After releasing his EP Howling in April this year, and having just played their biggest stage as a band at this year’s Somersault Festival, we caught up with upcoming singer-songwriter Nathan Ball, backstage at the Devon-based event…
You’ve just played a cheerful set on the Main Stage here at Somersault. Where did it all begin and how did you get into playing music full time?
I’ve just turned 25 and played throughout Uni really. I’ve written songs since I was 13, was given a guitar and wrote songs from then. I never really started taking it seriously until the last year and a half and thought this could be a fun career!
You’ve also recently had a band join you, has that changed the way you work?
It doesn’t change the way I write, I still write the songs as I used to and then bring them to the band, which just allows the songs to go in the direction they need and deserve to. Will and Max who are also in the band, they do all the production so they help with the writing side as well. I still write most of it and then bring it to the band and see where we can go with it.
Would you say most of the writing you do is taken from personal experiences?
Kind of. I find it easier to write when you come up with a story with a picture. If there are people in it, I look at what they’re running away from and what the reason they’re there for. I think that’s a fun way to do it.
What drove the addition of the band?
Going to watch gigs by acts I liked and gathering sounds that would need a full band to create. I’m a huge War On Drugs fan; weirdly I listen to a lot of house music, the kind of emotive techno style, like George Fitzgerald – I like the emotion their music sparks and that’s where I get most inspiration from.
How do you marry that with the music you make?
God knows! I think as soon as I put my finger on it, it’ll probably ruin it and I don’t know why I do it.
Have you played any more festivals this year?
We played Barn On The Farm earlier this month and also Drifters. We’ll also be playing at Boardmasters. After that we’re off on a little Netherlands tour till the end of September, playing a couple of festivals out there.
You seem to love being on stage, would you say it’s your favourite part of what you do?
100 per cent – its unbelievable! Now we’ve started getting bigger gigs and yesterday was our first ever Main Stage, so being up there was really awesome. It’s all going to come crashing down when we get back to reality and play regular shows again!
I still think it’s important to work your way up. Some people skip stages, they get to play the bigger stages much quicker and maybe that’ll come back to bite me at some point. But I think it’s definitely important to play the small shows.
Are there any plans to release some music soon?
We don’t know when we’re going to put it out yet, either end of this year or early next year. We’ve got a new song which we want to put out. Because we are not with a label, we don’t have the pressure to put out a certain sound, so this one is more of a sing-a-long poppy track. We put out Alone, which was a really dark track, so we’re just testing the waters to see what people are digging.
Are you putting things out primarily on your own?
Yes we are at the moment, we’re in talks with a few labels, but we’ll wait and see…
Interview by Simi Abidakun