Hi Nate, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thank you! I am alive.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Inner Trip”?
Yes. Inner Trip is about a journey I think a lot of people are on right now, one of spending time with yourself. For me that looks like riding waves of emotion, putting trust in the process of life, and doubling down on using music as a healing force for good. There’s an overarching story of chaos to serenity in this piece, which is something I’m going between almost daily right now.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
The initial inspiration was being in a room with musicians I know and love, and letting things unfold naturally within the pieces I wrote. I edited and arranged different sections into a form that represents an inward journey, finding some peace there, and coming out the other side more calm and confident. The title “Inner Trip” came up in the middle of this process and helped me finish the song.
The single comes off your new deluxe album Joy Techniques – what’s the story behind the title?
Joy Techniques is about intentionally creating space to experience joy, and all the emotions that can surround that. It’s a literal title, meaning the songs themselves are the techniques. I wanted to create musical vehicles to explore the path to joy and share the moments of transcendence within that.
How was the recording and writing process?
It’s different every time . . . this album has everything from full 6 piece band orchestra room flights, to solo guitar synthesizer studio creations and everything in between. The goal is to follow the inspiration for what the song needs.
Known for collaborating with others – do you tend to take a different approach when collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?
I tend to avoid going into work with too many preconceived ideas of what it should be. I do often have a general goal, but I leave it fluid enough so that if something unexpected happens, I’m free to recognize it and follow it. I’m trying to let things unfold naturally and be present enough to make good supportive decisions for the music. If I can tap into the energy of pure inspiration in whatever context I’m in, things tend to work out and reveal themselves at some point in the process.
How did you go on balancing your classical training with your much modern approach?
It’s all part of the same lineage to me. Everything I learn informs me in different ways, the interesting things happen when I don’t draw boundaries.
What aspects of joy did you get to explore on this record?
The hardest part about exploring joy is that I’ve realized how rare it is to truly feel it. I find it’s constant work to be present enough to feel grateful, and even then joy can still seem out of reach. Now that the album has been out for a year, I’m able to recognize I was in a place where I needed specific motivation to feel joy, because I was doing so many things in my life that were keeping me from it. These songs have served their purpose for me, and the hope is they can offer that to other people too.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Inspiration comes from nature, conversation, introspection. Wherever I’m at in my life, it will show up in the music.
What else is happening next in Nate Mercereau’s world?
I’m producing an EP with an incredible artist called St. Panther, working on a collaborative album with Dave Harrington from Darkside, both of which will be released on my label How So Records. Focusing on maintaining my own inner balance through an important time on Earth, and doing what I can to support a positive future.