Monday, January 6, 2014

MusicTalk: Nathan K.

Nathan K. wants these songs to be heard. No, he wants you to listen

Because everybody can hear everything. Everybody can hear anything, anything they want...if they know what they want to hear. 

But, if you could hear, you would care, or, could care. And, hat’s the only chance a band has to persevere…or last, even, beyond putting out just one, two, or three albums, or long enough to attempt one, or even two tours…if someone listens in, closely, to these songs, his latest songs, than they can hear how heavy they are and then they can appreciate that this would-be folksinger dude is just like them, just like you. 

The Ypsi gypsy's currently floating his residencies between Grand Rapids and St. Joe's over on the West Side. This week, he's catching his breath after an intensive three month-tour with electro-pop outfit Stepdad. For considerable portions (and during numerous stage incarnations) of Nathan Klages' seven years of writing and performing, he's been mostly an acoustic based, embracing a more singer/songwriter-styled folk aesthetic. But, beyond the dance-friendly / synth-heavy fare of Stepdad, he's also worked extensively with electronic music composer Darin Rajabian (who locals might have heard via his work with/in Nightlife). 

He’s pared back the electronic accouterments he’d dabbled with on recent works, and so, with a music shorter on loop tricks and flashy effects, he’s still hoping the barer baroque-pop approach will have an effect on be, in fact, affecting. 

Rajabian is currently mixing Klages forthcoming album - (with no set release date). It will be his third proper full length. 

Rajabian and Klages have often pondered the frustrating clutch of Catch-22's of working as a musical artist in a post 2010 world. The DIY-democratic-juicing devastation wrought upon the music business 15 years ago by, well, mostly Napster, are finally starting to strike their sobering tolls - that all too often, an artist "at the local level" (or anyone doing everything on their own, free of a label or even free of a full band) can sometimes only hope to only just put your songs, the ones you felt you toiled over throughout a span of months, up online...for free... 

"I feel like I don’t even know how to listen to new music, anymore…" says Klages, his voice weary from so much time on the road with Stepdad.

And there it is. He puts into words something eerie that I, myself, couldn't place - that not only is it awkward to listen to music realizing that there's this anti-climactic sting of...what?...defeat? actually highlighting the thought that the maker of the music you're listening to probably put this stuff out "for free" and walked away from it like a still-decent couch or fully charged electric lawn-mower, discarded on their curb... But it's something else, then, to realize that there is, in fact, so much, too much, an imperceptible-much-ness of music that you could be hearing, or....listening to...

But here's the thing, Klages says, pulling himself back from disenchantment and back into a hopeful tone - When one does find something that really hits you, warms your ears, massages your heart, whatever it does....if you find a music that does it for you - you are going to treat it somewhat akin to a four-leaf clover or a speck of gold dust. 

Diamonds in a digital rough. 

Thus, that, the album you found, by the singer you've listened to, becomes something you have that much more affection for, in a special way, say, then if a blog told you that you should like this if you want to be in ...with the cool crowds. 

Stepdad songs, for as "fun" as they seem to "sound," are often misconstrued-as-such, because revelers, cavorting lovers of dance-pop, might not be tuning into the sometimes somber, cerebral or frank intonations of the lyrics. 

Nathan K. wants to make a music that actually challenges you to listen... It will be "folk-ish" but certainly nothing like country, bluegrass or Appalachia-twang... It will be orchestra, and lovely, but not insipid or overdone. It will be baroque-inclined and poppy but not over the top or saccharine. It will be full of some heartfelt words, some scary sentiments and nothing but the truth. 

If you can hear it.  

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