Mystery surrounds much of what Nxb0dies are about at the moment and that’s just the way they like it. The Dublin three piece led by the enigmatic Freda Conlon aren’t giving much away right now but they smashed it playing the introducing stage at Rebellion with their theatrical blend of punk and gothic. Gary Trueman chatted to singer songwriter/guitarist Freda and bass player Gritty about the concept of the band, their forthcoming album and why going dark has made Freda so happy.
You’ve just played Rebellion and went down a storm. You got a great crowd in and everybody loved you. Do you think it was a bit of a culture shock for a few people seeing you perform what is a heavier and darker style of music compared to how they might remember you from previous times?
Freda “Yeah we’re pretty heavy. There were a few people down the front who loved us and were rocking out, and then there were a few people who just looked confused. That’s what we expected though.”
There’ll be a few people that will associate you with Kiss My Acid and were maybe thinking it would be another version of that. They were the ones looking like – what the fuck is this?
Freda: “We have had that before in Dublin, the punk scene there, and they’ve gone what the fuck!”
Your music still has punk at its heart though doesn’t it, even if it is dark? Freda you seem more settled as a person and as you’ve got darker and heavier with your music your personality has become brighter and happier, like a ying and yang.
Freda “It’s getting the darkness out of me and putting it into art and music.”
Obviously you were in a less good place when you were in Kiss My Acid which was more pop punk but now as you’ve said you’re putting that darkness into your music. It’s like an exorcism isn’t it?
Freda: “It’s really funny because I’m making a story out of it, and theatrics and characters and stuff. It’s actually really fun to do. In the last band I was in I just wrote about how I felt and this is kind of like changing it into art. It’s almost like it’s not a part of me anymore. I’m giving it out into the world.”
So you’ve almost got this little alter ego doing stuff for you in a way?
Freda: “Sort of but it’s weird because it’s the true me.”
You’re much happier as a person and much more settled. You’re also happy with the band you’ve got around you too. So how are you going to build on this with the theatrics and story? What can we expect next from Nxb0dies?
Freda: “There’s so much. I can’t even keep up with it. We can’t give too much away and we’re being super vague about it but there’s a lot to come. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.”
You’re still being hit up by mainly punk promoters but the videos are much more Cradle Of Filth and Wednesday13 aren’t they? Are you a fan of then?
Freda “I grew up in the punk scene and everyone knows me for doing punk stuff but growing up before that I listened to all that heavy stuff. Nu metal, Korn, Slipknot, all that. I went backwards and went lighter with Green Day. Then Green Day got me into punk. I listen to everything though. There’s so many different influences there but also my own creativity.”
There kind of a parallel here because you also have Rebellion Festival going much more diverse which is being talked about a lot and positively too. They’re throwing different artists in the mix you would never have expected to play even just a few years ago. Bob Vylan, Kid Kapichi, Tokky Horror, acts like that. Do you think that’s something a festival like Rebellion needs to do to survive?
Freda “Yes. There was a few of the older generation giving out about the bands and how that’s not punk. They only want to hear punk bands. I think there should be more of an alternative stage. We watched the introducing stage and it was all different genres.”
Punk is more of an ethos though isn’t it, rather than just a look?
Gritty: “It’s about people doing what they want to do. That’s what punk is about to begin with.”
Freda: “If we’d have played ten years ago we’d have got booed but there’s people there that listen to everything as well. There’s different people from all over the world. You never know who could be watching you. I think people see something in us that they see in themselves. Especially with the masks we have in our videos. There’s a whole thing going on there. There’s a whole concept behind that. Everyone hides behind social media and a mask. I can’t say too much now but once we have our album out we’re going to start sharing more about the concept. There’s going to be three parts, three albums, and it’s almost like a book, or a film, I don’t know, It’s going to be mad. I keep telling people we’re not a band we’re an art collective.”
How are you fixed for gigs and touring? You’ve played a few times in Ireland now and you’re played Rebellion. What’s next? More in the UK?
Freda: “We’re trying to get our album together, we’ve been trying for a ling time. It’s been difficult because of the pandemic and all that. We started writing it a few years ago. We didn’t record it until the end of 2021 and we’re still trying to get it together. We want to make sure it all makes sense. We get offered a lot of gigs but sometimes we can’t do them because we have other things going on. But with the UK we really want to come back here and possibly do a tour. But we’re not sure when. We’d love to play as many festivals as possible. We want to get on Download one day.”
So like you said about social media and everyone hides behind a mask and they’re not what they’re putting on for the public to see. In effect the real person is a nobody?
Freda: “It’s not nobody as in you’re worthless it’s nobody as in I’m weightless and free. I don’t need to have labels. I feel that so many people put labels on themselves and no one really knows who they are. It’s really confusing for people. Like we say we don’t have a genre either, like we have some punk songs, we have some doomy songs, we have some grungy songs, but we don’t want to put a label on ourselves. And then the masks too. The videos will make sense when the album comes out.”
Nxb0dies is a commentary on society in a way, at least the digital society. So if you could change one thing about the world what would you change to make it better?
Gritty “Just to bring people back into reality in a way because we’re definitely sucked into this social media lot. With the concept for Nxb0dies a lot of it is introspective as well which also allows people to empathise with that. So to answer the question what needs to change, it’s for people to connect more off of a screen and in person. To actually live and not survive.”