When The Times first sat down with teen alternative band Nothing But A Nightmare in April, the Neshaminy High School students were all smiles, and for good reason.
Their debut EP Nostalgia was garnering them a steady Bucks County following (especially with the girls at Villa Joseph Marie), and they had booked a number of local gigs, including Bristol Borough First Fridays and Shady Brook Farm.
Since then, Nothing But A Nightmare has rode a tumultuous wave of unforgettable highs, such as performing in Delaware with “Honey I’m Good” singer Andy Grammar, and extreme lows, the worst of which was lead singer Eddie Tamanini’s move to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music. This, in turn, resulted in the disbandment of NBN.
The last six months have been chock-full of growth, self-discovery, and coming to terms with life’s calling, primarily for Tamanini. After a month at Berklee, and attempting to play with a fresh group of musicians, he quickly realized his destiny is in Langhorne beside his best friends.
NBN, comprised of Tamanini, David Scott on keys, Ryan Scott on guitar, Dom Vacca on drums, and newly added bassist Mark Macbride, has entered its second era, which its members anticipate to be even better than the first. They’re older (all are juniors at Neshaminy except Ryan, a sophomore, and Tamanini, a freshman at Rider University), wiser, and ready to expand NBN’s reach beyond their hometown.
“We’re trying to kick back into gear,” said Tamanini.
The band’s next single “Sittin’ in the Corner (Friday Night in Boston)” is set to be released on Nov. 15, with a second EP slated to follow at a TBD date this winter. Whereas the creative process behind Nostalgia was somewhat rushed in order to finish it before Tamanini’s move to Boston, David said they’re taking their time with this project.
“It’s going to be super good,” he said. “Writing in general, you can’t rush that process, especially when you’re trying to tell a specific story.”
In the case of the upcoming track, Tamanini drew inspiration from a girl he witnessed at a Berklee Shake Shack, who looked less-than-happy to be sitting by herself in the restaurant. At its heart, “Sittin’ in the Corner,” a collaboration between Tamanini and Ryan, is about more than Shake Shack girl – it’s a reflection of Tamanini’s short time spent away from home.
“It tells the story of being in that bad place and working your way out of it, no matter what it takes. Nobody in their life should be in a situation where they’re unhappy. It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s the greatest opportunity,” Tamanini said. “If it’s really hurting you, you have to back away from it. And that’s what the story tells – how to regain yourself.”
Listeners can expect most of the songs on the EP to have greater depth than those heard on Nostalgia.
“More and more, I’m becoming anecdotal with it. I’ve written stuff about my life and about things that have happened. It’s therapeutic,” said Tamanini, adding how one track is about his recent breakup. “That for me was so awesome because I literally just spilled everything into that that I needed to say. Everytime I sing it to myself, it feels good because it makes me think I don’t need that. It releases negative stuff.”
Despite those few weeks apart, the band fell right back into its comfortable groove, and, if possible, has an even stronger dynamic than before. While goofing off and ragging on each other is the norm, the guys selflessly hype up the talents of their friends.
For example, Tamanini praised the jazz-trained Macbride for never failing to surprise him with intricate runs and shreds. David then referred to Vacca, who works after school as a mechanic, as both a “jack-of-all-trades” and Animal from The Muppets.
“He used to be a star soccer player but he tore his Achilles,” David said. “So he sat in his garage, played the drums for forever and became God.”
Currently, NBN is not only trying to climb back to where it was earlier this year, but surpass that point. Tamanini said he’s been reaching out to venues across the country to book shows.
“You always have doubts in the back of your mind, but all you can do is just keep pushing. It sounds so cliche. But literally, if you push it to a certain point, people will be forced to listen. We know what’s in our music and what we put into it, so it’s about people choosing to care,” he said. “I’m never satisfied with myself. I gotta step it up a little bit. And I think with this new song, we’re stepping it up to a different level.”
Tamanini’s bandmates shared his belief that the current version of NBN is more than capable of making it big.
“We’ve gotten so much better at what we’re doing,” David said. “ ‘Sittin’ in the Corner,’ when I heard it all the way completely done for the first time, it was chills.”
“I’m not used to that genre of music, I don’t listen to that all the time. But this song, it’s stuck in my head and I keep singing it over and over again,” added Vacca.
Until that big break comes, Tamanini is enjoying the sweet simplicity of being in the same state as his chosen brothers.
“Being in a successful band, even if it’s an opening band, is hard. It’s a tough business,” Tamanini explained. “I said, ‘If I fail, I’d rather fail with my best friends and try than fail with people that I barely know.’ ”
Keep up with Nothing But A Nightmare at nbnband.com, on Instagram @nbnband and Twitter @nbnbandmusic.