lucid talks w/ new rules

New Rules

bowery ballroom (new york city, ny)

how exactly did you guys come together? was there a moment when you knew you wanted to pursue this full-time?

Nathan: “It kind of just started. I wasn’t looking for a band, just for other people who wanted to write songs. I’d seen both these lads doing covers on Instagram. Individually, we were all doing the singer-songwriter thing and busking where we lived. I reached out to them one day and asked if they wanted to meet up one weekend and just write a bunch of songs to see if they would be any good, so we did. I didn’t know Ryan was from Ireland, and he flew over and we all wrote a bunch of songs and realized we all grew up with the same music and influences. We also had the same ridiculous sense of humor, so with those three things combined, things really clicked. The songs were pretty good, too; they ended up being our first two singles.”

who are your musical inspirations? do you think you’ve incorporated these inspirations into your music?

Alec: “We’re very fortunate that the three of us share the same musical influences. We’re big fans of people like Ed Sheeran and John Mayer who are both in the singer-songwriter space but also the pop space. The list goes on, but we’re fortunate in that sense and we’re happy to make music quite true to what we grew up with and love.”
Ryan: “We did a lot of the equivalent of playing the field a little bit. We worked with a lot of different people for a long time, going back and forth on what ‘New Rules’ sounds good and it took a bit of a time. Every time we spent more time with each other and got to know each other more, we kept working it out. We’re very happy with where it’s ended up.”

How has your sound changed since the release of your two debut singles back in 2019?

Alec: “That’s a good question, and it definitely has changed. We are very happy with our most recent single, ‘Late in the Evening.’ It feels a little more homegrown, a bit more organic than the things we have done in the past and we’re really playing into the three-part harmonies we have always tried to pursue. The first couple singles were decent pop songs which was what we were chasing at the time; we drew a lot of inspiration from people like Shawn Mendes who were just killing it in the space they’re in. Now, we’re drawing into older influences, even from the past 10-20 years.”
Nathan: “We’ve gone back to our roots a little bit. The way we got into music individually was busking on street corners on our own, and now, we have gone back to that feel of acoustic guitars, harmonies and a bit more of a ‘folky vibe’ within our song-writing - that is where we feel most at home. These days, we don’t go out with the full drum kit and electric set, more just the guitars and we let the songs speak for themselves.”
Ryan: “I think what’s quite nice is when you listen to our earlier songs and then our newer songs, you can tell it’s the same guys, same band, but it has grown and evolved, which is what we are constantly trying to do.”

You guys are about to head off on your own headline tour. What are you most excited about on this upcoming leg?

Alec: “We’re going to some new places we haven't been to before and I think that’s the best part - seeing new places. Philly, Boston, D.C., and then back to Chicago and New York.”
Ryan: “We’re just really excited to see how it’s growing as well because we see it online, but when we have the shows, we're reminded that there are more people than last time and it’s very special. We’re going to try to meet everyone after the shows and just get to know them. It’ll be fantastic.”

You guys have found a lot of success on TikTok! In the age of social media, multiple artists have voiced how they feel the overwhelming pressure for constant turnover in content. What are your thoughts on this?

Nathan: “I think every artist now has to accept that it is a huge part of their job and it is quite new. It’s not always fun, but we try and make it fun and there’s definitely ways to make it your own.”
Alec: “At the end of the day, it’s another amazing way to market your music and there’s so many new artists that are coming out and doing the same thing and being able to push their music when they didn’t have that opportunity before. We’re always going to embrace that if there’s a new way for us to do that. It’s what Nathan was saying - as long as it’s always coming back to who we are as artists and musicians.”
Ryan: “I feel like it’s a quantity and a quality thing - like, if you feel like you have to post ten times a day, that’s when people can get bogged in. There are a lot of people who are putting out really good content and enjoying it and I think it’s just more about finding out what that is instead of jumping on every trend ten times a day. We’ve seen it, we’ve had videos blow up and it didn’t translate into people being massive New Rules fans. When we actually did stuff that showed off our musicality and personality is when we gained fans.”

How do you want fans to feel after listening to your latest single, “Late in the Evening”?

Alec: “When we posted the song up when it was released, we said, ‘Whether or not you’re going through a break up, we want this to make you feel like you are.’ I think it has done that successfully, which could be a bad thing, but I think it’s been mostly a good thing.” Ryan: “That’s one. We’re not trying to make everyone too sad, but I think nostalgia is a good one as well, not just lyrically, but also sonically. We're drawing from certain older influences and songs that we think are timeless and age really well. That’s one thing we want to do - we want people to be like, ‘That reminds me of this and that,’ and have it be something that they come back to.”
Nathan: “I saw someone on Twitter saying they only listen to the song with the rain app on, like it makes the sound of rain while listening to it.”

What are the challenges that come with being a global musician?

Ryan: “Jetlag.”
Alec: “Jetlag is the thing.”
Ryan: “I only say that because I’m feeling that right now.”
Nathan: “Coffee, coffee is great.”
Alec: “I find packing really hard. It takes hours to pack a suitcase for me.”
Nathan: “I just don’t unpack. I didn’t unpack last time.”
Alec: “I mean, sometimes it is seriously hard to be on the road away from family, but we’re having a great time. It’s the three of us, I think it would be a lot harder if I was solo.”
Ryan: “You know what’s quite funny is our fandom are very loyal and passionate and sometimes if we spend too much time away from home, the fans get a bit, ‘Where are you guys?!’ And kind of vice versa, so sometimes we’re trying to keep a lot of people happy.”

We’re nearing the end of 2022. What are some of your favorite memories from this year?

Alec: “The trip out here in June. Those shows - playing in New York, L.A., and Chicago for the first time was such a highlight.”
Ryan: “We spent some time in Nashville after that, too, which was a lot of fun. We did hometown shows because we wanted to bring the set we did in the U.S. back home because our fans in the U.K. hadn’t seen a show like that from us yet. We made the room smaller and did the same set on the acoustic. Those were really fun. Also, just getting to play shows again since 2021 was a bit of a mess.”
Nathan: “We have had a lot of good food this year. We kind of became obsessed with food since the lockdown, and being able to go to restaurants again after lockdown was great. I’m actually tempted to write down all my favorites.”
Alec: “One thing I think is finding a place where we ended up sonically and lyrically as a band. Not that we were lost before, but I think being a band involves a lot of what you want to look and sound and be like, and I’m happy with the growth we’ve seen in this year and knowing what our band is. That’s exciting. It will probably change in a month since we can’t actually make a decision on everything, but I think this year marks that for sure.”

Looking forward, what are your guys’ goals for this upcoming year?

Alec: “Lots and lots of new music on the way.”
Ryan: “A lot more gigs as well. We’re excited to do some festivals as well and we’re excited to hit some new places as well. We haven’t really toured in Europe, Asia, or Australia yet, so hitting some of those places would be on the list. One new continent.”
Nathan: “I always feel bad for the fans in Brazil or somewhere we’ve never been, they’re like, ‘What about me?’ So hopefully we’ll get to see some new faces!”

Is there anything you guys would like to say to the readers of Lucid?

Alec: “Thank you for reading if you’ve gotten this far! We hope to see you at a show very soon. If not a show, keep enjoying the music and we give you all our love. Thank you for the support!”

photos by ashvini navaratnam
interview by ambika verma