There are some new kids (on the block), bringing new rules with them. And by sheer luck, they’re called New Rules. Take a look.
A boyband with an edge to them? Surely not? In the 1990s the term boyband had a Westlife “innocence” about it in terms of style and content. English/Irish boyband New Rules write their own tunes, their own lyrics and touch on subjects like wine and women.
There are three members of New Rules, the charming Alec McGarry, the charming Nathan Lambert, and the equally charming Dubliner, Ryan Meaney.
I had a Zoom chat with them to find out what’s to know, and about their new mixtape album Go The Distance.
DDW: So what first got you all into music?
Alec: My dad gave me his iPod when I was tiny and it had a mix of weird stuff on it like Dave Matthews Band. And also listening to a lot of things, like Parachutes by Coldplay and then Ed Sheeran, who was the reason why I got into it seriously. And I think these lads are the same.
DDW: So you didn’t go to drama school, you just met as musicians?
Alec: Yeah, we all had musical upbringings, so we were all singing and songwriting from like, early teens. In school, we just took music up.
Ryan: Yeah, I did the busking thing in Dublin and playing pubs and that was going pretty well and then the boys tore me away from it.
Nathan: He’s never gonna forget that (laughs).
DDW: I love ‘Emily’ by the way, that is one catchy tune.
Ryan: Really glad you like it.
Alec: Emily came about in a dressing room in Mexico.
DDW: The reception you got from your Mexico trip (December 2019) was incredible. That must have given you a massive lift.
Alec: Yeah, it was crazy, we didn’t know what to expect at the time, but looking back, it was an amazing trip.
Ryan: Yeah, we landed at the airport and there were crowds waiting for us.
Nathan: It was absolutely nuts. You know you look on Twitter and you see you’ve got fans? But when you get there and actually see actual real people and it’s like, ‘this is pretty cool’.
DDW: Did you know each other before you got signed (to Elektra)?
Alec: Not really, we met through song-writing and decided we need to get a band together.
Ryan: We all had the same interests and we wouldn’t have wanted to be in a band when we were younger, but when we met it just rocketed.
DDW: What I like about you the most, as a band, you’re a bit edgier than the boybands of the 1990s. You do sing about drinks and girls/partners etc. It’s a nice way of portraying yourselves. It’s a bit more rock’n’roll, would you agree?
Ryan: Yeah, but at the same time we are boys and we are a band.
Nathan. We write about things that have happened to us or friends of ours, so it’s all very real stuff.
DDW: If you wanted someone to collaborate with, who would it be?
Ryan: Well, when the three of us met we were really into John Mayer. He’s been involved with people like Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran, so he’s in like the same world as us. I think that would be really cool for all of us.
DDW: You sound like the three of you really get on.
Nathan: I think you have to get on. I spend more time with these fellas than anyone, including family, girlfriends, anyone.
DDW: So what’s next for you guys?
Alec: We’ve got a mixtape which is dropping, Go The Distance, on Friday (June 3rd) seven new songs, so we’re like buzzing.
DDW: I love the album cover for Go The Distance, the blurred image and the scribble, and the arrow at the bottom. It’s like that underlines what you’re about.
Nathan: Thanks man, that’s a nice (description) of it. We wanted the blurry pic, like movement, it was what we were after.
Alec: Yeah thanks for that. We’re heading to New York, LA and Chicago. We’re really excited. Our first headline shows in the US.
DDW: Lots of flying, a lot of screaming girls?
Alec: OH yeah, BA membership, cocktails (laughs).
DDW: Are the US fans loving New Rules? Are they more receptive than UK fans?
Ryan: They are great, but no, no not better than the UK, and defo not better then Ireland.
DDW: Can I ask, where on earth did you get the idea for the song, Pasta?
Alec: (Laughing) We were away with two mates of ours who are writers and one was telling us about his recent trip to Italy with his wife. They were walking around Rome looking at the sights, and his wife said ‘God, all I want is a bowl of pasta’.
DDW: It’s a great song, just a weird title.
Ryan: Yeah we were reluctant at first to release it, it’s really Marmite.
DDW: I loved it because when I saw the weird title I had to click and stream it.
Alec: You just said it, you had to click on it because you wanted to know, why is it called Pasta? That’s great.
Nathan: Thank you, love that you like that song.
Ryan: It’s our most streamed song.
DDW: Have each of you got a favourite song you’ve penned?
Nathan: Probably (title track) Go The Distance for me.
DDW: What I noticed about your voices they are all quite individual. Did that just come naturally?
Alec: That’s why we thought we’d need to be a band at the start because we do have very different voices. If the blend is there on the three part harmonies, that’s great.
DDW: So where do you see yourself in five years?
Ryan: Aiming high all over the world!
DDW: Is it exhausting and fun at the same time?
Alec: It’s a balance of the two.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely.
DDW: I guess you’ve got a good runner supplying the red only peanut M&Ms and such like? What sort of capacity are these first venues?
Ryan: (Laughs), Yeah, around 200 to 400. NYC (June 2nd) and LA (June 6th) are completely sold out. Then we have Chicago on the 16th. We just put these on to see what it was kind of like out there.
DDW: Is there, dare I say it, a frontman?
Nathan: Alec is sort of our frontman. Our USP is that a lot of it is based on that.
Ryan: (Laughing and pointing at Alec) He’s everyone’s favourite.
Alec: Don’t listen to them.
DDW: I think that because you do write and aren’t just personalities, and do play and don’t just sing… stirs something in fans.
Ryan: Absolutely, I never saw myself as just a singer even though I was singing, I’d say I’m a guitarist before saying I was a singer, and I think that comes through. I’m the main bassist but we have a session drummer.
Alec: We like to mix it up, these shows in the US are going to be just us three on acoustics. In the past Ryan has been bass, Nathan on lead and me on acoustic or electric. Why not mix it up you know?
DDW: So you’re from different places. I know where Ryan’s from, but where are you from Alec, Nathan?
DDW: Welwyn Garden City? Anything garden about it ? (laughs)
Alec: (Laughing) Hey, If you look on the back of Tesco chicken breast packets you’ll see. Claim to fame. Welwyn is firmly on the map.
Nathan: I’m from Chelmsford, Essex.
DDW: Do you ever get nervous about performing?
Alec: Some Nottingham Forest fans asked us this just yesterday, and I said no, and one pointed out that I had a massive rip in the crotch of my jeans, then I got nervous. I was nervous then because everything was on show (laughs).
DDW: It must be a nice nervousness on stage though?
Alec: Yeah, defo, it gives you an edge.
DDW: Do you prefer performing live to studio work?
Ryan: I do, because it’s such a big part in how I started in music, love the interaction, but love studio too.
Nathan: It’s quite nice that, you know, if you’ve been out touring for a while and switch between the two and need a bit of a break you can, you know, it’s a nice mix.
DDW: Who are your idols? Prince is a massive idol for me, so who’s yours?
Nathan: I’m a huge Beatles fan.
Alec: You’re a Macca boy aren’t yer Nate?
Nathan: Through and through.
Go The Distance is out now on Elektra records.