Cold Status caught up with Nathan Momper of de Momper last week. This LA resident (who's currently working on new material), filled us in on his artistic process and the future of his music.
CS: How long have you been making music?
dM: I’ve been playing guitar since I was 14. I got more serious and started writing music at 16.
CS: How would you describe your sound?
dM: I guess what I'm feeling at the moment. Genre wise: folk, Americana, electronica, and unfortunately pop. I say unfortunately because I wish my music had a bit more of an edge to it. That's what I'm working for in my next project. I'm not sure how successful I will be since I'm the biggest sucker for melody.
CS: Any major influences in your musical style?
dM: I remember the first time I listened to Death Cab for Cutie. I was probably 14 and I remember thinking, "This is what great music sounds like." From there I've been inspired by artists like The Tallest Man on Earth, The Dodos, Frightened Rabbit, El Ten Eleven, and a huge cacophony of electronic acts.
CS: What is your writing process?
dM: With my first album I would come up with a riff or progression first, then the lyrics would come. Now, I'm trying to do the opposite. Come up with a melody and/or lyrics then let the instrumentation follow. It's an arduous process but I think it's improving the quality of my songwriting.
CS: What was your inspiration for 39 Summers?
dM: My parents. In the early 70's they traveled across the country in a VW van, driving from place to place until they ran out of money. Then they'd work odd jobs until they got enough money to travel again. Total hippie behavior. I was inspired by the way they devoted themselves to each other at a young age (22, my current age) and continued to be partners in crime. The title is a reference to how many summers they had been married to each other at the time the song was written. (Listen: here)
CS: What about Promises?
dM: Not as cool as 39 Summers. Most of my first album, Timezones & Oceans, is about the passionate, yet fleeting, means to an end, quality of young love. Promises is ridiculously upbeat and poppy but it's really about making all these lofty goals in the beginning of a relationship that you inevitably can't keep. (Listen: here)
CS: What's in the future for de Momper?
dM: That’s a good question. I'm currently working on material for another album. I recently moved to Los Angeles from Springfield, MO so I'm still in a transitional phase that isn't the best for working on music but I have creative bursts where I'll write a song or two in a day. I'm going to start producing music with my sister and her boyfriend in the near future, so that project might takeover my time musically. It's a bit up in the air at this point, but I'm fine with that.
OK. Let me back up... So about a year ago I heard a track called “I Love You So”. Instantly I knew this sound was coming from a band worth listening to.
The Walters were my first real look into the new and edgy music scene that is coming up from the Wicker Park Boys (unofficial group of talented humans who are all friends and who all make music) of the city of Chicago.
When I soon realized The Orwells (a band I’ve been into for years) were also from Chicago, I wondered if I had stumbled upon a treasure chest of talented humans. I even went as far to hypothesize that they are all connected in some erie way, beyond just hailing from the same city, and doing shows in and around the hippest areas of Chi-town (Wicker Park)... THUS, "The Wicker Park Boys" came to be.
After a little digging (Instagram-stalking) I realized there, in fact, is a whole group of people (musicians, artists, etc. that are all friends and all hang out together (my guess, because they post photos of each other all the time) and make music. Some of the bands include, The Symposium (80’s grunge-synth-rock), Post Animal (Mac Demarco meets The Doors), (possibly) Twin Peaks (hugely popular right now), and more.
They do shows together, hang out, maybe comb each others’ facial hair — it’s (probably) adorable. And most-importantly, they all make DOPE freaking music.
Here are a few the possible bands/artists who are part of this elusive Chicago society, that I demand to join anytime they're accepting applicants. I highly recommend giving all of the bands a listen.
The music and art scene in Chicago is rich, but for people not directly from there, WE DO NOT KNOW OF SUCH THINGS. Let us in on your joke, please? We want to join The Wicker Park Boys (again, I coined this name, but it totally works, right?).
What blows my mind is these talented humans are probably just a handful of people that are changing and defining the new music and art culture of this city -- the future is bright, my friends. Chicago is a lucky city.
More on Chicago’s music scene, and The Wicker Park Boys to come in the next few weeks, as our team is gonna’ go see for ourselves if these dudes are actually friends, and if they are actually good LIVE.
I made a playlist for you all to check out and obsess over in the mean time. I’m gonna’ move to Chicago, probs.