by Samantha Weinraub
There is lots of boisterous laughter in the background. All three members joke how talking with Natural Child is like a moving vehicle without a conductor, freewheeling. “Like those monorails at the airport,” someone says, and I get the feeling chatting with them is going to be a rickety old rollercoaster without seatbelts version of a monorail.
I ask how old the members are, and their responses range from “twenty fve to thirty,” yet they appear as though they’ve been playing together for a very long time, with an old soul kind of sound. They say that they’ve “been playing together for four years, coming up on five.”
While Natural Child may not have the most serious of personalities, their musical abilities are serious. Listening to their music, one can hear a pure bluesy rock sound, and almost taste the grits, or authentic southern food which sounds like is fueling them. Band member, Seth, describes a typical morning in the creative process: “I usually wake up around 7 or 8, sometimes I get ideas while drinking coffee at Wendell Smith’s.” Wendell Smith’s is a local diner in Nashville. All the members are from Nashville, Tennessee. When asked if they’d move anywhere else, they respond that they “plan to stay in Tennessee”.
As far as ideas for songs, the band “makes stuff up, use our imaginations”. Just to clarify, Natural Child’s song, “The Jungle”, is not based on an actual jungle. Their influences seem to stretch backwards in time and reach from various genres. When asked if the band listens to modern musicians, someone says, “Yea, modern rock rap from about four years ago.”
A guitar is being tuned or strummed the background. It sounds like the band is warming up, or as if there is a party going on. Actually, the band seems to be a party unto themselves, wherever they go. “Crazy is what you make it,” says Seth. Once the band played in Indianapolis for an entire block at a house party. Natural Child definitely is a group to go out and play among people. This tale conjures images of the “real” house party scene in Almost Famous for me, and someone on the other end of the call comments that it’s more like Can’t Hardly Wait. This is completely plausible: a Natural Child show is a wild, ongoing, “last night of high school” kind of party.
So, the guys in Natural Child are experts on having fun. “Now you’re speaking my language,” a member says enthusiastically, in reference to a question about raging. This band likes to rage. They did, after all, play SXSW this year…for their fifth time!
Final words of wisdom from Natural Child to aspiring musicians: “Money, alcohol, modern rock… be careful of the rich and don’t get locked up!” Seems right on to me.
“That was really just one person the whole time, by the way,” a voice says at the end. I hear two distinctly different voices chime in. “Yea, Seth’s really good at impersonations.” Is Natural Child one unit with three personalities, embodying the mythical creature, Chimera? Find out for yourself on their newest album, Dancin’ With Wolves, or catch them on tour with the Black Lips. They play Union Transfer on April 18th.