With the recent release of the Deluxe Edition of Kevin Nolan's stunning debut album "Fredrick & The Golden Dawn" I decided it was time to get to know the man better and find out what he has planned.
How did you first get into music?
I first got into music around the age of five. For some reason, I was obsessive with The Beatles. I knew all the lyrics of lots and lots of Beatles songs and the melodies, too. My mother was awestruck, she could hardly believe it. But it was more than that for me, more than just knowing the lyrics and melodies, it was a kind of connection I had with music, I was drawn to it. Music somehow spoke to my five year old self in a way that no other thing around me at that time did. I had an almost innate childlike understanding. Music was then and is now the thing I’m most drawn to, for reasons I do not know for the most part, except to say that it’s a feel thing and it defies logic. I like what Iggy Pop said and I feel an affinity with it, he said “I got into music, ‘cause it felt like being free”.
Who were/are your inspirations?
My inspirations have changed throughout the years.
In my early to mid twenties, I became more aware of the music of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Scott Walker, Captain Beefheart, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Dagmar Krauss, Bertolt Brecht, Harry Partch, Steve Reich, Jacques Brel, Thelonious Monk, Iggy Pop, really there are too many to mention, but they all have stayed with me somehow in some way or another. And when I sit down to write a song, they sometimes can serve as my advisors or maybe as personal music confidantes. However, as I sit now writing my second album, I somehow find their voices are seem a little fainter, that they are no longer holding the saddle of my bicycle anymore and I am left gliding in the slipstream for what seems like the first time.
Nonetheless, in my early teens and early twenties I was very much enthralled with the Beach Boys, The Beatles and all the surrounding bands of that time. Also Frank Zappa, The High Llamas, Cornelius, StereoLab, Low, Frank Sinatra, Kurt Weill, Joy Division. I had a brief summer holiday in my teens where I had a short lived fascination with Queen, really there are too many to mention.
After releasing your debut album in 2014, why have you now decided to release a deluxe edition?
Releasing a deluxe album is a very common thing amongst bands and singers. Many of my peers have done it. There are a few reasons for releasing it with a commentary for each song and two live songs. It is a last push for the album Fredrick & The Golden Dawn before I release my second forthcoming album. Also hopefully to make the songs a little more accessible with the commentaries and to let my fans hear what I’m like live.
What do you think having an audio commentary for each track brings to the album?
Well, it does a few things. It gives a very short summing up of the songs with the hope that this might let the listener in a little more, as some have told me my album is a difficult album or an erudite album. With these summations, I would hope to dispel these problems somewhat, it’s not much but I hope it’s enough for some listeners, a way in, ya know? Also I did the commentaries myself so the listener to some extent is introduced to me, the creator of this album. Ultimately, I hope they find a genuine tone to my voice or something in it that they can relate to. I have always found it invaluable to know the personality of the creator of a piece of music, it seems to add more dimensions to the work, some sort of basis in reality, and in turn a bigger map for the listener to relate to.
Why have you decided to issue the “Open Call” for artists and musicians to reinterpret your work?
It’s common practice for modern composers and singer/songwriters. Remixes are just the way music has evolved like montage or collage. My open call invites artists not only to remix the songs but also the lyrics and the cover art too. I’ve had some writers contact me and many remix artists as well and what I’m getting back is really impressive.
It’s really a form of communication. I communicate with an array of artists who seek to work with my album and am ultimately humbled by their wish to work with my stuff. Those artists then release the remixes communicating with their fan base from all parts of the world and with a bit of luck it will keep unfolding. There are a few artists who are also covering my songs also.
Are there plans for a second album?
Not just plans, I am currently recording my second album. On this new album I am for the first time collaborating with a few other artists.
Are there any plans to go on tour?
There are always plans to go on tour but the logistics are not as yet possible. However, once the second album is released, I will definitely go on tour.
Do you enjoy writing music or poetry more? Or is there a difference for you?
Well, they are very different approaches, very different tools for expression. I’m afraid to say I enjoy music more in case I fall out with poetry and vice versa. I like to think I enjoy more the thing that they both have in common. This thing is pretty much ineffable but to try and explain, there’s a musical instrument called a saw. It is a saw just like the one we saw wood with but when you take a violin bow to the blunt side of it and bend the saw as you bow it, it makes a sound not unlike a theremin. Anyway, the saw is quite difficult to play but when you’re learning, they say you gotta search the saw’s edge for the warm spot. That’s kinda like what music and poetry have in common for me, the warm spot, the place where you find the genuine tone.
What can you tell me about the upcoming documentary “Hum”?
Well, it’s a documentary directed by Nathan Fagan and his team. It was filmed over the course of a year and a half. It’s about how music seems to be an antidote to the main person in the film’s mental illness. The main person in the film is me. It’s about 20 minutes long and we have already had very good news from Canada and the UK. My self and the director will be going over to Montreal to the film festival where we will screen it and I will do a press interview and two live performances.
Your website says that you are planning on releasing another book this year. Is that finished? Is it another poetry book?
Yes that book is finished, I’m currently looking for a publisher for it. That’s all I can say about that for now.
What Irish artist do you currently enjoy?
Julie Feeney, Vyvienne Long, Mick Pyro and The Republic Of Loose, Villagers, The Revelator Orchestra.
What has been the highlight of your musical career?
I don’t really review my career like that at this early stage but if I had to it would probably be singing with and knowing Julie Feeney.
What was the first album you bought?
I don’t remember but one of the very first albums I bought was a cheap and badly replicated cassette tape copy of Abbey Road, I bought it in a yard sale from a bootlegger.
What was the last live gig you attended?
Radiohead just played the Three Arena recently and I was lucky enough to have gotten a ticket.
The Deluxe Edition of the album is available now on Spotify. For more about Kevin visit: www.kevinnolan.info