An Interview with Jason Nolan for Spindle Magazine's 'Dreams' Issue
How did you initially get into making music?
They did this thing at lunch at school when I was 6 or 7, introducing everyone to recorders. I don’t know why they did this, but they did an elimination competition and I just remember doing quite well with it. After playing at lunchtime, I just kept on playing.
Is there a specific event that made you realise that music was what you wanted to do?
I knew that I was always going to do it, I was writing music since I was about 7 or 8. Me and my two best friends would basically just be in the playground singing songs to each other, which we made up thinking we were going to be on Top of the Pops or something. We were just in the corner of the playground on our own singing one line of something we thought was amusing at the time. That was probably the start of us actually making music, in a weird way.
Who were your big musical influences when growing up?
It wasn’t really artists, it was songs that I latched on to. I remember hearing the Stardust song ‘Music Sounds Better With You’. Before school there would be music videos on TV, and quite a few of those sort of songs I remember liking. And ‘Lazy’ by Xpress 2.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I have just heard Kero Kero Bonito, and I’ve always been a big fan of The Walkman and the lead singer in The Walkman had an album out with a guy from The Vampire Weekend a few months ago, so I like that one as well. The people that always stand out when I think back are Captain Beefheart. He was a big Rolling Stones and The Beatles fan as well, but I remember he played to me a flautist called Jethro Tull, that was quite inspiring.
What was it like growing up in a small town in terms of making music and getting it heard?
It was good, it was really friendly. In a small town, everyone kind of knows you. Because there’s nothing to do, you have really good friendships. I’ve always been working since I was about 13, so I’d just be working and serving my friends all the time, it was strange.
How do you spend your free time when you’re not writing songs and putting music together?
I’ve just always just been working. To pay for any equipment I have, I had to work loads. Completely self-funded. After playing the recorder when I was younger, my parents paid for my flute. There’s obviously been loads of times when I’ve been like “actually I don’t wanna play”, but it felt like such a good lesson from my parents, it felt like they wanted to encourage me to do it. When I was 15, I started working in a chip shop. It wasn’t great, but as a result I knew what I was saving up to get - I needed to play music.
When it comes to the songwriting, is it the words or the sound that drives what you write?
It’s definitely the music. It always starts off with some music first. I will kind of mess around with a loop and record lots of different sounds and make a interesting sound, and just try and speak over that really.
Are there specific things that you write about?
I’d like to say no, but I guess I do. I’m trying to actively not do this anymore but my first EP chronologically followed my life. The first track followed that idea of me being 4 years old in a playground, and then the last track is about trying to move abroad or stay here. I’ve had my journeys away but I’ve kind of always been in a small town.
Where did your journeys take you?
I’ve moved to Germany and tried to move to Spain for a while - I was just ambling around and I didn’t really know how to stay there without just paying for hostels. My favourite was Granada, I went there and I just thought that was the best place ever.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I’m always going to be making music, definitely. I’m kind of hoping that this is going to be a big year.
Photography: Edward Cooke