Meet Natalie McCool

Natalie McCool is set to follow the release of her new album The Great Unknown on September 9 with a UK tour which will see her take in a date at Cardiff’s Moon Club on September 14.

Having risen through the ranks of the UK indie world, McCool’s work has been championed by pop stars and indie icons alike. She also collaborated with Suede legend Bernard Butler on her 2013 self-titled album.  

While Natalie’s debut was built on a foundation of dark indie-pop, The Great Unknown sees her breaking new ground with the pop tune, Pins, the rousing epic, Fortress and the emotive Cardiac Arrest. Andy Howells recently put questions to the singer/songwriter.

What made you decide you wanted to pursue a career in music?
My dad played a lot of blues guitar when I was little and ever since I first picked up a guitar at the age of around 6 I have wanted to play music. Playing guitar is a passion – I never ever get bored with it. Even when I was first learning I never felt frustrated – which is a common feeling for a lot of people trying out an instrument for the first time. It’s always been a source of joy.

Whats life been like for you since the release of your debut album a few years back?
I have been writing a lot of songs and playing around on Garageband with production which resulted in the demos for my new album. I have grown a lot so these songs are quite different – I wouldn’t say they were more mature per se but more…pure emotion. The songs are really passionate and fierce and visceral. Which is great to perform live.

How much does your forthcoming album The Great Unknown say about where you are personally as a music artist at the moment?
As I said above I feel more mature as a result of writing and writing and writing but I think the songs reflect something much different, they reflect a different side to me – the darker, more angry, more passionate side. I think my first album certainly sounds more mature and contained, whereas this album…I’ve really dived into myself. That’s why it’s called The Great Unknown. When you’re feeling inspired and writing you have no idea what is going to come out onto the page. That’s really the beauty of it.

Evidently you’ll be playing tracks from the new album on your forthcoming tour, are there any particular songs you are looking forward to bringing into the shows?
Yes we have been rehearsing for the tour and I must say my all time favourites are the more visceral ones – ‘Pins’ which is out there online right now, and ‘Feel Good’ which is a brand new track which is so so fierce. That song is inspired by a poem I wrote about someone. I thought the sentiment behind it would make a great song. It’s an interesting process going from a poem into something more structurally defined like a song – more sharp, more succinct.

What else can people expect from the shows?
A really interesting stage set up. We use a real mix of acoustic instruments like guitar, voice and bits of drum-kit with samples, tracks, triggers, it’s a whole different side to hearing the album on record and then hearing it live. It sounds so much more beefy, bassy, everything is so much more magnified and I enjoy singing the songs live because I love getting each sentiment across right there and then. I’ve expanded my guitar pedal board to include some new magical effects – expect huge jagged riffs and psych-y glitchiness. I absolutely can’t wait for the tour.

For anybody new to your material, which song would you point people to as an introduction to your work?
‘Pins’ – I think that is the most cross genre song and it really sums me up as an artist.

What music/albums are you enjoying listening to presently?
Right now I love Wolf Alice, NAO and Grizzly Bear.

Finally what are you doing beyond the forthcoming album release and tour?
Writing the next piece of music and growing some more.

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