Native Other are comprised of the enchanting talent that has been streaming from Canada. As they entered the production of their latest EP, Native Other had to focus on personifying their stories and perspectives into the format of lyrics and sound. Native Other talk to Local Wolves on their ability to intermingle coastal instrumentals into their track, “Palms”, creating mental scenes while making a song, and their refusal to let Justin Trudeau replace their bass player, Shawn. After listening to a couple tracks off their If I Can Keep It Together EP, we are already hungry for more releases.
Throughout the If I Can Keep it Together EP, you portray a variety of sounds, how do these sounds come to you when you’re in the midst of the songwriting process?
CS — We all grew up listening to a lot of the same music, but also a lot of very different music. There’s so many influences and backgrounds to draw from that each song comes in a new way. Sometimes we just start playing without speaking for a while, other times one of us will bring a skeleton of a track to everyone else and build on it. It’s really just a matter of wanting to create and continuing to do so— over and over until we all start to hear it forming something that really moves us.
There’s an uplifting song on the EP that sounds like the personification of California meshed into a song. How did “Palms” come about?
CS — I met a girl that excited me and wrote a song about the night we met and what followed. I had the lyrics done and then recorded this really funny two minute instrumental on the GarageBand app on my phone, which I immediately emailed to everyone else. Maybe a day or two later, we all got together and put in work on it. Chris snapped with the chorus progression, Scott made the drums way tighter, and Shawn went off on the groove. That was the track that we really found ourselves on.
You guys are a Canadian band, I’ve visited Montreal before which is a city full of immense diversity, how do you feel that the city of Toronto has influenced the music you create?
CS — I think being involved and just meeting new people has been super important. This city has some of the greatest minds in the world. Connecting with all forms of art and artists in Toronto has given us the chance to hear new sounds, see things from new perspectives, and become even more inspired. There’s an artist named Sean Leon who did a track called ‘Black Punk Motherfxcker’ and when you play it, you hear this wild dark and grungy punk-rap sound that you’ve never heard before. Hearing sounds like that coming out of the city has really influenced us to experiment and connect with people like him.
What has changed since the formation of the band in terms of the way you approach music?
CS — We’re definitely a lot more comfortable with each other. Not everyone knew each other when we first formed, so it was crucial to do more than just music together to strengthen the bond and understand one another better. There’s also been a lot of favorite albums/artists shared, so we’ve all learned more about what influences each person. Everyone is more open, motivated, and passionate with this band than when it first began.
As I was listening to If I Can Keep It Together, I realized that you guys have stunning production and instrumentation that would fuse incredibly well with acts like KAYTRANDA or BadBadNotGood, do you have any producers you’d like to work with in the future?
CS — That’s sick! It would be cool to work with Howie Beck or Jordan Evans. Charlotte Day Wilson and River Tiber are also on some next level with production. Damn, and Nigel Godrich, obviously.
Do you ever experience chromesthesia, in which you envision colors when writing or listening to music? If you have, what color would the If I Can Keep it Together EP be?
CS — I usually create scenes or picture a particular environment in my head rather than see colors, but I would say the EP is like a mood ring. ‘Palms’ is probably a warm pink/orange, then ‘Afraid of the Dark’ makes everything purple (shout out A$AP Rocky) and blue, ‘Chlorine’ keeps the blue going with a tinge of yellow, and then ‘Lust + Loss’ brings the orange back with a little red.
What’s your ideal environment for being creative?
CS — Being back in the suburbs is really nice for being creative because it’s a lot slower, quieter, and comfortable. It’s nice to be away from distractions and only surrounded by close friends that are as willing to create as you are.
What did you learn about yourself when you finished the EP?
CS — I learned that this really is what I want to do with my life. Not that I didn’t already believe that prior to the EP, but writing these songs with this group and connecting with the people we found ourselves working with made me realize that we are really doing it now. It all feels right. This is the family now and I have to do everything in my power to protect it and help it grow.
Tell me about “Afraid of the Dark/ The Way She Goes”, it has this very soothing complexing melody that reminds me of what I’d picture a Tame Impala/Daniel Caesar song would sound like.
CS — Damn, that’s fire. To me, that track feels like floating through a dream, then waking up and fully remembering what the dream was about in detail. It started as a loop of the two guitars during the intro and then we got dreamy with it. It has this simultaneously dark and bright vibe that makes it really fun to play live and mess with the dynamics.
Is music for you an escape from reality, a destination where you can let light in when it reality seems like a dark tunnel?
CS — I wouldn’t say it’s an escape from reality, but rather that it’s another reality. We can do whatever we want when we create and we can build our own world, you know? All that exists outside of music is still present and we can’t shut that off, but we can make something that is ours and invite others to join us.
Do you have a song on the EP that’s a personal favorite?
CS — I personally love ‘Lust + Loss’ because it concludes the story of ‘Palms’ and ‘Afraid of The Dark’, sampling lyrics from both toward the end. Oddly enough, we’ve been opening sets with that one and when it kicks in, it just feels really good. We also recorded it last, so finishing that track is what solidified the EP.
Who were some of your favorite artists when you were a teenager?
CS — Broken Social Scene, Bombay Bicycle Club, Dance Gavin Dance, Kanye West, The Mars Volta, Protest the Hero, and Copeland— to name a few.
Is there anyone you would consider particularly inspirational in the music you’re making?
CS — There’s far too much credit to give for all the inspiration we’ve gained from the art of others. I really don’t think I could choose anyone in particular. I’m inspired by living, learning, dreaming, and achieving. Those aren’t people, but I think that’s what I’m going with.
At the end of the day, what feeling would you like your listeners to capture when they listen to your EP?
CS — I want listeners to find comfort in this EP and connect with their own feelings that they might suppress or feel weird about showing. I haven’t always been the greatest at saying what I want or how I feel, but these songs and writing in general have helped me get some things off my chest and become more self aware. I just want people to feel better after listening to the EP than they did going into it— even if they were already in a good mood.
Lastly, would you ever let Justin Trudeau play bass on a track for an upcoming project?
CS — Yeah, I don’t know. He just approved more pipelines and I don’t f*ck with that. Plus, I like Shawn— he’s sick and has approved zero pipelines.