Discovery: The Novel Ideas

Published April 1, 2014

ABOVE: THE NOVEL IDEAS

Homesickness, heartbreak, and longing: The Novel Ideas sing about familiar themes with a particular beauty you don’t find just anywhere. The Boston-based quintet, featuring Daniel Radin, Sarah Grella, Danny Hoshino, James Parkington, and Nick Mitchell, combines the best elements of heartfelt songwriting with gorgeous instrumentation. The Novel Ideas released their debut record Home back in 2012 and have since toured the U.S. playing with bands like Lord Huron, Augustines, Caveman, and Little Green Cars. While their folksy sound falls somewhere in between The Head and The Heart and The Avett Brothers, the band has a unique ability to connect with audiences from their deeply personal songs.

We’re excited to premiere the band’s song “Montana” off of their upcoming 10″, which harmonizes love and leaving poetically— we dare you to listen to it and not feel anything. Band members Daniel Radin and Danny Hoshino also took time to speak with us about musical friendship, idolizing The Lone Bellow, and putting on a live show to remember.

FRIENDS FOREVER: Daniel Radin: Danny and I have actually been friends since kindergarten. The rest of us met in Boston and more or less live in the same house outside of Boston. Most of us live together. We all practice there. Actually, just James and I met in college. Sarah we met through Reddit. Nick had just moved from Austin to Boston and was looking for people to collaborate with.

Danny Hoshino: It’s been fun.

GENRE STUDIES: Hoshino: I think these days we’re going with country-folk or folk-country. I think country-folk has a nicer ring to it.

Radin: Though we are not country folk like the noun. We’re going with country-folk. [laughs]

FINDING HOME: Radin: The story that I tell is that I was studying abroad in Chile, and Danny had just graduated from college. He was at home. We were both writing these songs and sending them back and forth to each other, not really thinking too much about them. My songs were about being away from home, and his songs were about coming home.

Hoshino: Yeah, my songs were about coming home and going through a terrible breakup. [laughs]

Radin: When I got back from being abroad, we were like, “We could record these, that could be fun.” We ended up meeting Nick, Sarah, and James, who are on the album as well, and it became much more collaborative than we had set out to create.

Hoshino: The project as a whole wasn’t that deliberate, but now we’ve ended up with this band we really feel good about. It’s kind of interesting the way it came together.

ON “MONTANA”: Radin: I feel like “Montana” is one of the first songs we figured out as a band that wasn’t from Home. I remember writing it back and forth with everyone, and it seemed like everyone has their parts right on. Everyone brought their parts to the song. It was one of those songs that was collaboratively written. It’s exciting for people to hear “Montana” and “Lost On The Road” because Home was mainly written by Danny and myself. These songs are much more of a band effort, which is exciting.

Hoshino: To that point, I think that song was an idea that had been kicking around since before Home even came out. Certain elements you had already written. It didn’t really jell until you showed it around and had everyone bring their pieces to it. It really solidified the composition.

Radin: The song is about a friend of mine who was taking a trip to Montana, and when I wrote it, I was pretty hung up on her. Now, we’re totally cool. She hasn’t heard the song, so I’m curious to know what she thinks when she hears it. She was going to see a dude in Montana, who I didn’t think was maybe the best fit. I don’t think I’d describe it as bitter.

Hoshino: It’s raw!

Radin: It’s raw! [laughs]

LOVE AND BREAKUP SONGS: Hoshino: All three of the songwriters have similar philosophies. We like to write songs about things that are true. Regardless of what we experience, we’re pulling from things that are translated and conveyed. They’re things we really believe.

Radin: This makes them hard to sing sometimes.

Hoshino: Obviously a lot of them are breakup songs or heartbreak songs, but I really love the idea of people listening to our music and other people’s music and creating their own story about what they think the song is about. If they come up with something that is completely different than what it was written about, and it resonates with them, I think that’s a really neat idea. I would hope people would do that with our music as well.

Radin: I love when people tweet at us or talk to us at a show and say “I feel like this song was written for me.” I know people say that about “News” from Home a lot, and it’s really cool to hear that.

LIVE MUSIC RULES: Radin: I guess I would say since Home at this point is not really representative of our live performance, I think it was written as an album and not for a band,  I think we’ve taken Home and made it more interactive than listening to Spotify, which I definitely enjoy. Danny, what do you think?

Hoshino: To answer your question straight up, at this point our live set has trumped what we have released. We feed off the live energy of our performance. We’ve created a sound and a style of a performance where we’ve found we can connect with people—even people who have never heard our music before and are learning about us for the first time. We can connect with them and resonate with them on a somewhat deep level, it seems. For me, I’ve been in a lot of bands, and this is the first time that’s really happened. It’s really special.

NEW MUSIC: Radin: We have a lot of new songs written. We’re right now figuring out where we’re going to record and who we’re going to work with. Realistically our record will probably come out next year. We’re trying not to rush things and figure out a producer and if we’re going to release on a label or not.

THE INFLUENCE OF THE LONE BELLOW: Radin: Most of the bands that I would love to perform with I feel like are so much better than us that I would be scared to play with them. Danny, Sarah, and I went to see The Lone Bellow in Boston. It was such an amazing show. I was like, it would be so cool to meet them, open for them and play for them.

Hoshino: It was one of those live shows that was life-altering. I don’t know if I would go as far as to say it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, but it was uniquely awe-inspiring how tight they were. It was a big moment for the three of us. It was great seeing what was possible in commanding a performance. It was really special. That’s definitely on the dream list.

THE NOVEL IDEAS WILL PLAY THE GRAND VICTORY IN BROOKLYN ON APRIL 21 AND ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL ON APRIL 23. FOR MORE ON THE BAND, INCLUDING TOUR DATES, PLEASE VISIT ITS WEBSITE.