“A big mix of everything”: Hannah Meets Natalie Joan
Recently my friend (and some time Collapse Board contributer), Toby Goodwin sadly passed away. He had become my gig buddy and we had bought tickets for several gigs coming up over autumn winter 2016. The tickets started arriving on his old doormat and his housemate kindly passed on the tickets we had booked together to me so I would be able to still attend. The first such gig was Dilly Dally in Manchester’s Soup Kitchen. I asked my friend and former bandmate from Manchester Riot Grrrl New Wave band KillerDolls to join me in Toby’s place. Natalie Joan is a recording artist on the cusp of releasing her debut EP, so after she picked me up at the train station, she drove us to a wasteland carpark in the heart of the Northern Quarter, where we conducted a brief interview about her EP The World Keeps Spinning.
Hannah Golightly: [Speaks to camera] Hi I’m Hannah Golightly and I’m here with singer-songwriter Natalie Joan in her native Manchester to talk to her about her new EP The World Keeps Spinning.
HG: Hello Nat.
Natalie Joan: Hello Hannah.
HG: How’s it going?
NJ: [laughs] Alright.
NJ: And you?
HG: Yeah. [laughs]… So Nat, we met when we were in a Riot Grrrl sort of New Wave band called KillerDolls…
HG: …when you were the bassist and backing singer.
HG: How has your sound progressed since then?
NJ: Well, now I play guitar for a start [both smile and laugh] and it’s more Sheryl Crow type stuff, rather than the punk we played… It’s got a bit of a mix actually. It’s Country as well.
NJ: And with heavy guitars as well. It’s a big mix of everything, that I like. And I like everything.
HG: So who would you say were your influences then? Like, Sheryl Crow? And who else?
NJ: Joan Osbourne.
HG: Love Joan Osbourne.
NJ: Alanis. Good old Alanis.
HG: Aw yeah! I remember actually, you were played on the radio after Sheryl Crow weren’t you? Or before her… it was like, I listened to her on the radio and it just sounded like seamless really.
NJ: Oh yes, well. One day…
HG: [laughs] So your EP The World Keeps Spinning, does it have a theme? And what inspires you to write songs?
NJ: The theme of the EP didn’t become apparent until after a few events.
HG: Events? [both laugh]
NJ: Well let’s just say the recording process… Well… I started recording this EP last January 2015. And I only just now –
HG: In September 2016?
NJ: Yeah. So it’s taken almost eighteen months to finish the whole thing, but, well, the songs got deleted.
HG: What d’you mean they got deleted?
NJ: Well, they were all finished and recorded within about… well really quickly.
NJ: Then they all got deleted.
HG: What? By accident?
NJ: By accident. I think.
HG: Oh my God! What do you mean “I think”?! You think they were sabotaged?
NJ: I don’t know.
HG: Someone thought your music was too good and it was gonna knock them off the charts.
NJ: [points at the camera and warns] But I’m coming after you.
NJ: So we had to start all over again. Then all sorts of things have happened, but I’ll save that for songs and stuff and later interviews.
HG: [laughs] Yeah. So what inspires you?
NJ: Oh yeah…
HG: What’s the theme?
NJ: The theme is, ‘Whatever happens, the world keeps spinning.’
HG: So no matter what happens, life goes on?
NJ: Yeah. So I thought that was the… I’ve written a single, well…
HG: Do you think you might have jinxed your own record by…?
NJ: No, that was afterwards.
HG: Yeah. [laughs]
NJ: I thought I’d name it that after everything had happened. I thought: well, yeah, whatever happens, carry on.
HG: So the name came afterwards then?
HG: Yeah. And the title track, what’s that about?
NJ: ‘The World Keeps Spinning?’ It’s actually about not getting caught up in the little things and trying to stay positive and be nice to each other.
NJ: And stuff like that. I’ve done a video to it as well.
HG: Aw! I was supposed to be in that video as an extra but…
NJ: You were. [smiles]
HG: But stuff happened.
HG: [points to the camera] But the world keeps spinning anyway – even if your extras can’t turn up!
NJ: [laughs] Oh yeah. It was freezing that day.
HG: I was ill, wasn’t I.
NJ: Yeah. You would have been more ill if you’d turned up.
HG: This is a little bit of a feminist question.
NJ: Uh oh.
HG: But do you think you get treated any differently for being a woman in the industry? Or not that you’ve noticed?
NJ: Well… there was one occasion where I was playing the guitar. No.. what was I playing? Bass actually, in a band before I met you.
HG: Not in our band.
NJ: Or was it after? Anyway, yeah, I was playing bass and we were all stood around, waiting. You know when you’ve done your sound check and all that?
NJ: And all that kind of stuff… Well me and my band and then the other guys were all stood around and a guy out of the other band came up to me and said, [puts on strong Mancunian accent] “Scuse me love, what time’s the bar open?”
NJ: I went: [looks incredulous] “I don’t know. Maybe you should ask the bar girl.” [laughs]
HG: [shakes head in disbelief]
NJ: But nothing really like…
HG: Bloody hell…
NJ: I think – I like being a girl that plays… well ‘girl’, I’m grown up now.
HG: [sings] wo-man!
NJ: That plays music. I like it.
HG: Yeah, me too. And so…
NJ: I hope I inspire other women and girls to play as well.
HG: Yeah. I’m actually just about to start giving lessons. Yeah, like sort of Riot Grrrl music lessons.
HG: Quite looking forward to that.
NJ: Ooh, well. Watch this space.
HG: [laughs] Yeah. So, is your EP jinxed?
HG: Or do you think it’s gonna be alright now?
NJ: It’s gonna be fine.
NJ: It’s gonna be ace when it’s… I’m gonna do a launch party and everything.
HG: Yep. When’s it released?
NJ: I’m gonna do…the single The World Keeps Spinning is released digitally on the 7th October.
HG: Oh yeah?
NJ: And the the launch party is gonna be the 11th of November.
HG: OK. Can I come? [claps expectantly]
NJ: Of course you can.
HG: Yay! [Excited]
NJ: I was hoping you would. I’ll put you on the door!
HG: Woo hoo! [dances in seat] I’m on the door!
NJ: Selling merchandise.
HG: Oh. Working on the door? That’s not as much fun. What?
HG: Alright then. So we’re off out tonight, we’re in Manchester, we’re gonna see Dilly Dally. Are you excited?
NJ: Oh yeah. I was checking them out before. And yeah, it looks pretty cool.
HG: Yeah. I can’t wait. Anyway, thanks very much Natalie Joan. Everyone check her music out, it’s amazing. If you love sort of Sheryl Crow, kind of Joan Osbourne-y kinda thing, it’s for you.
NJ: It is.
[Both laugh as HG switches off the camera and the interview comes to an end.]
To check out more of Natalie’s music (and non-musical projects), check out her website here.