Q&A: Natural Child

Q&A: Natural Child
Staff Photo Nick Brothers Natural Child is Seth Murray on guitar (left), Zack Martin on drums and Wes Traylor on bass.

Staff Photo Nick Brothers
Natural Child is Seth Murray on guitar (left), Zack Martin on drums and Wes Traylor on bass.

After meeting Natural Child in person and catching their kick ass rock ‘n’ roll show I’m convinced that these dudes one, don’t take themselves too seriously, and two, take rock ‘n’ roll very seriously.

Natural Child at its core is Seth Murray (guitar, vocals), Wes Traylor (bass, vocals) and Zack Martin (drums). The band’s been together for six years, and they don’t show any signs of stopping. The band played an early (for Wakarusa) 2 p.m. set at the Revival Tent.

The band is known for their fast paced, dirty southern rock ‘n’ roll that would turn any house party into a scene from Animal House. The band was more laid back, maybe from the low key audience vibe, but they were bustin’ heads by the end of the set with their jam on their closer, “B$G P$MP$N.”

After the show, I met up backstage with the guys and we talked about rock n’ roll:

TFW: So you guys put in a lot of work recording with six albums already in your discography. Your last release, “Dances With Wolves” was great. You guys have another album on the way, right?

Traylor: Yeah. It’s going to be a double album called Okie Dokie coming out in February, and it’s about two-thirds of the way finished. We’re going to finish it up in August. We’re also going to reissue our first LP, “Bodyswitchers,” which predates “1971,” which was previously unreleased. We made it in Summer of 2009.

TFW: What’s kept you going for six years?

Murray: We like doing what we do. We like rock ‘n’ roll and we believe in rock n’ roll as an art form and we’re the only ones doing it.

Traylor: We’re pretty much like on an old simple, linear rock ‘n’ roll path.

Murray: We’re following a path that was laid before us. We’re just going straight down it.

TFW: How did you guys decide this was the path you wanted to follow? Did you all have similar influences?

Traylor: Me and Zack had played in a couple bands before. From what we had started to listen to, we sort of got like a rock ‘n’ roll idea to form this band. It was just a good idea.

Murray: We just played what we wanted to play, not what anyone else wanted us to play or expected us to play. We would just stick to our standards of what we were listening to.

Traylor: We try to do it right and do our homework. We do a lot of homework, listening.

TFW: What sort of stuff do you guys listen to in the van?

Traylor: A lot of jazz recently.

Murray: All the way down here we listened to a lot of Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Miles Davis. It’s pretty good. We’re always all over the place. We listened to a lot of Beach Boys from the 70s, too.

Traylor: I’ve been getting into Fleetwood Mac’s early albums, too.

TFW: Right on. Do some of these artists you’re into right now have an influence on your recordings for Okie Dokie? Does this album have a state of mind?

Traylor: Yeah, we’ve got a state of mind. This album’s going to be the most musical. It’s going to have the largest amount of music on it compared to the old ones.

TFW: Do the old albums pale in comparison?

Traylor: Yeah, it’s going to have fantastic value. We always try to wipe away our old albums out of existence whenever we go to our new album. We just keep thinking the next thing we’re doing is the best. Cause it is.

TFW: I noticed you guys played without your lap steel player today and you had a second guitarist with you. Are you guys experimenting with some new instrumentation?

Traylor: Yeah, we played with our pedal steel player for a couple years while we were recording and touring with Dances with Wolves. He doesn’t play with us anymore, but we just started playing with our new keyboard player, and this is his first show. Steve, our second guitarist, just joined. He just had the idea to have Steve join. The timing finally hit. We’re ever evolving.

Murray: We’re all lead instruments. We’re five lead instruments.

TFW: Any other instruments we’ll hear on Okie Dokie?

Murray: We’re recording with this dude Cooper who lives in Chicago. He plays in Cave and Bitchin’ Bajas. He’s a fucking amazing musician. He’s probably going to be on the record. I don’t know what he’ll play, but it’s going to be something wicked.

TFW: Earlier you guys mentioned that you feel like you’re the only ones doing rock n’ roll. What’s your opinion on how the genre’s doing today?

Traylor: There’s a lot of rock bands that we like. As far as an art form, it’s gotten really dumbed down. Not that it has to be intelligent, but it doesn’t have much of the same kind of feeling that where it came from anymore. Y’know people do try and get that feeling, but I think they just dress up and they don’t get the sound.

Murray: Yeah, there’s a lot of rock ‘n’ roll costumes.

Traylor: And not a lot of rock ‘n’ roll homework and listening. It’s easy to throw on some clothes and play pop punk and act like you’re rock. A lot of people know old music is good but they think it’s impossible to play for some reason. But it was like that for 50 years. There’s a lot of trends that have offset it and put it in weird sub-genres.

Murray: We try to be timeless. We’re just trying to always exist in our own reality. We’re influenced by people of course, but we only let in whoever we want to let in. We’re not trying to do anything.

Traylor: We’re not trying to jump on any trend or anything. We want longevity if possible, y’know?

[A Wakarusa production guy walks in]

Guy: You guys were okay…(laughs) Actually I really liked it. What I didn’t like was at one point it got kinda low key and I felt like I could take a nap to it.

Traylor: That’s when we get you. In your dreams.

TFW: There’s definitely a Southern vibe goin’ on in your music. What do you guys think about Southern identity in your music?

Traylor: Well that’s where music comes from. Blues, country, jazz. It’s all rock ‘n’ roll.

Murray: We try really hard not to really write songs about whiskey or chicken. We may’ve slipped up a few times.

Traylor: It’s really hard for us because we enjoy those things, but y’know, we don’t have confederate flags on our album covers.

Martin: Yeah, we don’t have like…an ass on a cover. (laughs) [The album cover for “For The Love of The Game” is a picture of a woman’s naked ass.]

Traylor: We play music that is essentially Southern because that’s where it came from.

Murray: We’re not trying to be from the South, we’re just all from the South. We play music that’s okay to sweat to. You can drink whiskey and eat chicken to it… but don’t write that.

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