already. Vocal sessions are planned for tonight for instance. The skeleton of ‘Act II’ is there.

Sounds like you have a busy few days ahead, looking forward to hearing what you have cooked up on ‘Act II’. Thanks for your time guys, thanks, LAURIE Ann!

Laurie Ann: [Laughs] Laurie Ann…baby!

Stacey: Oh, you just made her Christmas card list right there with that!

 

Connect with The Bloody Nerve, here.

Interview – Dave

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