Between the Notes: Netflix and spill with Rather Nice

Rather Nice is an indie pop band made up of some rather talented musicians. Joe Johnson leads the pack with vocals and rhythm guitar, supported by lead guitarist extraordinaire Mike Tenreiro, with Nick Reagan holding the beat down on bass, Oliver Littlefield rocking out on drums, and Carlos Fragoso adding sonic texture on trumpet. Together, they blend sweet melodies with clever lyrics that sound like sunshine on a mild summer day. 

For their segment of the Between The Notes podcast with Motif , they talked about where they get their inspiration as a band, and how they like to let the audience get in on the fun!

Motif: So what is your writing process like? Is it collaborative? 


Rather Nice (Joe Johnson): The first EP was a lot of my stuff that I had written, but after Mike (Tenreiro) joined, it became more collaborative. He’s like a genius music producer and stuff. He didn’t tell me to say that – don’t worry! He only implied it. With his creative energy coming to the band, it really brought us to life. “Zoinked” is one of our favorite [songs] to play, and it kind of just happened by accident while we were playing at practice one day.  “Her Mom” was made kind of in collaboration with the fans. We had a sweepstakes thing where if someone recorded a cover of themselves and sent it to us, they could win the ability to have a video chat with us. We always say we’re going to write a song in that time, and we always do. I don’t really know how the story started, but we were thinking “a dude is in high school, and he meets this really pretty girl. But that’s lame, so what’s a cool caveat?” So we made him really attracted to her seventy-year-old mom. So that’s the song, and it’s good. It’s not like the other song you’re thinking of! Don’t think that.

Motif: Who would you cite as major inspirations?

JJ: Boy Pablo, Hippo Campus. Mike and I kind of listen to the exact same people.

Mike Tenreiro: My inspiration for “Thai Food” came from the Backstreet Lovers. Backstreet Lovers, if you’re watching this, we love you. Also Mickey Darling, we love you. 

JJ: It helps when half the band is only interested in one genre, so we can copy that genre. And that’s kind of how it works. The rest of them are like – Oliver, you can explain.

Oliver Littlefield: Yeah it’s good that we all have similar, but also very different genres of taste. Like Joe and Mike said, they like the same type of stuff where I’m on the complete opposite spectrum. I like metal, funk, soul, and all that type of stuff. And we hope to eventually bring an EP that would be silky on the ears. 

JJ: Oliver’s really different from us; he got a tattoo, so we’re kind of scared of him. 

OL: Yeah they don’t know me. 

JJ: I don’t know him anymore; he’s totally changed. I don’t know what happened; must’ve been the Internet. Oh and Nick listens to videogame soundtracks.

Motif: So what other kinds of stuff do you draw on for inspiration? Besides Netflix and pee?

JJ: That’s about it! That’s 90% of it. Honestly, some of the songs we put on the set were written with an audience, and the audience gave us the idea of a relationship that’s kind of open-ended, on the rocks. So that’s where “Loose Ends” came from. And then I kind of think for “Her Mom,” we kind of took the conversation away from her [an audience member]. She was like “Oh yeah, this guy is gonna be in love with a girl, and we were like, “No! The girl’s mom!” But she dug the concept. Then sometimes, it’s just playing around with chords. We’ll play around with chords and then be like, “This sounds nice, what can we make with this?” Then we’ll think of something random and it just sometimes works. That’s what “Zoinked” was. It was just us being like “Ooh, okay!” And then just going off of that. But mostly, Netflix and pee. 

You can hear the full discography of Rather Nice’s particularly iconic sense of humor on their Spotify page HERE: