The Bloody Nerve cook up their sound both slick and dirty. Mix two parts rock with some blues and soul, and you’ve got the fiery brew that makes them tick. The duo Stacey Blood and Laurie Ann Layne comes at music from different angles but has found a way to turn that into a strength. Though their influences are varied, the one thing they demand is that their songs have both heart and guts.
Their recent EPs, Red and Blue, pay homage to their appreciation of music across all lines. Working this way is a natural extension of who they are, what they feel, and the power of a shared vision.
NYMM: How did you get together and when did The Bloody Nerve form?
L: We each had our own careers, our own solo material, and then got together in 2011. I had worked on a song on India Arie‘s album, and then went back to New York. I met Stacey through a mutual friend, Dave Norris. We talked for a few months online and over the phone, and I ended up packing my bags and moving in with him. By February 2013, we decided we should work on music together, and that’s how The Bloody Nerve formed.
S: We were trying to do separate things for quite a while. I had done a lot of work on solo projects, but we found that I was working on her stuff, she was working on my stuff, and it just made sense to put it all together. It was all starting to sound the same anyway.
NYMM: Is it easy, as a couple, to work together?
L: We get along great, and think a lot alike, so it’s easy to make it work. It doesn’t matter who writes what. Stacey’s got so many great songs, so instead of starting from scratch, we have been digging into the music he had.
S: There’s no set agenda for songwriting. I have a lot of material, so lately we’ve been digging through that and giving it new life. I’ve had songs that I never recorded because I can’t sing them, but she can. Now I’m rediscovering things, and there’s a large well. If she has something she’s been working on, we can go with that. The sound is all that matters.
NYMM: Do you find yourselves getting stuck to a sound?
S: We don’t really see a reason why you can’t do it all. Look at some of the great records in rock and roll history, for example. The idea of “genre” has destroyed a lot of potentially great albums by boxing them in. The assumption is that you have to have this sound so everybody knows what to expect from you. The only thing to expect from us is to not know what to expect.
NYMM: Why release two EPs?
S: We don’t even know [laughs]. We started with singles. We had a few songs, thought we should do an A and a B. We didn’t really know what we were doing at the time. We had this band and were cranking out songs, and realized we needed to wrap it up in some kind of package. Why are people making 10-song albums all the time? Because they feel like they have to. We say release it any way you want.
NYMM: These were recorded in your home studio. Does it help to have that?
L: It’s everything for us. It’s where we record, eat, sleep, do photos, and do videos. Everything is done there. It’s just about good ideas. If you have good ideas, you can make anything work, really.
S: As slow as I do things, we’d be broke if we were having to pay for studio time [laughs].
NYMM: Working in close quarters like that, is it hard to shut it off?
S: It is the most dysfunctional work space I’ve ever been in, because everything happens there. But why escape it? It’s a joy; it’s fun. We have a great time being creative, so what else are we going to do? You have to unplug every now and then, and yeah, I like to get away from the production and mixing sometimes because that can be work.
L: Also we go play tennis. Sometimes twice a day [laughs].
NYMM: Can you tell me a little about one of the songs?
L: On Blue, we recorded a cover of a Graham Parsons song called “She”. It’s a real slow, crooning, countrified Graham Parsons tune. A band called Sylvester and the Hot Band cut the song in the ‘70s. Sylvester grew up during the gospel boom that had The Pointer Sisters. His version sounded huge. Most people don’t even know that rendition exists. We wanted to take a similar approach to the song and put our version out there with a nod to Sylvester.
Images by Jon Karr
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