Interview ~ Tennyson and Holden Nobel of The Lovely Days

You know that incredible feeling that you get when you put a coat on and find money in one of the coat pockets that you didn’t know about? You almost feel as if you’ve just won the lottery or hit the jackpot! That’s the kind of feeling that I got when I listened to the The Lovely Days self-titled EP release. It’s a five song EP filled with an incredible amount of musical excitement. The songs are infectious and fun with top notch musicianship and killer harmonies. I dare you to try and sit still while listening to this EP because the music just resonates from your ears all the way into your soul and makes you move.

The four piece band hails from Melbourne, Australia and consists of siblings Tennyson (keys/vocals) and Holden (bass/vocals) Nobel along with Stephen Dickie (guitar/backing vocals) and Jackson McIvor (drums). Their self-titled debut album is set to be released on October 7. The guys took a very DIY (Do It Yourself) approach to the EP as it is self-penned as well as self-produced. Although the guys wear their musical influences on their sleeves, their sound comes across as fresh and relevant. We found that to be very refreshing in an industry that can be quite stagnant at times with many ideas being rehashed for the sixth, seventh and eighth time. We were very fortunate to catch the Brothers Nobel here in the U.S. on a recent visit and had one of the coolest convos that we’ve had in a very long time with the guys.

Tennyson Nobel/The Lovely Days: So, how long have you been doing this?

This is actually my own magazine that I started about a year and a half ago after writing for other people for about ten years. We’re genre free which gives us the opportunity to talk to artists from all over the musical menu. We talk to the big dogs in the industry, but we also focus a lot on the up and coming bands. Every big dog in the industry had to start out as a little puppy. I think I need to copyright that saying and put it on a bumper sticker!

Tennyson: That’s awesome man; good for you! I love that saying; I’ll definitely make that t-shirt for you! We’re still little puppies, I guess, but it’s great to finally be in America and finally be able to tip our toe in the water a little bit over here.

Are you over here on business or pleasure?

Tennyson: It sort of became business like I guess; originally we just wanted to have a big holiday. We’ve been living in Melbourne for about five years and we just needed to get out and see the world for a few months. Some things fell into place about six months before we left; we met some great people and we started to build a nice team around us. We’ve only been to the states one other time; I was thirteen and Holden was 15 and we were on holiday with our parents. I remember saying that we couldn’t wait to come back, so this is such a trip for us that the music is a part of this now.

Holden Nobel/The Lovely Days: We love the American scene as well; we’ve been to some amazing gigs while we’ve been here.

Tennyson: We walked into this bar in the East Village on our first night here and there was this New York chick band called Baby Shakes playing. We had no idea what we were walking in on and they kind of blew our heads off. The scene is very happening here and we feel really lucky to be here.

Holden: Melbourne’s a really happening place as well, but it’s really cool to come over here and see this scene as well.

Tennyson: It’s already been so informative; we’re heading to Nashville after this stop and we hear there’s some really cool stuff happening there as well.

It’s definitely not your mom and dads’ Nashville anymore or at least my mom and dads’. It used to be known primarily for its twangy country sound, but that’s not necessarily the case these days. There’s a ton of rock artists living there and it’s rich with songwriters of all genres.

Tennyson: It was one of those little spots on the trip that we were going to check out anyway. Their distribution  guys  who are going to be putting the record out over here have their distribution offices based in Nashville, so that was in of those things that happened to fall into place. We get to soak up these places a little bit before we go home.

Have you been surprised by any of the food here in the U.S. on this visit?

Holden: The coffee’s different over here; we’ve got some really, really good coffee in Australia, but the filtered coffee here just jacks you right away. In Australia, I have two or three cups a day, but here in the U.S. after just one cup I’m like ‘whoa!’ The sizes are huge over here; your small is like our large back home (laughs). The pizza in New York was also really, really good.

Tennyson: We don’t do bagels back home like you do here, but they’ve been amazing. We went to our first baseball game and we had some hotdogs and these cheesy chips that we can’t get back home. It was definitely quite the experience taking in the game with our cheesy chips and cold beer.

I have to tell you guys that one of the coolest things about having this magazine is discovering new artists. I absolutely love this EP from beginning to end; please don’t ask me to pick a favorite track because that would be like asking a parent to pick their favorite kid. I think it only took about thirty seconds into the single and I knew that this was going to be something special. I remember taking out my pen and putting an asterisk next to the band’s name because I knew that I had to talk to you at some point.

Tennyson: That’s awesome man; thank you so much. We absolutely love the idea of you just blasting it and enjoying it. When we recorded it, we never thought that we’d get out of Melbourne, but the thought of it getting blasted in other parts of the world is a fucking trip for us.

Holden: Thanks for putting that asterisk down as well (laughs).

Every super hero or villain has an origin and a band is no different, minus the radioactive spiders and trips into outer space. Tell me about how The Lovely Days were formed.

Tennyson: Our dad is an incredible piano player and song writer and he started teaching us when we were really little. I was five and Holden was seven when he started us on piano and we had years of teaching with him. We moved up to Byron Bay and there was a school up there that our dad starting teaching at we started going there. Stephen, who plays guitar in the band, was a year above me in school and our dad became his music teacher as well. We then moved down to Melbourne and we wanted to start a new band and start fresh in the new big city. Then, Stephen just fell into place and it was a good fit. Jackson is a cat from Melbourne that we met about a year and a half ago. We were looking for drummers and a friend of ours hooked us up with him. It was just like you were saying; within the first thirty seconds or something we just knew.

Holden: I knew straight away, I play bass and you have to just lock in with the rhythm section and it just blew my head off.

Tennyson: Yeah, he was this eighteen year old kid with glasses just bashing the shit out of the drums. Stephen had been playing a bit growing up, but it was the later part of high school that he really started getting into the guitar. He became one of those bedroom guys who just played and played and played.

Holden: He never really played outside of his bedroom, so nobody really knew how good this guy really was.

Tennyson: He was this modest, really soft kind of shy cat and when we started playing together it was like holy fuck, this dude is a freak! The whole synchronicity with dad teaching us all a really long time; he’s sort of the origin of everything for us. Then, that was kind of bestowed upon Stephen for a couple of years and that brought the three of us together.

Were you at all reluctant to start on piano when your dad first brought it up or was it an instant type of connection?

Holden: Most of the other kids went to soccer or rugby training and we were just doing piano. Then, when we started getting sick of piano, he started teaching us how to sing harmony. We learned as many Beatles songs as we could.

Tennyson: He just flogging us with so much different music; he showed us the Beatles which led to the Doobie Brothers which lead us to Steely Dan and Elton John. It was such a wild influx of sounds at such an early age; I still remember being very nervous. We were doing all of the piano grades and it’s very formal and conservative. Every year you go in this little room and there’s this little old woman. I remember talking to dad and asking him if it was ok to sing and he was like yeah man. That sort of led us on a trip; he’s a crazy songwriting and we really wanted to get into songwriting at an early age as well.


I have another music nerd question for you and it has to do with the band’s name. Is there a story behind it or is it something that was just pulled out of a hat?

Tennyson: We had so many different band names growing up and then we just got to a point. We were looking for a new drummer and the sounds were coming out differently, so we felt like we needed to hit the refresh button on the name. We always wanted something light, easy and positive; you know, something optimistic sounding. It’s fucking hard to find a name that really works. One night, we went to this great gig and we came back and were listening to some tunes. It was the first day of spring back in Melbourne; it gets so fucking cold in Melbourne, so when spring hits it’s so fucking gorgeous. That tune by Bill Withers, “Lovely Day,” was playing and someone just said why didn’t we just call the band The Lovely Days? We stuck with it and it’s gotten better for us as time’s gone on, so we thank Mr. Bill Withers for that.

Do you think you were bitten by the music bug during those lessons that your dad was giving you? Was that when you knew you wanted to be doing this?

Holden: It was definitely very early on and we were being shown some home videos a few years back on my 21st. Tennyson was seven and I was nine and they asked in the what we wanted to do when we were older. I’m on video saying that I wanted to be in a band and they asked if my brother would be in the band and I said maybe, depending on how good he gets (laughs).

I can definitely hear the Beatle-esque type harmonies on this EP, but who are some other artists that have influenced you?

Holden: Yes, definitely the Beatles from the start, but then later one we were influenced by some modern bands that we loved. We love those old 70s bands, but we don’t want to be a revival band. We love a lot of the new music that’s coming out these days.

Tennyson: There’s just so much really good stuff coming out these days and you do hear traces of stuff from back in the day, but people are putting a new, fresh spin on it.  I think all of that stuff that we listened to when we were younger just naturally drifts into our sound without us meaning for it to. Paul McCartney and Wings and all of his solo stuff has definitely been a massive influence on us. You listen to one thing and it leads you to another thing and then another. It’s like this incredible musical soup in this really big pot and you’re constantly adding stuff into it and churning it around.

It’s like a never ending shelf of ingredients that you keep going to.

Holden: (Laughs) That’s perfect!

Tennyson: It always tastes good, no matter what you put into it; it always tastes pretty sweet.

Was “Lordness” an easy pick for the first single?

Tennyson: It’s been around in the back pocket for a little while, but when we actually go to the point where we were tracking it that we realized how energizing it was.

Holden: We always start our gigs with it; it’s an exciting way to get things started.

Tennyson: We wouldn’t know any other way to start because it just feels like you’re taking off straight away with no chance of turning back.

The press release for the album mentioned that you recorded it in several places because you wanted to get out of the studio. I think that’s a cool thing to do because a studio can sometimes over polish and sterilize an album.

Tennyson: It was just sort of a test in the beginning to try the whole studio thing and it was pretty exciting, but after we did the sessions we realized how much we liked working together in a more intimate place.

Holden: We also have much more control by doing it ourselves; otherwise you have someone at the desk telling you it was a good or bad take or that you only have so much more time to work on a vocal. There are time restraints doing it that way, but it was really nice to be able to do it by the beach for a week.

Tennyson: Or on the couch with Stephen cooking eggs; atmosphere wise it was such a nicer way to record. We love the whole hands on thing; we love fucking with shit to see what happens by distorting things or playing around with it. You don’t always feel like you have the freedom to do stuff like that when you’re in the studio.

I know the EP is scheduled for an Oct 7 release; what’s on your radar after the release?

Holden: We have a video coming out for “Lordness” that we’re really excited about. It’s from all of our travels along with a bunch of live footage and it looks really cool.

Tennyson: We haven’t done a video before, so we’re super psyched to finally put one out. I think we’ll start cooking again when we get back home; we’ve got plans to put more stuff out over the next year.

Holden: It’s great that it’s going out on college radio here in the U.S. which is really exciting for us.

Tennyson: There will be some physical copies going out as well, but everyone will be able to download it from all of the regular platforms to their laptops and whatever on October 7. We’re really excited to see what happens with it because you just never know.

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