Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

Introduce us to you and your musical history.

My name is Nathan Fox and I’m a musician from Ripon in North Yorkshire. I started playing guitar in indie bands about the age of 15. In my early to mid 20s I started making my own music and releasing it sporadically under the moniker The Drunk Astronomer. I put a few tunes out with a tiny London label called Melodica Records in late 2000’s and was due to records an EP for them but ended up taking  a break from music. And now on the wrong side of 30, I’m back!

Name me your 3 favorite Albums.

I’d say the 3 albums that I have listened to most in my life are:

Loaded by Velvet Underground

Blonde on Blonde by Dylan

Abbey Road 

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

I think the first song I heard that made me want to have a guitar was Achy Breaky Heart when I was six. Playing along on the tennis racket was my party piece for a good few years. 

The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?

Eesh. Terribly, but I’m not really looking to progress in the ‘industry’. That’s too much like hard work for me. 

Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?

Yes but none of those crackpot rightwing ones. I prefer more niche ones like Keir Starmer being an intelligence asset. 

What was your worst experience on stage?

My first gig was at my secondary school when I was 15. I played guitar in a band. We did an acoustic version of Wonderwall which is bad enough in itself. But I also didn’t know the chords to the chorus – I smashed the verses so everyone was clapping and getting well into it and as we approached the chorus I realised I couldn’t remember it. I bumbled through it but it was a very formative experience seeing the enthusiasm being drained from a crowd like that.

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.

I’m releasing my debut EP ‘Octopi’ on the 9th Feb. It opens with ‘Every Body’ which released as a single in December. At its core, it’s a mega simple song about the human body – almost nursery rhyme levels of simplicity – the lyrics read like an anatomy lesson. But built around it is a haze of cinematic synths and spacey guitars.

The second song is a song called The Manager. Probably a lot of Beatles influence on this one. I’d also been listening to Alan Hull a lot and that probably seeped in. It’s a character song about a generic manager, and definitely not about me. I had the chorus lyric “I am your manager, your soul-destroyed admonisher” so worked backward from there.

Next up is a number called El Gato and the Multiverse. It was written for my son and the inspiration was a bedtime story I’d made up for him. I’d like to think that it has a similar quality to songs like Yellow Submarine; very silly and childlike but with a psychedelic edge. It’s probably very uncool but my son loves it.

Last up is a number is called Her Hair (which is the colour of a sunset). I love song titles with brackets. This is my first real attempt at a straight-up, schmaltzy love song. Sonically, it’s far more straight-up than El Gato. I was shooting for a Walker Brothers, Dusty Springfield, early/mid 60’s big melodramatic sound but on a budget, which I think made it land around the Britpop era. We had an excellent violin and viola player called Emily Harding come and play multiple parts to build up a faux string section. Lyrically, I wanted to balance cliché & sentimentality with humour and silliness. I also wanted to write the most vomit-inducing key change in the last chorus. It might be one of the first songs to mention Louis Theroux.

Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.

After a really barren writing period, I stumbled on an article about the creative process in which the writer talked about starting things off as a joke i.e. not taking things too seriously. it really resonated with me not least because I like songwriters who are able to bring humour into their writing. So each song was written in that spirit. Some of the songs may not sound like it but I was just having fun writing some simple tunes that had some meaning to me. I think they’re all pretty laidback songs which are reflective of the fact that I wrote them in the dead of night when my young children were asleep. 

What was the recording process like?

The EP was a team effort with co-producer Matt Davison and studio owner and mixing engineer Ade Barwick of Church Lane Studios. I demoed the songs with Ade one evening, just me and guitar. Matt took the demoes and worked on some arrangements and additional instrumentation. Then spread over almost a year, we spent 2 days in the studio per song track, with extra time for string overdubbing. It was a bucket list kinda thing to go and record in a studio as I had never done it before. I loved every minute of it. 

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

The biggest learning curve was being in a proper studio for the first time with an engineer and a producer. But although it was a major learning curve, at the same time it felt completely natural. Ade and Matt were a joy to work with and I learned so much that I’ll be able to take into the next EP.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

I will certainly do some do some things differently next time but I wouldn’t change anything about the EP now it’s done. I’m really proud of it. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Firstly, thanks for listening if you have. Every listen means a lot when you’re starting out. Also, eat  your greens, support striking workers, and don’t vote tory!