Missouri-bred and Denver-based Nathaniel Rateliff
just released his second full-length album, Falling Faster Than You Can Run
, and he’s putting it all on stage in Minneapolis tonight. Many of the ideas surrounding this album were sparked and spun while Rateliff was out on a solo tour (seriously solo, all alone) so we’re excited to see how it has all evolved from road to studio and back to the road.
MFR spoke with Rateliff as he was cleaning his bathroom in preparation for tour (“real rockstar shit” as he put it). We talked about staying energized on tour, hiding in the mountains to make music, and vanquishing the shit he holds on to by releasing music. You can read this thoughts below. You’re about to go on a massive tour. What’s your favorite part about tour?
I love hotels. Not sleeping in the van?
Yeah, and I’ve done that plenty of times too. I did sleep in the van when I went out alone. I had a mattress in there, which is actually pretty cool. Except for when you have to meet people and you realize you haven’t showered in a couple of days. I’m still a country boy at heart, even though I live in the big city of Denver. I still miss living in the country, and that whole life. Do you ever try to take a more rural route on tour rather than hitting the big cities?
I really want to do that in Ireland and some of the other places I’ve been in Europe. I have done that in the Highlands in Scotland, but I’ve never done it in the states. It could be really cool. We did the Barnstormer tour with Daytrotter and it’s kind of like that. These barns in Maquoketa and weird little towns. There’s not a lot going on. People always like it because there isn’t a whole lot coming through those small towns. Is it hard to stay focused (or energized) when going out on a long tour leg like this one?
Energy is a big thing. Especially if you party too much and don’t get enough sleep and you’re dehydrated and you feel like shit. You spend all day trying to get to a show and then when you get there you have how ever many hours to kill and no place to go. Sometimes you’re tired from the drive all day, so it can be hard to find the energy. One way to do it is to get kind of drunk but you can only do that so much. If you’re not putting anything good in you it wears you down. You wrote a lot of the songs from Falling Faster… while you were on the road—is it common for you to spend a lot of time writing during tour?
I have little ideas on the road that I try to record with whatever I have. Then I come back home and go through all of those ideas and try to write it all down. Tour can definitely be pretty lonely so it’s good inspiration. What is your favorite part about the whole album release process?
I love being in the studio. It’s one of my favorite things to do—to be recording. You can’t really do it the ways the Beatles or the Stones or any of those bands did it. They hung out in the studio and wrote all the time. I’ve always fantasized about that but that was a different time. Studios are expensive to maintain and the gear is even more expensive. Your production teams for Falling Faster… and In Memory of Loss were completely different, right?
Yeah, on In Memory of Loss
I worked with Brian Deck in studios in Chicago. We talked about more recordings—I was sending him ideas early on—but then when it came time to actually record I had a very limited budget and no label backing me up. I was like, “I’m going to make this fucking record if it kills me”, and my buddy Gregory Alan had worked with his friend Jamie Mefford a bunch of times and was told me to make a record with Jamie because he loves my stuff. So I called Jamie and said, “Hey man, how’s it going? I need to write a record and I have all of this material.” and he was like, “Well cool, let’s work it out.”.
I rented a studio here in Colorado called Hideaway studio, it was kind of up in the mountains. The band and I went on tour and when we returned we just went to that studio for ten days and recorded the bulk of the album there. Some of it was done at my house, some of it was done in Jamie’s apartment. Then we kind of picked at it and mixed it and added bits and pieces for a month.
Your music is raw and honest and sort of cuts to the heart. How did the way you recorded this album play into that?
When we all sat down and we wanted to record the plan was to keep it raw. Jamie and I would go through different takes and think, “this one sounds really good, but it’s really emotional, let’s use that one”, so that was kind of the plan the whole time. Music should be moving so we tried to capture that the best we could. You do a lot of takes. I wasn’t trying to get myself worked up in some emotional frenzy, but I don’t really need help there anyways. I’m kind of a wreck. Is it hard for you to release music publicly when it is such an honest process?
No. It’s sort of my way of dealing with shit. Unfortunately I’m not very good at communicating. It’s like my way to vanquish all of the shit that I’m holding on to. There are definitely songs that I’ve started to write and said “nobody needs to know about this” so I let the song be what it is or not finish writing it. Interview by Laura YurichNathaniel Rateliff
Wednesday, April 16 2014
8p // $12 // 18+7th Street Entry
Posted 6 days ago