Alter The Press!


Interview: Nocturnal Me

With the release of their new 'Two Faced' EP due next month, Alter The Press! spoke with Dave Melillo from Nocturnal Me to discuss the band's new EP, signing to Apparition Records, working with external songwriters and more.

Alter The Press: 'Two Faced' is the first release for Apparition Records. What stood about them compared to other labels?
Nocturnal Me: They're hungry. Just like us. They have something to prove. Just like we do. And that's the type of people I want to work with in the industry right now. With everything changing rapidly in this business it's important to work with young people who have the desire to make a name for themselves. Experience is a great thing too, but in this case it seemed fitting for Apparition Records and Nocturnal Me to come up together.

ATP: Some may know Nocturnal Me for being made up of members from Cute Is What We Aim For. How does Nocturnal Me differ?
NM: The biggest difference is that a lot of thought goes into the Nocturnal Me work. Cute Is What We Aim For was all about vibes, feelings and writing/performing in an "off the cuff" style. Every Nocturnal Me song has been crafted and molded into what you hear today. From the drums, to the synth elements, to the vocals, SO much time is spent making sure those instruments speak together and send across one cohesive message. With Cute Is What We Aim For, I think it's more about the message that's being perpetuated and fans connecting with those ideals/sentiments.

ATP: What is the meaning behind the title, 'Two Faced'?
NM: There are several meanings. Forgive me if you don't give a fuck about astrology, but I'm a text book Gemini. My mind changes on a daily basis and that causes turmoil in my personal life. These songs have sprung from that turmoil. The EP also sounds completely different from song to song… sonically and lyrically. There are Maroon 5 influences and Chris Brown influences on back-to-back tracks… I talk about being in love one moment, and talking about how love doesn't exist another. There is a duality played out in every moment of the EP, so 'Two Faced' seemed like a fitting title.

ATP: You've said previously 'Two Faced' is more rounded and unlike previous EPs, is not built round singles. Was this something you decided from the start?
NM: Not at all. 'Two Faced' is just stronger all together. It can seem a little all over the place at first listen, but I think people will be smart enough to pick up the underlying threads that relate each song to another. 'Two Faced' has the BEST songs this band has ever made. I hand-picked my favorite tracks from a year of co-writing and producing, so the quality of each song overwhelmingly exceeds the past two releases.

ATP: Whilst Cute Is What We Aim For took a more pop-rock route, Nocturnal Me seems to take a direct pop approach. What are the reasons for this?
NM: That's where I belong as artist in pop music. The emo/rock thing was something I grew up with but I don't think that's where I was ever meant to grow as an artist. I've written and listened to pop music all of my life, and when I write pop music, it feels better and sounds better. I decided to throw caution to the wind this time and focus on writing great songs regardless of genre.

ATP: What influences did you have whilst writing and recording the EP?
NM: I went into this album trying to make a more realistic version of 'Ready' by Trey Songz. Sounds crazy sure, but that album changed the way I thought about music in 2010. I was also listening to 'Last Train To Paris' by Diddy right before we started tracking, so a lot of production elements were taken from that album. In the midst of recording, I started digging heavy into The Weeknd, 'House of Balloons' and Frank Ocean's mix tape 'Nostalgia Ultra'.

ATP: I understand the writing process was more open and includes writers from outside the band. What made you decide to take this route?
NM: Although the songwriting process for 'Two Faced' was more open, we didn't exactly intend for it to be that way. In 2010 I worked for different labels, artists, publishing companies as a ghost writer. The songs that didn't get picked for placement made it on 'Two Faced'. "Without You" is a song I wrote in hopes to place on The Cab's new record. "Weeknd" was written for Elijah King. "Get You Back" was written for a Romance On A Rocketship, and so on and so forth. Even though the songs didn't get picked up, I felt they were super strong, so I put my vocals on them and moved forward.

ATP: Do you think working with other songwriters was effective?
NM: Yes. At any level you need an outside source to spell check and revise your work with a clear mind. There is a difference between having people write WITH you and FOR you. A lot of bands go to songwriters because they only know how to write through a certain filter. In my case, I work with others to become a better songwriter and develop the best song possible.

ATP: Are you worried that fans may reject this approach?
NM: Not at all. I'm stoked that this is even seeing the light of day, so the reception of the EP is a moot point.

ATP: How would you advise fans to approach the EP on first listen?
NM: Jump on your skateboard. Throw some head phones on. And listen to it from front to back. That's what I do and it sounds fantastic to me.

ATP: The EP is self-produced. Was this something you wanted to do and did it give you the freedom you wanted?
NM: Yes. I would like to self-produce until I can work with someone that is light years beyond my experience level, like The Dream, Rick Rubin, Feldmann, Timbaland, etc. I think most bands need a producer because they need someone to crack the whip during the whole process. As a generation we're general lazy and apathetic, but that was never an issue in my life. Self-producing also gives me the opportunity to sit in the studio until 5am every night and get done what I need to without depending on anyone else.

ATP: How has the transition to Apparition Records been?
NM: Wonderful. Everyone at Apparition works super hard and is extremely open to artist input. After going through the whole process I would not want to release this through any other label.

ATP: I hear there is a reluctance to tour. Why is this?
NM: Touring is a broken model in my opinion. There is a House Of Blues right next to my house and they haven't opened the upstairs portion of the venue in at least 2 months because people don't go to shows anymore. With the advent of technology, it's SO much easier to sit at home and be entertained for free. I try to take advantage of where people are paying their attention. I engage fans 24/7 via social networking and its a much more pleasant experience. I don't have to drive from Montana to Texas to get paid in guacamole and tacos (actually happened), the fans get a more personal experience and I can focus on what's important; generating content and writing records.

ATP: After 'Two Faced' what are the plans for Nocturnal Me and David Melillo the solo artist?
NM: Nocturnal Me is going to continue to be my outlet for progression. I'm going to use it as an alter ego of sorts where I can experiment and grow… maybe a dub step album if the genre lasts for more than another 6 months? The solo stuff is still a work in progress, but it's definitely moving in the right direction. A solo mixtape will be released by the end of the summer and it will have a mix of acoustic tracks, and uber pop records.

'Two Faced' is released on July 19th through Apparition Records.

Official Website
Nocturnal Me on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, PureVolume, and YouTube.

Words by Sean Reid

Alter The Press!