Having been quiet for a while, New Forest based band, Natives, have bounced back with their pop-rock song of the Summer, ‘Stop The Rain’ (quite an appropriate title at the time of this article going to press). The follow up to the bands March release ‘Chasing Lions’ the track is a melting pot of synths, drums and catchy vocals.
This is just the beginning of Natives new adventure. With a concept album on its way and a book to accompany it, the guys have got a lot on their plate. Jack Fairbrother (guitar/keyboards) gave us an insight into their new music and keeping low-key as a bunch of English lads filming in Morrocco for their latest video…
Formally known as Not Advised, how did you guys get together, and what caused the change in name?
Myself, Greg & Andy have been friends since school, that’s where the early versions of Not Advised were formed. We met Jim in the local music scene, realised that a singer who could actually sing was a rarity and stole him from his band!
Regarding the name change; we couldn’t identify with our own band anymore, we were proud of everything which we’d achieved but were looking at things in new ways. We didn’t want to disrespect Not Advised fans by carrying on with something we’d fallen out of love with. It was a bit like breaking up with a girlfriend on really good terms!! We look back on those times with fondness.
Natives was a brand new band, just with the same members. Lots of our fans were also Not Advised fans and we’re incredibly grateful to have such dedicated people follow our music for so long.
Your style has progressed a fair bit over the years. Do you feel you’ve found your true musical style now?
It’s not so much that we’re searching for a musical style, we just want to make the best music we can at that very moment in time. I think it’s natural for things to change, I don’t wear the same clothes I wore 6 years ago so I think it would be a little odd to be making the exact same music. Most of our favourite artists do something completely new with each album.
I will say though that our attitude was slightly different with this album – we’ve been intentionally selfish with our songwriting, we just wanted to make something that we’d love forever, regardless of any success (or lack of!!). We didn’t once think about what anyone would think or try to write songs which would get played on the radio, or be popular with a certain audience, which is surprisingly hard to do. The rules were that if it felt good to us, we’d go with it, no boundaries, and that if this was the last thing we ever made (it won’t be) then we needed to be able to look back after it all ended and know that we didn’t make any compromises. I’m very proud to say that’s the case.
Your new single, ‘Stop The Rain’, is a great summer tune. Fun, upbeat, and fully embracing your tribal-pop description. What’s the story behind the song?
Thank you! I don’t want to give away the story that we’re telling with the album just yet so i’ll keep it vague…
It’s about welcoming somebody into a new community: a place for people who feel that they can’t fit in. It’s the idea that when people from all backgrounds work together, it can have a monumentally positive effect (maybe even stop the rain from falling?!!)
You’ve recently released the video which takes place in Morocco. Was it your first video abroad? How did you find filming it?
It was our second time filming a music video abroad – we shot the video for This Island in Murcia, Spain. Shooting in Morocco was an incredible experience, we learned so much about culture and music, particularly percussion and rhythm. The Moroccan people were so welcoming, we were often invited into people’s homes and everyone we met wanted to play music together. We fell in love with Morocco and how the people use music to share stories.
Filming was an interesting experience… you’re trying to capture something real, but want it to look cinematic which can present challenges as you can’t just shoot things again because it’s not scripted, you have to try and be constantly ready because it was all so spontaneous. Duncan Howsely did a fantastic job behind the camera, he perfectly captured our time out there. Obviously we asked everyone’s permission before filming but we didn’t want people to be too aware of the camera – you can imagine it creates quite a stir when four guys from the New Forest are walking through the backstreets of Marrakech with drums and are being followed by a cameraman so we tried to keep it low key and shot with a really small rig.
How much creative control do you have of your videos?
We have full creative control, we write almost all of our treatments ourselves (including this one) and direct and produce most of the videos. That’s not to discredit Duncan, who is an incredibly talented videographer and director in his own right. We have a perfect relationship where us and our collaborator Jake have all these wild ideas and Duncan turns them into reality with his technical knowledge and insight. We get the best out of each other. We’re all particularly proud of how Stop The Rain turned out.
‘Stop The Rain’ is your latest single from your forthcoming album, a 20-track concept album. Can you tell us a little about the concept for this album?
We don’t want to give away too much this early on but the album tells a fictional story, which we wrote ourselves about self-discovery, community and humanity. Ultimately it’s the story of a journey to find a place for those who feel that they don’t fit in. I didn’t realise at the time how much of our own experience as a band we’d put into it, but we’ve never really felt that we know our place in the world and it’s obvious now that that’s where it all come from.
You’re following the album up with a novel that continues the story. An interesting and unusual idea! What made you decide to follow it up in this way? How is this going to be done – are you guys writing it yourselves?
It’s not actually a follow up – the two are one and the same. We had the idea for the story before we entered the studio to write the music, the themes were important to us and we always like to write about things which we all relate to rather than one person’s opinion or experiences.
We worked on the album a bit like a musical or movie soundtrack, so we had a big storyboard up on the wall and before working on a song we’d talk about what’s happening at this point in the story, make sure everyone is fully immersed in the scene and then start writing. It’s not just a loose lyrical theme or the odd idea – every little sonic detail is there to try and bring the story to life. Early on we realised that it was impossible to tell the narrative in as much detail as we wanted through music alone and so I suggested that I turn it into a book. There are 20 chapters in the book and there’s a song for each chapter.
What can we expect from Natives through the rest of 2016? Any tour or other exciting news?
The album was very consciously a studio project – we didn’t want any live performance considerations to compromise the music. The flip side to that is that when it came to thinking about touring, we had a lot of work to do to turn it into something which we can perform live. We’ve been working hard on that side of things for the past few months and have been discussing touring ideas, I think we’ll be announcing some stuff really soon. We can’t wait for that side of things to start again.
This Track of the Day article was written by Alia Thomas, a GIGsoup contributor