With an intimate sound, Nathan’s Brother is taking on failed romances and relationship with his debut album Spot On. Years in the making, the single draws on tracks that have been created over years of being in bands. While a one-man show, he took on a band name as each instrument on every track is played with the dedication of a band member. With an attention to detail that is second to none, he has created a collection of tracks that explore genres and emotions. We sat down with Nathan’s Brother to talk about the debut album, choosing tracks, DIY recording and much more!
OSR: When did you first realise that you wanted to make music?
Nathan’s Brother: After starting my first band we quickly outgrew playing covers and started making original music. I had some experience making gabber house using tracker software as a young teenager so I started using that software to create drum and bass tracks that I would play the guitar and sing over in order to create demos for the band. That’s when I realized I really enjoyed making complete songs by myself. There’s something magical about translating what’s inside your head into an actual thing you can listen to and share, almost like giving birth.
OSR: Nathan’s Brother is a one-man show that offers the sound of a full band. How do you achieve this?
Nathan’s Band: I work like individual band members would work, I guess. After I record a guitar part for instance, I would just loop it and try to find a bass line to accompany it. I would do the same for drums, vocals and keys until I’m satisfied with the composition and find the right tempo. I would typically then ‘shelf’ the song and revisit it in a period where I play any of the instruments more frequently, really putting the hours in, and then re-record with more focus.
OSR: What prompted you to release your debut album Spot On now?
Nathan’s Brother: I’ve been without a band for a while and also struggled to find a new one, so it just came naturally to make music on my own. From all the years in bands, I have quite a catalogue I can draw from. I must say I really enjoy it, songs I love that I could never play with bands now finally find their way into the airwaves, and I don’t have to wait for others to move forward so it gives me a great sense of freedom.
OSR: Most of the tracks on your latest album Spot On are about relationships and romances, why is that?
Nathan’s Brother: I like it when an album has a certain consistency. It so happened that I had a lot of personal singer-songwriter type songs laying around which seemed to fit well together so, in hindsight, that may explain the common theme. In and out of relationships there is never a lack of inspiration to write music, so over the years I made quite a few of those songs.
OSR: There are a few tracks that buck this trend on the album. Can you tell us more about them?
Nathan’s Brother: Well, some songs have different themes but still fit well on the album. ‘Mind At Ease’ for instance just feels like a good opening track because it’s quite compact and it starts with vocals right away which I think is a good ice breaker. ‘Front Man Veto’ on the other hand is an instrumental track that I felt was needed to break the album in two, giving way for the more experimental second half.
OSR: You did everything for the album from writing to recording on your own. What was the biggest challenge you faced with this?
Nathan’s Brother: For me, the biggest challenge is to stay in the mood of the song when having to set everything up yourself because this can make you really conscious of everything that can go wrong. Digital audio workstations are just not a lot of fun to work with, introducing technical challenges every step of the way. Sitting in front of a microphone with a headphone on and your instrument plugged in with all the wires going everywhere can make you feel quite restrained. I mean, every time you get up to move a fader or something you just feel all the wires pulling on you. Of course, in the end, when everything works out it’s all worth it. The bigger the effort the higher the reward as the proverb goes!
OSR: Your sound has a wonderful intimacy, is this something that you actively worked to achieve or did it happen organically?
Nathan’s Brother: It’s just a matter of taste, I guess. Personally, I’m not fond of the typical ‘larger than life’ sound with all the instruments mixed to perfection to fill up every part of the sonic spectrum. I’d rather sound like a band performing in your living room. When hiding behind loads of reverb to mask imperfections I feel this comes at the cost of intimacy, so I try to stay away from that.
OSR: Your music covers a range of genres from alt-country to indie-pop. What genre do you feel most comfortable working in?
Nathan’s Brother: Honestly, the labels being stuck to my music is something I’m not consciously working towards. I just create and people may call it what they want. Half the genres I’m now associated with I didn’t even know before I released my album. Similarly, most bands people compare me to I had never heard of in my life! But it’s nice, I get introduced to a lot of new music this way and it’s also good to know when marketing my music.
OSR: What would you like your music to bring to anyone who listens?
Nathan’s Brother: Music has a very profound role in everyday life. Almost everyone is into music in one form or another. With so much music out there, I’m just happy to play a small tiny part in that. If someone hears my music and enjoys it, I find that very special. It used to be in my head and now it’s in yours, that’s really quite remarkable!
OSR: What else can we expect from you in the coming year?
Nathan’s Brother: Purposely working without deadlines I’m not promising anything but there is a good chance a new album will be done before the year is over!