Ealing Band Make Musical Magic During Lockdown

NDX release new EP and are hopeful for their first live gig bookings

Near Death Experience: NDX

It's been a year we hope never to experience again, but, with Spring in the air, vaccines rolling out and a roadmap to some form of normality there is a slow growing feeling of optimism.

Musicians have been one of the many groups of artists who've suffered throughout the pandemic with pubs closed and all gigs cancelled, the rug was pulled and work was stopped. Those who could, took to online gigging and live streaming, but for bands used to playing together, lockdown made this impossible.

One Ealing based band has defied the odds though and throughout the year has managed to create more original music than ever.

Near Death Experience (NDX) are a four piece influenced by rock/psychedelic music of the 60s and 70s, they are Ian Whiteling, guitar/vocals, Bill Marten, guitar, Amar Grover, bass, and Mike Sarjeant on drums. In the past they've played at Ealing Blues Festival and hosted a series of gigs in town centre pubs under the banner 'Ealing Live' to encourage new up and coming sounds.

They have just released a new EP ''Lord'' with 4 new tracks - all recorded under the lockdown restrictions. I spoke to Ian Whiteling about how they managed to be so creative under Covid.

You've been busy haven't you?

Well, we not only managed to record and release 4 singles during lockdown: Conquer (listen on YOUTUBE), Moves, Everything and Lord (Spotify) , but we feel they are our best work to date, further honing our psychedelic rock’n’soul sound with a modern twist. 

How did you achieve this? 

Well, we had to work out a way for us to record separately outside of our studio, the ''NDX Cave''. First we planned out each arrangement for which our guitarist and sound maestro, Bill ‘The Prof’ Marten then created a basic backing track at the agreed tempo. 

This was then shared with Bass guru, Amar ‘The Groovemeister’ Grover, who worked on his baseline and recorded it directly into Q-base, and I recorded vocals and acoustic guitar as two separate channels at home.

The bass, vocal and acoustic guitar parts were then returned to The Prof. If he was happy with them, they'd go on the track. If not, they’d be redone and resent until they were on point.  Then it was a case of getting drummer Mike ‘Sarje’ Sarjeant to lay down his drums in the studio during any lockdown-free periods. With all elements complete, The Prof worked his magic in the studio. Probably the extra time he had to do this really helped to develop the NDX sound. 

What are you most looking forward to ( music wise) when restrictions are all lifted?

Playing together again as a live band, first in the studio and then in any venue that will have us! We live for playing live, so it’s been tough, so thank god we’re nearly there! Then we want to finish and release our next album. It will be called The Release, and will include the full versions of our singles Everything and Lord, plus a whole bunch of new songs. And of course if will feature brand new work by our resident artist Pedro Takahashi.

Also simply going down the pub together as a band with our friends who’ve support us through lockdown will be a treat!  

We’ve also been working on a bunch of merchandise that we’ll be releasing gradually into an unsuspecting world. Our original artwork by Brazilian artist Pedro Takahashi always attracts attention, so, due to popular demand we’ve released the Mouth To Mouth T-shirt featuring this stunning image from our first album.

Artwork by Pedro Takahashi

Although we’re famed for our funky shirts, there are currently no plans to start our own clothing line… well not just yet anyway! 

All merchandise can be purchased from Bandcamp.

Annemarie Flanagan

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10 March 2021