Michael Nau - Q&A
When Nigel Adams, co-founder of UK record label Full Time Hobby, heard Michael Nau's music for the first time he instantly fell in love with it. "Memories of some of my favourite artists came pouring out the speakers; Lee Hazelwood, Tim Buckley, Tim Hardin to name a few but with a very definite sound and voice of his own. I got hooked, listening it to it every day, many times a day. I just had to release this record. With that great shot of Michael and his son on the cover... it’s a classic in waiting”.
Michael Nau brings forth his new album 'Mowing' a remarkable collection of songs - originally just musical experiments that he had gathered over the course of his years as a frontman of Page France and Cotton Jones with his wife Whitney. Michael exposes his feelings about family life, his inspirations and the artists that make his experiences as a musician that much richer. His new album blends a colourful mixture of mournful psychadellic folk together dream pop. It is a truly wonderful body of work. We catch up with him on the run up to his UK tour. Michael Nau is playing at the Islington Assembly Hall on 10 November.
Q. You release your debut solo album, ‘Mowing’ is being released on 18 November. At what point did it start developing as a solo album?
That wasn't really clear until it was completed. It's probably the least "solo" of any of my records, as far as the process - there were more contributions to these songs, from start to finish. Various things factored into it being released under my name.
Q. Having previously operated as a frontman ‘Page France’ and as part of a duet with Whitney, how has your song writing process changed?
That part hasn't changed much. I've always enjoyed the writing & recording process, as a hobby, first. I just do it the way I know how. I'd like to think that I've gotten better at it - a bit more comfortable with it.
Q. Do you and Whitney plan on working together again in the future on new material?
We'll see. It's grown increasingly difficult to make time for it. Making it work with kids is tricky. My goal is for this new thing to be able to operate in various forms. As of right now, it makes most sense to approach it in this way.
Q Your tour is coming up, how do you feel about this as you’re now solo?
I'll have a band with me - it'll be a trio this go around, with drums, bass & guitar. I'm excited.
Q. You’ve signed to Suicide Squeeze Records, a label that has also released comedy and performance art DVDs. Was this a factor which drew you to the label?
I've been friends with David, who runs the label, for a while. We've released a lot of music together. He offered to put this record out too.
Q. What inspires you the most as a musician and is there a particular formula environmentally and socially that you’re aware of that works best for you?
I like playing live with people. I'm most interested in what happens there. That's when I think about it all the least, and it feels the most natural. I can get in my own way once I start trying to zoom in too far. I feel most inspired when we're doing things quickly together.
Q. What advice would you give to other artists entering family life and wanting to continue with their work?
I'm not sure. I haven't figured it out. I kind of had to rethink my whole thing, I guess. Try to be present for everything. Keep the love and joy as front and centre as you can, and things will pull together. Just make sure not to miss out on the important stuff.
Q. Can you tell us about the artists who have worked with you on this album and what other artists you’d like to work with again or for the first time in the future?
We recorded a lot of songs for this live. Benny Yurco (Grace Potter, Ryan Adams) was a huge part of the whole thing - he's a great guitar player. he did some mixing too. Scott McMicken from Dr Dog played guitar/bass. He's a great person to be around, and talented all around. Will Brown played piano - he & I just did a long tour together as a duo. I've learned a lot about music from him. Ryan Spellman from Quiet Life played drums, we go way back. Whitney & Greg Bender contributed on songs - we've played hundreds of shows together with Cotton Jones over the years. Kenny Tompkins & Josh Grapes from Yellow K Records here in Maryland pretty much selected the songs for the record, and put it all together. I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to create with all of these people on this thing.
Q. How do you see the future unravelling for you as a solo artist?
Hopefully release music more frequently, & continue to stumble upon new things.