Ever wondered what metal sounds like when the only rule is ‘there are no rules’? Novallo are here to instruct you. This entirely self-sufficient and self-styled “art project” from Ohio fearlessly mix pop, prog, jazz and rock without pretension or, indeed, giving a fuck.
“I started playing guitar at about 15 or 16, and I was really into System Of A Down,” says guitarist, producer, art director and marketing guy Gino ‘Bambino’ Matheson. “It was their flavour of Middle-Eastern music meets rock and metal that really sucked me in. Novallo’s early sound was like a kind of Tool, Jane’s Addiction…”
We used to sound like a Middle-Eastern Tool
“A Middle-Eastern Tool!” adds vocalist Sam Gitiban, who also designed the cover art for the band’s recent second EP, Novallo II, and has been playing alongside Gino, bassist Brandon Johnson, and drummer Nick Salvatore since 2006. Their first EP, Novallo I, was released four years ago, and bears the hallmarks of a band drawn to the avant-garde side of rock. The new EP is similarly off-the-wall – the press release describes it as being “for fans of Tesseract and Justin Timberlake” – but Gino stresses that their sound has developed. Tragedies that shaped Novallo’s new sound were the death of former guitarist Nicholas Riggs’s sister, followed by Gino’s best friend taking his own life and his stepfather passing away.
“We all grew a lot as people [between this EP and the last] and went through a lot of death and personal mishaps,” says Gino.“We knew if we were going to continue making music, there had to be more substance to it.”
Gino is also at the helm of Novallo’s social media, which has amassed over 20,000 fans. One of those is producer Joey Sturgis (Asking Alexandria), who chose their new track Betty Phage Goes To Bronxton to promote his new line of guitar tones.
For a band with no label support and day jobs, Novallo have achieved a lot. Now all that remains is for them to hit us with a full-length.
Novallo II is out now via Bandcamp and iTunes