The sound of NOVA is exactly as you would imagine from the name. Big, bright and powerful. Its a heavy, anthemic, atmospheric and ever-shifting juggernaut that draws on the best of classic and contemporary hard rock, bringing to mind such touchstone bands as Soundgarden, Deftones and U2. Essentially it is a sound that can knock you off your feet one minute, then pick you up and soothe you the next.
Technically in existence since 2005, NOVA took shape when Rob Bujak, living on the east coast, got his hands on some demos front man Gabriel McGahee had been working on. “After I heard the songs I called Gabriel right away, and literally the next day, I shipped my drums out to California, bought a one-way ticket and joined the project.”
The line up soon rounded out with guitarists Aaron Goforth and Nick Young, and bassist Scott Proctor. Though the other members were separately involved with a variety of Bay Area-based rock projects, they realized quickly that none of these other bands matched the chemistry and intensity NOVA was achieving. The guys soon decided to drop what they were doing individually and make NOVA the top priority.
An early gig at the House of Blues in Los Angeles immediately grabbed the interest of major labels, including Universal Records. Encouraged by this early buzz, NOVA took their songs into Sonic Room Studios with prolific producer Tim Narducci, resulting in their debut album Nepenthe.
“Recording with Tim was a great experience,” said McGahee. “The guy is a natural songwriter, and has a great way of making you feel comfortable and giving songs just a tiny twist, making them take on new life.” They then brought in mastering veteran Steven Marcussen (Sevendust, R.E.M., Alice in Chains) and released the album in April 2009.
A first taste of Nepenthe and you are hit immediately with visions of what this must be like live on a stage. There's a rawness that seeps through and defies its well-rounded production, revealing the mark of a band that knows exactly what it wants to do – hit straight through the heart of the listener. Hard hitting cuts like “Perfect Mistake” and “3 Little Words” contrast brilliantly with the soulful epics “Thought That I Knew You” and “Supersonic Vagabond”, resulting in an album that has something for every rock fan.
Since the release of Nepenthe, NOVA have been road warriors, touring in support of the disc all over the States with headline gigs as well as being honored to play notable shows with Black Label Society, Papa Roach and Halestrom. The band’s growing reputation as an amazing live experience in conjunction with their accessible songs has gotten them to some high-profile places rather quickly. They’ve already locked down endorsement deals with Gibson, Peavey, Ampeg and others, and are soon to announce song placements in a major 2010 video game release and a big studio movie soundtrack.
With a new single “Tomorrow” beginning to make waves at rock radio, NOVA are about to hit the road again, kicking off a 35-city tour in their hometown of San Francisco on October 7.
McGahee knows the future is bright for NOVA. “I'm excited about the possibilities with this band,” he says. “We all get along like family and the creativity we have together surprises me every time we write. It's great to be surrounded by guys you know are the real deal.”