A couple of days ago I announced a premiere. Now you can see what did happen. I did an interview with British newcomer Nathan Ball.
In early January I posted the alternative/folk song Echo of Nathan Ball. Now I got an interview with him and I’m proud to screen that on my blog. So have fun and enjoy the interview of a fantastic new artist.
Soundtrack-Of-My-Life: First of all cheers for sharing my blog post about Echo on www.soundtrack-of-my-life.com on your Facebook page.
Nathan: Hey! No worries at all! I’m glad you’re enjoying the tracks!
SOML: You are very relaxed about giving interviews for smaller blog sites like the french Blogger Lydie’s Crush On TV or my blog. What do you think is the efficiency about smaller interviews for blogs and large ones for well-known magazines?
N: Yeh! I always enjoy reading interviews of my favourite artists on smaller blogs and discover some amazing new artists from them, so I find them really enjoyable to do. Obviously the bigger magazines have big followings, but I like the idea that the smaller blogs such as yourself have discovered us before them!
SOML: Your are born in Buckinghamshire, north of London but shuttling between London and Cornwall now. Is Cornwall the way out of the rush of London into a surrounding of inspiration for you?
N: Yeh for sure! London is amazingly productive but it’s manic as hell and can really get to you, so it’s definitely important to escape. My girlfriend Nina and a lot of best mates live in Cornwall so it’s always amazing to get down there. It’s also the most inspiring place ever; the sea, the cliffs, the people, it’s got everything. You’ve always got time and space down there to write songs.
SOML: You’ve known Will and Max for years, and Kitty came about after a Facebook post. How about Nina and is she singing the female part of ‚Echo‘?
N: Yeh that’s Nina on the track! She is always singing Paul Simon songs around the house and has got a killer voice on her, so we thought it would be fun to have 2 seperate verses and her singing on the second one. I think it works pretty nicely so hopefully it’s worked out!
SOML: Your music is very epic and melancholic. How does this happen and how do you relate the inspiration for the lyrics and the sound?
N: I’ve always written the songs acoustically with the mind to making them much bigger and more epic, but have been frustrated that I wasn’t getting the big sound I was after and that I felt the songs deserved, so the band have been amazing with that. I love writing the lyrics, I always find that so interesting, and it’s amazing where they’ll suddenly spring up from. I’ve got hundreds of notes on my phone from where I’ll just be standing looking at the sea and feel in the right headspace to write the lyrics, so I just write them on my phone.
SOML: How do the bands you like such as Bon Iver and Junip influence you?
N: I find Bon Iver’s tracks incredible, in that they can transport you to the same place every time you listen. Justin’s voice is insane, and the cinematic instrumentation is massive but not too overpowering. A great friend of mine went to see them in Leeds and she said loads of people were in tears because it was so emotional and beautiful, and I got a kick from that, because it’s stripping back the music to what it’s really about, the pure emotion and being in that place at that time, and not worrying about the corporate rubbish. I’ve always been a fan of José, so the Junip side project was mega, his vocals are awesome, and the band on tracks like Rope & Summit are rad.
SOML: How did the cover of Snow Patrols ‚Set Fire To The Third Bar come about?‘ And if you could choose the song why this?
N: We were honoured to be asked to play a song for Daisy Digital and CoppaFeel’s Christmas album alongside some amazing artists like Lucy Rose, Rae Morris and Newton Faulkner, so we decided to play a cover as I never really play covers. That track is an absolute gem and is an old favourite of mine, and the duet with the female vocals works really nicely with Kitty, so we decided to play that and make it a bit more ‚Nathan Ball sounding‘, so we had a play with the delay pedals and Max’s guitar riffs and got to the sound we were after.
SOML: What other bands are you listening to as a break during the recording process?
N: The War On Drugs album is timeless, it’s unreal! Also Foals, Daughter, Matthew and the Atlas, always Van Morrisson and I found an old Simon & Garfunkel vinyl with ‚The Boxer‘ on so that’s on repeat!
SOML: On November 24th, 2014 you released your debut EP ‚Echo‘ How was the response to the release of your EP?
N: Yeh it’s seems to have gone down really well. The Line of Best Fit premiered it as track of the day, so that was pretty nuts for our first release! Will produced the whole thing and we spent a lot of days together in his studio honing in the sound, so it was awesome to finally get something out there that people could listen to, especially as all the fans have been so amazing to us. Hopefully they’re all enjoying it!
SOML: Nathan you’re posting lots of pictures about the Coast, cliffs and the sea – the rough sea. I’m always venturing over to Ireland, especially to a place called Achille Island. There is a small deserted beach called Keem Bay. There I walk up the mountains and cliffs which are 200 – 650 meters high. The view and feelings I get there pulling me totally apart from the world today. What does the rough sea and landscape give you?
N: That’s exactly it, it’s the escape from all the hectic things going on that get you pretty wired up for no reason. I love the feeling of being completely overwhelmed by nature, by massive cliffs and stormy seas, that raw emotion is something we have no control over and it’s amazing to experience that and is hugely inspiring. It’s easy when I’m back in London to get rattled by stupid things, but when you get down to the sea you feel a weight off your shoulders. I’m heading over to France to make a video for the next EP with an amazing friend of mine called Chris Nemes from Zen Filmworks and we’re hoping to catch that raw emotion for the video and put across to people where that inspiration for the songs comes from.
SOML: In 2014 you guys played countless festivals and many concerts. You played at the ‚Barn On The Farm Festival‘ among Hozier, Luke Sital-Singh, Dan Croll, James Bay and Catfish & The Bottleman. All these bands and artists have made their breakthrough in recent months. What are your next steps?
N: Barn on the Farm is the most amazing festival, Josh Sanger who runs it is an absolute legend. The line ups are always so impressive and it was amazing to be on the same bill as people like Hozier and James Bay. It’s still pretty early days for us, and we’re just honing in the live sound at the moment, so we’re really excited to take that on the road this festival season. I’m back in the studio with Will as we speak and we’re getting the next EP ready for release in April. We’re playing a show at Ronnie Scott’s on 17th February and The Sebright Arms on 8th April, as well as an Alps tour, so a lot of fun on the way.
SOML: How did you end up supporting Alt-J and Gabrielle Aplin?
N: A great friend of mine, Becca was running a live music night in Exeter where I was at Uni and she booked Alt-J just as Tesselate was lurking around, and she asked me to support them. They were unreal and played to a crowd of about 180 people. Shortly after they blew up and their debut album was unreal! Gabrielle Aplin I was actually playing a show for a brand called Jack Wills and they booked me with her, Emily and the Woods and Frank Hamilton, so that was a lot of fun and an awesome line up to be a part of.
SOML: I read on a student magazine that you Nathan like German techno music? Is that true and could you give me some of your favourite DJ’s or artists?
N: Yeh man I love it! Anything that Innervisions releases really! Dixon, Âme and Henrik Schwarz are amazing. Their sets are always amazingly well thought out, and often pretty melancholic combined with euphoric moments, so that’s what I try to take from them and adapt to my own style of music. I saw Ame with Max a few years back in Bristol and we were blown away.
SOML: Do you know about the music-playing twin with the name Nathan Ball from Wookey Hole and how often can you hear the people saying that they entered the website of the wrong Nathan?
N: Ha! Yeh that’s pretty annoying. We only discovered it fairly recently and it seems to be causing a bit of confusion with websites etc. I do occasionally get asked the odd question in interviews where the interviewer has obviously looked for background stuff on me on his website so that’s pretty funny. But yeh he seems like a nice guy so hopefully it won’t cause too many problems!
SOML: Are you planning to come over to mainland Europe and Germany for some gigs in 2015?
N: We are! Finally! We’re heading on an Alps tour in Morzine at the end of March and have also been in talks with some people in Germany and Paris to hopefully do a few shows out there in April, so fingers crossed for a Europe Tour.
SOML: And are there any plans for an album and a timeline for a release?
N: There certainly are plans for an album at some point, but we’re in no real rush at the moment. We’re just taking our time and writing the songs without any pressure which I’m really enjoying at the moment. I think we’ll release a few more EP’s and then release the album when the time feels right!
Nathan Balls EP ‚Echo‘ you can buy via:iTunes: Nathan Ball – Echo EP Amazon: Nathan Ball – Echo EP