Nathan Ball is a 23-year-old, singer-songwriter from Cornwall. Nathan started writing songs at 14, but it was not until he was invited to support Alt-J, Frank Hamilton and Gabrielle Aplin whilst at University in Exeter that he realised his talent. Off the back of a successful summer with dates at Farr Festival and Beach Break, not to mention a sold-out showcase at The Star of Kings, Nathan has now set his sights on the bright lights of London. We recently showcased Nathan’s music video ‘Every Line’ on The Student Channel and wanted to find out more about the man behind the video!
TSC: Congratulations on being nominated for the YouTube awards, do you rate that?
Nathan: Cheers, yeah that’s pretty crazy! I’m still kind of shocked by the whole thing. To be put alongside artists that I’ve looked up to for so many years is just nuts! I’m massively honoured. We’re still at the stage where things are seriously exciting, like whenever a new comment comes on a YouTube video, or we’re asked to play more gigs, so this one smashed it for me really!
TSC: How important do you think YouTube/social media is for artists these days?
N: Yeah massively. It’s an amazing platform for musicians to be on, and in terms of finding new music, things get shared so much now, it’s becoming a lot easier to stumble across new artists. Also in terms of publicising upcoming gigs and engaging with fans it’s a dream really. It’s a shame I’m so bad at using them though!
TSC: Your music has been described as ‘surf-tinged folk’, we love that analogy & think that should be a genre of its own! How much impact do you think a location has on your music?
N: I think so too! I’ve never actually heard that before, so I’m definitely going to use that more often! I think location is actually my biggest influence for music. I love staring at rugged cliff lines and stormy seas and moody skies, that’s where my biggest inspiration comes from for sure. I think that’s why my songs always come out a lot darker and sound kind of moody, I am normally a very happy person!
TSC: We loved your song & video for Every Line but how come we didn’t see you catch a wave?
N: Haha, thanks very much! Yes the scenery looks beautiful, I was with my great friends Ru and Hugo Martin who did all the filming on the cliffs in Boscastle and even made a little cameo appearance! We were so happy with how the video came out, such rich colours, amazing cliff lines and a nice stormy sea! I actually thought i’d got away with the whole no wave thing until you guys picked it up!!
TSC: You told us on Twitter it was because the crew weren’t filming when there was surf but we definitely saw a few peelers in there!
N: We’d been for a fun surf earlier in the day, but nobody fancied filming that one as nobody was willing to stand on the cliff tops! So we then headed up towards our favourite spot near Bude, but were met with about a foot onshore slop. We had always planned to get some surf shots in the video, so i was forced to put on a cold, wet wetsuit and paddle out into the chop! After about 20 minutes not a single surfable wave had come through, so we were left without! Pretty gutted really! It was a great trip though and we’re currently plotting the next video. Hopefully with waves!
TSC: With the loss of traditional folk music in the face of the rise in ‘popular music’ what do you think the future holds?
N: I think it’s a great time for lots of emerging scenes. There is an amazing group of artists gigging away under the surface, but unfortunately a lot of it is being drowned out by the autotune crowd. I played at Gathering Festival in Oxford a few weeks ago and that had the most amazing line up of break through artists. We had a wander round after and watched Denai Moore, Mt Wolf, Chasing Grace and London Grammar. They all absolutely smashed it and it was very reassuring to see the crowd go nuts for it.
TSC: What music/artists are you listening to at the moment?
N: I listen to loads of different stuff really; I’m massively into Daughter, I think they’re the best band going at the moment. I’m also big into Denai Moore, I think she’s got the coolest voice, I’d love to do a collab with her! I get my inspiration from so many different music scenes, especially the darker and more emotional side to House and Techno music. Dixon and the rest of the Innervisions guys are the most talented and thought-provoking producers I’m listening to at the moment. I try to draw the way they make me feel through their music into the style I play. In the forthcoming EP from us you’ll hear more glimpses of this!
TSC: You went to Uni of Exeter- what was Exeter like as a Uni and how was your student experience generally?
N: Exeter was amazing, I had such a great time down there and have come away with some incredible memories and amazing friends. It’s an amazing city and nice and close to the sea, so couldn’t recommend it enough really!
TSC: Best moment?
N: Our house in 3rd year was amazing. It was a proper little beach house type thing and I was living with 5 of my best mates.
TSC: Worst moment?
N: Dislocating my shoulder surfing which wrote off my summer after exams.
TSC: A lot of students are leaving Uni these days with a lot of debt and struggling to find jobs in their chosen area- what’s your thoughts on this?
N: Obviously leaving Uni with a load of debt isn’t ideal, but in terms of struggling to find jobs, I weirdly think this is quite a good thing. The fact of knowing that its a real struggle to gain employment has made many follow their dreams and be creative. Loads of friends have started up so many cool little projects. One of my friends runs Grannies Knits, a beanie company knitted by Grannies, another friend runs Just Winston, a patterned dress shirt company, another friend runs a cooking channel called The Yes Chef. It’s amazing to be surrounded by so many people giving something creative a shot!
TSC: What’s your favourite video on The Student Channel?
N: I saw you’ve got Mickey Smith’s Dark Side of the Lens on there. I think this could well be my favourite video of all time. I was lucky enough to meet Mickey at The Greenway Pro in St Ives at the end of the summer. He’s an insanely talented and very inspiring guy, and so humble at the same time. That’s a real stand out video for me! I often watch it before I sit down with my guitar to write new songs as it puts me in the right mind set.
TSC: What does the future hold for Nathan Ball and where can people check you out?
N: Well hopefully lots of touring and loads more music coming out! I’ve just been working on a new EP down at Grove Studios with Will Taylor. He’s a real gem to work with so I’m really looking forward to this EP coming out, probably just after Christmas. We’re headlining The Garage in Islington on 19th November and hopefully some more stuff with the guys down at Finisterre in Cornwall. We’ve hopefully got a load of festivals lined up for the summer, including our favourite, Farr Fest. I’ve also finally signed up to Twitter and have got a Facebook page at Nathan Ball Music, so come join to keep up to date!
If you want to see Nathan performing you can check him out on the 19th November at The Garage, Islington, event info here
Every Line by Nathan Ball