The Mumble have just had the honour of having a wee blether with one of America’s finest young guitarists, who just happens to be in Liverpool…
Hello Nolan, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Nolan: I’m from Tacoma, Washington, and I currently live in Liverpool.
Where, how & when did the Liverpool connection come about?
Nolan: The idea of going to Liverpool came from one of my teachers in high school. We were chatting about after graduation and he suggested checking it out and I thought why not. Was ready to see something new. I came over here September 2017, and will be here for at least another year.
So what do you think of Liverpool, & the English way of life?
Nolan: Liverpool is great, I think it’s like perfect size for a city. It’s compact and I can walk everywhere, but there’s always something to do. It’s also just really good place for creativity and being a musician I think, there are so many venues that host live music, and I think the general attitude is very supportive of artists. I don’t think the English way of life is that different from back home, I definitely drink a lot more tea now though. Beans on toast as well haha. Everyone has been so nice though and I’ve always felt very welcomed in the U.K. It’s a cool place.
When did you first realise you were musical?
Nolan: I started playing music when I was 8 years old, simply because I needed something to do and then realized I actually really liked it. I think I loved the idea of being able to see myself progress in something without having competition, which was not the case when I played sports before that.
Your guitar skills are rather phenomenal at times – when did you start playing & how have you been taught?
Nolan: Ah thank you. Started playing guitar when I was 8, I took lessons and I think my relationship with my guitar teacher was a big factor in encouraging me to stick with it.
Who are your influences as a guitarist?
Nolan: I’d say my biggest influence is Jimi Hendrix , not only as a guitarist but at as a performer. I feel like he sort of transcends guitar playing when I watch live clips, it’s just raw emotion. The most important thing for me as a player is that communication of emotion, notes are an afterthought really. I’m also a big fan of Nile Rodgers and the funky rhythm stuff he does, and some jazz players on occasion.
You are stranded on a desert island with a solar powered CD player and three albums – what will they be?
Nolan: Hmmmm.. probably something by Kendrick Lamar , either GKMC or TPAB. Then Fear Fun by Father John Misty, and maybe something from Tame Impala. That’s a tough one haha.
What music projects have you been up to in Liverpool?
Nolan: I have been involved in quite a lot, but recently I’ve cut down to focus more on my own project. At the moment, I have my solo stuff, then I have a side solo project called PONSKI, which is something I like to do to stay creative. I’m also involved in a project called Aztex, where I play guitar and keys and that’s been really fun, something a bit different than I would normally do. I also play in this sort of jazz fusion band called Tucan which is cool. I do the occasional random collaboration as well, anything that keeps me challenged and creative I think is great.
So you’re heading back to Seattle soon for a few months, whats all that about?
Nolan: Just going to go home and see my family and friends. I’ll do some gigs, and probably do a lot of writing. Also do some collaborating and a bit of producing for some friends.
So can we hear some of your music?
Nolan: Here’s a link to my most recent single:
Nice tune! So, how about your songs, do they come easy, are they well-crafted?
Nolan: I try and write something everyday when I have the time, and I think songwriting is just like anything else. You gotta spend the time doing loads of it and then hopefully you’ll get a good song out of it eventually.
Can you describe your songwriting process?
Nolan: Songwriting process varies all the time. Most of the time I like to write and produce at the same time, helps me get into the feel of where the track should go, plus you have a solid demo by the end. Other times I just like sitting down at the guitar and piano and write like that, less distractions that way.
How do you know when you have written a good song?
Nolan: I can tell when I’ve written a good song, if I have the desire to finish it or go back to it and continue working after the initial writing session.
Well, its been nice chatting to you Nolan! What are your plans when you get back to Britain later in the year?
Nolan: Just finish up my last year of university , hopefully do lots of gigs, write lots of tunes, and see what happens.