Emerging Alt crafters Nuns of the Tundra peel back rock to its bare bones and customise it with the use of nifty electro beats and enriching desert rock riffery. The alternative four-piece release their enthralling new single, "Pray 4 U, Slay 4 U", on Friday 7th December. Troy Tittley (guitarist / vocalist) takes us through the tracks that have influenced the band’s new single "Pray 4 U, Slay 4 U".
1. Kyuss - "Asteroid"
- "Whenever I get a new fuzz pedal, this is the song I play. The riff in this is just so big, they didn’t even put any vocals on the track. So while I was jamming this out a while back with this gnarly little fuzz pedal from Gojira effects, the main riff of "Pray" kind of just came out. Kyuss have a tonne of riffs that kind of slide and jump around, and when you actually play them you realise how much fun it would be to be in that band. That’s what this riff is, it’s our take on a fun Kyuss groove, then put into a whole different scenario."
2. Led Zeppelin - "Immigrant Song"
- "After I had the basic idea for "Pray", I couldn’t help but think it could use the same treatment as the riff from "Immigrant Song". This song is legendary for saying so much in such a short amount of time. It’s not a busy song either. It’s mostly the riff, and that’s originally what I had intended for Pray, even having the chorus vocal hooks over a variation of the riff. So yeah, this song was a huge inspiration for how the song was first born. After a while "Pray" evolved and didn’t bare much resemblance at all anymore, but I think it’s important to let songs change organically and not tie them down to their original thoughts."
3. QOTSA - "Millionaire"
- "So in my head "Pray" was going to be a love child of "Millionaire" and "Immigrant Song". It turned out not to be that at all, and I still want to do that with something! Listening to "Millionaire" is like having a needle of adrenaline stabbed into your heart. There’s not many songs that have that effect on me, especially since really, after stripping it down, this song is so so simple. It’s one of the things I wanted to use in our approach to Pray, it should be simple, it should be driving, and it should grab your attention instantly. Just like "Millionaire"."
4. QOTSA - "I’m Designer"
- "Before we went in to record "Pray", we spoke at length with Alex Loring of Big Spring, who produced. He’s a really cool guy with bottomless knowledge when it comes to music and influences, so when I mentioned the QOTSA influence he instantly gravitated to their album Era Vulgaris for inspiration. Out of all the tracks, we came back to this one for reference the most, I played the riff of this one a lot in the studio to compare tone on guitars. Also the more spoken word with attitude approach that Josh Homme takes in this track was definitely a direction we wanted to take for a few sections. It also feels wonderfully thrown together at the same time as being thought out."
5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - "American Guilt"
- "This track was actually recommended to us by Alex after our first pre production session. After playing through the track a few dozen times, he mentioned that UMO have a few more fuzz based tracks, I hadn’t heard this before. It’s sick, got a repetitive and spacious main riff that’s kind of interrupted by the meat of the song. It keeps you on the edge of your seat as you don’t really know when it’s going to change. Hints of Hendrix too, and slightly overdriven vocals to give it this really gnarly old school yet hollow sound."
6. Tame Impala - "The Bold Arrow of Time"
- "This song is beautifully raw. It was the third reference track that we worked with. I just love how the opening riff could have been played better, or more exact, but it’s left so dirty. A lot of music today is so overly polished you can forget it was actually played by someone. Just really phat guitar tones, head nodding riffs and straight to the point. We took a lot of what made this track work in our approach in the studio. Our motto was ‘It should always be easy’ and this track oozes that attitude."
7. Desert Sessions - "Crawl Home"
- "If you haven’t come across the Desert Sessions before, get on it. It’s a beautifully raw collection of songs by an alternating line-up of incredible musicians, this one having a duet of PJ Harvey and Josh Homme. It just embodies sleaze. It also has the meatiest bass tone, just listen to it!
Definitely the same thing we wanted people to think when they heard Pray for the first time. So great."
8. Royal Blood - "Out of the Black"
- "This might seem like an obvious choice to mention when we talk about modern rock, but Royal Blood do deserve major credit for bringing badass riffs to mainstream music listeners ears. One thing we take from their success is the simplicity of it all. It helps when there are only two members, but the fact that there’s really only 2 to 3 ideas happening at once shows how much you can do without over complicating."
9. Fangclub - "Bad Words"
- "What I love about Fangclub apart from their massive sound is the laid back vocal style. They’re the kind of band that get stuck in your head for days at a time. This is the first song I thought of when I wanted to include them in this list. I wanted to channel this laid back yet grizzly approach to singing, also reminds me of early Nirvana."
10. Soeur - "No Fire"
- "I’m so massively inspired by this band. I’m lucky enough to have met them a few times, being from the same area, and playing shows with them as they’ve grown and grown. Their live show is just awesome, and this song always go off. What I love about it is how much dynamics they squeeze into it. It sounds so full yet so cavernous. It’s the kind of live act you see and realise that less is more, and this is a mantra that is fully loaded into how we write songs going forward."
11. Big Spring - "Cold Foot"
- "This is the song I heard that made me jump on my phone and find out who produced them, because I wanted that grungry, heavy yet sexy sound to be all over the Nuns. Just stumbled across them on one of the radio playlists on Spotify and binged on them for a while, this song sounds proper Alice In Chains with the main riff, and the chorus just soars. Was in love with it after 1 minute, then all the tones they use for solos and the way they let everything breathe kept me interested. So yeah, this song is why "Pray" sounds like it does, we got on board with Alex from Big Spring, who produced the track, and we’re now working together for the foreseeable."
12. Estrons - "I’m Not Your Girl"
- "The energy of this track is tangible, and you can hear all the vitriol coming from Tali’s vocal performance, you can just tell she means everything she sings and I think that’s something to strive for. It’s definitely emotion over perfection and I think that’s the way round it should be, especially when it comes to music that isn’t made by a computer. Definitely something we kept in mind."
13. Run the Jewels - "Oh Mama"
- "RTJ are just so much fun to listen to. This song really reminds me of some of the beats from RATM, the closest to that genre they get. I’ve got it on the list because it’s got this wicked laid back lofi beat in the background, it’s simple and it’s all the song needs. Sparse use of cymbals, just a beat that’s doing exactly what it should be doing. All of our previous songs were very busy drum wise, which is not a bad thing at all, but we went in a completely different direction that reminded me of this track. Our drummer for this single, Chris Banner, was adamant that hip hop is at the forefront of interesting beats, and we borrowed heavily from the genre for "Pray"’s backbone. Even during the songs heaviest section, we resisted the urge to go crazy, and kept it solid and understated."
14. Them Crooked Vultures - "Elephants"
- "I had to put it in this list, just for that opening riff. It’s kind of interchangeable with anything else I’d write, because to me it’s just such a killer riff I always end up comparing whatever I write to it. It’s just so slightly off kilter, like a riff fell down some stairs. I don’t ever want to write anything to normal, and does just feel like it’s a song that took some ludes."
You can check out Troy's playlist on Spotify here.