The Naturals

Written by Matthew M

matthew interview 2.jpg
Posted Oct 3, 2007
Q) First off, what are each of your names and what instruments do you play?
Nick Biddle: vocals
Sean O’Brien: Guitar, Keyboards
Rhea Fowler: Bass, Violin
Parker Higgins: Guitar, Keyboards

Q) How long have The Naturals been together and how did each of you meet?
Sean: Our current lineup has been playing together since May 2004 when I joined the band. The rest of us had been together for about a year before that. I met Nick (our singer) at a pretty horrible jam session of loud Iggy Pop covers, he invited me to play in the band immediately.

Terry: Since summer of ’02. I met the band through Steven Estes who was a guitarist at the time. He asked me to their first show at the whisky with them.

Q) Are all of you from the Los Angeles area, and if so, which parts of Los Angeles specifically did you grow up?
Nick and Rhea both hail from Hollywood and Sean and Parker are faithful to the (818). Terry is from Brentwood .

Q) What were your favorite bands growing up?
Sean: I’ve always been really heavy on The Beatles, The Kinks, The Band and lots of Motown stuff. More recently Tom Waits and Fela Kuti.

Rhea: the beatles, hendrix, joni mitchell, lots of classical

Nick: nirvana, the doors, oasis, beatles, radiohead.

Terry: Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eric Clapton, The Police, The Rolling Stones, Sublime, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Black Sabbath, The Doors, etc.

Parker: Er, Weezer? Growing up I was into all kinds of shitty music, too. I mean, should we put A New Found Glory, or what?

Q) Your listed influences on your MySpace page range from the Kinks to the Clash to Nirvana. Which bands do you think have had the most influence on your current style of music?
Sean: The Kinks and Elvis Costello really illuminate how songwriting can be quirky and classic at the same time… I take a lot away from those guys. My favorite guitar players are mostly country Telecaster wielders I’m also constantly inspired by other L.A. bands that I’ve grown up around, like Wires on Fire or Simon Dawes.

Terry: Wilco, Velvet Underground, Talking Heads, Television
Parker: I think the Talking Heads really affected the way I thought about music, and the way I went about making music, more than most other bands. In that sense I think they influenced me a lot, even though I don't listen to them more than other bands, or anything. Weird.

Q) How would you best describe your current style of music?
Sean: I’d have to say alternative pop/rock with a punk energy…but punk like The Velvet Underground/The Stooges/Television, not what punk has become now. So that’s proto-punk maybe? Maybe we should just say rock ‘n’ roll.

Q) How do you guys typically go about developing a song?
Sean: One of our guitarists usually comes up with a musical thought and then we all develop our own ideas around that starting point. Sometimes our songs grow out of little melodies that Nick made up. Usually the lyrical idea and purpose of the song doesn’t come until later, after we can look at the whole song as a finished instrumental. That way we can see what kind of natural energy (or lack thereof) we are dealing with.

Terry: Someone brings and idea, we’ll ad to it piece by piece, then try to find an interesting arrangement to give it excitement.

Q) Do you guys have a website besides your MySpace?
Yeah. Unfortunately it has become somewhat defunct over the past year mostly because we rely heavily on our myspace.

Q) How did you guys come up with the name of your band?
Parker’s uncle came to one of our early practices and made a comment that sounded something like, “Wow, you guys sound really good already. You’re Naturals.” Parker’s uncle is also Robert Redford (not really).

Q) Do any of you have side occupations other than being musicians?
Sean: Full time college student! I work at recording studios sometimes also.

Rhea: no, but i go to school for classical violin, which is kinda like a side occupation

Terry: Composer’s Assistant / Surf Instructor

Parker: We are all full time students at various institutes of higher education across the country.

Nick: No

Q) How often are you guys playing shows?
Sean: We are all at different colleges right now (except Parker and I both go to NYU) so it has been tough getting together a lot during the school year. Everyone is coming out to New York to play a show during the CMJ festival though… so that is exciting.

Terry: Well, everyone currently lives in NY and Boston except for me. I still live in LA, but we want to continue playing despite the fact that we go to school on different sides of the country. Therefore, we figured it’d be easier for me to fly out to them to play a show then for all them to come back to LA. Also, we are new to the NY scene; it would be to our advantage to build an audience there since we are already familiar in LA.

Q) What are some of the best shows you’ve played?
Sean: My favorite shows have been at the smallest venues like The Plush Lounge at the Key Club and The Kutting Room which is a hair salon in Santa Monica . Those are the best because there is no stage, shitty sound, and no pressure. Everybody has an excuse to take their shirts off and (maybe) mosh.

Rhea: Downstairs at the Key Club and the Windward Battle of the Bands.

Nick: Key Club and El Rey

Terry: Downstairs at the Key Club, The El Rey theatre @ the battle of bands, The Troubadour. We’ve also had a couple good sets at the Roxy and Knitting Factory.

Q) What are some of your favorite venues?
Sean: There is this theater in West Hollywood called the Unknown that has concerts after their theatrical productions on the same sets. One show I went to had a full living room furniture set glued to the ceiling. I’ve never played there but hope to someday soon. I hear they also have free beer.

Nick: Troubadour and Knitting Factory

Terry: Troubador, Viper Room, Safari Sams

Rhea: The El Rey and The Troubadour

Q) The Naturals have an upcoming show on October 20th at the Lion’s Den in New York , New York . Are you currently touring New York or are you just visiting?
Sean, Parker and Nick all live in New York . Rhea comes out from Boston and Terry flies out from L.A. Last year, we played Sarah Lawrence College , which is a small college just outside the city, but this is our first show in Manhattan .

Q) What do you think of the music scene down there compared to the L.A. scene?
Sean: There is so much competition on a professional level, but since a lot of the venues are 21+ there isn’t much of a chance for younger bands to play shows together and start something.

Parker: Down there? How do you go down from LA to get to New York ? It's way sicker, because you can walk to shows.

Q) Do you guys have any other upcoming shows?
Not at the moment. Over winter break we will all be in L.A. for a few weeks… so expect something in December.

Q) Where can we get a hold of your E.P., “The Faces” and how many tracks are included?
There used to be a few copies at Amoeba music and a few other independent stores around L.A. Now you have to contact the band to get one. That E.P. was made when Sean had only been in the band for like 2 weeks, so it’s getting a little outdated. But it still has a few tracks we are proud of.

Q) Are The Naturals working on any other albums that we can check out or look forward to?
Sean: We have been recording on and off for the past 3 years but it’s been hard to get it released since we all went to college. We put new songs up on our Myspace once we are happy with them and hope to get another EP pressed sometime very soon.

Parker: Yes. We just completed a Facebook album

Q) What do you guys think about Big Smile Magazine?
Sean: It’s nice to have a smaller magazine doing local show reviews in addition to Album reviews and interviews. It lets music-lovers get to know their local bands much more intimately.

Terry: From what you’ve described in your e-mail, it sounds like a great way for up and coming bands to promote themselves and give readers a chance to hear a little about themselves.

Parker: The live reviews could afford to be a bit longer? I like that you've expressed interest in us.

Q) Is there anything else our readers should know about The Naturals?
We played a Bar Mitzvah once.

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