15 minutes with Nelo

Published November 16, 2010 by Laura S

Nelo is currently on tour promoting their new album,Ordinary Scene, and we caught up with songwriter and guitarist Matt Ragland, to ask a few questions.

I’ve seen you guys play at the Green Elephant. Tell me, what is the difference between playing at a big name venue like House of Blues versus playing in SMU’s backyard?

It’s an exciting event for us to play at House of Blues, the sound there is really good, and there’s a feeling of importance to the show that I think the band really likes and responds to. On the one hand I think there are benefits to both – there’s an intimacy that I think the band connects to at venues like [the Green Elephant]. I would say the best part of backyard venues is the intimacy – and that’s where we started playing.

Your new album, Ordinary Scene, was released last month. What type of response have you received so far?

The response has been great, the band is really excited about this record. We worked really hard on it and we did it ourselves, we had very little outside influence. The music is really true to who we are.

Do you have a favorite song?
A favorite song? No, I’m a bad person to ask, I can’t really pinpoint one song. [He asks the band] “What are y’alls favorite songs?”, Phil the guitarist likes “Black”, Brian likes “Hey Birdie”, Sean likes “Hey Birdie”, Reid the singer likes “I Don’t Care”. I really like “I Don’t Care”.

As songwriter, what is the experience like sharing something you’ve written with the band?

The band is like an integral part of the vehicle for getting that music out there. It’s a little strange for me whenever I write a tune and show it to anybody, but showing it to the band is more of an exciting experience. I would say when I’m showing a song to the band, [it’s] mostly a feeling of excitement because I know they’re going to make it sound better. For me as a songwriter, I think of […] conceiving a moment of inspiration as probably the greatest feeling in the world.

The band has been around for 5 years. What’s the camaraderie like between you guys?

The camaraderie is great, especially with the group now, everybody gets along and everybody would be friends irrespective of the band. Reid and I are like bitchy, lively little brothers, we’ve known each other forever. So that’s not going to change no mater what happens.

It sounds like you guys have a lot of fun on the road.

We have a good time on the road. Being on the road is really expensive, and we’re a really young band, and we’re only now releasing our second record. It’s hard at this level to stay on the road and be as busy as we want to be, but we’re making it happen. We have the band now that can do it. I’m being very honest in this moment when I say the band has never sounded better.

The band is still on the road – make sure to catch them at Schotzi’s in College Station 11/19