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Nathan Cavaleri chats to Jen about his new music, Aussie tour and much more.

Nathan Cavaleri is back and has released his first solo album, Demons since being signed to Michael Jackson’s label at age twelve. He has shared his affecting new single, Before You Check Out, an introspective song with a deeply important message and a suitably poignant film clip.  Cavaleri will be celebrating the release of his new album with a national tour and was yesterday announced on the first Bluesfest 2021 lineup.

When I was a kid I had something to play and now I have something to say” Nathan Cavaleri – Australian Story August 2020.

 The Demons national tour is on sale now, for tickets or more information, head to www.nathancavaleri.com

I jumped at the chance to chat with Nathan. Many years ago watching this genius kid, Nathan Cavaleri on TV grow musically with so many brilliant experiences was amazing. What was also amazing about Nathan was his battle with Leukaemia and how music helped him a long the way. Read my interview with Nathan here.

Jen; I just finished watching this mini doco and I must admit that I am starting to write this interview after shedding a few tears!

Nathan : Awww flattered!

What an inspirational story! You really do have a lot of life experience to share and assist others in their own journey. It is a real honour to be able to connect with you now.

Bring it on.

I would like to start by saying what exciting times await you. I can’t wait to watch Australian Story on August the 3rd, a well-deserved honour to be the feature of that show.

I’ll be watching it for the first time with a million other people. Eeeeeek.

Check this out on ABC Iview https://iview.abc.net.au/show/australian-story – Growing Pains

Your music career started way earlier than most artists, starting when you picked up a guitar, learnt basic cords from your dad, pretty sweet childhood, except of course battling leukaemia for seven years.  When you look back on your childhood is it split into two parts? How your extraordinary musical talent brightened your life and the darker side of fighting a horrible cancer?

I actually see them as one big experience. Being treated for Leukemia deepened my relationship with music because it was a way to keep my mind off the pain. As a child, I didn’t know that I was fighting for my life so music and family acted as beacons giving me reasons to fight. The public attention I received from jamming with Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits – thanks to Starlight – was how it naturally turned into a career which had me living out some epic experiences right up until my late teens. I’d say the divider line could be placed at age 16 when we decided to pull back on life in music to re-examine my life goals.  

I suffer from Lyme Disease now and are in a wheelchair and generally are very unwell, but I can see how this, for the past 20 years has actually enriched my life in so many other ways. Like having the chance to interview you as I turned to music for pain relief and that journey has meant that I now have the chance to interview you an many other artist that I admire. I feel that the illness is like a bittersweet experience in hindsight. Is that how you feel that your childhood illness was like?

First of all I’m sorry to hear that. I came across people with Lyme disease during my treatment for Adrenal Fatigue / Depression / Anxiety. I think I’m still processing my experience with Leukemia and whilst I can logically see the silver linings, I’m yet to feel them. However, my 5 year long battle with depression/anxiety is something that I’d never wish away. It’s taught me so much about myself and has ultimately made my life better. This is a flag I enjoy waving. 

That is great. I wave my own personal battle flag proudly too. So many people want to keep that hidden. When we were kids we were not even aloud to talk about mental illness, it seemed so shameful. I am glad the world has changed although there is still a long way to go in that are. I actually wanted to talk more about the future than the past as I am sure you have been asked many questions before about all your childhood feats. You have the following just happened or coming up;

A new single and music video out for ‘Before you Check Out’, a mini doco on yourself, a new album,, Australian Story and an Australian tour! Wow, so much to talk about!

Your new single ‘Before You Check Out’ is written for your cousin that lost his battle with mental illness. The meaningful lyrics really point out that you have experienced this pain yourself. I felt myself emotionally involved with the lyric after the first few lines. I am having trouble just listening to it without emotion overcoming me. I wonder how you are going to perform this song on your tour without your emotions taking over your thoughts. How are you going to do that?

I won’t lie. It’s a tough one to sing. You can sometimes hear it in my voice too. I’ll admit that I’m yet to sing this song fully immersed in the lyric. It’s like my heart is still in it but my mind involuntarily places a space between “me” and the lyric. It’s almost like I’m choosing to look at it from a distance. I’ve only just realised this recently when reflecting on my performances. I’ve always known how to go to that deep and dark place with the guitar, but I’m still learning how to do that with my voice. Moving forward, I’ll be setting that intention to lean in so that I can reach that place of pure catharsis and bliss that sits on the other side of discomfort.

I must say watching the music video for ‘Before You Check Out’ is a fully immersive experience, where the world around me slips away and I am only focussed on your voice and the images I see. A very good sign for me that it is a brilliantly written song with lyrics that are way beyond meaningful. Can you take us through the actual time you wrote ‘Before You Check Out’ and the process you took?

Before You Check Out was written after hearing that my cousin had lost is battle with mental health challenges. I remember being swept up in both sadness and regret. Sadness because I deeply identified with what he went through and regret because I didn’t reach out to him. Having battled my own demons, I wondered if I could have been of assistance. During a contemplative moment I asked myself, “If time could show mercy, what would I have shared with him?”. That’s when “Before You Check Out” popped into my head. It’s a song about how our thoughts colorise our experience and when we aren’t aware of this, we can misguided when searching for a cause of suffering. Whether this lesson would have helped or not, it was a lesson that transformed my life and almost feel like it should be in the “Being Human 101” handbook. The line – “Before you check out, before you give in, just know you’re checking out of a place you’ve never been” – came to me when I was walking by the water lost in thought and realised that I hadn’t even seen the beauty of the sunrise that was right in front of me.

I feel that it would have been hard for you to reach out to your cousin because even though the stigma of mental health has come a long way over our lifetimes, it still is difficult to talk about and share your experience. I guess the way you can express yourself is via your music. What are your thoughts on that?

I’ll be the first to help a friend when they are in need. When I reflect on why I didn’t reach out to him it’s because I was still learning these lessons myself and hadn’t had enough experience applying. In a world full of opinions, I didn’t want to risk confusing him and being out of my social circle, I didn’t actually know that it was that bad. Regarding using my music…. Music has always been a form of self-expression but it’s only been recently that I’ve realised it’s communicative powers. It’s a pretty special feeling when someone says that I’ve triggered an epiphany or even a small wave of joy to someones life through something that I’ve created.

‘Demons’ your latest album is clearly written by personal experience. Full of songs that explore how humans can deal with their demons, can you choose the one song that you felt was most cathartic for you? And explain why?

One song????! Okay…. My least favourite question! Hahaha! Damn that’s a hard one. It really depends on my mood and the time. “Demons” use to be my most cathartic because it was the first song that inspired me to return to the stage and reminds me of what our “Demons” can teach us but Before You Check Out carries a message that is so so dear to my heart. Boho Limousine has nothing to do with battling demons and is just a fun swaggery cheeky sleazy groove that makes me feel like I’m flying high. Sorry… Can’t give you one!

Yeah mate, sorry that was a cop out on my end. It was hard for me to decide! I really enjoyed listening to your cover of ‘Rising Sun’ ( Cold Chisel) , it really made a contrast in sound and meaning.

Also ‘Castles in the Sky’ was I feel my fav from the album. I enjoyed watching your video on recording the song, I like how you share all aspects of your music. Although the pronunciation of the word Castle we do not agree on!

The video really demonstrates your guitar skills and how great it is to watch you play rather than just listen to the song. You make it look effortless to play like you do! Like I could pick up a guitar and play it. With little musical talent I will keep writing about it. You really do explain your writing process well in this video, the mapping of the song and working back for your vision for the song.

Ha! Ahhhhh C-ass-tle? Actually your way sounds cooler! And yes I love using my social media channels to share the creative process. It’s fun and also educates people on what goes into recording a song! Glad you like it.

Yes, my way is cooler. 🙂 Can you choose another song from the album, perhaps your next single and explain the writing process? I find this intriguing. Writing this on a cold Sunday, I am watching many more of your videos on your songs, and tempted though I am to continue to do that now but really should finish writing this interview!

Okay “Crush”. I write from observation of either my experiences or those of others. As in the case of “Crush” they can also be small experiences that trigger a train of thought and/or storyline. Throughout our lives we will encounter a connection with someone that triggers some sort of spark. Our situation will dictate whether we act on that spark or not. Having felt the effects of fleeting crushes before, I wanted to write a youthful fun flirtatious song that captures the wrestle between morals and primal instincts that two “taken” beings would feel if they succumbed to a crush. In this situation, the groove, riff and melody came to mind first which gave me the soundtrack for what ended up being some pretty cheeky lyrics. I write for as long as the creative fountain lasts and when it dries up, I generally put it to bed for a day or in this case years before finishing it off. Most of the time, I fine tune the writing aspects of the song before I hit the studio but “Crush” was a strange one. It took me years to finish it.

Ok so I just finished watching most of your music videos for your songs off Demon’s. I really liked the ‘Chucky’ music video, what a trip back to my youth! You seem to have great vision for your videos, do you think of these yourself or have some assistance?

I’m glad you liked “Chucky”. That song triggered visions of a roller disco style “ho-down”. A series of synchronicities had us capturing roller skaters go to work at a Roller-skate festival on the central coast. I was so stoked with the outcome! Some clips are collaborative but “Chucky” and “Before You Check Out” were my own.

I really hope that your Aussie tour can go ahead. The world is crazy right now and this virus is so unpredictable. Who knows what will happen next in 2020? If you tour does go ahead, I will see you at Sooki lounge.

Belgrave! SWEEEEEET! Lets see what happens. I go between, “this virus suuuuuuxxxx” to “eh, it won’t last forever”. Fingers crossed.

Man, it has been a great experience interviewing you Nathan, your musically brilliance still shines through in all of your art.

Loved answering the questions and great to “chat”.

All the best and stay safe.

Connect with Nathan

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DEMONS NATIONAL TOUR
Nathan and his team are working with all venues in line with government regulations in each state and territory, and will proceed only in accordance with safe social distancing and COVID-19 safety procedures on a show by show basis.

FRI 2 OCT | THE RHYTHM HUT, GOSFORD, NSW | ALL AGES – UNDER 18’s MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY PARENT/GUARDIAN
Tickets available from www.humantix.com.au | 02 4322 5971| Venue Outlet
SAT 3 OCT | STAG & HUNTER, NEWCASTLE, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
FRI 9 OCT | BRASS MONKEY, CRONULLA, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from https://brassmonkey.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/18d325c7-57f4-43f7-9779-069c5f32ad7d
FRI 16 OCT | THE PEPPER TREE, ALDINGA, SA | 18+
Tickets available from www.trybooking.com | 0400 144 467 | All Trybooking Outlets
SAT 17 OCT | THE WHEATSHEAF HOTEL, ADELAIDE, SA| 18+
Tickets available from https://tickets.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/6b22d472-26f5-44bb-924d-064150dd769c?utm_source=Oztix&utm_medium=Website&utm_content=EventGuide
FRI 30 OCT | CAMELOT LOUNGE, SYDNEY, NSW | ALL AGES – UNDER 18’s MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY PARENT/GUARDIAN
Tickets available from www.stickytickets.com.au | 02 9550 3777 | Venue Outlet
SAT 31 OCT | SMITHS ALTERNATIVE, CANBERRA, ACT | ALL AGES – UNDER 18’s MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY PARENT/GUARDIAN
Tickets on-sale soon
SUN 1 NOV | HERITAGE HOTEL, BULLI, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from https://codeone.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/a929a516-f7cd-4ab7-abab-fa2e8df6c7ea
THU 12 NOV | SOOKI LOUNGE, BELGRAVE VIC | 18+
Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
FR 13 NOV | THE CATFISH, FITZROY, VIC | 18+
Tickets available from www.trybooking.com | 0426 892 044 | All Trybooking Outlets
SAT 14 NOV | LIVE AT THE BUNDY, BUNDALAGUAH, VIC | ALL AGES – UNDER 18’s MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY PARENT/GUARDIAN
Tickets available from www.trybooking.com| 0429 352 373 | All Trybooking Outlets
FRI 27 NOV | THE BAROQUE ROOM, KATOOMBA, NSW | 18+
Tickets available from www.trybooking.com| 0426 892 044 | All Trybooking Outlets
FRI 11 DEC | IMPERIAL HOTEL, EUMUNDI, QLD | 18+
Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

SAT 12 DEC | THE FOUNDRY, BRISBANE, QLD | 18+
Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

SUN 13 DEC | MO’S DESERT CLUBHOUSE, BURLEIGH HEADS, QLD | 18+ (Afternoon/early evening show)
Tickets available from www.mosdesertclubhouse.com | Venue Outlet
SAT 3 APR, 2021 | BLUESFEST, NSW | AA
Tickets available from www.bluesfest.com.au
SUN 4 APR, 2021 | BLUESFEST, NSW | AA
Tickets available from www.bluesfest.com.au

       

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