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Natascha Sohl - The IndieLondon interview

Natascha Sohl

Interview by Rob Carnevale

NATASCHA Sohl talks exclusively to IndieLondon about her sophomore album, Dirty Little Word (out, April 12, 2010) and the inspiration behind some of the songs, including the single Fade.

She also reveals how she’s coping with success, what it feels like to have the support of the Nashville music scene and gives us an insight into her path towards success. She also reveals the songs that are currently on her own playlist at the moment…

Q. People often talk about the difficult second album syndrome? You seem to have beaten off that with ease… how was it for you?
Natascha Sohl: Yeah it was good, I think maybe the second album is difficult if you’re basically trying to re-create the first one. For me, I was moving in a slightly different direction with the second one – it definitely has more of an American feel than the first one, and I was also working with a whole new team of people. I was writing with a different producer people I hadn’t met yet. It was cool because it was scary and unfamiliar so it makes you have to raise your game! If I flew all the way to New York to write with people who were expecting good things from me, and I came up with nothing it would’ve been really embarrassing!!

Q. What inspired the second album?
Natascha Sohl: Well, I was feeling a bit anti-love at the time – hence the title, so a lot of it was inspired by relationships gone wrong or what relationships could be or how things are different for men and women. All stuff that most people can relate to really I think!

Q. There’s a lot of emotive songwriting. Album opener Naked is particularly raw and heart on sleeve. What was the inspiration behind that song?
Natascha Sohl: That song’s really about when you feel so much for someone you’re kind’ve in this state or nervousness all the time coz you just cant hide anything from them whether you like it or not! It’s about someone knowing they have this control over you and you not really being able to do anything about it.

Q. What inspired the single, Fade?
Natascha Sohl: It’s the most personal song on the album as it’s about the day that I heard that a really good friend of mine had been killed in a motorbike accident. It was the first song that we wrote for the album so was pretty tough emotionally but actually was one of the easiest ones to write, in the sense that it just came out. It’s a really emotional song for me but I know I wrote a lovely song for my friend.

Q. Sorry to hear that. Dirty Little Word is similarly provocative – do you enjoy writing songs that ring so true, yet are accessible and personal?
Natascha Sohl: Yeah, I always really like it when people say to me that they totally get what I’m talking about or that they’ve been there too! I think Dirty Little Word is one of those songs coz everyone’s had a really bad break up where they’re all anti love and can’t be bothered for a while, so I think it’s pretty true!! Obviously, I don’t always think that’s the case – I’m a fan of love really!! J

Q. Do you really wish you were a boy sometimes, as you sing on If I Was A Boy? We don’t have it that easy, you know! Sometimes we don’t always get the girl of our dreams… (speaking as someone who had to wait for some years before finally finding his… but enduring a lot of heart-ache before-hand!)
Natascha Sohl: Actually, no not really! I do think men get certain things a bit easier in some situations but overall I like being a girl! I like shoes and glitter too much to want to be a man – we get better clothes! Ahh, I’m sorry about your heartaches, but it’s all worth it in the end!! Men don’t usually like to admit to being heartbroken whereas girls will talk to everyone about it until they feel better!! Ha!

Q. How was being invited by Russ DeSalvo to record in NY? And what was that whole experience like?
Natascha Sohl: Yeah it was great! I got to fly out to New York and work with some really great people! I can’t complain!! It was a bit scary to start off with coz I was literally there for two weeks, staying with him and his wife, and I’d met him once before for about an hour!! I was like, what if we hate each other, and we can’t work together, I’m in his house for two weeks!! But it was amazing, he’s such a good guy, so easy to get on with and lovely, and super talented and everyone else in he brought in were lovely too so it was fine! I don’t know what I was worried about!! It was a really fun experience over all… as if anyone would hate getting to hang out in New York!!! J

Q. And what does it feel like to have support from the Nashville music scene?
Natascha Sohl: Yeah that’s amazing. That support comes in the form of Arnie Roman who I wrote Fade, Dirty Little Word and some others with, and his wife Tanya Leah, who I wrote I’m So Happy and Afterglow with. They’re both pretty big writers in Nashville and they work with a lot of people. They’re also two of the loveliest people I’ve ever met so was really good to work with them!

Q. A lot of artists are finding success through having their music featured on MTV or on hit US TV shows… how important is that as a new form of recognition now?
Natascha Sohl: Yeah I think that’s really important and if you get given the opportunity you should jump at it. There are people who’ve literally made their careers by having a great placement. How people listen to music and discover music is so different these days, and they’ll look you up if they hear a song that they like in a show.

If you can get your music on a major TV show or in a film or in an advert there are literally millions of people going to be hearing your music! It’s an amazing opportunity to get. I was so excited when MTV wanted to use some of my songs in their show The Hills and a couple of others… that’s a big deal to me!

Q. You’ve played a number of acoustic gigs but are equally capable of putting out stadium sized rock anthems – which do you prefer ultimately? Or do both give you similar highs?
Natascha Sohl: Well, it’s a very different feeling when you’re playing to a small room of people and you can actually SEE all their faces. I think that’s almost more nerve wracking!! Ultimately, I prefer the big stages though, there’s nothing like walking out in front of a massive crowd and feeling really nervous for a second coz what if it all goes wrong…. And then winning them over and getting them to sing or clap or whatever! And you get to run around with the band and generally have a great time!! It’s definitely fun!!! J

Q. What’s your favourite live memory?
Natascha Sohl: Well, now you’ve made me think of the first really big crowd I played!! There is one that I played at a venue in London called The Garage, it’s not a massive venue but my band and I just had a really good gig and felt great and all had a really good time… there’s a pic I have from that gig and we all look really happy and into it. That was a fun gig! It’s hard to pick tho, I’ve played a lot of really fun gigs now!

Q. When did you know you wanted to become a singer?
Natascha Sohl: I think I always really knew, it’s just it took me a little while to realise that I should stop being so scared to do it and just get on with it! I think it got to the point when I knew I just had to do it was when every time I went to a gig, I would get in a really upset because I just wanted to be up there. I’d be looking around the venue and trying to figure out how I could get up on the stage if they suddenly needed another singer! I knew I had to get myself in a band pretty quickly and suck it up!!

Q. How easy was it to pursue your dreams?
Natascha Sohl: Well, I guess after I decided to get on with it, it was easy to at least get started because I had friends in bands and stuff so I basically asked around and found a band pretty quickly to start playing and writing with… we had our first gig within about three weeks, so I just had to get on with it! It starts to get a bit harder when you really start trying to do it properly I guess, but I think nothing that you really want is ever easy… you have to work for it, but then you know you deserve it when you get it!

Q. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned through success? What advice would you give to fans wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Natascha Sohl: I think that it’s good to remember that there are always levels of success. You might not be exactly where you want to be right now (because I think music is something that no matter what stage you’re at, you always wanna be at the next one, and keep getting better and better and doing more and more) but if think back over all the things that you have achieved to get where you are now, you’ve probably more successful than you think.

I think it’s good to remember that music is hard work and you have to be prepared for that. You’ll get knocked down and not everyone will like what you do, but if you love it and are good, and you’re doing what you ant to do other people will see that and respect that. A good piece of advice someone gave to me once is to try and be nice to people on the way up – it’s a fickle business and you never know if you’ll see them again on the way back down and you might wish you’d been nicer!

Q. What are your hopes for the future? Do you have details of any touring schedules? Will you be back for this summer’s festivals?
Natascha Sohl: My hopes are really to be able to keep doing this for as long as possible, I want this to be my career not a short term thing… I’d like to get a few more albums under my belt and do a load more touring and get to work with lots more talented people along the way. I’ve just come off the schools tour to support the release of my single Fade and also the album, which went really well! I have a few festival gigs in the summer but I really need to get working on booking another tour booked for the summer!

Q. If you could cover any song, what would it be and why?
Natascha Sohl: Oh wow, that is a really difficult question. There are tons of great songs I wish I wrote and would love to sing! I actually covered Pokerface by Lady Gaga recently which was awesome. When I first heard the song I hadn’t really listened to it, so was like: “I don’t like it!” But when I properly listened to it, I realised it’s a great song! We did a really rocked up version with a half time section and it’s so fun to play!

Q. Finally, what are the 10 tracks that are never far from your iPod player at the moment?
Natascha Sohl: Hmmm, I actually need to update my ipod right now… But 10 songs I can always listen to are…
Kings and Queens – 30 Seconds to Mars
Straight Lines – Silverchair
Stacked Actors – The Foos
Alive & Amplified – The Mooney Suzuki
I Don’t Wanna Be – Gavin DeGraw
Hysteria – Muse
Hey Dude – Kula Shaker
When it Rains – Paramore
Bethamphetamine (Pretty Pretty) – Butch Walker and the Let’s Go Out Tonights
I’m Not Dead – Pink
That was really hard!

Dirty Little Word is released on April 12, 2010. Read our review

  1. Great interview… open, honest and inspiring. Love Natascha’s new album too!

    Susan    Apr 13    #
  2. Great idea for a final question. Have got, approve or have now downloaded all of Natascha’s selections. Good playlist!

    Jessie    Apr 13    #
  3. Natascha sounds cool. Loved her first album but this one’s better. She;s also awesome live and I caught her acoustic show too. very talented

    Myra    Apr 13    #
  4. Natascha’s album is great and she deserves to find success in the UK and abroad. Can’t wait to catch her live to hear Dirty Little Word where it belongs!

    Dan    Apr 15    #