Nicole Boggs & The Reel are bringing their own unique strain of ‘70s-influenced rock and Americana to the people, and are doing so with a deeply-rooted passion for honesty, real life, and truth. And also, boat loads of fun.
Based out of Nashville, the band consists of front-woman and singer-songwriter Nicole Boggs (The Four On Fox), guitarists and songwriters Alex Kramer, (Jason Derulo) Sam Gyllenhaal, and bassist Loren D. Clark (Keb Mo, Gone West). All of the band members grew up in musical families, which, in addition to sharpening the collective ear of the band, lends to the wide scope of influences that they distill into their music. The band accomplishes something with their music that, in today’s musical environment, is truly a treat: they create an undeniable groove that is tightly packed with real, honest lyrics, and still manage to have fun with themselves and the music.
Nicole Boggs & The Reel’s upcoming single, “Money”, is a perfect example of the type of musical style that you can expect within the rest of their repertoire. It’s a hard-hitting, driving song with an undeniable groovy energy that still packs a lyrical punch that’s dripping with razor-edged sarcasm. The song is lyrically centered around exposing the cartoonish reality of the music industry – an industry where males greatly outnumber women and over-sexualized content still sells at a top dollar. The band takes a scathing approach toward the issue, but still manage to implement it within the confines of an amazingly danceable party track with plenty of ear candy and incredible musicianship to boot. “Money” is also a great example of the group’s evolution since their past release “Scenes from Last Year”. Each member finds their individual voice and hones it toward the central goal of the group’s collective sound.
Nicole Boggs & The Reel are a very unique band in the current landscape of the music industry. Their overt and outspoken defiance towards the “powers that be” of the music industry indicate a deeper motivation and inspiration for the music than just money-making. Instead, the band is dead-set on circumventing the tired and archaic industrial system and getting back to the root of it all – Real music for Reel people.
The band’s new single “Money” is out on March 27th. You can listen to their previous January release, “Scenes from Last Year”, on all major streaming services.
Music Mecca: So The Reel has a very vintage look and sound going on. Who or what was the main inspiration/inspirations for your style would you say?
Nicole Boggs & The Real: We’re all kinda Beatles kids at heart. What’s considered retro/vintage feels like home to us. The more we’ve resisted the temptation to chase the latest trend, the more authentic and powerful the music feels to us. It seems to resonate more deeply with audiences as well. We also consider Steven Tyler, Keith Richards, and Stevie Nicks fashion role models, because duh, who wouldn’t?
MM: Judging from the music video for “Money”, it looks like you guys like to have a good time. How important is playfulness and keeping things fun to your creative process and overall aesthetic?
NB&TR: We’re all kind of drawn to each other’s sense of humor. After you’ve seen our live show, you’ll see that cutting jokes and making each other laugh is our favorite thing to do. It counterbalances the sometimes serious nature of the music to have joy that shines out from our family-band dynamic. Playfulness is almost more important than the music itself. After all, we have to spend an awful lot of time together.
MM: Now you have your latest EP None of Your Business set to be released later this year. What can fans expect along the way, and with the final product?
NB&TR: We have some surprises up our sleeves throughout this release. In general, fans can expect an edgier rock n’ roll sound than they’ve heard from us in the past and a stronger emphasis on harmonies. There is a bite to the lyrics accompanied by sarcasm that hasn’t always been this prevalent. At this point in our lives and careers we’re done trying to make art that makes everyone comfortable. We’re addressing things like shallow beauty standards, our discontentment with the music industry, and our reckless love lives.
MM: How did y’all meet and start playing music together?
NB&TR: We met the old fashioned way: in a bar. We’ve all overlapped in the Venn diagram that is the Nashville music scene for the better part of the last decade. Nicole and Alex started working together on her solo project in 2013, and began writing for Alex’s solo project shortly after. That later transitioned into The Reel with the addition of Loren, and the sound continued to hone in. Sam wrote his way into the band in 2018 and we haven’t looked back since.
MM: What are some of the central messages you want to communicate to your fans through your music?
NB&TR: Relentless honesty is always what we strive for. Sometimes that means telling stories that aren’t so pretty. Sometimes that means admitting things that don’t necessarily make you look good. The end-goal is to make listeners feel comfortable showing up as their authentic selves. We want to make music that people can relate to and think, “Finally somebody said that out loud.”
MM: What have been some of the highlights of your respective musical careers?
NB&TR: As professional musicians, we’ve all had a variety of cool experiences ranging from reality television to touring the world with artists like Keb Mo, Jason Derulo and Will Hoge.
MM: If you could open for any artist – living or dead – who would it be?
NB&TR: That’s brutal! Uhh… Spinal Tap, right? Is that the correct answer? But for realsies, Sheryl Crow, take us with you.
MM: Are there any more modern bands or artists that currently inspire you?
NB&TR: It’s a great time to be making music, despite whatever narrative of the “dying music industry” or the “golden age” that some may espouse. Artists like Lucie Silvas, Alabama Shakes, Lake Street Dive; not to mention our badass friends in Nashville that inspire us every day. As always, honorable mention to our co-writer and fifth Beatle, Connor Rand. The list goes on: Kyshona, Ross Livermore, Katie Pruitt…we’d never get to the end.
MM: Do you take a more individualistic or collaborative approach to your songwriting?
NB&TR: Our process is super collaborative. We’ve developed a comfort and trust with each other where everyone in the room wants the best idea to win. It really streamlines the process to write as a band because there’s sometimes three or more people in the room simultaneously crafting different puzzle pieces of the song. It’s a thrilling thing to watch your little song-baby find its identity as a reflection of all of us individually and collectively.
MM: 2020 will be a success for you/the band if…
NB&TR: We get to take our songs far and wide and make crowds around the country (world?!) laugh, cry, and rock out.
Photo by Duende Vision