Nathan Alan. Photo courtesy of Nathan Alan

From the Archive: MOTM5 Interview with Nathan Alan

This piece was originally published Jan 3, 2013 for Middle of the Mitten 5

Interview by contributor Alyson Gines

1. What has been your favorite gig to date?

In the summer of 2012, I drove up to this wood plot just south of the Mackinac Bridge. It was this invite-only type of festival out in the woods. I went up not expecting much, but it was one of the craziest nights of my life. I knew almost nobody there, but by the next morning I knew everyone. Imagine the craziest college party you’ve ever been to, except out in the woods with non-stop music and lots of patchouli oil.

2. How did you start playing music?

Well I guess I would have to say it was when I first picked up the violin in the fourth grade. The elementary school I attended had a teacher from the local music store come in for like an hour, two days a week. So I fiddled around with that until high school. I think it was my freshman year of high school that my dad gave me his old guitar that, until then, had just been sitting under the stairs. After learning a few chords, I think I started writing your basic high school “woe is me” type of songs. My senior year I really discovered that folk and alternative music lent itself more to my style of songwriting.

3. What’s one thing or place that inspires your music?

Home. I had the privilege of growing up in on of the most beautiful places on the planet. My small-town life in Northern Michigan provides an endless amount of inspiration. The beautiful people and natural world that are a part of my life there continuously are reflected in the lyrics of my songs. I always say, “I write what I know.”

4. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Somewhere above the clouds. I like mountains. The Swiss Alps. Yeah, I’d go there.

5. Would you rather spend a month kayaking the Amazon river or traveling via camel throughout Morocco?

I think I would definitely choose the Amazon River. If you got too hot, you could just flip your kayak (mind you, you would have to avoid predatory animals). Riding a camel through Morocco just seems so hot and dry.

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