Canadian punkers NOBRO are blazing out of the pandemic with their new EP Live Your Truth, Shred Some Gnar, which comes out Feb 23rd on revered Canadian label Dine Alone Records.
The band name Jay Reatard, The Damned and Royal Trux among their influences, with vocalist Kathryn McCaughey stating her goal is to be in “the most kick-ass all female band ever”!
We caught up with guitarist Karolane Carbonneau to talk about the new EP, her Harmony Bob Kat guitars, and which Montreal bands to keep an eye on.
Your new EP Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar is out Feb 23rd on Dine Alone – tell me about the ep?
It’s about being yourself and showing others what you’re capable of, without any fear.
The new single Bye Bye Baby marks your debut on lead vocals for the band! How did that come about, and how did you feel about the experience? Should we expect more of that in the future?
Before NOBRO, a little over four years ago, I had the urge of being in a punk band to express myself in a way I could never do. I think playing a punk riff on a guitar is a thing (which is pretty awesome) but singing a punk song is a step further.
I remember having one of the worst breakups of my life and Kathryn, the lead singer of the band, encouraged me to sing my first punk song. Intense music for intense emotion goes well together!
The EP sees Thomas D’Arcy back in the producer’s seat – what is it about working with him that had you coming back for the EP?
We wanted to have continuity with our first EP and wanted to keep that going with Thomas D’Arcy! Thom is an awesome producer. We had those intense moments, pushing us to the brink all while managing to put our ideas together, helping us create songs that represent ourselves: intense emotions right in your face!
Did you have any reference records going into the studio in terms of how you wanted the finished product to feel or sound?
Our music is a blend of some old school 70s rock, some 80s-90s punk music and recent new garage rock music. I’m thinking of bands like The Rolling Stones, Minor treat, Jay Reatard, Pixies and so many others.
A lot of bands are starting to release records that they’ve been sitting on through the last year or two, waiting for touring to be a thing again. Has the band been sitting on the EP for a while, or is it a more recent collection of songs?
Since we released our first EP, Sick Hustle, straight up in the beginning of the pandemic, we decided to wait on Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar, even though it was pretty much ready a couple months after our EP in August 2020.
So guitars! What did you use on the new record in terms of guitars/amps/pedals?
At that time I had just discovered one of my favorite guitars ever (no joke). A couple weeks before we did this live session of a Betty Davis song at Ryan Battistuzzi’s studio, I took one of Ryan’s old Harmony Bob Kat H17 and immediately fell in love with the guitar, so obviously I had to find one. When we recorded “Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar” I did almost all the songs with my old Harmony Bob Kat H15 and some other rhythm and solo parts with Thom’s American Telecaster from the 60’s cause you cannot beat that tone!
In terms of amps, I took what was available at the studio. I can’t remember all the amps I played with but for sure I used the Marshall, the Silvertone and the Princeton (Taurus Recordings gear here). I used the natural crunch and distortion of the amps and I added up some effects like the Tube Driver, the Fuzz Factory and the Digitech Whammy when I have to crank it up an octave up for a solo.
Are you a gear head at all? Any pieces of gear you’ve played recently that were a pleasant surprise? Anything you got to play that was disappointing?
I love gear, borderlining obsessed with it. I recently bought the Angry Charlie from JHS and this is the classic tone for punk riff when you boost that mid tone knob – WOW! My partner just gave me the Particle from Red Panda as a christmas gift and there’s practically no limits about this pedal, from tremolo, to pitch shift and the craziest delay effects.
Is there any one piece of gear that you couldn’t do without? Anything that’s integral to your sound?
It is for sure my Harmony Bob Kat H15 guitar from the 60’s.
A lot of guitarists are embracing modelling and profiling amps these days, especially due to making fly in gigs much easier. What’s your take on digital amps and effects?
I respect everyone who likes or uses profiling amps. My father has a Kemper and he almost convinced me it was as good as an old tube amp, but I just can’t make the switch. I prefer the saturation and the distortion of an old tube amp with all it’s quirks which makes it awesome and unique.
If someone maybe wasn’t familiar with you guys but wanted to learn to play one of your songs, where would you suggest they start? Any riffs/licks/passages in particular that are fun to play, or maybe challenging but rewarding for more advanced players?
Our song “Don’t Wanna Talk About It” might be the easiest song to start with and it’s a slow tempo song too. For the tone you’ll need a fat fuzz pedal effect like a Big Muff or something similar. The most technical song might be “Till I Get It All” for the riff and the rhythm part as well!
Any good newer Montreal bands people should be aware of?
Yes, always! Here’s some of the bands I listen to right now, they are not all new though : Stoylov, Larynx, TEKE::TEKE, Corridor, Efy Hecks, Jesus les filles, Silver Dapple, Douance, Nüshu, Gus Englehorn.
What’s up next for the band?
We have this tour with Billy Talent coming this April and it’s pretty exciting!