It would be nice to find a nugget of gold on your front doorstep one morning when you go out to collect the milk, wouldn’t it? Well that’s what it must have felt like for some residents in Newcastle who stumbled across resident noise-mongers Nately’s Whore’s Kid Sister. Founded in 2010, the five-piece have increasingly knocked people on their back with their live performances, steadily gaining a reputation for themselves as one of the region’s most promising heavy acts. Calum Robson cornered a few members to find out what it’s all about.
“General anxiety, panic, depression, paranoia, memory loss, uncertainty, fear, lust and pain,” says guitarist and frontman John Edgar, when asked what feeds the lyrical canon of Nately’s Whore’s Kid Sister’s oppressive, dark sound. “It’s day to day shit really. Of course you can tell when you listen to it [that] it’s about mental health issues and everything that goes on with that.”
The Newcastle act are modest about the praise they’ve received, but it’s gained the attention of Goo Grrrl Records – the recently-created label founded by London rockers Antlered Man. Set for a mid-May release and titled ‘Ribs’, the EP is hardly a light teaser to soften you into Nately’s moods. With five eclectic tracks collectively weighing 34-minutes, it’s a bolshy attempt that ticks the boxes for both quality and quantity. Driven by a plethora of influences including Sleep, Radiohead, Isis and Omega Massif, the EP has powerful moments of thudding, drone-drenched guitar, sludge-paced percussion and isn’t without its accessible, melodic side either. What makes it more impressive is the aforementioned themes coming to life on record. “I think ‘Ribs’ alludes to a gaunt, frail body,” Edgar explains, when probed about the origin of the EP’s title. “When you think of ribs, you think of fragility. I think that nicely ties in with everything else I guess. It’s much easier to say and remember than the band name!”
It’s not the most memorable of monikers, we must admit. But the Catch 22 character that inspired the choice is an intriguing case in the Joseph Heller novel. Referred to simply in relation to her older sister’s title, the trampled and subordinate character is a one that Edgar feels is a fitting name in some ways. “She’s a pathetic character and you sympathise and feel sorry a lot for her,” he says. “At the end of the novel after all the whores and people are turfed out the whorehouse, she’s lost in the streets of Bologna. Nately’s Whore’s Kid Sister is a poor little wretch and our music is quite wretched, sad and I suppose if you listen to it you could perhaps even pity us maybe! [laughs]”
Pity them or not, the support for their music since their founding in 2010 has gradually risen in the North East, although the last few months have seen the band go through their biggest transition yet. Straight on from the announcement that Goo Grrrl were releasing their EP, they’ve hit a pleasurable wave of popularity, as guitarist Stuart Walkinshaw explains. “We’ve had a lot of buzz,” he says. “We’ve been doing this for a while but it’s always been ‘once every now and then’ that we’d play a gig. Although we’re getting a lot of good feedback about the EP, it’s the live show that’s getting a lot of good rep.”
It’s not until the experience of a live show that you realise Nately’s have a completely different dynamic. The stage might be an outlet for frustrations and expression, but more importantly for the five-piece, it’s a place that they can all enjoy without any inhibitions. “Some people really like it when we paint our faces and wear tights on our heads, but some people just think it’s a shitty gimmick,” explains John. “It’s not really, it just adds to the whole ritual and we enjoy it – it’s fun for us. It’s pretty selfish really when you think about it. The nicest thing about it is that we’re not under any pressure to please any interested parties. It’s like little girls getting ready to go out round the town and instead of saying ‘can you do my nails and hair’, it’s ‘can you put some of that gold paint on my nose?’”
There’s a down-to-earth sense that Nately’s don’t exactly have a routine, but they’re not disorganised. They work and play at the same time – no equilibrium is needed. And judging from their experiences on the stage, the Northerners are as animated as they are decorated. “We’re just having fun,” reiterates John. “We’re not taking the piss and we’re not taking ourselves too seriously. Get really drunk, get really stoned and play heavy music together, it’s fun. Turn around and see your mate Stu zoning out with his legs all over the place like Brain from Thunderbirds or Bambi on ice.”
Other than their slightly inebriated exploits, what have the talented chaps got in store for the rest of the year? “We’ll get cracking with some new stuff,” says Walkinshaw. “We’re talking about the idea of going away for it and doing live recording. It will take the live aesthetic and try to capture that then chuck it out, even if it’s free. We discussed going away for a weekend and sitting in a hall.”