11 Feb 2017

The Dark Arts of The Nudge

From RNZ Music, 3:05 pm on 11 February 2017
Yadana Saw, Ryan Prebble, James Coyle, Iraia Whakamoe

Yadana Saw, Ryan Prebble, James Coyle, Iraia Whakamoe Photo: Vanessa Rushton

“Congratulations on the new EP!” I exclaim to James Coyle, keyboardist for Wellington psyche-rock outfit The Nudge.

“It’s an album actually”, he replies. 

That is how not to start a band interview. But why stop there? Noting that it only contains three songs, I offer a well-meaning

“Well, it is album length!” 

“I understand what you’re saying about the EP”, says James. “But it’s still an album, we’re claiming it.” 

We walk into the band meeting, where guitarist and vocalist Ryan Prebble and drummer Iraia Whakamoe are waiting to talk strategy on the eve of the release of Dark Arts, their new three-song album. 

But first on the agenda: the indoor cricket triumphs of earlier in the day. “Ryan and I both scored 50 at the cricket tonight, so that’s quite significant,” James announces. 

“Yeah, it was against the top-of-the-table team!” Ryan proudly adds. 

As we digress into strokes played and the current form of the Black Caps, Iraia seems visibly beleaguered. When I ask if the game has been a contributing factor in the gap between albums, he is quick to respond. 

“We jump in a van when we go on tour, and you’d think music would get played. What do they turn on? Radio Sport”, he says in mock disgust. 

The Nudge

The Nudge- Ryan Prebble, James Coyle, Iriaia Whakamoe Photo: supplied

Dark Arts has been five years in the making, and cricket hasn’t been the only distracting factor.  “We’ve had three children between albums”, Iraia explains. “Ryan’s had two and I’ve had one. Say no more.” 

But there is more. Ryan and James both work at Massey University’s Bachelor of Creative Media Production programme, and Iraia spends his days at Weta Digital. In addition to their day jobs and family responsibilities, each are collaborating with other musical projects. Iraia was drumming in the last Fly My Pretties' String Theory tour. Between that and family, there wasn’t much down time left. “What’s more important than spending time with your children, you know?” 

Yet in spite of all the other demands on their time, The Nudge continues to draw the three players together. What it is about that makes this particular project a priority? 

“When we get onstage together we get to create something that none of us have felt before as a band and musically. Beforehand there may be arguments, but once we play some music together that all disappears, and we just have a great time together. It’s a great friendship...it’s a tight looseness”, says Ryan, as we toast to the release of the new album. 

Dark Arts is out now.

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  • Music details:

    Artist: The Nudge
    Songs: Dark Arts, The Balance Change, Bring Me Your Love (I, II, III)
    Composer: The Nudge
    Album: Dark Arts
    Label: N/A