Interview by Leo Abbs
Nathan Gaunt is launching his latest album ‘Halcyon Dazed’ on Saturday 3rd November at the Railway Hotel. What is different about this album is that it is an internet only album – available for download on Gaunt’s website at http://www.nathangaunt.com.au .
The album is called ‘Halcyon Dazed’ and it came about because Gaunt revisited a bunch of his favourite albums from 1997 and 1998, which inspired him to write songs for a record, with sounds from that era in mind.
‘I had written some music for a fashion show in New York, and around this time I was writing a very beats-based soundtrack for the models on the catwalk. I went back and listened to a lot of my Massive Attack and Portishead records for a bit of research, and in doing so, I started listening to a lot of music that was coming out in 97 and 98.’
‘I hit upon this idea, that, that was when I first started playing music, and listening to music seriously. So, I pulled out all the records that I bought in the year and a half’s time and listened to them for about a month, two months, while I was travelling. I got into this real kind of nostalgic trip, because they were my Halcyon days of my music listening life, and so these eleven songs were born out of that.’
This period was also around the time Gaunt started playing live and when he started really getting serious about music, both as a musician and as a listener. So instead of doing the usual, greatest hits approach, he has revisited an era where it all started.
Not only did he take a different approach with the music, but also with the way it was released. The idea to make it an internet only album came after starting a download service on his website last year. Considering it was a success, Gaunt decided he would record an album and only release it through the net.
‘Upon doing this show in New York, I decided to do one for just those who were involved in the website, people who came by and checked, for people on our mailing list. Literally within an hour of finishing mastering this album, I uploaded it up onto the website and people started downloading it, and that’s when I thought, ‘this could work’.’
As for how the idea is going, Gaunt said:
‘It’s been up for 4 months, and we’ve nearly sold a thousand copies. We’ve done no press, no promo, it’s literally from just traffic.’
If there was one deviation from the theme of 1997/98, it was something that Gaunt always likes to do on his albums. It’s to pursue what he has always loved about Led Zeppelin – their ethnic rock influences. Which he did on this album, on the track ‘Kali Underground’. Zeppelin being a bigger influence on Gaunt, than Jeff Buckley, who he has been compared to in the past.
‘It’s just one of those things, the minute I open my mouth I’m going to get comparisons.’ Gaunt said on the Buckley comparisons.
‘From a technical point of view, my vibrato is almost identical. On this album, I’ve actually tried to tone back the vibrato, and just sing very straight and change the tone of my voice.’
‘When people look back on the amount of work that I’ve done, they’ll see that ‘s a completely irrelevant no-brainer comment. The only similarities are that occasionally I sound like him and occasionally I do ballads. It’s hard to escape, but I never saw him play with an Indian Orchestra on a 12 string guitar, tuned to sitar tuning, for 4 ½ minutes with the record button.’
In the end, the amount of work Gaunt has released and the diversity of it, will leave him to be remembered as an a unique artist in his own right. With his eight album ‘Halcyon Dazed’, he has proved it again, trying new ideas that he hasn’t touched on before.
‘I always take the long road with music and that is no one will fully understand what you’ve done, until you’re gone. It’s a sad truth, and once you reconcile it as an artist, if you really believe in the work (that) you’ve done, it becomes irrelevant what people call you. You know what you’ve done. I’ve put out eight albums and each one is completely different.’
Saturday 3rd November
Railway Hotel, North Fremantle
w/ support from Myles Vincent, The Chemist and Good Little Fox
To download the album go to: