Behind The Music: Interview with Natty Reeves

With ‘Our Time’, I wanted to convey a message of now being the moment to take life by the reins.’

Ahead of his second album ‘Our Time’ arriving Friday 27th August, we chatted to Natty Reeves to discover more about the concept of the release, the musical collaborations it features, and why fixating on numbers can ruin your music.  

Hi Natty, thanks for chatting with us. Please introduce yourself to your future listeners.
Hi! Pleasure to be here thanks for chatting with me. I’m Natty, a jazz/soul musician and abstract painter.

What are your main musical/non-musical inspirations?
I actually love listening to musicians that are especially good at their instruments, such as Julian Lage. I love how he can really bring the most out of his guitar, sometimes seemingly playing multiple parts at the same time. I really appreciate listening to musicians that are masters of their craft as I find it very inspiring. I love looking at interesting architecture and sculpture too, and trying to draw parallels between the art and my own music.

So who is involved in the main Natty Reeves line up?
I tend to do things on my own! I’m definitely a control freak when it comes to production haha!, but when it’s an instrument I can’t play, it’s time to get the pros in. I don’t play live much at all, but when I do I like to have a band to carry me.

When did you first realise that music would be such an important part of your life?
I realised when I would upload songs to Soundcloud and other budding producers would comment on your tracks and you’d share music with each other. When I got into that community, I think I knew I wanted to stay for a while. When Tom, who runs DeepMatter reached out to me all those years ago, and wanted me to join what was then a music collective, not even a label, I felt very privileged. I still do!

‘It was exciting to build tracks as they came to me rather than focusing on the details.’

Turning to your stunning forthcoming album ‘Our Time’, what was the biggest driver behind releasing it and how did the title come about?
It had been over a year since I released my debut album ‘Condition’, but I still didn’t really have much to say because of lockdown. Life had halted in some ways, so I didn’t really feel like I had much to offer musically. That’s why I turned to other musicians with this project. All of the tracks, bar one, feature amazing musicians that really helped form the whole album and bring new dimensions to the pieces I had composed.

The album’s title ‘Our Time’ came from me daydreaming one afternoon, and after saying it a few times over in my mind it settled and I knew it was right for the project. It felt inclusive, and I guess the message I wanted to convey with these instrumentals is that now is the time to take life by the reins and make the most of it.

Ahead of the full release, you’ve delivered us three preview tracks. Why did you choose these ones?
‘5:23am’, ‘Snakes In The Grass’ and ‘Lilac’ gave a really good preview of the album and what to expect when the full project drops. ‘5:23am’ lays down the tone immediately with the punchy drums and soft, swaying chords; then ‘Snakes In The Grass’ brings the vibe up; and ‘Lilac’ just really highlights the amazing musicianship on display throughout the project.

Your debut album featured vocals on a majority of the tracks. What was behind the decision of this new one being instrumental?
I just didn’t really have many stories to tell from the year in lockdown, and I wasn’t keen to write about lockdown because we’ve all had enough of it! So, I just wanted to focus on my own playing and see if I could say something with my instruments rather than my voice.

And linked with this, how did the recording process of ‘Our Time’ differ to that of ‘Condition’?
This album was a lot more straightforward! I was kind of going back to my roots,  and the way I first started recording music was very simple – just plug in, press record, and that take was it. I built a lot of these tracks just as they were coming to me, which was exciting and meant I didn’t focus on the details too much.

Set the scene for how people should listen to the album. 
Well, any artist would love the listener to sit and listen intently to the whole album! But I’d be happy if people just listened whilst they worked or hung out with each other. Ye, listen to it with your friends! 

Throughout the album there is a beautiful collection of guest musicians. Why did you choose these specific people to work with?
I’d heard what they could do! Some of them I knew already and others I had to reach out to, but fortunately they all up for the challenge. I owe a big thank you to everyone involved with this project. It’s crazy I get to do this and I feel very lucky!

‘Don’t think about playlists or numbers because it could ruin your music!’

So did this approach bring any issues with it?
Making this album was actually very fun and to be honest there were very few hiccups along the way. The hardest thing was choosing the singles because I loved all the tracks! Every track offered something fresh because of the featured artists.

Which artists – other than those who feature on the album – are you loving right now and why should they be on everyone’s radar?
I actually listen to a duet called ‘Rachel and Vilray’ all the time. It’s beautiful jazz music with amazing guitar playing and singing – definitely worth listening to! Also, if you want to keep up with what I’m listening to, follow my ‘Natty’s Soul Remedies’ playlist on Spotify!

And finally, what is the one thing you wish you had known sooner about the music industry?
Honestly, if you’re a creator, just make the kind of music you love. Don’t think about playlists or numbers because it could ruin your music! If it makes you feel good it’ll probably make other people feel good.

Thanks Natty Reeves for chatting with Listen to Discover
Artwork & Photography by Henry Milne

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