Thank you so much for taking the time to make this interview happen. We are excited to learn more about Near Death Experience, your smashing new single ‘Underground’, and get the deets of any future projects and gigs you may have.
What’s the story behind the band’s name ‘Near Death Experience’?
I (NDX singer Ian ‘Lightning’ Whiteling) always wanted to call my band Near Death Experience, but no one had ever agreed to it. The guys who asked me to sing in their band back in 2016 thought it was a great name, so we went for it, using NDX for short. For me, it’s about living every day like it were your last – so always pushing it to the max. You only get one life…
Following up on the same line, what is the story behind ‘Underground’?
This song started out as a riff on my acoustic guitar, which I began singing the main refrain to. I then wanted a ‘drop’ section, so simply started using the guitar strings as a percussion instrument for the next section, alternating it with the main refrain. And so Underground was born – it was that simple! To take the song somewhere a little different, I added the psychedelic bridge. I shared the song with the band and Amar ‘The Groovemeister’ Grover almost instantly came up with the wonderful bass line that cruises through the song, while Bill ‘The Professor’ Marten started laying down his fabulous rock’n’roll guitar licks. The lyrics literally jumped out while I was jamming the song originally – it’s about the most fun, cool, funky bar or venue where you feel hsppiest and most at home.
Don’t miss the ‘Underground’ review here.
You describe your latest single as rock’n’soul, where funky meets Rock. So what motivated this genre? or is it a style you’ll go for generally when composing new music?
We call our music psychedelic rock’n’soul because we’re inspired by the music of the 60s and 70s, from the rock (The Doors, Love, Bowie, Roxy Music) to the soul (Stevie Wonder, Dusty Springfield) and to the funk (James Brown, Isaac Hayes) of that period, as well as the song craft of strong melodies and vocal hooks. And we bring it all together through NDX, adding our own unique spin.
Can you quickly introduce the people behind each instrument/ role?
Well, I’ve name-checked them above, but the NDX rock’n’soul superheroes are:
Ian ‘Lightning’ Whiteling – vocals and acoustic guitar
Bill ‘The Professor’ Marten – backing vocals, electric guitar and effects
Amar ‘The Groovemeister Grover’ – bass guitar
Alan ‘The Milkman’ Perkins – backing vocals, drums
What is/ are one or more of your favourite highlights throughout NDX’s career? Any recording, concert, memory…
To date it’s probably when we played two of the smaller stages at Glastonbury back in 2017, plus when we released our first album Mouth To Mouth in 2019 – both were special moments and we’re looking forward to releasing our second album this autumn, and hopefully playing Glastonbury again in June!
How has this COVID phase impacted your plans? How did you cope with meeting up and keeping playing music?
It was tough because we love playing live gigs, which of course was impossible. However, we found a way to record separately, thanks to The Professor, who is also a sound engineer as well as an exceptional guitarist. So it was quite a creative period and we managed to release five singles which were really well received by indie bloggers and radio stations. They are our best work to date and were really developed our sound and songwriting.
Do you have any future projects or gigs on the line for us to look forward to?
We’re currently recording songs for our next album for release in the autumn, plus playing at the launch party of a new arts, film and music venue in Ealing, London on 9 June. We’re also organising a charity gig in Clapham on 22 July at a great pub called the Bread & Roses. Plus, we’re taking over one of our favourite south London pubs, Skehans, on Friday 15 July, playing two sets. And we’ll fit Glastonbury in between!
What places/ countries would you love to perform at and why?
Anywhere in South America would be brilliant, as we love a latin vibe, and it’s a groovy Spanish bar that I had in mind when I wrote our latest single Underground. Buenos Aires, Bogata, Santiago, Lima, you name it, we’ll play it!
What message do you try to convey or inspire with your music?
Emotion, groove, power, movement, soul and passion – we wanna we the world on fire!
How would you like your work to be remembered?
“We could stop moving to their grooves and singing their songs!”
Don’t miss the ‘Underground‘ review here.