Getting to know Nathan Ball at Neighbourhood Festival

Nathan Ball recently ran the festival circuit and captured our attention with his deep, alternative indie vibe and poetic, nature-inspired lyrics.

Having recently supported Van Morrison and completed his tour with Australian musician, Ziggy Alberts, Nathan has had a jam-packed, exciting year of touring, writing and releasing. We caught up with Nathan ahead of his set at Neighbourhood Festival in Manchester to get to know him a little better.

Your new single ‘Drifting’ was released yesterday – congrats! What’s that about?

Thank you! It’s about the idea of seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes, seeing that there’s something wrong – something you can’t really do anything about. It was the very first thing I did this year, I wrote it on the 1st January. It was stormy outside and I just sort of tucked myself away and wrote it. I thought ‘ah I really like this one’ and sat on it for a while, so I’m really happy it’s finally out.

Does it take a while to develop your songs? Do you change them up a lot?

Yeah! First I take songs to the band – to Max, our guitarist, who co-produces. We record together, and then I like to play songs live for a bit to see if people are in to them.

Do you write all of your own lyrics?

Yes. We also self release which is awesome, so we get to decide what we release and when.

How was the tour with Australian artist, Ziggy Alberts? Are you guys best buddies now?

It was epic! Yeah we’re great pals. Including the tour manager, the merchandise guy and the videographer – we all became very close over the four or five days. We toured with Ziggy in Holland two or three years ago, then I was in Sydney visiting my brother, we were on a bus going past a venue and saw his name advertised. He told me to came along and since then we’ve stayed in touch more often.

Did you always want to be a musician?

I’ve always been a huge music fan and always liked the idea of being a musician. I got a guitar when I was fourteen and self-taught myself – so I’m certainly not the world’s best guitarist, but enough to write songs. Our guitarist Max is amazing. So yeah, always wanted to be a musician. It’s unbelievably fun – it’s hard work; but it’s wicked.

Can you imagine doing anything else besides music?

No! It’s mad. You go to the pub with your mates and talk about your itinerary compared to theirs and it’s very strange.

Who inspires your musical style, are we right in thinking Ben Howard?

Haha, yeah, I really like Ben. We get that a lot. He’s epic, although we try not to follow him too much. I’m a huge War On Drugs fan, The National and a guy called Ry X.

Let’s play the favourites game so we can get to know you a little better!

– Pizza?
I LOVE pizza. Pizza’s my favourite food in the world. Pepperoni and chicken… yep, I do get a few funny looks when I add chicken on to pepperoni!
– Musician?
Hmmm, probably Ry X.
– Film?
Hahaha, we were talking about that on the way here actually. Either Point Break or Wedding Crashers.
– Country? 
I love Bali. I love Japan.. Probably Japan, it was sick!
– Gig to date? 
Foals! That’s such a hard question when you’ve seen so many.

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t gigging?

Surfing and snowboarding. I’ve been surfing since I was ten! I love surfing in Cornwall in summer.

You recently recorded a cover or ‘All We Do’ with Leo Stannard, can we expect any more collaborations from you?

That was fun! He’s a great guy. We only just met that day – had a couple of takes at the song, and that was that! I’d love to collaborate with a girl to throw some female vocals in there, but no plans in the pipeline.

What do you have coming up over the rest of the year? Can we expect a 2018 tour?

We’re headlining Bush Hall in London which is our biggest headline show to date on the 19th October. I’ve been recording an acoustic EP with our guitarist, Matt. We’re going to record a really nice stripped back version which will probably be released in November time. Maybe a few chilled acoustic shows. We’ve got a load of songs in the bank, so it would be nice to release an album.