An intense concoction of gritty instrumentation sparks the cosmic fury within Nottingham's latest live prospect
Making rock music is simple. Creating quality rock music that stands out in a notoriously difficult market is a different ball game entirely. However, if you throw together four different yet strikingly talented individuals, you may create a dangerous recipe that could very much erupt into something magical. Nottingham rock four-piece Good Hustles are blossoming into that very recipe, with a seismic barrage of sound filling a spacious void in the emerging rock industry.
Consisting of Morton Piercewright (vocals, bass), Will Bewley (guitar), Nathan Hart (guitar) and Will Peters (drums), Good Hustles are very much in their early stages. Having met on the ever-expanding Nottingham open mic circuit, the four-piece are a fascinating message of strength and unity. ‘Me and Nathan were introduced by a friend, and when we first met Will Bewley at an open mic night his opening song was Johnny B. Goode and straightaway we knew that we needed to get this kid in a band’ informs Piercewright. ‘We met Will Peters at another open mic night and then it went from there.’
Following the band’s formation, Good Hustles made rapid progress. ‘We connected instantly…within the first two jam sessions we had written Know It All’ states Piercewright. A bonafide stomper, Know It All is a charming offering with guitar rock rooted in its very core. Its rousing chorus highlights an opaque camaraderie and friendship within the band that remains a vital characteristic. ‘When we started writing stuff, and it still is the case now, it was very much a collaborative process,’ offers Bewley. ‘Know It All initially came about as a jam. I threw in a riff and Nathan found a chorus and verses, Morton found some vocals and Peters was killing it on the drums, and we had the whole thing down in an hour.’
The craft to concoct a single of such quality within a short amount of time is impressive enough, but to do that as four musicians with differing musical influences is a staggering accomplishment. ‘I draw influences from Metallica, Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen, Pantera for example,’ says Bewley. ‘Mort is very folk-oriented, and Nathan loves slow blues.’ For Piercewright, the opportunity to perform in a band was an exciting break from normality. ‘I don’t really like playing on my own. I get sick of my own voice. It’s completely different though because my solo stuff is all vocal-based and is a bit folky and acoustic. It’s miles away from what we’ve done. I’ve never had a band behind me that I’ve been able to work with to this extent. Now I can be as loud as possible without worrying about drowning out a folk-based sound.’
'Know It All's...rousing chorus highlights an opaque camaraderie and friendship within the band that remains a vital characteristic'
Whilst musically the band have managed to adapt to each other’s diverging influences with relative ease, the absence of a bass player presented a more troubling dilemma, but one that was solved in eyebrow-raising fashion. ‘I don’t play bass normally,’ confesses Piercewright. 'I only started playing bass to be in the band really. It was April  when we first started recording stuff and wanted to get something out immediately for Summer…and so I just learnt to play bass in about six months.’
With Piercewright on bass, the band released debut EP Nobody Warned Me in July 2018, an expansive first offering. Know It All’s celebratory rock heart contrasts the prog-rock of Nobody Warned Me, a single destined for mosh pits. The simple chorus is swiftly pushed away by an intriguing guitar and bass combination similar to early Rage Against The Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers. All But Gone sees Piercewright’s Jeff Buckley-esque vocals majestically cascading across a fiercely probing guitar and drum combination before a scintillating instrumental conclusion. The beautifully serene ballad If Tomorrow is the most surprising offering from the group, but one which impressively balances its instrumentation. Delicate in guitar yet rich in vocals, a momentous guitar solo from Bewley rounds off a delightful EP.
'There were moments where we realised we just had to keep this going.' Will Bewley
As Nobody Warned Me offered glimpses of a band ready for bigger things, an array of personal decisions pulled the band geographically apart. With Bewley in Bath, Peters in Reading and Hart in Hamburg, the four-piece have been forced to adapt logistically to continue. Asked whether distance had cast doubts over the band’s future, both Piercewright and Bewley were adamant that the band would continue. ‘There were moments where we realised we just had to keep this going, in particular once we had played a few gigs, it was just the best feeling and it would have been an absolute shame if we let it go,’ projects Bewley, whilst Piercewright states ‘The distance is weird. We’ve done more stuff apart than we have together, but we all talk daily, these guys are my best mates and we have a group chat where we all post different ideas. The space allows us to take someone else’s idea and come up with something completely different.’
The newfound space that the band have found themselves has both rejuvenated and shifted the dynamics of the group. Behind Good Hustles’ music lies a unique writing process, an isolationist process which transitions into a completely collaborative spectacle. Ideas are thought out and then shared to one another, and in turn the band attempt to develop each idea. It takes time at first to fully understand the rationale behind it but once the physical distance between the band is taken into consideration, a real appreciation of the process comes to light.
Despite the restraint of distance, the band have managed to continue writing, with a new EP set to be released on 11 March which refines and showcases Good Hustles as a dominant force for heavy rock fans. A prowling confidence is observable on the coming release, pushing the band’s sound to new heights. Peters’ presence behind the drum kit is of vital importance, something Piercewright addresses perfectly. ‘Will Peters is just ridiculous on drums...it’s just disgusting really! He started doing more work with a double bass pedal and that immediately changed everything. Now we can get away with getting a bit moshier with it.’
The Tightrope EP is a ferocious prospect for Good Hustles. Its title track is a political masterpiece, underlining a distinctive transformation to a more metal-infused sound. Peters’ highly charged drum arrangement matches the glimmering guitars with a pomp and bravado unheard of in the band’s earlier work, whilst Piercewright’s vocals standout as a distinctive asset. Speaking of the track, the singer expresses how the band have developed on the upcoming EP. ‘With Know It All I just yelled random syllables and it just fit the melody that I was going for. Tightrope is more political. Trump inspired the single, it’s just funny from an outside perspective just watching various politicians getting away with things. We’re all waiting for it all to hit the fan. Bewley came up with the riff walking home one day and he literally stopped on the street with his guitar out and recorded it into his phone. By the time we got back into the flat, we just stood in the kitchen and had constructed Tightrope.’
'When you’re on stage with Bewley, he’s like a juggernaut, he’s in a world of his own it’s incredible. I can’t wait for the live shows.' Morton Piercewright
Aside from Tightrope’s exuberance, the remainder of the EP is an exhilarating product, filled with an incandescent dramaticism. A stalking beast of a single, The Fighter lulls the listener in before wave upon wave of guitar and percussion tear the track’s introduction to pieces. Both gritty and determined, there’s a real bite to the single, a spark that could be easily ignited when performed live. Not The One boosts the four-piece’s charm and charisma. A rock and roll thriller, Piercewright’s confidence is blissfully addictive, whilst musically it acts as a rollercoaster through rock history, with glimpses of Queen and Green Day shining amongst Bewley and Hart’s guitars.
The upcoming EP promises the band to be a threatening prospect live. Bewley’s sheer enthusiasm for the upcoming shows in Nottingham radiates down the phone, so much so that you can feel his grin all the way from Bath. His desire to perform is apparent amongst his bandmates. ‘When you’re on stage with Bewley, he’s like a juggernaut, he’s in a world of his own it’s incredible,’ confirms Piercewright. ‘I can’t wait for the live shows.’
The band’s upcoming Nottingham gigs spread a wave of optimism over their future. Nottingham sits at the roots of Good Hustles, given that it sparked the formation of the band. ‘The music scene in Nottingham, in comparison to the one in Bath, feels very welcoming and vibrant,’ says Bewley. ‘It feels like a hotbed of talent. It feels [like a] very wholesome, very genuine space to be in and is one I really enjoy being in and can’t wait to get back to.’
As Good Hustles move further into 2019, their presence amongst the budding Nottingham music scene looks set to rocket. With new music on the horizon, now is the time to catch this prowling tour de force in action. Individually, Good Hustles are four immensely talented individuals littered around Europe. Collectively, they are a beacon of creativity set first to take the city, and then the nation, by storm.