The N0V3L’s debut EP, which came out last month, is an art-school punk’s weapon of choice. But don’t get used to it. The band’s evolving at a staggering rate, with plans already underway to mix digital, visual and theatrical elements to their music. By the time the sextet from Vancouver’s through, they hope to make audiences question everything they know about what bands are capable of.
“We want to alter people’s perception of what a so-called ‘musical group’ can contribute to the world,” N0V3L guitarist/singer Jon Varley tells BTRtoday. “We consider music to be a functional avenue for social change.”
Their self-titled EP, released on February 15, is a collection of songs drenched in the dark and hazy melodies of post-punk that still retain the angular beats and snappy vocals of new wave icons like Devo, Joy Division and Wire.
But N0V3L is more than tunes you can snap along to. They aim to make music that confronts the state of the world and propels listeners into a cathartic and therapeutic energy.
Read the entire interview with N0V3L’s Jon Varley below.
N0V3L, “To Whom It May Concern”
BTRtoday (BTR): Tell me about this debut EP. What are you trying to convey in the music?
Jon Varley (JV): The themes of this album are an introduction to N0V3L’s ideological stance. It questions the influence of media and advertisement, modern communication methods and financial/social value systems. Musically, we aimed to create something rhythmic and danceable that still conveys the concepts present in the lyrics.
BTR: What got you into music writing in the first place?
JV: As a group, we have shared experiences of feeling disconnected from our social structures and established roles and norms. Music became an outlet for us to be creative and express these shared experiences, and now we have the opportunity to connect with a larger group of people. We see this as both a privilege and a responsibility.
BTR: Do you have a favorite show you’ve played?
JV: This past January we had the opportunity to play a few songs as James Chance’s backing band in Paris. We didn’t know what songs we’d be playing, so during the sound check, James showed us the drum and bass grooves. Most of us were already familiar with the material, so the rest was intuitive. The whole experience was surreal and somewhat terrifying.
BTR: How did N0V3L meet and decide to start playing together?
JV: Me, Ben and Noah grew up in Vernon and began playing together at an early age. Mikhail joined shortly thereafter in Victoria. Bryce and Scout are the most recent additions, who had previously collaborated with me. When N0V3L came together as a six-piece in 2018, there was a shared musical sensibility and intuition that developed through experimentation and our recent tour.
BTR: What’s in the future for N0V3L?
JV: We want to engage with digital technology and present material in unorthodox formats and alter people’s perception of what a so-called “musical group” can contribute to the world. We’re expanding the N0V3L universe by blending digital, visual, musical and performance art. We consider music to be a functional avenue for social change.