ARTIST NAME: Nathan Seeckts
SONG TITLE: Old Blood
ALBUM TITLE: The Heart Of The City
Nathan Seeckts is a powerful singer-songwriter who effortlessly fuses the sounds of Americana, folk, country, and blues delivered with a commanding voice that is equal parts gravel and passion.
His songs feature intricate, heartfelt storytelling that echoes loudly and honestly from personal experience.
Taking inspiration from the songbooks of artists including Bruce Springsteen, Jason Isbell, Lucero, and Steve Earle, his songs could find him comfortably at home in any bar from Melbourne to Memphis.
Seeckts has been writing, recording, and performing as a solo artist since 2010, self-producing and releasing three EPs during this time.
Each pressing of these EPs has long since sold out, but are still available online.
Since the start of 2017, he has been hosting a weekly Americana-based radio program on community radio station 94.7 The Pulse called Last Night In Town. Through the program he has been able to promote, support, and share the amazing work of his peers within the Australian alt-country community, broadcasting over 85 shows so far.
Honing his sound through bars and stages across Australia and North America, and with appearances at Queenscliff Music Festival, Tamworth Country Music Festival, and Melbourne’s Poison City Weekender under his belt, Seeckts has also supported many fine Australian artists including The Teskey Brothers, Archie Roach, You Am I, Tex Perkins, Cash Savage and Raised By Eagles, and international luminaries including Joe Pug, Big Country, Courtney Marie Andrews, and Deer Tick.
The Heart Of The City, recorded by Roger Bergodaz (James Ellis & The Jealous Guys, Raised By Eagles, Freya Josephine Hollick) at Union Street Studios, was successfully crowdfunded by Seeckts using a Pozible campaign in just three days.
Seeckts smashed past his first target to almost double his initial goal by the end of the 30 days, allowing him to press the album on vinyl. The production of his debut album was able to blossom and bloom thanks to the strong support of his grassroots supporters.
Trying to capture the energy and passion of his live shows, a majority of the album was recorded live in only two days, with a backing band consisting of Sean McDonnell on electric guitar/slide, Matt Dietrich on bass, and Mark McLeod on drums and percussion.
The versions of the songs Houselights and Moonlight Creek which can be heard on The Heart Of The City are the first takes of each song.
The remaining overdubs, including additional instrumentation and vocals, were later added to the album by Seeckts and also from the following guest musicians. Golden Guitar nominee Gretta Ziller (backing vocals on Thunder and Rain, Sirens and I’m Your Queen), Nathan Barrett (backing vocals on Thunder and Rain and Old Blood), Kat Chish from The Ramshackle Army (violin on Moonlight Creek and I’m Your Queen) and Rory Millar from The Mojo Corner (harmonica on Whiskey Drunk and All Night, Hold Tight).
The Heart Of The City features all the qualities that make Nathan Seeckts a standout artist in the Australian Americana scene; his ability to craft engaging stories of love and loss, his combination of alt-country and folk, and his commanding and indelible voice – equal parts gravel and passion.
Discuss your recording experience with your producer.
Working with Roger Bergodaz at Union Street here in Melbourne was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had as a musician. He allowed me time and support to develop the songs and the overall sound he helped me to capture is exactly how I wanted the record to sound.
Discuss what comes first and last while creating a song.
It really depends on the song, sometimes it’s the lyrics, sometimes it’s the chords.
For me, mostly I try to find a melody to match the chord progressions and start improvising lyrics to bring the melody out. From there I build upon what I’ve captured in the demo I make as I do this.
Tell us the piece of advice you will give to a new artist.
Hard work and hustle – If you’re willing to put in the work on the back end and you’ve got songs that you really believe in, you’ll be fine. Also, play for the people who are there in the room, not the ones who didn’t turn up.
Tell us how you deal with rejection.
Over the years I’ve learned to develop a thick skin, that’s really all you can do. Remember and thank the venues and radio stations that support you along the way and find a way to work with them again. Not everyone is going to be a fan of your work, so you appreciate those who are.
Tell us what you are doing to impact the people around you.
I always try to create stories in my songs that people around me can relate to. If it gives people some joy or the chance to reflect upon their own lives then I’ve been successful.
Tell us the music that makes you happy.
Whenever I need a pick me up, I go straight to the Stax catalog. Soul music and that Memphis sound can turn pretty much any day around for me.
Tell us how you feel when you sing and your fans sing along to your song.
Over the years I’ve been blown away whenever I look out and see people singing along to my songs. There’s a stack of great parts on this new record that I hope will inspire more folks to sing along at the shows.
Tell us the goals you aim to achieve when creating a song.
My goal has always been really straightforward, to create solid, engaging stories for people to believe in and connect to. At the heart of each song of mine is sincerity. I think that’s one of the reasons why people are connecting to this new record so much.
State your approach to writing.
Years ago a friend of mine introduced me to the works of Pat Pattison, a professor at Berklee College of Music who teaches songwriters how to use sense memory and object writing to create better songs. I try to use his writing techniques to keep my brain trained and ready to write on the fly.
Tell us how you plan to develop a unique music style.
I honestly don’t think there’s anything uniquely special about what I do. There are plenty of dudes with beards and funny hats playing Americana these days, so if I can create songs with good hooks and relatable stories then that’s all that I can do.
Tell us how to record a song.
For this album we live tracked all the songs at Union Street Studio in Melbourne over the course of a couple of days, to try and capture the raw energy on the live shows.
From there, the band and I built on what we had to try and create a solid collection of ten tracks.
Having such talented friends that could come in and add harmony parts or extra instruments on some of the tracks was amazing!
Tell us if you are collaborating with other songwriters or you write alone.
I tend to write alone, but co-writing is something I’m definitely keen to try out at least once or a couple of times. The challenge is getting on the same wavelength I guess.
Discuss your experience with fans.
I ran a Pozible crowdfunding campaign to help get the record made and my fans were amazing. People that I hadn’t heard from in years came out to show their support which blew me away. The people who come to my shows and genuinely love what I do are the best. Whenever I look out and see them singing along it always puts a huge smile on my face.
State your experience with booking gigs and shows.
Being from a regional area, booking shows has always been a challenge, but this year I’ve been a bit more methodical in my approach to how I book tours and shows, planning things well in advance, and working alongside venues, bookers, and artists who I’ve developed strong relationships with over time.
Tell us if you consider a song placement in TV or Film.
Hell yeah, I would! One day I want to write a song that’s used in the closing credits of a film. That’s my aim!
Elaborate on the song.
Heading into the studio, Old Blood was one of the last songs I’d finished. In the rehearsals leading up to the recording, we really struggled to make it land. I knew there was a great song in there, but for some reason, the lyrics and the music just weren’t sitting well together.
When I went to record the vocal track for it, it still wasn’t quite right. It didn’t have the same believability or honesty as the other songs on the album.
So I went home with a rough mix of the band’s tracks and totally rewrote the lyrics and vocal melody to the song from scratch within two days.
I went back up to Union Street later that week and everything just came together and I found the song I knew was in there all along.
Lyrically, it’s a cautionary tale. I’ve always said there’s a fine line between pride and arrogance and that sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.
That’s what the protagonist in this song fails to learn until it’s too late.
Elaborate on the title of the album.
The Heart Of The City for me relates to the people and the stories and lives that they live. Each one of the songs on the album contains a story that could take place in any city across the world.