Today we’d like to introduce you to Nathan Wells.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Nathan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve been playing music in some form or another since my parents forced me into guitar in fifth grade. But my mom was a gospel singer – my early years were partially spent touring with her band to different church gigs – so I guess it was in my blood from the beginning. Somewhere along the way I grew to love the instrument that had been put in my hands (about the time I discovered Green Day) and it didn’t take long before I’d formed a band with my high school girlfriend, her sister, and my sister (use what’s closest to you)! That evolved – I learned more about the business, songwriting, and the kind of music I wanted to make – and in senior year I formed my band Ottoman Turks, which has been chuggin’ along ever since. In 2015, I released my first solo album under the moniker Nathan Mongol Wells, a nickname I’d had since high school. This year, I began releasing what I’m calling the Matchstick Singles, essentially an album broken apart and released one week at a time, one song a week. Each week the previous song is taken down and the next put up, giving listeners a new experience, a new album cover, a new theme week by week and keeping things fresh. It’s been an interesting experiment.
Over the years, I’ve played hundreds of shows, written 50+ songs (many of which have yet to be released) and generally tried to hone my craft and find my sound, wherever my interests take me. I’m excited to see where they take me next.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Oh, Lord. Not in the least. You’re always fighting against time – all these years I’ve balanced relationships, full-time jobs and full-time school alongside the music I want to make. Figuring out the business in this day and age isn’t easy, either. Honestly, the hardest part for me is just filling all the roles that one needs to fill in life. I’m married. My primary goal is to succeed in that and be the husband I need to be. Music and the dreams I have there would be second. But I also seek to do the best I can in every job I hold. I want to be a good friend to the people in my life. Balancing all of this can really take its toll. I told my wife the other day – I often feel like I’ve got one foot in bed and the other out the door, cause I’m either on my way to work in some capacity or I’m trying to catch as much sleep as I possibly can. But I know I don’t even do as much as some. I’m not a planner. I rely on my wife for a lot of that. Couldn’t succeed without her. Not remotely. She pushes me, in a good way.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Nathan Mongol Wells – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I’m a songwriter, a singer, a player, and a performer. There’s a business side to it, as well – the advertisement, marketing, financials, booking. Truly, being a serious musician is essentially running a small business. Taxes included. I play my own brand of music that’s rooted in country, but frequently branches into other related genres, such as folk, blues, and rock. I like music with a sense of humor, even if it’s sometimes dark, and so that will often come out in my songs. Though I play styles that are inspired by traditional music, I’m in no way a traditionalist. My songs reside thoroughly in modern times, referencing modern thoughts and issues, and I look to push beyond conventions to do something fresh and new. But above all, it comes down to the song. Is the melody memorable and pretty? Are the lyrics honest, engaging, interesting, poignant, down to the last line? Does the instrumentation and delivery enhance the lyrics and feel of the song? These are my goals in every case. I always seek to be true to myself and the songs, and I’m not working to impress anyone. I feel like the rest will follow.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Well, I’m nearing the end of my Matchstick Singles project, In March I began an experiment in modern music distribution. A single song, released on Thursdays and available for one week only, replaced the following week by a new track – a new album cover – a new story. Like lighting a match and letting it burn, blowing it out just before it reaches your fingers, then lighting another. Each song represents a collaboration with a different illustrator and musician, an attempt to reach new heights of creativity and creation. When that’s done, I’ll release a physical volume of the songs, highlighting the art in a special way. Past that, I have plans to put together a backing band for my solo work that can really reflect my vision. A real tour is in the future. Beyond that… just playing shows, writing songs, getting better and doing more constantly. I love music and want it to be my sole focus, so doing whatever I can to make that happen.
- Website: mongolwells.com
- Phone: 2144354254
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @mongolwells
- Facebook: @mongolwells
- Other: mongolwells.bandcamp.com
All photos by Fela Raymond.