Astonishingly «Divided By Darkness» is SPIRIT ADRIFT’s heaviest and most accessible album to date and will stand as the apex of Heavy Metal songcraft in 2019. a great way to enter the world of Nate Garret if you haven’t done yet, and a confirmation of his great skills. Continue reading to get into the secrets of the new album, how it was recorded and how much effort is behind it. One of the coolest interviews I have ever made, thanks to Nate.
Hello Nathan, nice to talk to you again
Hello Alberto, nice to talk to you as well.
It seems it was yerterday when we talked about your sophomore album but two years have already past, what has happened in the last two years inside Spirit Adrift?
We’ve played quite a few festivals and toured, released a song for the Decibel Magazine flexi series, then I went into overdrive to work on the new album.
Divided By Darkness is your third album, when did you start composing it and how was the process?
If my memory serves me correctly, I began writing it in the summer of 2017. The process was brutal. I felt some pressure to outdo the last album so I was determined to improve in every possible way. I put myself through strict practice regiments and lots of physical exercise and running. I quit smoking and totally quit nicotine so I could improve my singing. I practiced guitar and singing more than I ever have. Again, I wanted to make the best album I possibly could. I always do. But this time I worked harder than ever.
Amazing effort, not only mentally but also so physically. I think we could talk of two different teams inside the band, one for the studio and another one for the gigs, right?
Sort of. Up until the last album, I played everything on the records. Curse of Conception is when that began to shift a little bit. On that album and on Divided By Darkness, all four of us were in the studio even if someone wasn’t physically playing on the record.
I would say that Divided By Darkness is more a heavy album than it predecessor was, what do you think?
Yeah I think it’s way heavier. It’s hard not to be very fucking pissed off at the evil in the world right now. Especially in America. This is a violent, pissed off, angry album. It’s intense.
I still love the more atmospheric sound of tracks as The Way Of Return, kind of magic
Thank you! That was the last song I finished writing for the album. Our drummer’s brother, Preston Bryant, played all the synth on the album. That song was especially fun to work on with him. It was an exciting process, even more exciting because I was done with my parts and no longer had to play or sing for 10-12 hours a day! The initial spark that resulted in that song was an idea I had. What if we did a song that sounded like Spirit Adrift, Pink Floyd, and Tangerine Dream were all on stage together playing at the same time. I think we accomplished it.
Astonishing from beginning to the end. Any favorite song in the album?
Probably Angel & Abyss. It’s very personal to me and I think it showcases my very best songwriting and musicianship. I had to improve my guitar playing a lot in order to play those leads and solos. But my favorite vocal performance is Tortured By Time. It’s not often that I genuinely love my own vocals, but I’m blown away every time I hear the singing on that song. I was on fire that day.
Nathan, you are a hard worker, nobody can deny that, 3 albums in 4 years and quality stuff. But you are also a talented musician. Then, what is more important to be successful in music or to reach the audience?
Thank you! And that’s not counting Gatecreeper releases, haha. The most important thing to me is to be honest and sincere with my music. I want to make something that isn’t just «album of the year,» but stands the test of time. My goal is to make some of the best music EVER. Not just of any one year. People have short attention spans these days, and trends come and go. So my only focus is making music that is true to me. Music that fulfills me, that I can be proud of 20 years from now.
Have you learnt or changed some habit or whatever since the beginning of your project?
I’ve changed a lot. Spirit Adrift is directly reflective of my life. The band has changed a lot since the first EP came out, that’s because I have changed a lot. The most recent habit I changed was to quit smoking. I actually quit smoking cigarettes several times in my life, but this time I had started vaping too. Quitting the vape was harder than quitting cigarettes! But my voice has improved and I feel better, so I’m glad I did it. Now I have no vices left, what a tragedy.
Hahaha, you are a step away from signing in for a triathlon! You have changed in some way the classic image of the heavy metal or doom singer, with your own approach, chance or intentioned?
I am who I am. No bullshit. I like what I like and I do whatever I want and I don’t give a fuck if people like it or not. My biggest influences when I was growing up, as far as frontmen go were James Hetfield, Rob Halford, Phil Anselmo, Waylon Jennings. Strong, empowering, sort of scary guys who looked like they could kick your ass, but were appreciative of their fans and nice to people. That’s the kind of frontman I always wanted to be. Of course, my perception of Phil has changed over the years. I don’t look up to him anymore, though I appreciate what he’s contributed to music.
Spirit Adrift has always characterized itself for its fresh and atmospheric sound. This 3rd album is maybe more earthly or direct if you want to call it that. A way of no return or who knows?
I think direct is accurate. I wanted it to be heavier and more in your face than anything we had done before, but also maintain the dynamics that are so important to writing good songs. I can’t really predict what I’m going to write. I did make a conscious decision after Divided By Darkness, «ok, the next album has to be fun. No more torturing myself.» I’ve got four songs demoed for the next album and they’re just bad ass, classic sounding heavy metal songs.
We will talk about the sufferings of the 4th album next time. Another big cover, with that ethereal concept so much of your own, isn’t it?
On this album and the last album, I drew some really amateur sketches for Joe Petagno. Once I get an idea of what the album is about, I see a vision of the album art in my head. I sketch it up, and send it to Petagno with some notes. I think one of the notes this time around was literally «cool outer space stuff.» So that gives you an idea of how sophisticated my sketches are!
Simple is better. Plans for the short-term?
We’re touring the USA and Canada in May and June. We’ll be in Europe in September but I can’t talk too much about that. Hopefully I can get halfway done with the new album before May and finish it in July or August.
Thanks again Nathan and congratulations for another big work. If you wish to add something…
Thank you for the support! And thanks to everyone reading who has supported the band! We love you all.