Even when Spring King decided to call it a day, nobody seriously expected it’d be the last we heard of the multi-talented Tarek Musa. Not only content with being the singing-sticksman in one of our favourite bands, he’s also somewhat of a self-starting legend, with a sideline producing all kinds of buzzy up-and-comers. No surprise, then, that he’s back at the coal face in double-quick time. Under the title Dead Nature, we caught up with Tarek to find out more about his debut EP.
Hey Tarek, how’s it going? Enjoying summer?
Summer has been eventful so far. I’ve locked myself away in studios for most of it working on Dead Nature… and with other bands, too. There’s so much great music out there, and I’ve been honoured to meet some of these artists this year. One of my favourite things about summer is definitely getting on my bicycle and clearing my head a bit. The weather is alright, and the birds are singing. I’ve sprained my ankle, though.
So Dead Nature then, congrats on your new project - are you completely on your own for it, or do you have some pals helping out?
Thank you. Dead Nature is a complete solo songwriting expedition. I’m usually playing most parts in the studio, running between the drums, bass, guitars and keys. I’ve also had some great additional production input from my good buddy Joe Wills who has produced some great artists in the past like Stealing Sheep and All We Are. This project is definitely a vehicle I’m building to create music that I find pleasure in making, and someone finds pleasure in listening to.
Has there been much of a learning curve to this new way of working, or is it pretty much business as usual?
I’ve been fortunate to get a lot of experience in the past, but this feels completely different for me. Lyrically I’m exploring my upbringing a lot more on these songs, and trying to make sense of a world that feels like its dramatically shifting in so many ways. I’m still producing and mixing the music, that has always been a huge part of me too. The approach is always from the gut, and I feel a great sense of certainty in what I’m trying to get across here. It’s nothing smart, nothing wildly out-there, but it resonates completely with me.
It sounds like ‘In My Heart’ is an appropriate first track; how are you dealing with the transition from Spring King?
The transition has brought its ups and downs, life as a musician is notoriously plagued with highs and lows, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve always written because I have something to get off my chest. I feel like I can put my complete heart on the line, and that’s all I want from music.
Are the songs you’re working on now more personal than your previous work?
These songs are centred around life challenges I’ve had. Dead Nature carries my mood with it and varies from song to song, depending on how I was feeling at the time. More than ever, my focus is to capture an energy that represents specific moments in my life. ‘In My Heart’ is about letting go and moving on from your past, about battling yourself sometimes. I know when I’ve been up against myself with things I’ve had to face, and this song is about that.
What are your ambitions for Dead Nature?
My ambition is to write music purely for the joy of the process itself. I want to carry on making and producing music for myself. I want to take it as it comes, and hope other people enjoy what I put out.
What can you tell us about your new EP, is it done and dusted? Do you have a release date and stuff?
The EP is four tracks, one of which is ‘In My Heart’. It's titled ‘Taking My Shadow’ and was written and recorded in Liverpool. It’s completely finished and you can pre-order a vinyl copy of it which I’m self-releasing via Dead Nature Records. I miss the old days of doing mail outs and posting records and being hands on. Part of music for me is the process around it; writing peoples addresses on mailers brings me a level of satisfaction.
Have you figured out how or when you’re likely to take the project into live shows?
It’s 100 per cent likely I’ll be doing live shows, and I’ve got some ideas scribbled down that I’m hoping to realise. It’s going to be a wild one when it comes together. I have this split where I want to be on the road and the studio at the same time. I’m aiming for Dead Nature to bring that balance between the two worlds.
What else have you got coming up, is there a lot in the works?
I’m working with some incredible bands on music regularly as a record producer. I’m also writing more tunes for Dead Nature. The response so far has been too good, and I want to keep going, there’s a lot to say still, and I’m happy that so many fans are on board for the journey already.
Taken from the August issue of Dork. Dead Nature’s debut EP ‘Taking My Shadow’ is out 26th July.
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