Bad Nerves Talks FIDLAR, New Music, & Their Biggest Inspirations

Bad Nerves caught the eye of UK punks with the release of their first single, “Daydreaming.” From line-up changes to a few more years of experience under their belt, the band has perfected the essence of garage punk rock with their catchy hooks and wired stage presence.

Before their show this past Tuesday, I got to catch up with bassist John and guitarist Will. We covered how Bad Nerves came to be, their first-time playing Reading, and their biggest influences.

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So, give me a synopsis on how the band came to be.

John - It started off as a bedroom project with Will and Bobby. They basically wrote a bunch of songs, not really intending it to be anything more than that at the time. I’d known those guys from other bands before and they messaged me and were like, ‘what do you think?’ And I thought it was great, so we kind of decided to do it live. We found a drummer after quite a while looking because it’s so fast, you have to find someone that can play as fast as that. We gigged for probably like a year as that line up with Bobby playing guitar and made a big switch and got a new guitarist in and a new drummer and that’s what you see now. It’s been a couple years since the starting point.

You recently opened for FIDLAR, how was that?

Will - Yeah, it was brilliant. It was only the one show with them, they were absolutely lovely guys.

John - It was Paris actually, we had played in Paris before, but it was nice to play with them. It’s not like they influenced us, but when we started the band, we’d see them kind of on TV and they’re doing super well. They’re really nice as well which made a big difference. You meet bands that are doing really well, and you expect there to be some ego but not at all, they were super cool dudes.

You also played Reading this summer, tell me about that.  That’s incredible. 

John - It was really hot haha. All I can remember from Reading and Leeds is it was really, really hot. It was cool, but with stuff like that, I don’t know. It’s not like we get nervous, but it’s a bit more pressure than you’re used to. Then you turn up and it’s the hottest day of the year and you’re trying desperately to kind of look alright and you don’t. No one can look good when they’re sweating out haha. But yeah, it was wicked. I remember going to that festival when I was like 16, so to finally play it was cool. 

Did you get to see any other bands perform?

John - Mainly the ones on our stage. The problem is that Leeds is the next day, so you can’t really hang around and enjoy it, you’ve got to get out to Leeds. So we watched a bit in Leeds, but mainly stuff on our stage. It’s weird because the dynamic of that festival has changed from guitar music to not guitar music. So, our stage is really the only place where there’s guitar bands on, so we watched a lot of stuff there. We watched Poppy, didn’t we? 

Will - Haha yeah.

John - Where are they from? She’s from like Sweden or something like that? It’s like death metal and then it goes into pop songs or something. 

Will - Yeah haha it’s different.

John - Fair enough, music in 2019, man haha.

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Let’s get into your songwriting process, how does that look?

Will - Usually it starts with me and Bobby. He usually just plays drums and I play guitar. We come up with a few riffs, come up with a structure and then Bobby will sing over it. That’s how it worked previously. We obviously write stuff ourselves and then combine efforts together. We started jamming a bit between ourselves.

John - The original stuff is pretty much these two guys, because it was all written before there was even a ban to speak up. But with the newer stuff there’s a bit more jamming involved and everyone’s kind of getting involved a bit more. The original stuff that you hear that’s on the records, that was all written by these two guys.

Will - Literally in a garage haha. But we started writing the second album now. 

John - We’ve probably got almost another album, but we’ve just got to get this one out. Can’t get too ahead of ourselves.

Where do you find the biggest inspiration musically?

John - For me, personally, it’s old bands. It’s no secret. There are also a couple new bands like Radioactivity, and they were a band called Markmen before that and Jay Reatard as well, they were big influences on the sound now. But for me, personally, it’s all 70s punk and early 80s. Radioactivity has probably been the biggest influence really. 

Will - Yeah, yeah.

John - We’re not ashamed to say it we got to play with them the other night and it was the best. 

Will - They’ve got a really good scene going on. 

John - It was just cool to finally meet the people…you know when you start up a band and you’re like, ‘I hope we’ll be as good as these guys one day,’ then you’re playing on the same bill and you’re all getting along. So, that was probably our favorite show, yeah. 

Outside of the bands you just mentioned, what other bands do you guys listen to?

Will - You’ll probably need the other guys here for that haha.

John - Probably Dirty Fences we listen to quite a bit. They’re an American band.

Will - Punk records as well.

John - There’s so much good stuff going on at the moment. I kind of feel quite detached from the new bands that are coming out, but I’m still totally behind them doing their thing.

Will - We’ve got a mutual thing for Fat White Family. They’re nothing like anything that we listen to but they’re something. 

John - Yeah that “Whitest Boy on The Beach,” I reckon that might be one of the best songs written of this century haha. It’s so good, it’s so good. 

Who do you think are the most underrated and overrated artists?

Will - We’re not much of a band-slagger in case we ever meet anyone haha

John - I don’t know because it’s all subjective. There’s plenty of stuff that I would never listen to, but I can see why people like it. I’m quite specific on what I like. People might listen to what I listen to and be like, ‘what is this crap?’ Probably us, we’re probably the most overrated band you’ll find haha

What about underrated? 

John - Us, hahaha.

Where do you see yourself going in the future, what’s in store?

John - We just really want to get the album out. Just bring fast music back. England used to be known for its guitar music. It’s still there, but it needs a few bands to spearhead it into the future. Get kids playing guitar and drums. It’s cool if you’re into electronic music, that’s great, but we need those guitar bands. So basically, our mission is just to create a scene for this sort of stuff. For me, personally, if another young band came out playing like us that would be my favorite thing that could come out of it.

Sarah Braddock