I’ve been great! It’s been a busy year and I actually have some time to myself so I’ve been doing this weird thing people are calling relaxing. I could get used to i!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Heroes Never Die”?
It’s definitely the party song off of the album. It’s inspired, in-part, by a game I’ve been playing called Overwatch. I really just set out to make a fun rock ’n’ roll song to get the crowd excited and ready to move. It’s definitely one of the high-energy points during our set.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I’ve covered a lot of anime openings in the past and realized the energy behind some of them is super contagious. So, I wanted to try and recapture that sound and feel and make a very j-rock inspired song.
How was the filming experience?
It was a blast! I worked with one of the main directors I film with, Mike Lowther, who was able to lock down a laser tag arena for us to film in for the day. It also consists of a lot of cameos from some awesome friends of mind. Spending the day in a laser tag/arcade building surrounded by people I love really put into perspective of how fortunate I am to have this much fun with what’s considered my “career”.
The single comes off your new album Sandcastle Kingdoms – what’s the story behind the title?
The title Sandcastle Kingdoms is kind of a weird story. With my career initially starting on YouTube, I dealt with a lot of uncertainty with how the site is run. The site is constantly changing what it promotes and how it promotes it. You can have creators who are raking in millions of views on a daily basis that could completely fade from the site after a few months and they’ve done nothing different. I know my music has had its ups and downs. It had always felt like this powerful empire build on a very fragile foundation that could easily be washed away with one tide.
How was the recording and writing process?
It was one of the most pleasurable and therapeutic times in my life. I operate by myself in my studio out here in LA. I get to write the sound I want about topics that mean a lot to me. It really feels like it is my own work with no outside influence trying to determine what the final product should sound like. It really feels like me. And it’s something I’m very proud of.
What role does Virginia play in your writing?
I moved out of Virginia when I was very young. My father was military so we moved around a lot. We went from Virginia to Europe to Florida with a couple smaller moves within those. While Virginia doesn’t directly influence my writing, my background in how many times I’ve moved does. Like many people online, I deal with a lot of social anxiety and introversion. I’m wondering if being the new kid 7 times in my life has something to do with it haha.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are doing a cover than when you are working on your own original material?
Absolutely. Covers are a fun way to practice my musicianship, production, recording and singing while still having something fun to show the fans. But in the end, that’s really what they are: practice. I don’t consider myself a cover artist. I consider myself an artist that also does covers. Those aren’t the focus and those won’t be. Originals are where the heart and soul are found. That’s not “Hey I like this song and it would be fun to do my own version of it!”. It’s my baby. It’s spilling my guts into my art and it means more to me than anything.
What aspect of life did you get to explore on this record?
A lot of issues that I needed to get out. My anxiety. My self-doubt. My creative ruts. I spend a lot of time stuck in my own head about myself and songwriting is the only way I stay sane. I still will never get over the fact that my job is also my therapy.
Any plans to hit the road?
Absolutely! We’re taking the summer off, but starting sometime in September we’ll be heading back out on my headlining tour, The Cool and Good Tour, with AmaLee and Mandopony. Those tour dates should be out very soon, but we plan to hit roughly 12 cities in the US. Keep an eye out for those!
What else is happening next in NateWantsToBattle’s world?
As I’ve said before, writing is my therapy, and I recently went through some pretty big hardships in my life. Songwriting has been my escape and has been getting me through it. So, I’ve been unexpectedly working on the new album. I hadn’t planned on working on it as much this early, but when inspiration strikes it’s a waste not to take advantage of it.