Indie pop record There It Is, There You Are by Modern Nomad sounds flawless on white vinyl from Soul Step Records. Soul Step denotes the 2021 album as “psychedelic indie pop for fans of Tame Impala, Mac Demarco, and Toro Y Moi.” Furthermore, There It Is, There You Are is a surprising nod to The Beach Boys and The Beatles. This week, we chat with Tom McLean, a solo artist under the moniker Modern Nomad, about his most recent album.
Pick up the white vinyl from Soul Step Records HERE!
Q&A with Modern Nomad //
PDLR: Soul Step Records mentions similarities to Tame Impala, Mac Demarco, and Toro Y Moi, as well as influences from The Beatles and The Beach Boys.
Do you have other influences or anecdotes to share about what inspired There It Is, There You Are?
Modern Nomad: “Harry Nilsson is one of my biggest influences; he is at the top of my list! As for the overall inspiration, I wrote and recorded this record at a time when I entered a long-term relationship. I spent two months with my partner, hanging out and getting to know each other basically every day. It went from that to long distance. Navigating the newness of distance inspired a lot of these songs. Specifically, the song “Feel This Way Forever” has a lot of lyrics about our relationship.”
PDLR: “Baby, I Love You,” “Electrify,” and “I Want You to Stay” have an evident influence from The Beatles and The Beach Boys.
What specific elements in your music draw inspiration from these iconic bands?
Modern Nomad: “I love the harmonies in The Beatles and The Beach Boys’ music. Harmony is something that I spend a lot of time on, so I’ll obsess over stacking vocals. The balance of simplicity and complexity is an element I admire in The Beatles’ music. They’ll have weird chord changes that don’t seem to fit, yet they work out smoothly. I will undeniably be searching for a McCartney-quality melody my entire life.”
PDLR: Can you discuss the songwriting process for There It Is, There You Are?
Modern Nomad: “I write, record, and produce everything myself, so the process changes from song to song. Several songs, like “All in My Dreams,” were recorded and worked on for over a year, whereas I finished “Get a Little Closer” in one night. Usually, I’ll start with an idea for a chord progression and part of a melody; then, I produce a track around it. Once I arrange and map out the idea, then I’ll finish writing the verses, choruses, and bridges. Writing like this also allows me to revisit songs if something else I did in a newer song inspires me. I love having that freedom.”
PDLR: How would you describe the album’s sound to someone who has never heard your music?
Modern Nomad: “Maybe something like if The Beatles in 1967 had access to Ableton, 80’s synths, and were listening to the Spotify playlist ‘Modern Psychedelia’ a lot.”
Our Favorite Tracks //
“Reflection” -A captivating intro track to the 10-song LP. “Reflection” oozes psychedelic indie rock à la Tame Impala.
“Get a Little Closer” -On this second track, Modern Nomad brings a sultry, mellow vibe that sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Get a Little Closer” is our favorite tune, based solely on the smooth instrumentals.
“Baby, I Love You” -This track draws clear inspiration from The Beatles and The Beach Boys. We go back and forth between connections of the two iconic bands in “Baby, I Love You.” Catchy, cute, timeless, and undoubtedly nostalgic.
“Electrify” -Infectious and quite literally electrifying. It’s as if The Beatles and Tame Impala came together right now over this song.
“Feel This Way Forever” -A psychedelic, dreamy track with jazzy undertones. “Feel This Way Forever” has a perfect fade-out on vinyl into the album’s last two tracks.
*Soul Step Records upfronts the cost of vinyl production for new artists. For more information on Soul Step Records and their mission, visit their website or follow them on Instagram below.