RUST Magazine thanks Heather Nova for taking a few minutes to talk to us on the steps of Eddie’s Attic on March 30th before she kicked off her tour coinciding with the release of her new album The Way It Feels. The weather was beautiful and we were able to relax and chat it up about what was going on in her life that day.
RUST: Heather, thanks so much for talking to us. We’ve been having a lot of conversations lately about what motivates artists in the middle of this crash in the value of music. This is something that is affecting artists as well as magazines like us, and it seems like the lack of money has broken down the old ways of thinking about a music career and has let people follow their own inspirations in a more free way.
HN: Yes, and that’s what makes right now so interesting for musicians. Sure, there’s less income, and we sell less records but there’s more interaction and more collaboration between artists and I think artists now are actually able to make a more direct connection with fans and that’s nice. It all comes down to why are you doing this. You have to be doing it for the love of music because there’s really no other reason.
RUST: So today is the first day of your tour, how are you feeling about going on the road again?
HN: Oh, I feel really good, this tour is something I’ve been trying to put together for a long time. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to and it’s taken a lot of work to make it happen. Being based out of London and now living in Bermuda, there are a lot of logistical things that it takes to tour in the states and this includes work visas, which is why I’ve mostly toured Europe for the past ten years. So it’s really the fans in the states that have been messaging me saying “come back” which is why I’m here now – and I’m very excited.
RUST: What’s the chatter been like on your pages? Are fans telling you that they want to hear your old stuff or your new music? What kind of vibe are you expecting?
HN: Well, I’m kind of curious actually. Some people have messaged me saying that they want to hear a specific song but I think what I’ll do, which is what I always do, is to mix it up and play about half and half new songs and old. I know that when I go to see an artist I really like I don’t want to just hear the new record I want to hear some of my old favorites so I’ll be sure to throw a bunch of those in.
RUST: What’s been filling your time, other than music, what’s your daily life like?
HN: I feel like my days are very full and busy. The thing about being an artist now is that you also have to be a businessperson taking care of every aspect of your career, not just wiring songs or being on stage. It’s really a full time job, and I’m a mother which is another full time job, even more than full time so it’s music and it’s my home life and that’s what I do.
RUST: So many artists have found that their whole life is now dedicated to answering emails, how do you feel about what it takes now to be a professional artist.
HN: Yeah, there’s a lot of computer work and stuff you have to do, but the good side of this is that you are in control of your career, it’s no longer about an A&R rep or a label. I actually do have a manager, but I feel like I’m very much in control of what I’m doing, and that’s a good feeling.
RUST: Is there anybody that’s been helping you recently that deserves some appreciation?
HN: Oh, yes, it’s definitely the musician I tour with, Arnulf Linder because we’ve been touring now for about 7 years together and he’s so versatile, he plays every instrument and he’s a good friend. Being on the road you have to be with people that are not just compatible but really supportive – and who can make you laugh. We have great conversations, he’s very supportive, and playing music is like any relationship, there has to be chemistry for it to work and we’ve got that.
RUST: What are you doing to keep in touch with your fans?
HN: It’s social media really, it’s Facebook, and I personally like Instagram a lot. I like pictures… I’m a very visual person really and I do a lot of drawing and painting so I like to take a picture, write a few words and just put it out there.
RUST: So you have a new album coming out, what can you tell us about that.
HN: Yes I do, it’s called The Way It Feels and we recorded it in Charleston, South Carolina and I really love it. You know, I never in the past have listened to my own records but this one I do because I love the sound of it and the atmosphere of it.
RUST: What made the experience of recording this album memorable for you, what was your idea going into the process?
HN: Well, I took a chance on this record. I just called up these guys that I didn’t really know very well because I had liked a record they made and they said “We’re in Charleston, why don’t you come on over” and I felt a little like I was going out on a limb not really knowing what I was getting into but I was following my instinct to make music that had no intention of ever being played on the ra dio but just making music that felt really good. I wanted to create a beautiful texture and atmosphere around the songs and I really feel like I was successful.
And lot of the credit for the album being so good goes to Jay Clifford and Josh Kaler who are couple of the musicians who also made recording this album such an enjoyable process. I was experiencing a lot of turmoil in my life and it was really nice to be able to step out of that and just go to this funky little home studio in this town that I had never been to and immerse myself in the music. It was a really awesome experience.
RUST: Thanks so much Heather, last question… is there any artist you’ve come across lately that you think people should know about.
HN: Oh, gosh, that’s a great question but I always go blank when people ask me what I’m listening to. And I’m usually kind of late to the table in hearing about new artists, though I have been listening to the Mighty Oaks, they’re a really fantastic band out of Europe that’s part American, part German and I’ve been playing their record a lot lately. People should definitely check them out.
Get more information on Heather Nova here: http://www.heathernova.com/