John Nolan Chats About His New Album, "Abendigo" & Tour: "It Was Just What Needed to Come Out"
Earlier this year, John Nolan entered the studio with producer Mike Sapone (Taking Back Sunday, Mayday Parade, Brand New) and engineer Brett Romnes (Free Throw, Sorority Noise) to work on his third solo album, Abendigo. With a goal to create his strongest release yet and a desire to write from the heart, Nolan stepped away from the writing and recording process with an album that perfectly reflected both his own emotional turmoil and anxiety while remaining relatable to long-time listeners. Now, with the album out for the world to hear, Nolan is currently out on the road in support of the release, with a headlining show in Denver, Colorado at The Hi-Dive on November 19th.
Currently splitting his time between his solo work and Taking Back Sunday, John Nolan has an incredibly busy end of 2018 and new year ahead of him. On top of tour dates in support of Abendigo, Nolan is gearing up to play Taking Back Sunday’s annual holiday shows at Starland Ballroom before hitting the road with the band next year. Until then, read more about Abendigo and Nolan’s plans for the rest of 2018 now below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
You just recently celebrated the release of your new album, Abendigo! What are you most excited for fans to hear on this album? What are some of your favorite things about it?
I’m excited for fans to hear the whole album. Songs flow in and out of each other and I think compliment and contrast each other. One of my favorite things about the album is that it feels like an experience to listen to it from beginning to end.
Did you have any major goals in mind when you first started working on Abendigo?
At the beginning of the writing process my goal was just to write the strongest possible songs I could and have a solid, well written album. As the process continued though, I became more focused on making the album the more cohesive experience I described. Something that is meant to be listened to front to back and takes you on a kind of journey.
Stylistically and lyrically, Abendigo takes a step away from your two previous solo releases as well. Was there anything you really wanted to experiment with on this album? Anything you knew that you wanted to discuss lyrically?
On this album there were more frustrating and difficult things that I’d experienced in my personal life that I was drawing from. There was also the political climate which I think had a level of angst and anxiety that I haven’t felt in awhile. I didn’t consciously think about how I’d handle any of that lyrically, it was just what needed to come out.
Right now, you’re splitting your time between your solo work and Taking Back Sunday. When you’re working on your own music compared to the band’s, do you find yourself working or writing differently? Do they ever bleed into one another?
I’m pretty constantly working on ideas for lyrics and music. I don’t really differentiate between what ideas can go to Taking Back Sunday or my solo albums. It usually comes down to which ideas are ready to go when I’m going into the studio and whether it’s time to record on my own or with Taking Back Sunday.
Are there any important lessons that you’ve learned in other projects that have helped when it comes to working on your own solo material?
Recording the last three albums with Taking Back Sunday has really taught me a lot. It’s made me a better musician which obviously helps when I’m recording and writing my solo stuff. It’s also taught me to not be satisfied with the first version of a song. To keep working on it even after I’ve finished it. My tendency has always been to leave a song untouched once I’ve got all the parts written. Sometimes when you keep pushing after that point you can take a good idea and make it even better.
How do you feel you’ve grown with the writing and recording of Abendigo? Did you come across any challenges when working on the album?
To me, the big challenge of song writing is tapping into your sub conscious. I think what comes out can’t be overly planned or thought out. The best songs come from a place internally that you can’t really control or understand. So one of the really challenging things for me is finding the balance between actively trying to come up with ideas and just letting them come.
You just kicked off a run of tour dates in support of the album, as well! What are you looking forward to on these upcoming shows?
I’m looking forward to bringing these new songs into a live setting. It’s really exciting to see how songs that you’ve only played in the studio will translate live. I have a great band that I’ve been touring with and I think as the tour goes on these new songs are going to continue to progress.
Do you have any other big plans for the rest of 2018?
After the tour is over I’ll be getting ready to play the holiday shows at Starland Ballroom with Taking Back Sunday. We’ll be playing our first three albums over those two shows so it’ll be challenging and also really exciting.
11/14 - Cleveland, OH - HOB Cambridge Room
11/15 - Detroit, MI - Underground @ Dime
11/16 - Chicago, IL - SubT Downstairs
11/18 - Kansas City, MO - Riot Room
11/19 - Denver, CO - Hi Dive
11/21 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
11/23 - Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theatre Lounge
11/25 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom Of The Hill
11/26 - Los Angeles, CA - Hotel Cafe
11/27 - Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar
11/28 - Albuquerque, NM - Launchpad