Being a brand new band in the scene, it was expected for Atlanta rockers Nightmares to conform to the generality of metalcore. To much surprise, their debut record Suspiria is anything but just another traditional hardcore album in the scene. Their horror film themes, cryptic ambience, and bellowing vocals project various styles and sounds that the genre has never seen before.
MEB staff writer Emma Guido was given the chance to chat with lead singer Carter Hardin on the band’s explosive start and was taken behind the scenes of Nightmares’ own horror movie, Suspiria.
MEB: How did the band originally get together?
Carter Hardin: We formed in late 2011. We all were in local bands and knew each other pretty well. Once all our bands broke up, we decided to form Nightmares.
Who are your major musical influences? Do you enjoy listening to genres other than the music you make?
Barry White and Frank Sinatra are two big ones. Patrick Stump is also an influence on me too, just because I love his songwriting and musicianship. I know those answers might be a little weird considering the genre we play. I actually listen to a lot more softer music compared to what we play. Bands like The 1975 and The Dangerous Summer are what I usually listen to now.
Rise Records is a major record label for the hardcore/metalcore genre. Do you feel more confident about your future as a band with such a well known label backing you?
Rise has been so good to us! We are very happy with them backing us. It’s just cool to be on a label like Rise where they understand our vision and believe in it.
Your debut record Suspiria releases in early June, but in the last couple of months, you have released your singles “Cujo” and “In the Mouth of Madness”. These tracks are notably diverse from one another. Why did the band choose to release these specific tracks to represent the album’s first impression?
We wanted to do that so people could see how diverse we are. We just didn’t want people to hear one song and label us as a certain band. The whole record has heavy elements and a lot of lighter ones…also some ‘out there’ elements that we love!
Your single “In the Mouth of Madness” features the popular Tyler Carter from Issues, another Rise Records band. How did this collaboration come about? Have you previously known or worked with Carter before?
It came about fairly easily, we’ve known Tyler for a couple of years now. When we recorded “In The Mouth Of Madness”, he was nice enough to hop on the track! He killed it too.
Suspiria is going to be your debut album and your first with Rise Records. What was the writing and recording process like?
It took SO LONG! We wrote and recorded the whole record in a span of a year. We would drive up every other month to Think Sound Studios in NC to crank out a song or two for a week with our producer Drew Fulk. Which I liked doing, because we didn’t feel rushed to finish a record in a short amount of time.
Suspiria has a very dark and haunting theme to it. What did you focus on in the studio in order to portray this mood?
It was kind of easy because over the year of writing we all went through a lot of personal struggles. We needed this record to get a lot of things off our chest. So it was easy to bring that dark and aggressive element to the record because it was already there within ourselves as far as lyrical content goes. Instrumental-wise though, the band looked up old soundtracks to classic cult horror flicks. We tried to put a metal twist to a 1950s horror soundtrack and I feel like we did a good job in doing so.
What inspired you to convey these eerie themes?
It was fun to make and I’m obsessed with old-school movie scoring. We weren’t sure at first until we recorded the first two songs for the record, and then it just clicked and ended up working out way better.
You are almost done with the “Rise Records and Friends” tour. How has the experience been?
AMAZING. It’s just cool to be on a tour with all freshman bands in a way, because we are all on the same page. We are all roughly new and excited for the future. We are already really good friends with all the bands, and I can’t wait to see where they are all at a year from now.
How have the crowd reactions been to your released music?
Honestly, better then we anticipated! We did the tour with only two songs released, but kids still rocked out every night. It was so cool seeing kids really get into it.
As the release of Suspiria drops and you continue to tour, what are your plans and goals for the near future?
Touring! We have a lot of tours lined up for the fall that we are excited to share. We are also planning on starting to shoot another new music video next month for one of my favorite songs on the record. Main goal is to try to tour everywhere and get our record out to everyone.