the AU interview: Nathan Cavaleri of Nat Col and the Kings (Sydney)

Pete had the chance to catch up with guitar virtuoso Nathan Cavaleri to discuss his latest project Nat Col and the Kings. We also had a chance to talk about his time with Jimmy Page and his kiss with Jessica Alba.

Tell us what have you been up to so far in 2012?

2011 was a CRAZY year for Nat Col & the Kings, so we ended up taking a little more off than usual to record the upcoming EP. We started of 2012 with new management and a slightly bigger team, giving us more time to surround ourselves in musical vibration rather than emails! Haha! We took a break from the studio to play Apollo Bay festival and Broadbeach Blues Festival, and now with the release of our single “Coming Home”, we’ve hit the road again for a crazy back half of the year.

This project known as Nat Col and the kings with Mr Hatchman has been around for a little while, how is it all going?

It’s been around for only a couple of years now. Every release and tour leaves us shocked as to how rapidly the crowds are growing, and we always come home with a roadcase full of stories. With NCK, and the people on board, touring doesn’t get old!

How did the band come together and how would you best describe the sound?

Col and I have been jamming together for quite a while and during the journey we’ve tried many different styles. In the background, I was writing songs influenced by the blues and roots aspects of rock. I had no idea what to do with the songs. They were just written as a means of expression. Lost, I had a good think about what I really want in music. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to group together a bunch of like-minded musos who are in it for no other reason than to have fun, make memories and play music that speaks to the people. Fuck fame and money as a sole motivator, and fuck the stress that it puts on the soul! One call to Col after sending the handful of songs I’d written, and a call to a few mates… That was the birth of Nat Col & the Kings.

,b>What is it like being on stage with the world’s loudest drummer?

LOUD and AWESOME! He’s pretty damn loud but it’s a good loud! The drummer and bass player are the meat and potatoes! In rock they should always make mountains crumble.

As far as the creative process in the band, do your write all the songs or how does that all evolve?

I write all the songs. Sometimes I’ll have strong ideas when it comes to drums or bass, other times I won’t have a clue. It’s not until we hit the rehearsal room with them, that they come alive! As the days go on, I seem to be writing songs with Col and Kenny’s style in mind. Same goes with keys and bvs.

Ok so you’re about to go on a National tour off the back of your latest single "coming home", tell us a bit about the single and what that's all about?

Coming Home was in that original handful of songs and we’ve been anticipating it’s release for quite a while now. It’s probably one of the least bluesier songs and one of the few ballads that we have. The film clip is a lot of fun. You only truly know what you miss about home when it’s in the review mirror.

You are playing some cool rooms, what should fans expect and what are you looking forward to?

A loud energetic roots rock show. I grew up being inspired by Jimmy Barnes, Page and Plant, BB King…. Every one of the guys comes off stage with nothing left in the tank! They don’t just play the songs, they give all from deep down! That’s how we approach our gigs! The rehearsal room is for playing your parts, the stage is for turning yourself inside out.

Taking it back a bit, to those that are not initiated. You had a long break from music during your teens. Can you tell us why that happened and what was it like? Do think that it was a good choice?

It’s a choice I don’t regret at all. It was completely necessary. During your teens, your changing everyday and I wanted freedom to develop and find myself again. It’s hard to do when you are signed to a major label and are on the road for 6-12 months of the year. It’s easy to feel suffocated when you are essentially a product. My parents made the decision for me and I’m grateful. The toughest part was trying to find my motivation and the reason for playing music. Play music for fame? Play music for money? Don’t play music? Play music for yourself? Play music to connect with the world… Aaaaa there we go. The second hardest part was learning how the circus has changed. It’s like starting all over again. I hope you like humble pie!!! Hahaha As I said, I’m so glad I did it because now I know exactly what I want! Music is a form of expression and communication for me and I would never let it become a tool.

You have played with some of the best of the best artists to ever grace this earth. As you get older to you appreciate the significance of those moments early in your career more these days? Also what moments stand out and why?

Absolutely! I’ve learnt so much from the artists I’ve teamed up with! I’m actually thankful that it happened so young cos half the time, I didn’t know who the artist actually was! So rather than spending time being star struck, I would learn and absorb everything like a sponge.
Jimmy Page was watching me side of stage at one gig and asked for a signed CD. I didn’t know who he was, so I rushed the handshake cos I didn’t want to miss Ugly Kid Joe’s set! Hahaha My touring experience with Jimmy, Diesel and BB King… They taught me how to put on a show! They probably don’t even know how much of an impact they had on me. The smaller blues gigs taught me how to jam and play directly from the soul. I could go on and on……

Is the Jessica Alba courtship a stand out? Ha ha

Fuck man! It’s amazing the things that stick… It just goes to show that you have to be very careful what you say in an interview! We were 12 and she kissed me once…. Yes is was a standout! Haha

What are the long term plans for the kings and for that matter Nathan yourself?

I want to take this beast around the world and get to a point where all we do is play and create! Having said that, I made a decision not to focus too much on the “end result” as it distracts from the now. I know it sounds a bit airy-fairy but there are so many amazing experiences and challenges with playing in a band that if you spend the whole time driving towards a goal, you miss out the good stuff! Just finished reading Keith Richards book… Most of his book is about the journey, not the part where they signed a multi-million dollar deal!

Do you have any other projects you’re working on the moment you want to tell us about?

I’m all Nat Col & the Kings for now! I use to fill up my calendar with all sorts of different things but I’ve just started my first year at bull school. (Studying old bull philosophy).

What’s on for the rest of 2012?

Tour the single and release the EP! After east coast we head over the WA to do a run of gigs around Bridgetown Blues Festival. Sydney Blues Festival and I think we finish of the year at Festival of the Sun!

Any last message for the fans?

For those musos out there, don’t forget to work out WHY you want to play music. I know it sounds stupid but it changes everything when you work it out! For non-musos, can you spare a dollar? Cos us musos are BROKE! Hahaha! Love you all!