From the first time he heard Metallica at 16 and discovered the power of songwriting through Nirvana, Nathan Down has been on a musical journey. It drove him to master the guitar, bass, drums and keyboard. And it ultimately drove him to leave small-town Nova Scotia to pursue a music career in Toronto.
“Moving away was especially important to me because I was raised in a very strict religious environment that didn't allow for the kind of musical endeavour that I wanted to explore. Also, since I was quite sheltered, I needed to expand my connections to a broader array of personalities and talents to truly grow as a singer/songwriter.”
In Toronto, Nathan began to explore his sound - fusing influences like hard rock, progressive rock, R&B and country. He focused on crafting melody and lyrics that pack an emotional punch, from brooding and heavy to artistic and fragile. He toured over 1000 venues across Canada and the US, opened for Nickleback and recorded his first studio album Never Forget in 2010. But his journey was far from over.
“During this period of my life, I had a few different versions of my band and recorded 2 full albums - one under the band ‘norman’ and one as ‘Nathan Down’.
In both cases, every single song is as important important to me as the next - picking a favourite is pretty much impossible. Each song has its own identity and is very distinct from the others. I love that.”
Because more than anything, Nathan has always forged his own path. In 2017, he made the move to Vancouver and began re-envisioning the kind of music he wants to create and HOW he wanted to create and present it. Since then, he’s built his own digital recording studio and is pursuing a sustainable, independent musical career with complete creative control.
“I will admit, I am pretty stubborn when it comes to writing songs. I haven't had much experience writing with others, so I’ve just gone with it. I felt like the best way for me to be able to continue making music was to build my own studio and teach myself how to do it all - from learning different instruments to recording andixing techniques. It has been a long, expensive process, but I couldn't be happier about what kind of songs are going to come out of this process. I’m also excited to see who I will end up collaborating with in the future!”
The journey has led him to today and to the bold concept for his next album, The Darkness and the Light. For Nathan Down, music is a journey - and he can’t wait to see where it takes him next.
Crafting an album is a daunting and exciting process. It’s the cumulation of guitar riffs and drum beats, melodies that pop into your head at 2am and lyrics scribbled on napkins. It’s about taking material that comes from the heart, then working it and reworking it to perfection. It’s about creating something honest that connects with people - and Nathan Down wants you to come along on this journey with him.
Nathan is offering fans an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the writing and recording process of his next album, The Darkness and the Light.
“This album will actually be a double album showcasing two very different sides of who I am - who we all are, I believe - the dark side and the light. Heavy, brooding dark themes on one side and more acoustic guitar based positively themed songs on the other.
The big difference with this album, though, is that it will be recorded in my own home recording studio with real-time interaction with the fans through social media. Fans will have real-time access to the creative and production processes for every song.”
Fans can follow Nathan here and on his social media to see him craft The Darkness and the Light in real-time, via live videos and social posts. This daring musical experiment will break down barriers and let fans see the reality of writing, performing, recording and mixing an album.
Because for Nathan Down, music has always been a journey.