VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. - Mato Nanji is the lead singer of Indigenous. And when he stopped over in Virginia Beach to celebrate his new album “Broken Lands,” he had no problems packing the house.
Fans of Indigenous came far and wide to applaud Nanji and his new group members of Indigenous consisting of guitarist Kris Lager, keyboardist Jeremiah Weir, bassist Aaron Wright, drummer John Fairchild and Kirk Stallings. As far as anyone that came to The Jewish Mother in Virginia Beach was concerned, Nanji delivered – and then some.
“Broken Lands” was released on Vanguard Records Aug. 19. This is the first album that did not contain the original members which consisted of Nanji’s brother Pte, sister Wanbdi, and cousin Horse. He explained that the breakup of the original members of Indigenous was mutual and that he harbored no hard feelings.
Nanji reflected on his growth as an artist since forming his new group. “I feel good about it. It was tough always working together as a group, just like it is with any other band. You always have to come together and talk about any new material. For me it finally feels great to get out and finally do what I want to do.”
And with the performance delivered, Nanji and his new band members stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park. Lager killed it on the guitar with talent that seemed almost effortless. Weir moved seamlessly over his keyboard, Wright kept the tempo on bass, holding the crowd’s attention while Fairchild tore it apart on the drums.
Nanji, with his cool vocals and command over his own guitar, had the complete attention of an enthralled audience. Together, this new Indigenous brought the house down. The crowd was thoroughly entertained, and they didn’t hold back in letting Mato Nanji and the new members of Indigenous know their excitement.
Michael Cloud-Butler, Ojibwe, expressed excitement as a member of the crowd showing support. “The Ojibwe’s have been chasing the Sioux around for a long time,” Cloud-Butler remarked with a gracious laugh. Ambrose Tail, Oglala Lakota, was also there. “This is the seventh or eighth time I’ve seen Indigenous live.”
Nanji sang songs from his new album to the crowd and judging from the response of the audience, “Broken Lands” is sure to be a hit.
He talked about some of the songs on “Broken Lands.” “‘I can’t pretend,’ is probably my favorite song on the album. It’s a little different than what has been on previous albums; it has got that Eagles kind of country rock feel to it.”
According to Nanji, his father was a huge source of influence. “My dad listened to everybody. He used to have his own band back in the ’60s and ’70s. They did a lot of the ‘Cream’ type stuff.”
Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s Nanji also remembered a lot of influence from the Black Crowes, Los Lobos and Stone Temple Pilots.
But whatever Nanji’s influence – it all translates to a fantastic album.
Listeners can expect to be swept into a blues-oriented frenzy with “Let it Rain” and “Place I Know” which is similar to styles fans may gladly recall from previous Indigenous tracks – the only difference is the more “in your face” rock influence desired by Nanji. All in all, everything comes together perfectly.
Nanji also talked about some of the processes in creating “Broken Lands.”
“Let it Rain” is not much of a change at all from the demo, recalled Nanji. I think the only thing I added when we got to the studio was the intro, which was kind of like a Stones or Black Crowes kind of thing. I ended up coming up with something simple.”
Nanji also explained the title of his album, “Broken Lands.” “‘Broken Lands’ is a lyric in ‘Place I Know.’ We talked about using ‘Place I Know,’ but we ended up using ‘Broken Lands.’ It stems back to where I grew up on my reservation. That’s kinda what the song is about, growing up in rough neighborhoods and tough times.
“I really wanted to make this record, like the old records I grew up listening to. Two of the guitar parts I separated out into separate speakers kind of like Hendrix used to do. And I’ve always wanted to capture more of the live feel. I’ve always wanted to get as close as I could to that. And we came pretty close, live music is always different.”
All considered, “Broken Lands” is a fantastic album and Indigenous definitely delivers.
For tour information or to order “Broken Lands,” go to indigenousmusic.net.