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Inglorious: Nathan James' track-by-track guide to We Will Ride

Nathan James
(Image credit: Paul Harries)

We Will Ride is the fourth album from Inglorious, and the first featuring new guitarists Danny Dela Cruz and Dan Stevens, and bassist Vinnie Colla. 

All three joined the band after last album Ride To Nowhere was recorded, hooking up with singer Nathan James and drummer Phil Beaver and proceeding to start afresh, determined to banish what James refers to as "all the negativity" surrounding the change in line-up. 

Here is Nathan James' track-by-track guide to We Will Ride

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She Won’t Let You Go

All our songs start their lives with a riff, and this one came about before our new guitarists even joined the band. Myself and Danny were actually writing the song for a project he was in that I was going to manage. We wrote the song one afternoon at my home in Devon. 

Danny wrote the riff, and I knew as soon as he played it to me I knew I could write a decent top line for it. When I eventually asked Danny to be in the band I said we have to use this song.

After listening to the track a few times I started humming this chorus and the words ‘red-haired lady’ came out my big mouth. I remembered an evening in Camden with some friends before the guitarists were in the band. On this particular night out, one friend had won the attention of a lady with flame-red hair. After a few drinks and kisses we backed off and left them to it on the dance floor. 

Five minutes later I turned and saw this girl punching my mate on the dance floor. I ran over and asked him if all was OK, and he just said yeah and she smirked. She kept doing it, kissing him then smacking him round the head. We then asked him if he was coming back with us, and he said no and stayed out with the crazy lady. He called later saying she kicked him out, which I was kinda relieved to hear. Anyways, that’s why I figured the red-haired lady could be her. 

It’s the first song Danny and I wrote and the first he recorded for the album, and it's also the last vocal I recorded for the album as I knew it was gonna be the first single. Our producer, Romesh Dodangoda, made me rewrite the pre-chorus and it went down in about two hours. In the final mix Romesh actually used Danny’s demo guitar tracks as he felt they really captured what he wanted. It’s the only bit of guitar on the album that was not recorded at the studio.


Messiah

I really think it’s different for us as a band. It’s the first time people hear me sing in my mid/lower register, which I’m usually very nervous to show people. I think when you have a high voice like me you try and constantly use it as a means of getting attention. It’s only taken me four albums but I have finally realised that my lower register actually sounds alright - if a Grammy-nominated producer/engineer is mixing it!

I also think this song has our best music video to date. It was filmed in North Devon, where I am lucky enough to live. The first half of the video was shot at Woolhanger Manor, Exmoor, and the second at Braunton Burrows, which actually is used by the Ministry of Defence. We had to get permission from them to film there and weren’t allowed to fly drones etc. 

The M.O.D actually helped us get our gear off the sand dunes after the shoot as we were exhausted from being in the heat and dressed in black all day. It’s the same beach where Robbie Williams filmed the Angels music video. It’s really beautiful so I highly urge people to check it out… our video, not Angels.

The lyrics for this one came from my obsession with a Netflix show called Messiah that I binge-watched in a day during lockdown. The show was about a guy who claimed to be the second coming. The entire idea of the God-complex I found fascinating, and also how people were just following him with no real proof of who he was. 

I wrote the lyrics to this one very quickly and I’m super happy with how the backing vocals came out on this one. Also a killer guitar solo from Danny, who plays with such taste, and only ever for the song. It was written at Danny’s the same week someone was shot just outside his flat. He has since moved.


Medusa

On our first album I co-wrote a song called ‘You’re Mine’ with Whitesnake guitarist Joel Hoekstra.

When it came to this album I wanted to see if Joel would chuck a riff or two our way and, lucky for me and the boys, he did! He came up with this really cool slide riff and wrote all the parts for the song. I wrote the melody and the lyrics but this took a little time to find what I wanted to sing about.

I didn’t wanna actually write about Greek mythology and, being honest, what I know about Greek mythology is solely through watching the Disney movie Hercules as  a child. But I figured I could make Medusa represent the, let's say, ‘loose women’ who know exactly what they want and don’t take no for an answer. As soon as I wrote the chorus I knew it was gonna be a great tune and something that wouldn’t have ever happened on an Inglorious song without Joel’s influence. 

Danny had to learn slide to play this which was a real challenge, and he practiced for months before we hit the studio. He played the parts on his gorgeous red SG through the producers JCM800, which he used on all the drive parts on the album.


Eye Of The Storm

It’s no secret that many years ago I was on reality TV, and the show I did slightly better on was one with Lord Andrew LloydWebber called Superstar. One of the other contestants was an amazing song writer, Tim Prottey-Jones, who I have known now since I was about 18. I am a huge fan of his writing and I figured, why not ask him if he wants to have a go at co-writing with me for the new Inglorious album? I told him we didn’t have a ballad yet for the album, and I wanted a ballad - but with balls! 

He pushed me to make it about what I’m feeling right in that moment, and the pressure of writing an album with all the negativity surrounding the last release. I went up to his for a day, had a Maccy’s and then got to it. We wrote the song in an afternoon.

The one thing I felt the song was missing was a bridge, so I asked Phil if he could come up with something, and he wrote this awesome heavy riff and melodic piano section for the middle.

Romesh treated this song as a pop song. The format is very poppy but lyrically it’s very heavy and very personal to me. I have struggled the past two and a half years and this song is super-honest, almost a public letter to say I know I’m not perfect, I know I have messed up, I'm human but I hurt too. Reading some of the stuff written about me online was really hard and I can’t believe I was able to access those emotions for this song.

The intro guitar on  this is a 1952 blonde telecaster. It is a really delicate part and took a little time to really match the vocal perfectly. I am proud of this song yet most nervous about its reception.


Cruel Intentions

That old trick of a creepy quiet guitar intro that makes you turn the track up and then all of a sudden a massive riff kicks you in the bits. 

Danny absolutely loves Yngwie Malmsteen, and he had mentioned how he would love to write a song that really shows off that neo-classical, metal, Swedish, shredder flare. I believe it’s all about conviction and this song should, on paper, be pretty cheesy: but I think if you play it like you mean it, it really does sound menacing.

Obviously when a guitarist says "I wanna do a track Malmsteen would be into", most singers would run a mile… but I was adamant that if we could make it super-melodic I would put it on the album.

We wrote it in London at Danny’s. I was travelling up every week pretty much to do these sessions, and on the way up I was listening to a podcast about serial killers. When Danny played me the intro I knew I had the subject for the song. The killer in question - who I won’t name as I believe serial killers don’t deserve the air time - did some truly horrific things. I even managed to get a few lines from their final sentencing in the lyrics. 

Make sure you don’t blow your speakers when that main riff comes in. You have been warned!


My Misery

This song was written originally for the third album. We even recorded it without vocals.

When I heard it back, I was just not inspired by it at all so we brushed it aside and put it in the bank. Phil then worked on it for this album and when he played me the new version of it I started singing a chorus melody straight away. We wrote it at his house after a very heavy night which ended up with myself and Phil trying to record a cover in his kitchen of Shape Of My Heart by Sting for about two hours. We woke up with a stinking hangover and then recorded the melody.

I went away and wrote the words soon after the session, and the heavy riff and suspenseful chorus chords made me really think about the state of my own mental health. 

The first time I heard this back I cried. It was just so upsetting to hear the words ‘Come and rescue me, from my misery’ - something I have never touched upon as a writer before. 

Listen out for the cool piano intro and organ in the bridge, which is probably the heaviest this band has ever sounded. Keys on this whole album were done in a day by our keys player Rob Lindop, who came in and played all his parts in a face mask, tucked in the corner of the studio. What a legend!

Inglorious

(Image credit: Paul Harries)

Do You Like It?

I bloody love it! This song is the only song we all worked on together, which makes it quite special. I see it as kinda announcing that this is the band; this is what we do, this is who we are, and we are absolutely loving it. It’s a gentle reminder that there’s much more pressing issues concerning the world right now, and if you’re gonna let yourself get ‘upset’ about a rock band changing its members… you need to watch more news.

Dan started this one off on tour in Europe. He jammed the riff in soundcheck and I said, "I like that". It’s probably the most upbeat song on the album, and it really does a job, as the themes this time round are quite 'doom and gloom'. It’s nice to have a moment of fun and a chorus that you can sing along to. As fans have said over the years that many of mine are relentlessly high, especially after a few 'beveraginos.'

'It’s always better baby, the second time around' is talking about the new line up, the new album, all the new exciting things we have going on. This song is saying that honestly, after the death threats and abuse, people using sexuality and race as insults towards myself and other members of the band that, well… I just don’t care anymore. I’m a front-man in a rock band who had no idea that rock fans want a lead singer to act like Mother Teresa or the Jonas brothers.

Favourite line in this one: ‘Look a little closer baby, in the mirror maybe, you better take a seat and practice what you preach’. Sassy? Yes. What else did you expect?


He Will Provide

This is a long one. The longest Inglorious song ever written. And the main riff for this came from Dan again. He wanted to write something 70s' classic metal-influenced after he heard me singing on Uli Jon Roth's Scorpions Revisited albums. The rhythm has that middle-eastern, riding-through-the-desert vibe that makes it easy to play great melodic guitar lines over.

The riffs and fast pace really helped me decide on the vocals.

With ‘Another human sacrifice, the people run the children hide’ I wanted to conjure up that end-of-the-world, waiting-for-our-saviour-to-redeem-us feel.

Just to say, I am in no way religious. I'm respectfully accepting of all, but as an atheist it may be confusing on this album to see some religious references. The truth is, religion is fascinating and this song is really contradictory, which could be said for some religions.

The line ‘We’re waiting for heavenly father to rise’ suggests that to the people whose point of view I am singing from believe that their God reigns below.

This song’s role on the album is mainly to showcase just what these two guitarists can do - and boy, do they! There is over a minute of solos, which may seem kinda self-indulgent, but it makes perfect sense in such a dramatic song. Them trading solos in the middle section – and the awesome creepy guitar sound design that Romesh created – makes it really special, and something for guitar players to look out for.


We Will Meet Again

One day late 2019 Danny sent me this bass guitar riff that he recorded as a joke. I literally said, "I love it!", so he started turning it into a song. We worked together on the music side of this one before I wrote the lyrics, but I had a feeling it was gonna feel very epic and sad at the same time. 

My initial thoughts from the intro bass riff were that it kinda had a James Bond feel to it, and I said to him that we should write a song like we were asked to write a Bond theme tune. I think this song is very that. It’s a cool intro that our bass player, Vinnie, really nailed on the recording. Big shout out to Vinnie who came to the studio for a day and a half and got all 11 songs down, as at the time his wife was about to have their first baby, Thomas.

'We will meet again' on its own sounds so positive, but in this song it's about someone dying, and hoping that they will see their loved ones again. I dunno why, but these sad songs were much easier to write last year. I blame the pandemic. 

Danny and I wrote the solo together on this track, and I have to say it’s definitely a guitar highlight on this album. He really captured the mood of the song, and its super singable melody. I look forward to hearing it every time the track comes on. I am so lucky to have such talented mates.


God Of War

This is the second Joel Hoekstra tune that he and I wrote for this album. What he originally sent as a demo was very raw, and I had to work it to get it to fit the theme I had chosen. I love songs that are a challenge to write, and this one definitely was. It was one of the last songs I wrote, and I couldn’t settle on a title for it for ages. Usually at that stage I’d give up, but I knew it had something about it and, let’s face it, I had bugger all else to do in lockdown one.

Every day on the news, all we were hearing about were the insane actions of a certain US president. It seemed constant, like he was actively trying to start a war, which was so worrying. So I decided to put my worries into this tune. I never wanted to be political as a songwriter but honestly? I don’t view him as politics: I view him as trashy reality TV, something I know all about! 

Danny and I added an eerie guitar line over the main riff that I feel sounds like war is imminent. Almost like the imperial march, or something. Which, let’s face it, you could put under any footage of Trump and it would kind of work.

Please forgive my politics chat, I hate musicians that go political too.  


We Will Ride

This song was one of the first we wrote for the album. We were jamming at Phil’s house in Somerset and... let’s just say we were very 'merry’ at the time. I’m pretty amazed we managed to work it out, from the ramblings on my voice memo app. 

It was about 3am and Danny came out with the main riff. He and Phil then proceeded to play that same riff over and over again until the sun came up. We workshopped the song into a full track at a session in London, and that’s when the chorus lyrics came to me: ‘Upon a thousand horses we will ride…’

I then had to write a song around that line that made sense. Originally I kept thinking of Dick Turpin and other highwaymen of that era, but during a Google search I stumbled across a female highway robber. Lady Katherine Ferrers was a gentlewoman and heiress who ended up losing her family’s entire fortune and then turned to robbing and killing people on horseback to survive. She was known as ‘the devil in white’ and ‘the wicked lady’. 

After an internet search I realised she was deserving of being the subject of this song, that would then go on to be the title track of the album and a nice continuum from the last album Ride To Nowhere. I am fascinated by badass women and lucky enough to be surrounded by many in my family, my management, friends and my heroes. It makes sense for me to write about them. Not that I’m condoning this crazy Elizabethan serial killer’s actions.

Lady Katherine, Medusa and the red-haired lady are all represented in the cover artwork in the form of one woman on horseback holding a skull and screaming her face off. Check it out!

We Will Ride is out now.