“Our mission statement as a band would be the title of our new EP, ‘Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar’,” states NOBRO vocalist and bassist Kathryn McCaughey. “We love to shred, we love putting on a big, loud performance – it’s so fun to be aggressive.”
With the release of their kick-ass second EP, the Montreal quartet are ready to challenge the boys club, proving they can thrash just as hard, riff just as loud, and have a ridiculous amount of fun doing so. Initially founded by Kathryn alone, their name comes from something she found herself repeating to men who approached her to play in the band when she was searching for like-minded female musicians: ‘No, bro’.
Kathryn stuck to her guns and rounded up NOBRO’s line-up with drummer Sarah Dion, guitarist Karolane Carbonneau and keyboardist and percussionist Lisandre Bourdage, the four-piece pursuing the fast, energetic sound that had always captured her attention, though it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing at first.
“At the beginning, our skill level wasn’t there, so it was really hard to get to the point where we could play the music we wanted to play; it was always a little off. You could see what we were going for, but we never quite stuck the landing,” Kathryn muses. “As we developed as a band, it all started to come together. The music I’ve always wanted to play is now being played because we have that skill level now.”
Someone NOBRO credit with helping to hone their skills is producer Thomas D’Arcy who worked on their debut EP ‘Sick Hustle’, and they returned to for ‘Live Your Truth.’ Both Kathryn and Karolane are somewhat sheepish when discussing their first recording experience with Thomas. “I was fighting with Thom all the time; we just weren’t on the same page to begin with,” remembers Karolane.
“Going into that recording process was my first time in a professional setting, and I had a little bit of a hard time with that in the beginning,” adds Kathryn. “There was a moment that involved me kicking down a bathroom door… It’s really hard when you have your own vision of yourself, but other people have a different vision, but at the end of the day it really pushed us to become the band that we are today. We’re extremely grateful for Thom in our lives; he kept us on our P’s and Q’s and kept us accountable for the music we were making. It was rough sometimes, but he just wanted the best for us.”
So how did their second recording experience compare to the first? “It was smooth; we did it in two weeks,” says Karolane. “We partied a lot more,” laughs Kathryn. In fact, the atmosphere was so much more easy-going the second time around that the EP’s final track, acoustic jam ‘Life is a Voyage’, was recorded live in one take before the magic mushrooms they’d taken kicked in. “After that, it was impossible to play. It was fine, it was fine, the floor was kind of high,” recalls Karolane before exploding into giggles.
One thing that’s incredibly apparent when listening to NOBRO is that the band are having the best time making the music they make. How could they not be when writing songs like the brilliantly named, Ramones-esque ripper ‘Eat Slay Chardonnay’ or rocking out to the sludgy swagger of ‘Not Myself’?
What would they say to any naysayers who said they don’t take making music seriously? “My Dad says that to me all the time,” jokes Kathryn. “I think that a lot of our personalities seep through into the music, and something we all have in common is laughing at the absurdity of life; it’s like the cosmic joke: nothing makes sense, it’s all kind of hilarious.
I think other people can relate to that because when you have these ridiculous moments in life, you just have to laugh about it.
“When we were coming back from the last tour we just did in the States, we were so stressed out, we had to spend a ton of money, and there was so much pressure. All of a sudden, we found ourselves in the airport in New Jersey, getting our PCR tests so we could get back into Canada, and we all just looked at each like, ‘What are our lives right now?!’ We spent $250 each on PCR tests so we could get ourselves back home, but these ridiculous moments happen in life. If you stop and think about it too much, you’ll just start crying, so you have to laugh.”
Sure, they’ve got the rock ‘n’ roll attitude and the door-kicking, mushroom-taking antics, but NOBRO really do walk the walk, and their blistering live performances have seen them already tour with the likes of PUP, Alexisonfire, FIDLAR and The Distillers. In fact, it was the mighty PUP who brought them to the attention of alt-music label legends Big Scary Monsters, who will be releasing their EP in the UK.
Kathryn notes their tour with The Distillers as being a particular highlight, given her love for Brody Dalle, which many of us can relate to. “I’d been a fan of The Distillers since I was a teenager, I dyed my hair black, had the leather jacket, Brody Dalle was my hero. On the last night of the tour, we all hung out together drinking, and I was just in awe that this was even a moment in my life. She’s so cool and nice, and I just expressed to her how much she meant to me, and of course, I started crying!”
Given the uncertainty of the last two years, NOBRO are truly ready to get out there, live their truth and shred some gnar. “You know when you see a horse in a stable, and it just wants to get out and run? That’s how I feel,” says Kathryn. “I’m trying to be optimistic, though. In 2022 we’re going to make a record – a full-length – which we’ve never done before. There’s hopefully going to be more shows, more shredding for sure.” She pauses and grins: “We’re gonna become the women we were meant to be; I really feel that!”
Taken from the March issue of Upset. NOBRO’s EP ‘Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar’ is out 23rd February.