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Nathan Fake- Creativity is Magical in a Scientific Way (interview)

Reported by JontySkrufff on August 1, 2012

“I guess it's not post-dubstep UK bass music or whatever the f**k they're calling it but I think Iceni sounds pretty futuristic.”

Though the accompanying press release says his new single Iceni Strings is a 

‘typically bold reframing of the Zeitgeist’ that’s ‘one glorious, exuberant pre-apocalyptic braindance’, acclaimed alternative/ tech star Nathan Fake downplays his prescience.

How concerned am I about the future? I'm not entirely sure,” he chuckles.

“It’s the label (Border Community) who came up with description, but it's a nice description,” he says. “It's definitely good to keep an eye on the prospective future though it's impossible to tell what it'll hold.”

The track itself appears on his apparently retrospectively themed new album Steam Days which, though he says has ‘total Celtic tribal campfire vibe to it’ isn’t retrospectively themed either.

“The title wasn’t really intended to be especially nostalgic, it's just a phrase that came to me unexpectedly and I thought it somehow really fitted the feel of the album. The concept of the album is as forward-looking as it is nostalgic,” says Nathan.

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): The last time we chatted 4 years ago, you talked about tossing together tracks such as the Sky Was Pink, extremely quickly, how much do you use the similar super-fast, super nonchalant approach today?

Nathan Fake: “Ha ha yes, the original version of that was put together pretty quickly though I wouldn't say it was done nonchalantly. It was just a quick but pretty visceral process and it didn't need much time spent on it.  Though yes I am using pretty much exactly the same composition and recording techniques now as iI was back then, with a few added bits of gear.  That way of working is very important to me as it kind of characterises the way my music sounds.”

Skrufff: How much are you a believer in creativity being a magical process? 

Nathan Fake: “I think it's magical in the sense that you can't imitate creativity, it's all part of the "flow" and stuff. Creativity and artistic skill is a gift, you've either got the right chemicals in your brain or you haven't.  I think it's magical in a pretty scientific way.”

Skrufff: You appeared to experience instant fame and fortune with Outhouse and Sky Was Pink: how much did your success change the way people treated you?  And how you viewed yourself?

Nathan Fake: “People only really treated me differently when I did gigs and stuff, which yeah was pretty trippy, getting flown to some country I’d never been before and dragged about meeting people etc. I think I stayed pretty much the same person though, I just found the whole experience pretty surreal and was kind of on the outside looking in rather than getting totally swept up in it.”

Skrufff: How much did the success of Sky Was Pink bring unexpected pressure such as expectations from clubbers- and promoters etc) for you to replicate that formula?

Nathan Fake: “It didn't bring any pressure at all actually because the version of that tune that was the biggest was James (Holden)’s remix so that kind of bypassed any direct expectations from me I think. I guess a few people thought that the remix was the original version but I don't really care about people who don't get it.”

Skrufff: How are you perceived back home in Norfolk these days? Local hero? Free drinks in local pubs/ clubs?

Nathan Fake: “umm free drinks not at all ha ha. I have played back in Norwich a couple of times and it's been amazing, it’s nice to feel like a local hero of some sorts there.” 

Skrufff: Are you still in touch with many people you grew up with? How do they perceive you these days?

Nathan Fake: “Yeah I'm in touch with most of them. I think I’m just the same Nathan I’ve always been to most of them.”

Skrufff: What’s been the happiest/ most exciting period of your music career so far?

Nathan Fake: “I think touring the US with Four Tet has been one of the most exciting things I've done . . . and this album coming out is very exciting too. “

Iceni Strings is out shortly; 'Steam Days', due for release late August on Border Community. 

Nathan Fake Tour Dates:

5th August: Woodstock 69, Amsterdam, Netherlands

11th August: Creamfields Andalusia, Jerez, Spain

30th August: CAMP, London, UK (ALBUM LAUNCH)

1st September: Strandclub Naturel, The Hague, Netherlands

8th September: Dimension Festival, Pula, Croatia

15th September: Incubate Festival, Tilburg, Netherlands

5th October: Mutek, Mexico City, Mexico

19th October: Goa, Rome, Italy

20th October: Tunnel, Milan, Italy


Jonty Skrufff: