Live On The Bridge

S4 E12 | FULL EPISODE

Israel Nash

Israel Nash and his band play songs off his newest album, Lifted, a modern psychedelic rock album. He is also interviewed by Jon Hart here at KCPT.

AIRED: April 13, 2019 | 0:26:46
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TRANSCRIPT

(gentle, peaceful guitar music)

♪ Ooh ooh

♪ Ooh ooh

- ♪ Set upon a mission and the part they never mention ♪

♪ Now I'm a man of many names

♪ Some go through the motions but I crossed the oceans ♪

♪ Since you've found some motions of my own ♪

♪ Though my heart it means good I'm huddled in the backwood ♪

♪ Making all the plans you know I make ♪

♪ Once the strings are too fine I'll make the beeline ♪

♪ I'm moved to tears by splendorless displays ♪

♪ Ooh ooh

♪ I had better keep rolling on

♪ I had better keep rolling on

♪ I looked into the distance and in case you missed it ♪

♪ A thousand lights just faded out at once ♪

♪ Shouting from the rooftops to a ghost town all riled up ♪

♪ I knew I'd better keep the peace ♪

♪ The eagle and the full moon will rise from the west soon ♪

♪ Deliver me to the land of sand and stone ♪

♪ Once I'm back to my place I'll find it at my own pace ♪

♪ The back roads treat me like kin ♪

♪ I had better keep rolling on

♪ I had better keep rolling on

♪ I had better keep rolling on

♪ On on ooooon

♪ I had better keep rolling on

♪ Ah ha

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- [John] All right, we are in the studio with Israel Nash.

This is something that we've wanted

to do for quite some time,

thanks for taking time out of your day.

- Thanks for having me.

- So your band is like, I really admire

the way that you've dealt with your band

because they're, for lack of a better way of phrasing it,

a band of brothers, they're your touring band,

they're your recording band.

- Yeah.

Yeah, they've been incredible and these guys are,

they were from Texas and had all moved to New York

just like I did, y'know, searching for stuff

and that's where I met those guys

and my engineer, Ted, who's been making records with us

for a number of records now,

and they always talked very highly of Texas

and after New York it was kind of time to

to find a place and so we went out to Texas

and it's been great ever since.

- So, 15 acres and the name of it

is Dripping Springs, Texas.

- Yes.

- It seems like it's, y'know,

it almost feels like a pioneer thing,

'cause it's not like the water company

has laid lines out there.

- No, I mean, it's everything out,

they have like frontier days and y'know

it's a town of about 1200 people

and it's a town in which a lot of people

have land and space, you might not

live very close to a neighbor

and it is, it's just a beautiful town,

just the hill country, it's a gateway to the hills.

- So you decided to not only live

on this property but also build a studio.

- Yeah, that was a long dream I had, is to have a studio.

If you have a studio you can make records all the time,

so that was the plan and I knew about

these things called Quonset huts from Missouri.

You see those all over the highway and stuff.

People put hay in them and you see them on farms,

so I knew about these buildings

which you don't see that many of in Texas

and that's what we built the studio with,

is a Quonset and Eric was a big part of that,

we built that thing together, largely.

- So essentially you buy a kit,

you pour some concrete and then good luck.

- It's that easy!

- That's what we thought before we did it.

- Yeah, so this Quonset hut comes on two wooden pallets?

- Yeah, this is a 1400 square foot

Quonset hut when it's put together but it comes on a pallet.

- A flatbed trailer.

- Yeah, the pallet was half the size of this carpet

and it's just stacked neatly all together.

It's like, oh that's gonna be a lot of work.

- This sounds worse than IKEA.

- (laughs) Very much so!

- So 3500 bolts and I had this vision

that you get the whole thing done

and you've got one extra bolt.

- John, we have hundreds of extra bolts!

- Where is this supposed to go?

Is this safe?

And along the way, there was a bit of a struggle.

You kind of just barely got started

and then all of a sudden, you've got a flood.

- Yeah, so I think we had a mark on the calendar

that we were going to finish in two weeks.

That was a joke, (laughs) it took six weeks.

So the studio wasn't finished;

it didn't have running water, it didn't have electricity.

- I don't know if you've upgraded

but when you first got there at least,

for water you had to collect rainwater.

- Yeah, well that's actually how we all

get water out in the hill country,

is through rainwater collection.

- So you actually have used that rain

collection tank in making the record.

- Yes, yes.

'Cause we always knew there'd be something

really cool about having some reaver channeled,

these ideas of reaver from the sound of the ranch,

of the tank when you made a record out there

and I kind of had taken it further

of just really wanting to capture

a lot of field recordings of the ranch and of my home.

- You recorded rubbing leaves together.

- Yes.

- [John] Banging rocks.

- Yes.

- [John] Thunderstorms, water rushing against limestone.

- Yeah.

- Frogs, crickets, rattlesnakes.

- Yeah.

- So the thing that I thought was really interesting

about this was that your intent

was not to have these sounds be ornamentation

but to be more like foundation.

- Yes, I wanted them to be, y'know,

threaded through the fabric of the record,

not so much that it's necessarily the sonic focus

or it's meant to make the songs,

y'know, it's not meant to be meandering or something,

it's meant just to be to give that truth

and that sonic kind of honesty, I guess,

of the place that the record is made,

'cause I think it goes back to, for me,

living at where I do at the ranch in Dripping Springs,

it's kind of like the forever house,

I don't have any intention of ever leaving.

I continually am inspired by that place deeply,

it's a place that I can be quiet

and sometimes quiet can be bad,

but I've tried to learn as I've gotten older

to use that as a great self-reflection

and to find stuff in in myself, musically,

and so that continues to inspire

and I just wanted to present that.

- So you were inspired by John Cage

and the idea that music is everywhere, even in the silence.

- Yeah.

- The one part that I really need you to explain

to me that I came across was that these snippets

were arranged according to the I Ching?

- You can think of it kind of simplified where it's,

there is a number system and a series of quotes

and it's a hexagon pattern

but you have these three coins, basically,

you could have dice, anything,

and the numbers that you get correspond

to what they call solid lines or broken lines

and then those correspond to numbers

and the numbers have these kind of zen sayings.

So you kind of ask it at a point or a juncture in life,

I've got a question, what should I do

and it gives you a peaceful answer.

What he did was he loved, and I guess the idea behind that

is to let the moment be, that we can leave things

to chance and there's chaos

and for John, he had made his own musical,

so what key are we in?

Roll the dice, okay, we're in the key of C.

What tempo, what mood, y'know,

so he continued to create music like that

in a sense of getting out of your own head

so you're not thinking too much

and trying to get down to the moment.

For Rolling On and the intro,

I think Eric was playing steel,

I think I was on this mellotron

and Joey was on guitar and I was just like

okay, we're gonna play in the key of C,

tempo doesn't matter, just start in C

and end on a C note.

In between, just whatever's in the C chord, just do it.

So we did that and then we chopped it up

into second intervals, one second intervals,

and then we just took random numbers

and just put them together.

They kind of represent that feeling, really,

that idea, I guess.

- I'd love to have another song, if we could.

♪ The only winds we feel are the ones of change ♪

♪ A couple of kids in and out on the skids ♪

♪ Dreaming the night away

♪ I hear the rolling thunder long after lightning strikes ♪

♪ I don't know the reason why

♪ Taking it easy finally seeing we're all a part of one ♪

♪ I'd rather be a stone in the sea than a burnout in the sun ♪

♪ Eyes surprised by all the acts of times ♪

♪ The trouble with it in and out of orbit ♪

♪ Becomes the rising tides

♪ I hear the rolling thunder long after lightning strikes ♪

♪ I don't know the reason why

♪ Taking it easy finally seeing we're all a part of one ♪

♪ I'd rather be a stone in the sea than a burnout in the sun ♪

♪ Oh it moves

♪ For me and you

♪ Taking it easy finally seeing we're all a part of one ♪

♪ I'd rather be a stone in the sea than a burnout in the sun ♪

♪ We're all a part of one

♪ We have the willow, the light from the sun ♪

♪ We're the lucky ones

♪ The lucky ones

♪ The lucky ones

♪ Oh ho

- You know, for this record you can hear

all kinds of influences going through it

but the ones that I think you've mentioned in the past

are Sergeant Pepper, Pet Sounds,

All Things Must Pass, Astral Weeks.

- Yeah, I mean those are strong records

and I wasn't looking for a comparison as such,

there's effort and songwriting comparisons

but more deeply into these incredibly

creative and inspirational records

that you kind of hear this stuff going on

and kind of reading about some of that stuff

and the lore of that kind of stuff, y'know,

the Brian Wilson wanted to make a Phil Spector Wall of Sound

and Phil Spector was working with The Beatles;

all of this stuff that was going on at the time

where really the studio was becoming an instrument.

So I think that's where I was,

finally having a studio and finally

kind of knowing how it works a little bit,

the buttons and stuff, y'know,

that was the goal for me, it was to

how do we make it a creative record

that has those elements where you can go places

and yeah, let's use rocks as rhythm

and you see that in some of those records

that maybe the budget, maybe the time was large

and that's kind of what's incredible now

is just having a studio and then just more resources

and technology that kind of allows us

to move a little faster so we don't have to open up

a bunch of tracks to do rocks.

- We've all heard bands that try to

sound like other bands and that's not this.

This is like inspired by.

I do have to tell you that I love Looking Glass,

it sounds like an All Things Must Pass lost track,

with a Sergeant Pepper era George Martin

dragging in some trumpet players.

- (laughs) That's awesome to hear, John, thanks.

- And Sweet Springs has sort of a

Beach Boy level harmony part.

- Yeah, that was like you said and like you caught on

that it was this kind of amalgamation

of interest of these different kind of

sounds and records that I just wanted

to try to weave into this one kind of

presentation for this one.

- So you made mention of a notebook

and my understanding is that you build

sort of a book to give to the band

and it's not just words it's like drawings

and visuals and there's all kinds of stuff in here

to inform them about the record

that they're about ready to make.

- Yes, I've been doing that for a while

and the books are getting harder to make.

Like, we were speaking about earlier

that I used to be in school and could use computers

and now, it takes me five hours

just to work a Word document and I'm like

this formatting is atrocious, y'know.

(John laughs)

But it is a big deal to me to make these books.

Sometimes in the studio it's hard to communicate

all the ideas you've had when you've been writing all this

and because they're a lot deeper than just

hey, let's play this, this is the tempo.

To me, a lot of my music is very visual to me,

so I like to have the opportunity to write

and to work and to let them know

what I was feeling when I was writing this,

or what I expect from this album

or how much I appreciate and love them

and then I'll sprinkle in funny pictures of us,

little quotes that are personal quotes or things like that

just to kinda, it'll have some chords

in the songs in the end

but the real meat of it is that it has

these visual ideas, these contacts,

just this kind of inspiration that I

try to give to them in another way.

- So I think if people are listening,

they're starting to get a feel for

who you are and what your process is,

but just to sort of bring it all together,

this is not like a collection of songs,

this is an album, and it's a headphone album.

- It is.

I'm very much about making records.

I love listening to albums front to back

and I love what they do in our lives,

where you have these moments in your life

that those records become soundtracks to your life,

you don't know it any other way.

It's like, I don't know the order of songs

and all the songs in Dark Side,

it just seems like one beautiful record to me.

So that's important to me, and making the headphone records

a place that people can kind of be lost in

and just kind of be taken over by music for a little bit

'cause I think that's a wonderful thing.

- So, you've already started on the next record?

- Yes, I mean, now with the studio,

I feel like I'm always making a record.

I'm always writing songs so therefore

records are always happening,

so yeah, I started to work on new stuff.

I don't know if it'll come out next

or come out in ten years, I don't know.

It's like I just have a new goal

to continue to write and just to make records.

- So I think the important thing for those of us

who've listened today is that knowing

that another record is on the way

means that there's still hope for the bicycle tire

with the guitar picks in the spokes.

- (laughs) There's definitely hope!

- [John] We'd love to have one more song if we could,

Israel Nash, in the Bridge Studios.

♪ Think I'll sit and rest my bones ♪

♪ Low in my evening chair

♪ I'll follow you right into

♪ The colors that float in the air ♪

♪ I have a calm obsession with these changing eyes ♪

♪ The more that I see out in front of me ♪

♪ The more that I want to get high ♪

♪ Who needs my love

♪ Who needs my love

♪ I know who I was thinking of

♪ You you ooh

♪ You ooh ooh

♪ You ooh ooh

♪ I need some warm affection

♪ And the shade of a live oak tree ♪

♪ We made it out of a long western drought ♪

♪ Let us drink from these sweet dripping springs ♪

♪ Who needs my love

♪ Who needs my love

♪ I know who I was thinking of

♪ You ooh ooh

♪ You ooh ooh

♪ You ooh ooh

♪ Who needs my love

♪ Who needs my love

♪ You ooh ooh

♪ You ooh ooh

♪ You ooh ooh

- [John] Again, that was just great, so much fun.

Thanks so much.

- Thank you for having us, John, I loved it.

- Yeah, you know the thing that we try

to make sure and say every time an artist comes in,

is that life for a musician on the road is not easy

so taking the time to come in here

and do this for us is a gift.

- And you guys make our job easier

by supporting music and connecting people

and bringing people out, getting us out of Texas,

so look what happens when we all work together,

it's beautiful, right?

- Welcome home, welcome home to Missouri!

- Thank you, John.

- [John] Thanks for coming in, Israel Nash,

and also on pedal steel, Eric Swanson.

Israel Nash in the Bridge Studios, thank you so much.

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- Thank you.

- Thank you very much.

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(cheering and applause)

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