It's been an interesting year for Inglorious. The band's Download appearance was the perfect high, where they made the kind of festival impact that bands talk about making but seldom pull off. And at the other end of the success barometer was that moment in December when frontman Nathan James became an accidental viral sensation.
In the grand scheme of things, it's the band's music that will decide their fate, and album number three – Ride To Nowhere (opens in new tab) – is perhaps the one to do the deciding. Losing three band members in the recording's wake may have been unfortunate, but James is nothing if not a fighter, and he clearly believes in his band.
Buoyed by a new line-up and excited by the prospect of an upcoming tour that includes their biggest headlining shows to date, Nathan took us through Ride To Nowhere, track-by-track.
"I wrote a bit more about my own feelings and about things I haven't typically written about before," he says. "So yeah. It's heavy emotionally, and heavy musically."
Where Are You Now?
"Andreas, our guitar player, brought me the riff, and we changed it so it was a bit darker – a bit ghostly – and a little less bluesy than stuff we'd done previously.
"Lyrically, I found myself humming the tune to what became the chorus very very quickly. I wanted to put together a song about the end of a business relationship from a while ago. And that's lyrically kind of what this song is about. It's really singable!"
"All of our choruses tend to be big, heavy bluesy courses, and I wanted a song that structurally had a bit more to it than the normal bluesy riff. It's got a very melodic chorus line, and our bass player came up with the lead part at the beginning of the riff.
"It's just really out there, really weird. That riff is what gave me the title, Freak Show. It's about being with someone who is no good for you."
"This is one of the two tracks on the album that mean the most to me. It's a story about a woman who looked after me when I left home at 16. I'd started performing and singing in clubs and bars and this woman and her family took me in when I felt like I couldn't go home.
"I was going through some stuff at the time, and she looked after me like like a second mother. She was amazing. Her name was Tina, and this song is her story. She lost her battle with cancer early last year, just before we went to the studio. I was struggling for a lyric for this song, and then Tina passed away. This song is about how much I love her and how much I will miss her.
"I always hear Zeppelin or Nickelback in those opening chords, which were written by Drew."
"Our bass player Colin had the riff. We'd tried to shoehorn the riff into every album so far in various formations – this song has actually been written three times and hasn't quite worked – and then Colin came forward with this chorus idea with the chords and I went, 'OK!'
"I struggled and struggled with this lyric, but I'm really happy with how it's turned out. It's about making mistakes and being being an idiot, which I'm particularly guilty of. Let's not go any further than that one!"
"Queen is about my mum, which is something I've never written about before. I've previously written about lots of other people in my life. On the first album I wrote about my grandfather, who I don't really see, and I wrote about my Nan and my my step-grandfather on the last album.
"So I've written about people close to me, but I've never written a song about my mum. She is the most important woman in my life, so it seemed stupid not to write a song about her.
"The music came about very quickly. It didn't take long to come up with the structure of the song and the riffs, and lyrically I wrote this very quickly. It's a very cheesy lyric, but it's it's real, and I don't care if people think it's cheesy. It's about my mum and that's all that matters. It's not all about sex, drugs and rock'n'roll."
"It's all in the title. It's about a few people who talk a lot of shit when they've been hurt or when their egos have been slightly deflated. And they go around just gossiping and talking utter nonsense because they're hurt. When your ego gets hurt you do silly things. So this song is about those people.
"I heard the riff and I just knew it I had to use it. It had such an evil feel to it. It's our most grungy song for sure, and that was a conscious effort to make something that stood out in a heavier way, which people wouldn't necessarily recognise as one of our songs. But once you hear the vocal coming, you know it's an Inglorious song."
Time To Go
"Time To Go is a fun, hands-in-the-air live festival number, for sure. It's one of those songs that we originally heard as being almost like The Darkness or something. It was almost a jokey song with a fun lyric.
"It's basically about shagging your missus. It's a song you can sing along to and not take too seriously. It's a bit of light relief, and the riff really works in connection with the other songs. It's our first song with a gang vocal on, which is pretty cool. It's also got some hand claps, and I don't think you can go wrong with a hand clap!"
I Don’t Know
"This was written by Andreas and Heather Leone [Gypsy Heart singer], who I've known for about 14 years. She's a great singer and I'm a big fan of her voice. I loved the song, so I asked if we could have it for the album. We tweaked it a little bit to make it sound more like Inglorious, and it's brilliant. Really bluesy."
"Lyrically I'm not going to talk about it because it's Heather's story, and it was a song she was very attached to. I had to bring my performance and my understanding of that to it, and I think I have done. You can hear the kind of pain in my voice, and that's all for Heather and her story."
While She Sleeps
"I did a couple of gigs for the Marines and the Royal Navy. It was something that I really enjoyed doing, singing for the forces. I was out in Oman, and we were in this club after the gig, and I met this woman who told me her story, and about how she was a 'lady of the night.'
"I just couldn't believe it was happening in this day and age. She had to support her daughter who was at home, so every night she tucked her away in bed, and then she'd come out and she'd work.
"I was so shocked that this was happening. I know they say it's the oldest profession in the world, but I've never been close enough to it to see it. And I thought she deserved a little a little story and a little nod."
Ride To Nowhere
"The title track is awesome. It's about an acquaintance of mine who something really awful happened to. They did something kinda bad, and it's about the night his world comes crashing down. It's about that feeling and about the realisation that you've really, truly fucked up, and it's never really going to get better.
"Similarly, the title of the album and the song title came about because I lost my grandfather last year, and I had a big thing going on at the time of the album. We were writing and recording these songs, and I was thinking about my own morality, and thinking about him. It's very emo of me, but it's about that, and about kind your world coming crashing down because you've done something dreadful."
"Glory Days is the hardest one to talk about, and it's without doubt my most personal lyric of all time. It's about the breakdown of a relationship I was in, with someone I believed was my soulmate, and I was wrong. I was not.
"I was not in love as much as I thought, but I didn't want to say goodbye, and it's about trying again when you've when you've screwed up. But similarly, it's about those times when you first get together and it's just absolutely magic, and you think you've found the person you going to spend the rest of your life with. You're so content and in love, but it cannot be.
"The guys and I wrote the music to it very quickly. It took us about 10 minutes to write the actual bare-bones of the song, and I started singing the chorus and the song Glory Days just came to me.
"It was pretty tough to sing. In the studio I was crying because I'd never really sung about it before, and I'd never played the demo to anyone. I'd never even recorded a demo for it, because I didn't want to ruin it until I got to the studio.
"I wanted to sing it that first time and for it be really authentic and straight from my heart. And that's what's on that recording. It's my most vulnerable vocal. I was literally crying on the third take, and that's the majority of the take that was used in the final edit."