It is fair to say that The Novus have been making ripples in the alternative music scene that extend far from their native Birmingham. Look far and wide as you might, you’d be hard pressed to find anything that sounds like them, with their heady mix of sharp, smooth and disconcerting sounds, meeting somewhere at the junction between punk and psychedelia. From the heady atmosphere of their live shows, displaying a brazen willingness to embrace the intensity of their own music, to the raucous punch of their latest single “Man On The Bridge”, The Novus have given ample abundance of their potential to do something very new both on stage and in the studio.
Q. Tell us something about what inspires your creative process, and the mood you try to create with your music.
A. It would be difficult to say that we really try and create a mood. It’s very important to us that our music has substance and meaning. Generally, when we’re writing the aim is to convey a message, provoke thought or generally educate others on our thoughts and opinions. We always say if even one person’s thoughts have been changed even slightly by us, we have done more than we could ever expect to achieve.
Q. How would you describe your sound in one sentence?
A. Difficult to pin down, but hopefully enjoyable.
Q. You’ve recently released a new single, “Man On The Bridge”. Can you tell us more about it?
A. Of course, it is one of our oldest songs and we don’t really believe it reflects where we are now mentally or musically, however we felt that it was too good to leave out. So, as our tale goes, it’s simply about a man in Camden Town, London, who dances on the famous lock shirtless all day, a true legend.
Q. Have you been working on something new recently, and what are your plans for the second half of the year?
A. We always aim to move forward and never stand still for too long. So we have quite a bit in the works that we couldn’t really talk about. It’s difficult going forward with the current situation as the world is unpredictable, but there are some big plans for later in the year that we hope work well.
Q. If you could choose your dream venue to play after reopening, what would it be?
A. We still dream of one day planning the Institute main room in Birmingham. We have seen so many of our idols on that stage such as Johnny Marr, Fontaines DC, The Twang, and so on, and it would be truly an amazing experience to be up there ourselves.
Q. What do you think about the music community’s response to the lockdown? Have you been taking part in any projects?
A. We have had involvement in multiple fundraisers for venues, and for different mental health causes and other seriously important contemporary issues. It’s empowering to know that there is care, and there is community within the music scene. Throughout modern history, when times are at their worst, it has always been music that has held people up. It broke our hearts recently to see a Times article about how artists are the least important vocations. People need music and colour in their lives, otherwise it would be a very grey place to live in this world.
Q. The lockdown has been an occasion to reflect collectively on mental health, especially for those who drew strength and support from live music. Have these themes been part of your reflections and songwriting recently?
A. On personal levels, and we know such a large percentage of our damned generation are the same, we have all struggled with mental health issues and do continue to every day. So for us, we cannot really express the importance of destroying taboos around mental health, especially toxic masculine states, to us as a group of people. So it is very close to our hearts in our song writing.
Q. You’re famous (or perhaps a little infamous) for setting up DIY shows in secret locations. How did that experience start, and what were the best parts and the challenges with it?
A. Often these ideas start as a joke, and end up becoming a reality. The DIY show we put on last year was a high point in our lives as a group of friends who have known each other for ten years. The challenges were endless, and far too boring to talk about, logistics aren’t very rock and roll.
Q. What have grassroots venues meant for you in your personal experience? Can you tell us something about a grassroots music venue that is particularly dear to you, or that helped shape your love of music?
A. Naturally, coming from Birmingham means that The Sunflower Lounge is a key part of our lives, being a teenager was made by Sunflower Lounge gigs. Grassroots venues create a foundation for the legacy artists of the future. Music is spiritual and music is culture, and these venues offer a place for that to be experienced in all its glory. We can’t help but feel that the in current climate we work in, these venues are incredibly hard done by, and it’s hard work for them. So we hold them in the upmost admiration.
Q. What is, to you, the most exciting thing about playing in a digital festival?
A. It feels very dystopian and surreal to us, we never expected this time last year to be in the situation we are now. But it’s exciting how even in the hardest times, people who love music find a way to listen to, and express doing what they love.
The Novus are playing on Sunday, July 26th, 5:30 PM.