We’re glad to announce that London, United Kingdom-based psychedelic rock’n’soul band Near Death Experience have released a new single, entitled “Underground.”
Near Death Experience (NDX) are a four-piece band hailing from Ealing, London. Formed in 2016, they’ve since earned a reputation for powerful, emotive live performances and a “shimmering psyche-tinged rock’n’soul” sound.
Following the release of NDX’s first album, Mouth to Mouth, in 2019 (with the title track “Summer” played on BBC Introducing), they’ve put out a string of singles that will be included on their upcoming album, The Release. These singles include “Everything” (our review here), “R3L1G10N” (our review here), and “Found” (our review here) among others, each receiving excellent reviews from indie bloggers around the world.
NDX played at Glastonbury in 2017, and have been an important part of the music scene in London—including launching Ealing Live in 2018, hosting the Ealing Oxjam Festival and playing the opening slot at the Ealing Blues Festival in 2019, as well as playing at venues across West and South London for their New Summer Of Love/Winter Of Love Tour in 2021.
Now NDX have returned with a new single, “Underground,” which takes listeners on a grooving rock’n’soul adventure into an uber-cool subterranean place where “the beats get hot when the sun goes down.” As the band describes the new single, it brings to us a new musical genre: “subterranean swing!”
“Underground” begins with a punchy bassline by Amar ‘The Groovemeister’ Grover, while Ian ‘Lightning’ Whiteling’s acoustic guitar riff soon joins in, nicely harmonizing with the bass notes as they together bring listeners a lively, swinging atmosphere. Drummer Isidro ‘Isi’ Tomas Roldan’s driving rhythms then enter the mix, setting the track in motion as it takes on a catchy groove reminiscent of ’60s psychedelic rock. Lightning’s captivating vocals then highlight the first chorus with a soaring sense of freedom, while Bill ‘The Professor’ Marten’s staccato electric guitar chords punctuate the acoustic guitar strums, building quite well on the song’s joyous, retro sound.
During the following verse, “Underground”’s groovy drum- and bass rhythms are accented by a cool rock’n’roll guitar lick from The Professor; while the horns then burst into the forefront in the next singalong chorus, nicely accompanying the electric guitar licks with their soulful, funky sound—and playing an impressive trumpet solo later in “Underground” that imbues the track with a wonderfully Latin feel, adding perfectly to the song’s vibrant atmosphere. “Underground” is quite an enjoyable listen throughout, again showcasing Near Death Experience’s brilliant songwriting and superb musicianship, while at the same time demonstrating their versatility and musical creativity as a band.
I had the opportunity to ask a few questions to Ian ‘Lightning’ Whiteling from Near Death Experience, so that we can learn more about NDX and their latest single:
Which artists would you say have been most influential to you as a band?
For me (Ian ‘Lightning’ Whiteling, singer), it’s Jim Morrison due to his incredible voice and original and inspiring songwriting.
For our guitarist Bill ‘The Professor’ Marten it’s Bowie, “because he always followed his musical instinct wherever it took him and was talented enough to make it work.”
Drummer Alan ‘The Milkman’ Perkins loves Mick Fleetwood because “he always played what perfectly fit the song, without being showy for the sake of it.”
Bass player Amar ‘The Groovemeister’ Grover, meanwhile, is inspired by George Harrison because of how “he emerged from the debris of The Beatles with a great solo album that silenced any doubters and engaged with Indian music and musicians.”
“Underground” has a very impressive sound, blending elements of psychedelic rock and soul. What was your creative process like for this new single?
I wrote ‘Underground’ on acoustic guitar a few years back. It’s about the coolest, grooviest bar or venue, that’s inspiring, fun and exciting, but at the same time you feel completely safe and at home there.
I didn’t know whether it would work with the band, and was just playing through the chords on acoustic guitar while the guys were setting up for a rehearsal. The Prof said he liked it and asked what song it was. When I told him it was one of mine, he got everyone jamming along to it.
The Groovemeister almost instantly came up with the incredible bass line that underpins the whole song and The Prof started laying down these 50s/60s rock’n’roll licks. For the recording, we felt the song would work well with horns, so The Prof wrote the horn arrangement and we got a friend of a friend, Chris Goodchild, to play them. He did a fantastic job! It’s now got a wonderful funky Latin-infused psychedelic feel.
How was your recent New Summer Of Love Tour/Winter Of Love Tour in London?
It was incredible because we kicked off our Summer of Love Tour as soon as the UK lockdown was lifted in July 2021 and people were desperate for live music. It went so well that we kept going as the year progressed and it morphed into the Winter of Love Tour. It was so good to play live again and the tours got us back to full performance ‘fitness’ really quickly and we received great receptions!
Do you have any upcoming concerts planned?
We’ve just played the local West London festival The Hanwell Hootie, and will be playing the opening of a brand new venue in Ealing on 9 June. Then we’re off to Glastonbury as a band, so should be able to secure a couple of gigs while we’re there.
We’ll also be organising monthly gigs for original bands on a Friday night at a great pub in Ealing called The Draper’s Arms. We’re like the house band and book other great acts – it’s always a blast and a change from the usual pub covers bands!
I can’t wait to hear your upcoming album, The Release; do you know when it will be out?
We’re planning to release a summer single called ‘Living’, then we need to finish off the recordings of a couple of songs to complete the album. So we’re aiming for around October 2022. It’s been a long time coming, but we think it will be worth the wait!
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