Timothy Nelson

Timothy-Nelson-The-Infidels V2Born In The ‘90s, the new single from rock pop royalty Timothy Nelson & The Infidels, is launched this Friday, September 6, at Amplifier with support from Odette Mercy And Her Soul Atomics, Golden String and Cygnet Committee. TRAVIS JOHNSON speaks with the frizzy-haired frontman.

It’s no exaggeration to say that, in many ways, the ‘90s are the new ‘60s – a kind of counter-culture golden age, fondly remembered by the surviving veterans – and frequently used by the very same to disparage those with the misfortune to have been born too late.

In fact, it’s such a common trope that Timothy Nelson, a man who could paper his walls with WAM Song Of The Year awards, decided it was suitable grist for his music mill.

“The first line just popped into my head one day about four years ago,” Nelson recounts. “I remember it coming together pretty quickly. I thought it was a cool idea for a song because a lot of my friends are older than me, and I always found it funny how people like to rub it in that you’re too young to remember a certain period of time, in music or just culture in general, and how silly it is to find yourself pining for someone else’s nostalgia.

“I figured it should empathise with that as well as take the piss at the same time.”

Yet while the song is a critique of that kind of cultural one-upmanship, it’s an affectionate one. After all, Nelson himself sometimes pines for the heady days of yore.

“I don’t think any nostalgia is unearned,” he says. “It’s a feeling, not a medal. Put it this way, when I wrote this song I was just starting to miss hearing guitars on the radio, like proper guitars. Not that Lion-King-indie-pop stuff you hear a lot of these days, but the big, crunchy, jangly chords that just jump out at you when you put on a You Am I record, or Teenage Fanclub.

“Generally, I think enough people started wanting to go back to something about the different kinds of music in the ‘90s that it just became popular again.”

Of course, the commonly held opinion is that nostalgia leads to stagnation; looking back at a fictitious golden age means not making the most in your own time in the spotlight of history, after all. It’s a charge that has been levied at countless bands and musical genres but Nelson, diplomatically, thinks it’s not something worth worrying about too much.

“It’s not a big deal, it just depends where you look. It’s not like there aren’t loads of bands doing throwbacks to other decades, plus there’s a tonne of great new music that is fresh and exciting, but again it’s about where you look for it.

“I guess on an individual level, sometimes if you put the sounds of the past on a pedestal it can hold you back from trying to achieve something new, so as a songwriter that’s something to be careful of. I know it’s something I definitely can keep working on.”