Nathan Willett (of Cold War Kids) Interview
Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: Interviews, Music.
There has been an increasingly bitter debate between members of mainstream media outlets and those who describe themselves as apart of the blogosphere concerning the relevance and necessity of both sides. Some claim that mainstream media, including much of print media, is going the way of the dinosaur in the sense that it gives a dated sense of current events and is run by those who have their fingers far from the pulse of modern trends and events. Then there are others who dispute that blogs are essentially a worthless journalistic source as they are jaded and unnecessary from a standpoint of real scholarly merit. This war of words has come to a head recently with both Rolling Stone and Pitchfork Media taking shots at the blogosphere for unjustly deeming Cold War Kids as the next big thing in indie rock. In this discussion the band’s lead singer, Nathan Willett, touches on the blogosphere’s hype machine, the band’s quick rise to popularity and what could possibly be the greatest opening spot in the history of the world.
Who are the Cold War Kids and where did the band’s name come from?
Nathan Willett: Cold War Kids are Nathan Willett, Jonathan Russell, Matt Aveiro, Matthew Maust. Bands name came from Maust being in Eastern Europe on vacation of some kind and being at some historical site of statues of world leaders and writing a poem about it on the spot that somehow breathed the phrase that many years later became our band name.
The band was recently featured in Rolling Stone along side of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Arctic Monkeys and Tapes ‘N Tapes in a feature entitled “Fire Hype, Then Kill: How the geeks who control the music blogosphere destroy the bands they love.” Are you familiar with music blogging and do you feel that there has been any backlash towards the band because of its internet hype?
Nathan Willett: I’d say we get a B- in blog familiarity. When we made our last EP we chose some blogs that we knew about and had bands that we liked and we sent our CDs to them. I think it helped us to get the attention of some of those blogs and maybe made them come out to see our show. I’ve seen some folks write that they don’t like our band, but I think
that comes with the territory of greater exposure, inside and outside of the computer.
Do you feel that the band has risen to some form of underground popularity in a short period of time or rather has it developed a fan base over its lifetime?
Nathan Willett: I’d say we’re very fortunate to have people behind us. 99% of bands play for 10 years and get no love and turn into bitter people. We’ve only been a band for 2 years but we have lived this band nonstop; touring our buns off and recording, etc. So yes, I believe we have been fortunate to develop a fan base over our short lifetime.
Many bands find that they are apart of some sort of “scene.” I don’t believe that Cold War Kids can really be considered any part of a scene, but if the band was…who else would be apart of the Fullerton, California scene?
Nathan Willett: Richard Swift used to be from Fullerton but he moved to Oregon. There is no scene there, really. Delta Spirit is a sweet band of guys we know from San Diego area. Sam Owens lives in Shelton WA. Overall, music in southern CA seems destined to the confines of punk and hardcore, or at least for now.
Some bands perform music about cars, some about love; what is the inspiration behind Cold War Kids’ music?
Nathan Willett: Inspiration behind music…. Thinking about peoples everyday battles in life; trying to scoop up some of that and shape it in a way that can flip their ideas and or your own.
What’s the best part about playing live for the band?
Nathan Willett: Best part about live shows is just moving around, getting to vibe together as musicians and do a goofy dance in the middle of it all.
If the Cold War Kids had one last show to play together who would you most like to share the stage with?
Nathan Willett: We’d probably say yes to open for Nick Cave and Fiona Apple performing duets all night.