Smile Politely

Catching up with Nectar: New album, hitting pause, and more

Nectar was right smack in the middle of recording their second full-length project in March, then, the pandemic hit.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Kamila Glowacki, guitarist Aaron Shults, bassist Isabel Skidmore, and drummer Jake Mott, Nectar is rolling with the uncertainty of the world they’re making music in. When I spoke with them a few weeks back, the currently-untitled record was originally set to release in the fall.

Glowacki said the album is about “40 percent done”, with the drums and bass recorded, but the vocals and guitar mostly unrecorded. But the band’s never been a group to rush out a project. They pride themselves on rolling out music in the right way.

“Our timeline has kind of gone out the window,” Shults said.“Originally, we were thinking for this fall to have it come out and be able to tour and stuff. But, now that touring is a big question mark, do we even put it out and we can’t play shows? Should we rush to finish it to put it out to not do anything but to just sit with it on the internet for a while? I don’t know.” 

Glowacki and the others agree that finishing the project will take more time as the group continues to socialy distance. The project will expand on the group’s trademarks of boisterous, energetic riffs over somewhat melancholy, introspective, yet generally-optimistic lyrics. 

When discussing the creative process behind their music, they light up and invite you in. The band categorizes itself as a power pop-punk band because, as Glowacki described, it doesn’t exactly fit into traditional genres.

“Pop punk has a very specific sound that you imagine, and we don’t totally fit that mold,” She said. “All of us come from a punk background as well, which I think is something that influenced our super short songs, which is another thing with the new record. We have some longer songs, like four minutes and three minutes, which is long for us.”

Skidmore joined the band years ago, after each member migrated to Champaign-Urbana in their early 20s, but this is their first time actually recording with the band. They took part in the group’s East Coast and Canadian tour in 2018, which had about 15 stops, but wasn’t heavily involved in the production of the band’s full-length debut Knocking at the Dooror the self-titled 2014 demo. 

Things haven’t unfolded as Skidmore expected, they expressed the journey of making a project is beautiful in itself, even when it’s not going down according to plan. Everyone will ultimately have a different feeling and relationship with the project because of how it is being put together in pieces. Skidmore finished the last bits on the final recording day before self-quarantining.

“I am really glad that I finished it before we had the shelter-in-place order,” Skidmore said. “I think it would be like super jarring to have that sort of cut in half. I know Kamila started recording, or, at least, started getting ready to record guitar parts. And I’m sure it is really, really tough to get almost to the point where she was recording and then have that sort of all taken away.”

IMAGE: Four band members with flowers in their hands. The background is a shade of blue. Photo by Janelle Abad.

Photo by Janelle Abad.

No one in the band has been playing music much, and the group hasn’t met for practice since the pandemic really took off back in March. Individual band members have been taking up other activities while at home.

Skidmore, Shults, and Glowacki have each been taking time to plan and cook a variety of meals, which is another form of creative expression. “Cooking is creative,” Glowacki said. “I finally have the time to actually cook and not have to rush through it.” She’s also been painting a lot, which she has a degree in and is one of her favorite pastimes. 

Skidmore and Glowacki each don’t enjoy playing music by themselves, which is part of why they’ve turned to other outlets. “I feel kind of paused musically,” Glowacki said. “I enjoy playing with the full band and that experience more than just quietly playing alone by myself.” 

Skidmore has also taken up making their own clothes at home. “Just like Kamila, music doesn’t really have the same effect for me without people, without playing in my band. I’m not really interested in playing music by myself in my apartment.” 

Mott said he hasn’t picked up his drumsticks in roughly ten weeks. He has taken more time away from music to hang out with his 11-month-old daughter and his wife. Together, they plan kiddie scientific experiments, art projects and fun activities.

The band has come to peace with the odd process around this project, and they’re excited to eventually put it out into the world, whenever that ends up being. And while they may not be able to string together a tour due to restrictions on music venues and public gatherings, they hope to be able to play music live again soon. 

Overall, the project is moving in a more expansive path, as Nectar collectively pushes itself to evolve as their own lives have.  

“I think this record has a lot more variety than our first one,” Glowacki said. “The first one is like pretty fast and upbeat. Whereas this one, I think, has a lot more variety and tempo, but also just like in the style of song too. We have a bunch of really tight, fast, upbeat songs in the same way that we did in the last record, but then we also have some slower songs. I think some are more experimental.”

Mott said “I think we definitely played with a lot more dynamics throughout this new record in comparison to the last one.”

Now that producer Andrew Rodriguez lives in town (the group doesn’t have to travel to Springfield to record like in past years), the recording process has inevitably been disjointed because of the pandemic. Glowacki said that working with Rodriguez has helped the group build in a new direction and really put a lot of thought into the finished product.

“I think our parts are way more intricate and like thought out too,” Glowacki said. “Andrew is really good about really taking the time with each song, offering suggestions, and pushing us to make it the best it can be. Because of the amount of time we have, there’s going to be way more time and thought put into this record. Our last record, we recorded it in two days which is super, super fast. So yeah, we’re spending a lot more time [on it].”

Top image by Janelle Abad.

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