While most of the world’s female population has been obsessing over the almighty return of the Jonas Brothers after the band’s six-year hiatus, teens of Lower Bucks County are directing their fangirl energy to another group of guys — Nothing But A Nightmare.
Formed a mere year ago, NBN consists of lead singer and songwriter Eddie Tamanini (18), pianist David Scott (16), drummer Dom Vacca (16), and bassist Clayton Malaney (18), all Langhorne residents and students at Neshaminy High School.
On a recent Tuesday afternoon at Neshaminy Mall’s Barnes & Noble, where NBN performed an acoustic set several months prior, The Times sat down with Tamanini, Scott, and Tamanini’s younger brother Anthony, a sophomore at Neshaminy who serves as the band’s manager.
Within moments of meeting the trio, one thing was evident — they’re excited, and for good reason. Not only does NBN already have the debut album Nostalgia under its belt, the traction it’s quickly gaining on Spotify and YouTube is allowing the band to book more live gigs, including Bristol Borough First Fridays on May 3.
Nostalgia was released on Feb. 20 and features seven original songs, primarily written by Tamanini, with Scott joining the creative process halfway through.
“I wanted to make an album for a really long time. I noticed a lot of artists, especially in our age group, there’s not many bands that really put out albums. It’s just Soundcloud rappers and stuff like that,” Tamanini said.
When attempting to brainstorm the perfect name for the album, Tamanini tossed around some ideas…a few of which were better than others. For some time, he was set on entitling it Thirsty, with the cover art depicting him standing in front of a vending machine. According to Anthony, that was a “very cringy one.”
“But I had written this one song called ‘Nostalgia,’ and I knew I wanted to put that on the album. I feel like eventually, that one just stuck,” Tamanini said. “I feel like every song we wrote is a nostalgic memory for us. They’re all memories.”
This concept is portrayed in the album’s cover art, which shows two clotheslines with Polaroids clipped to them. Each picture represents a song on Nostalgia, and the inspiration behind it.
In Scott’s opinion, the standout Polaroid is the one associated with “Monday,” which includes the lyric, “Go through a windshield.” To represent what he called a “broken glass feel,” NBN went to the store, purchased a mirror, and brought it to Tamanini’s front yard, where they smashed it on the ground.
Though it took a while to clean the mess of shards, this is a prime example of how the members aren’t afraid to branch outside the box of normalcy for the sake of their craft, something that’s evident in NBN’s sound. Tamanini and Scott drew from a wide spectrum of influences when penning the tracks for Nostalgia.
“I’m a huge Panic! At The Disco fan, I take a lot of inspiration from them,” said Tamanini, as Anthony gestured to his brother’s Brendon Urie-esque hair.
“I pushed the Beatles on him and Paul McCartney and weird stuff like Jimmy Hendrix. I listen to old stuff, and he listens to new stuff,” said Scott.
Still, this blending of decades, which also encompasses a Billy Joel-inspired saxophone solo and lyrics reminiscent of Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings,” worked oh so well, with each song telling its own unique story.
NBN recorded Nostalgia in the comfort of Tamanini’s home studio. Not only was this more cost-effective than spending all they had for an hour’s time at a recording studio, it granted the guys freedom to produce and mix the album exactly as they envisioned. Once it was released for all the world to hear, Tamanini felt nothing but a sense of pride.
“It was a huge weight off my shoulders. I had been hyping it for a long time, even when it was Thirsty. I really pushed myself, and David knows,” Tamanini said, explaining how, even after a long day at school, they recorded constantly. “I said, ‘It doesn’t matter how good it is at first, we’ll just work it out.’ And little by little, it would just come together.”
So far, Nostalgia has received a slew of positive feedback, especially from the girls at Holland’s Villa Joseph Marie High School.
“When we released ‘The Girl from Scandinavia,’ they were obsessed with it. They were obsessed with us. They played it in the school, like over the intercom,” said Tamanini.
“We’re just trying to get as many people to latch onto it as we can,” Scott said. “The purpose of putting out music is playing live. That’s my favorite thing. So the more people who listen to the music online, the more places we can play live.”
To date, NBN has added quite a few gigs to its resume, including performances at Shady Brook Farm, the Oxford Valley Mall, Core Creek Park and, of course, a school talent show. For Scott, the latter may be the most unforgettable.
“I had just watched Bohemian Rhapsody and I saw Roger Taylor, the drummer for Queen, use a gong. So I was like, ‘Guys, we have to steal the music teacher’s gong,’” he said, eyes illuminating. “The crowd goes wild for this gong. It’s not even bigger than this table but they freak out. And Clayton just hits it and it rings, not even how you’re supposed to hit a gong. I’m surprised it didn’t break. Curtain closes, best show ever.”
In addition to performing at Bristol Borough First Fridays, NBN will hit the stage at Philadelphia’s The Root Cellar on April 19.
“For our live shows, we like to mix it up,” Tamanini said, explaining how the setlist includes mostly originals with some covers sprinkled in. “A lot of people today on stage, they don’t loosen up. We like to loosen up and have fun. That’s all it is, is just fun.”
As far as its agenda for the rest of the year, NBN has plans to release new material in June.
“I think these songs that we’re doing are just a step up from what Nostalgia has brought. Now we know what our audience is and what they want to hear,” said Tamanini, hinting that the upcoming music will be inspired by the The Great Gatsby. “I hope it just grows from here, that’s all we can hope for.” ••
Keep up with Nothing But A Nightmare on Instagram at @nbnband.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org