The Novel Ideas‘ rich vocal harmonies and mellow acoustic sound draw from the places they’ve been, creating a cozy mix of “homespun country folk” from the heart. The Boston band spent the summer before last in a barn in Jaffrey, NH recording their latest album “Home,” which they funded through a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign helped them get established in Boston, and they’ve been playing shows in the area since, sharing the stage with Lord Huron, The Ballroom Thieves, and Little Green Cars. Their songs are progressions of thought, developing upon melodies and themes as they tell the stories behind them. I got to sit down with guitarist/vocalist Daniel Radin and bassist/vocalist James Parkington in Allston before their show at O’Brien’s Pub to talk with them about their music, memories, and inspirations.

Nayantara: How did you guys meet?

Daniel: A little over a year ago, Danny, James and I started working on an album. We really didn’t know what we were going to do with it, but we sort of decided to play these songs live and see what would happen. We found Sarah on Reddit. She posted a thread saying “female vocalist looking to collaborate.” Danny messaged her and she didn’t respond, which is funny because now they’re dating. Then, I messaged her and she responded. She came over and sung for us and absolutely crushed it. We found Nick through Craigslist. He had just moved here from Austin and was looking to play the drums with someone. It’s not a super interesting origin story, but it’s what we’ve got.

Nayantara: What inspires your music?

Daniel: We have 3-4 songwriters in the band, and everyone likes to write the songs, so I like to say that when Danny or Sarah or James are showing me a song, I get inspired by their creativity. Also, we live with Gabe Goodman, who’s a musician in Boston, and Justine, who is in a band called Photocomfort. I love their music.

James: It’s funny that you say that. Because we all live in the same house, sometimes you hear the reverberations of other people’s songs. While there aren’t exactly words to them, you think of your own when you hear the chord progressions and vocal harmonies and stuff. It sort of lends itself to your own creativity, because you’re indirectly creating a song based on what someone else is creating, which is kinda cool.

Daniel: It’s probably happened in return too. Maybe that’s on the album somewhere. Who knows.

Nayantara: What was your favorite song to record off the EP?

Daniel: Back and Forth is one that was really fun to record, because when we started recording it, it was one thing, and by the end of it, it was way more. Lonesome George was one too. It was rocky for a little while, and we pulled back and made it more subdued. I think that was the most satisfying, finally finishing that song.

Nayantara: I really liked Not Enough and how it was a conversation between two people that showed how they were at different points in the relationship and had totally different outlooks about what they wanted and what was going to happen next. What inspired the lyrics?

Daniel: Without saying too much, [laughs] it’s mostly true about a relationship that someone in the band had that ended poorly. It’s a very honest song. We tried to make it even-handed, so it’s not demonizing one person in the relationship. Each person has their own feelings about it and they’re both valid, but both people are sad.


Nayantara: What do you think about the music scene in Boston?

Daniel: I feel like we’ve only broken into it recently. There are so many good bands playing in Boston. Everyone’s trying to open a thing for a band bigger than them, which is totally fair – we tried to get new fans through that. I guess I wish there was a little more, like, let’s have three of the same sized bands, but a really good fill at a really good venue. It does happen sometimes, but I wish it happened more often. There are not as many good venues here, I think, as some music-oriented cities, like New York or Austin or something, so it took us a while to book really good shows and build our sound as it is right now, because we don’t have a lot of contemporaries in the space. People come up to us after shows and are like, you guys are from Nashville, right? [Laughs] Yeah, I guess it’s not the typical sound that people would be looking for in this area. That’s not to say that we have had trouble finding people to play with, but, you know, it’s not as easy as it could be down south.

Nayantara: What was one of your favorite moments touring?

James: The sunset show, absolutely.

Daniel: Oh yeah! We played this show in Brooklyn, on a rooftop, which my friend invited us to play in, and when I got there, this really good loud rock band was playing, and I was, like, we’re not going to fit in, this is terrible. I thought that no one was going to listen and that it was going to be so bad. When we got up, there were so many sound problems, because it was a very janky setup, but the sun was literally setting behind us as we played the set.

James: Everyone sat down and watched us.

Daniel: It was really quiet, and they sang along to the cover that we did, and that was definitely the highlight for us.

Nayantara: What are some of your favorite bands to have played with?

Daniel: We got to play with Lord Huron, who’s like, one of my favorite bands.

James: Super super nice guys. They’re all ridiculously talented, and also ridiculously attractive too [laughs]. Full package. Ladies, go and see Lord Huron.

Daniel: They were headlining in Providence and they opened for Alt-J here in Boston, so we got to open for their Providence show, which was crazy. Their album – James showed it to me, actually – is one of my favorite albums of this year.

Nayantara: What would your ideal collaboration be?

James: Do you think Bonnie Raitt would play with us? [laughs]

Daniel: Yeah, but we have a girl. I saw that Lord Huron announced a tour, and I was like, how great would it be to open for that. I also saw that Night Beds were opening a tour, which is this amazing band that recorded in Nashville. To open for either of those bands would be really amazing.

Nayantara: What are you guys listening to at the moment?

James: A coworker showed me Youth by Daughter. That song is so good. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard it in so long! It’s phenomenal. It actually just popped up on a podcast I was listening to yesterday and I was like, I need to turn this crap off and go and listen to the song! I keep on going back to Youth, over and over.

Daniel: Phosphorescent has a new album that I really like. He’s coming to Boston, and he just announced a show. I really like his album, a lot. It’s cool.

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