Sunday, April 21 2024

We sat down for a quick chat with Nick Cunningham, the driving force behind ‘The So Called Natives’. He embodies the soul of rock through his roles as the band’s lead singer, songwriter, and instrumental maestro. Originally from the music scene of Detroit, Michigan, he transplanted his musical journey to the electric landscape of Charlotte, North Carolina, at the age of 25. His first album was written and performed solely by himself in 2013-2014 at a local Charlotte, NC studio. Evolving from a one-man show, Nick collaborated with a drummer for the powerful follow-up, ‘The Sensitive Factory,’ which set the stage for the dynamic musical tales found in subsequent albums – ‘The Night Was Young’ and ‘Summer of Luck’.”

You guys have a cool name. Do you want to make a statement with that name relating to the history of America? Is there a story behind the name?

Sure, I guess when you put it that way I didn’t think of it as a “statement about America” but yeah, it definitely has roots from that concept. The band name is actually inspired by a movie called ‘Gangs of New York’ that deals with people moving to America ever since its “discovery”, especially in the mid 1800s just before and after the civil war. So many people were arriving per day, that it was almost unbelievable how many people were new to their country, state, and cities they were moving into. When I moved to Charlotte, NC from Detroit, Mi I felt the same way. Every person you meet in Charlotte is from another region of the country, whereas in Michigan almost everyone is from Michigan. So it’s hard to say who the real “native” of a place or city is because it depends how far you want to take it. Meaning, someone who was born in New Jersey and moved to Chicago when they were young may call themselves a native to Chicago after having lived there most of their lives. Then you have Europeans that immigrated to America since the 1400s and just a generation or 2 later they’re all Americans … technically the Native American / Indian tribes were here way before them .. so are all Americans just So called natives? 

How do you describe your music?

I describe our music as Rock, Alternative, Post-Punk, Indie, and Grunge. Like a lot of bands, it’s tough to put our style into 1 name/classification, but we typically call it a combination of these 5 categories 

So you’re working on new songs. Can you tell us more about that?

Yes, I am working on new music. We have 2 new 5 song EPs coming out soon. I wrote and performed all of the new songs on these EPs myself this time. I like to create the song, then play every instrument, record the vocals, put down the effects myself just due to it being a smoother process with myself being able to make all of the decisions on songs as we go. I made this album at a Grammy award winning studio in Charlotte which really helps making these EPs sound great, and I think it will be our best material to date. 

Is there a specific message or theme you’re aiming to convey in upcoming releases?

We don’t really have a so called theme for the new EPs coming out, but I did record a cover song for the first time even on an album. It’s an old Nirvana song, and I hope everyone likes it. The rest are just a mix of hard rocking songs that we hope will define our new and latest sound. 

Where do you draw inspiration for your lyrics and melodies and how do you decide which songs make it onto an album or EP?

When picking the best, I always go back to the ones that have the most catchy riffs and choruses. Even though some songs may have been about a more intimate detail or story, I think the more catchy and appealing to the masses are the ones I want to put out. 

Can you describe the roles each member plays in the band’s dynamics?

Currently, I’m a 1 man show – writing and performing all instruments, effects and vocals for every song on the new EPs. Our drummer is still around, and we’re on good terms, but not having time to practice and play shows due to our personal lives makes it hard to make new music. This way I can write, and perform songs on my own time and give it the right amount of attention the music needs. 



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About Author

Gee Nelson

Gee Nelson has been a musician, producer and songwriter since the '90’s. Besides music Gee loves reading, writing, watching British sitcoms and playing board games. His biggest influences are Green Day, Nirvana, Offspring and Eels. His favourite genre is 90’s and early 00’s (indie) rock.

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