Melbourne songwriter Nat Vazer writes intimate guitar pop that unfolds like short fiction layered with rich melodies, emotional depth and whimsical storytelling with a bite of feminist defiance. We chat with Nat about her latest single ‘Grateful‘ which she describes as “an ode to all the inspiring female artists and role models out there, and a vent about the ongoing uphill battle for social equality.”
Hi Nat, congrats on the new single ‘Grateful’! Can you tell us a bit about the making of this one?
Thanks guys. ‘Grateful’ was a song I wrote while living in Toronto in 2018. I started to go back to listening to bands that had a real influence on my early days of guitar playing like The Beatles, Radiohead, Nirvana. Revisiting old tunes is a thing I do sometimes when I go to a new country. I think it has something to do with how living in new places forces you to re-learn basic things again like how to get around, how to adapt to your surroundings and new people around you. It’s like growing up again, so re-living the classics felt like a grounding thing to do for myself. A part of me has always wondered what a female equivalent of those bands would have sounded like, or even looked like if only they had the opportunity to exist on the same scale back then, and they are thoughts that I sort of touch on in the song. So ‘Grateful’ kind of came out of that head space.
Recording ‘Grateful’ felt like going to a warm, memorable house party with good mates. My band and I recorded it in a room above a guitar store with my producer, Rob Muiños who also recorded my debut EP. Rob’s worked with artists like Julia Jacklin and Saskwatch and I feel like each time we make music together, we just go from strength to strength and take things to cool, new heights. ‘Grateful’ was another one of those breakthrough songs for us and largely owing to my unbelievably talented band mates, Andy Campbell (lead guitar) and Sean Newell (drums). The initial recording was over 6 minutes long because it was so much fun, it was hard to stop playing.
You’ve said about the track “Grateful is an ode to all the inspiring female artists and role models out there, and a vent about the ongoing uphill battle for social equality” – Who are some of the biggest female influences in your life, musical or otherwise?
God, there’s a lot. Julia Cameron, Patti Smith, Judith Wright, PJ Harvey, Bikini Kill, Sleater Kinney, Pussy Riot. There are a lot of people who’ve been influential in my life in general and they’re a constant reminder for me to keep living consciously, to keep questioning the status quo, push boundaries and try to live the most artful life I can.
And how would you describe your sound?
Hard to say – I don’t think I’ve ever ‘heard’ my sound the way other people do because I’m the writer, if that makes any sense? To me, sometimes it sounds warm, sometimes cold. It can sound elated and other times, angry. It all sounds pretty fluid to me…
With everything that’s currently happening in the world today, this song feels oh so important! As a musician, how have you been adapting to social distancing/self-isolation, any hot tips for our readers?
I’ve been through periods of my life where I just want to disappear off the face of the earth so I can gain mental clarity again. Sometimes you just need the whole world to fuck off so you can hear your own thoughts and process all the incoming information that’s constantly being thrown in your face everyday, all the time. So self-isolation is not that strange to me and I’ve found that good things have often come out of spending time alone. Right now, I’m reading books in my van, painting in the studio and making Fettuccine from scratch.
You were set to launch the new single with an East Coast Tour this month too! What a blow! How else can listeners support you and your art during this time?
I’m sad that the East Coast Tour has been cancelled but it is what it is, and listeners can totally offer their support by listening to my music on any platform that pays artists as well as buying my music and merch on Bandcamp. I’ve got some cool news coming up too and a few live-stream shows yet to happen so people can also tune in on Insta and Facebook.
Can you describe a bit of the Melbourne music scene for us? What do you love most about your musical community?
The Melbourne music scene is extraordinary and diverse. I love how there are people from all walks of life deeply invested in it and how it’s brought together such a unique community of artists, record labels, record stores, venue bookers and radio presenters. I think it’s an inescapable thing if you’re a Melbournite, especially in the Northern suburbs. We even have the Reclink Community Cup which is an annual football match between a team of musicians and radio presenters.
Venues like The Tote, The Old Bar and many others have been supporting independent artists since the dawn of time. But since the COVID-19 outbreak, a lot of Melbourne live venues have had to shut down. I hope these venues survive long enough to see artists return to the stage. For those who can afford it, you can support these venues by donating to Support Act and buying merch from their online stores.
Once the live touring circuit is back in full swing, do you have any Festivals, venues or particular artists you wish to play a show with on your bucket list?
My band and I were lined up to support Twin Peaks in Newcastle on our upcoming tour. Sadly, that show had to be cancelled but we hope to play with them at some stage. I’d love to be able to support Big Thief and The Strokes someday. When the scene is back in full swing, you can expect me and my band mates to be on the road in our beloved van, Gwyneth Paltrow. We plan to hit the East Coast as well as other main cities and towns. Until then, we’ll wait for the light at the end of the tunnel.
And finally, what’s next for Nat Vazer? Any upcoming releases? Tell us everything.
I have a new album out soon! It’s called ‘Is This Offensive And Loud?’ and it will be out in May 2020 on Hotel Motel Records. For those who want to be first to get it on vinyl, the record will be available for pre-order in April through JB Hifi, Bandcamp and all your favourite local record stores.
Nat Vazer’s new single ‘Grateful’ is out now through Hotel Motel Records