Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Natalie McCool

Natalie McCool
Photo by Charlotte Patmore

Natalie McCool’s debut album is drenched in gloomy indie choruses and beautiful lyrics. This “lovechild of Johnny Marr & Elizabeth Fraser” has recently been nominated as Female Artist Of The Year for the Liverpool Music Awards! To find out what else is keeping her busy, AMBY spoke with Natalie McCool about inspirations, embarrassing stage moments, enjoying Alt-J, and Lion King!

AMBY: Hi Natalie! Thanks for having a chat with AMBY, what have you been up to lately?

Natalie McCool: Hi I’ve been gigging and promoting my debut album which is out now! I have a busy schedule of gigs around the UK in the coming months, with something very exciting planned for the Autumn, which I will reveal soon so keep an eye out online for news & updates!

AMBY: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with your music?

Natalie McCool: I would describe it as dark alt-indie layered with chorus-ey shimmery finger-style guitar lines. I am the lovechild of Johnny Marr & Elizabeth Fraser, yes seriously! ;-)

AMBY: You have recently released self titled debut album, Natalie McCool. Which tracks are your favourites?

Natalie McCool: That’s a tough call! My fave tracks are probably ‘Thin Air’, ‘Black Sun’ & ‘Nightcall / A Real Hero’ (Nightcall / A Real Hero is a mash up of two tracks from the ‘Drive’ movie OSD).

AMBY: What’s the story behind your stellar song Dust & Coal?

Natalie McCool: It’s about two people in a relationship growing more and more distant until there’s nothing left between them anymore. It’s not an angry song, I think of it more as closure of a period of your life you spent with someone, but now it’s time to let go. I think the lyric in the pre-chorus sums it up the most ‘I’d rather never see you again / set fire to the ship than let you be my friend’ – it’s a definitive end to something.

AMBY: Who inspires you as a songwriter?

Natalie McCool: PJ Harvey is an amazing writer of songs, I think she’s a genius. Each of her albums follow a definite theme which I think is quite difficult to do, to pull it all together. Her lyric writing has so many layers, there is a lot of scope for different interpretations of her songs. She twists things around a lot, which I am a big fan of.

I also think Alt-J are amazing, they have something really fresh – I like all the references to literature in their lyrics, like Last Exit To Brooklyn (tralala in ‘Fitzpleasure’) and Where The Wild Things Are (in ‘Breezeblocks’). I also think Everything Everything are great too – really interesting lyrics that have underlying layers of meaning – unlike a lot of songs that are released now. I think it’s important to write interesting lyrics that both capture the imagination and make people react.

AMBY: Which three of your influences would you love to hang out with for a day?

Natalie McCool: PJ Harvey, Jeff Buckley, and William Blake!

AMBY: What is the most inappropriate thing you have ever said?

Natalie McCool: I can’t remember, probably a lot of things ha!

AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to you at a gig?

Natalie McCool: Not funny more embarrassing – once I forgot to tune my bottom string to drop D before a song, and once I started I couldn’t stop because my band were playing too! So I had to play the whole song trying not to play the bottom string as it was on the wrong note. I remember Chris (who plays bass) giving me very strange looks throughout the song, which was ‘Dust & Coal’!!

AMBY: What is your song of the year so far?

Natalie McCool: This year I’ve gotten into Alt-J massively (I’m always the last to find out about new music) so I’m going to choose their track ‘Fitzpleasure’. I haven’t heard anything like it before.

AMBY: What has you excited for the rest of 2013?

Natalie McCool: As I mentioned I have something exciting planned for August so keep eyes and ears on my online sites (website, twitter, facebook etc), and I can also reveal that I’ll be releasing a ‘Live at Abbey Road’ EP in September! I recorded a few tracks from the album live in Abbey Road Studios (yes THE Abbey Road Studios), which was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to share it with you!

AMBY: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Natalie McCool: I would put an end to the iniquities of prejudice & discrimination.

AMBY: And last but never least, what’s something about Natalie McCool that nobody knows?

Natalie McCool: When I was around 5 or 6 I was absolutely obsessed with the Lion King movie, and used to think I was actually a lion. I would run around my house on all fours growling at my sisters, and once I even bit my mum on the ankle when she was washing the dishes. Haha!!!

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Thank you Natalie, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout

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