Jez Billiald AKA NDX
Creating a Neurological Disaster
By David Keller
Home-made music mogul Jez Billiald from Attleborough, is making a name for himself by going it alone. After writing and recording in-depth masterpieces in his bedroom, NDX is preparing for his biggest show yet.
22-year-old Jez, also known as NDX (Neurological Disaster) has been writing and performing instrumental electronica and post-rock since the mid-noughties.
"I thought the X on NDX just looked cool! A band called Maybe She Will once said to me it was great because it spells out Norwich Does Exist," said Jez.
All his hard work is finally paying off as he has landed the biggest gig of his career at the Norwich Arts Centre on Friday, 20 February, 2009, and he is relishing the opportunity to show people what he can do with his own hands.
Prior to his concert, he took time out to talk to us about how going it alone in the studio and on the live circuit can reap its musical rewards.
Developing a sound
NDX always wanted to produce a soundscape that brought out the beauty of his musical instruments.
"I chose my sound because I generally like instrumental music. I often feel vocals tend to distract you away from the real beauty of music," said Jez.
"I love the instruments I use and I try to make everything sound big and epic. I'm really inspired by bands like Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky, but I don't try and mimic them," he added.
Neurological Disaster live
Jez finds it is important to be intrinsically emotive when creating music.
"Compared to other artists in Norfolk, I think I'm somewhat different," he said.
"I haven't really found many other bands with the same style and I don't think there are many other acts in the county with the same kind of setup.
"I don't want to say I'm original, because nothing's original, but my music is a bit different to what people usually see in Norfolk and it makes me really happy."
Going it alone
Dedicating your life to being a writer and multi-instrumentalist is a bold decision for a young man to make, but Jez finds the experience musically enchanting.
"Going alone was more a thing of convenience. I really couldn't find the people that had the same ideas and motivation for the music I wanted to create," he said.
"The main advantage of doing it by myself, is that I can create whatever I want and I get to keep my artistic integrity.
"I don't have to rely on the commitment of someone else, but being on your own can also be one of the main drawbacks. I've had to learn to play the drums which is hard, but very rewarding!"
A studio in the bedroom
Another benefit for Jez, is being able to record and produce his masterpieces from the comfort of his own home.
"I record everything at home with basic recording equipment and my laptop. I have to fiddle around with my music during post-production, but it usually ends up sounding quite good," he said.
"Some band demos that I hear, which are made in professional studios, don't sound very good at all. Doing it my way has certainly saved a lot of time and money," he added.
Finding cheap equipment and researching production techniques on the Internet have made Jez's home studio dreams come to reality.
"I use Google a lot to find the right sound recorders and mix applications. Programs such as Audacity, Mixcraft and Beatcraft are great and many of them are free on the Internet," he said.
"I also have an electronic drum kit which I play and I run various guitars, bases and a big synth-keyboard through my sound card," he added.
The live circuit
Jez started playing music on the live music circuit during the mid-noughties, but the NDX live show has developed into something else.
Jez uses various technical equipment
"I started getting into performing because I simply wanted to get what I'd written out there for people to hear," he said.
"I started off playing acoustic sessions, but since then the sound has just been getting bigger and bigger and I get a bit more technical each time I play," he added.
Evolving the NDX vibe to catch the attention of Norfolk gig-goers has always been a priority.
"The main way my live sound has progressed is that I now play along to backing tracks on my laptop," said Jez.
"I record everything at home first and then I remove the guitars and simply play along to the sounds produced by my computer. It creates something much bigger," he added.
Jez's biggest gig to date is at the Norwich Arts Centre on Friday, 20 February, 2009 and prior to the gig, expectation is high.
"The gig at the Arts Centre will be one of the highlights of the whole NDX thing so far, it will be the biggest show I've ever played," he said.
"My first ever gig was at the Arts Centre, so it's a fitting testament. I've progressed from playing on the little bar stage to playing in the main room, so I can't wait!" he added.
Words of advice
The main advice Jez would give to anyone whose new to music and wanting to go alone is to be yourself and don't be scared to experiment.
"For someone starting out, the best advice I could give is to try out new things. If there is a sound you want to go for, go for it and just see what happens," he said.
"The Norfolk music scene is on the rise. There is a lot of genuinely good talent out there, but it is just getting heard. Get out there and get as many people as you can to hear it," he added.
last updated: 23/02/2009 at 12:49