Natalie McCool interview

Despite her "butter wouldn't melt" looks, Natalie McCool has already made a name for herself with some surprisingly powerful music. Combining her angelic vocals with the sort of sound you'd expect from the likes of Florence or Natasha Khan creates a style that is almost unique among her peers.

With a new EP out this month and with backing from Grammy-award winning Steve Levine, we're expecting big things from this young lady and hope to see a lot more from her in 2012. She kindly agreed to go under the TMF Introducing microscope...

Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello friends and fans of Digital Fix! I’m Natalie McCool, nice to make your acquaintance. I’m an artist signed to Hubris Records (owned by Grammy Award winning music producer Steve Levine). I write and perform indie pop with a dark edge. I call it ‘panoramic pop’. Home currently is divided between London and Cheshire, and just to go off at a very slight tangent, one of my guitars is signed by Sir Paul McCartney.

What's your earliest musical memory?

My earliest musical memory is probably watching my dad play bottleneck guitar, as he played classic tunes by blues legends such as Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy and Howling Wolf, I always remember the glass slide (bottleneck) he wore on his 3rd finger, that he used to perform with, and I always wanted to play guitar like that. He also plays more contemporary songs from Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, The Police and The Beatles, which on reflection probably got me into playing fingerstyle, and made me want to actually pick up a guitar and play.

If you could hold a recording session with any five artists, who would you choose?

PJ Harvey, Jeff Buckley and Ben Ottewell because they are my musical heroes, and the other two I would add to the mix would be Prince and Brian Molko. That would be quite interesting…

You want to describe your music to a stranger on the street, who do you compare yourself to?

My music feels like….you’re having a séance with Bat For Lashes, Placebo and Fleetwood Mac. And you’re all holding hands in the dark.

You are going to live on a desert island for a year, which three albums do you take with you?

1) Diamond EyesDeftones
2) GraceJeff Buckley
3) The Fool - Warpaint

Everyone has a defining music moment, one that lives on in the memory, what is yours?

My defining musical moment has to be when I received a one to one songwriting masterclass from Sir Paul McCartney himself. This took place at LIPA (the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts), which originally was Sir Paul’s old grammar school. I played him a song that I was working on, and he picked up his guitar and played along! He was very relaxed, warm, and friendly, and it had a great effect on the session. I can’t believe that I have actually jammed with a Beatle!

What is the best gig you've ever been to and why?

The best ‘gig’ is probably the first music festival I had the pleasure to attend: Leeds ’05. That was one of the greatest weekends ever – I had just turned 17, and I was just SO excited. All of my favourite bands at the time were playing – The Killers, QOTSA, Kasabian, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Arcade Fire, The Foo Fighters, Razorlight, KOL, FFAF, The Futureheads, DFA1979, Bloc Party – that line up, and at that time – it was just magical! And also completely lawless!

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Lounging by the pool in my LA pad of course… Writing even more fabulous songs, and incidentally one gets to ride the soundtrack of the next hit movie saga a la Twilight, which leads me to headline my own tour, play Glasto, head overseas to go on tour and generally make even more fabulous music and be amazing. Well you did ask!!

If we were to look at your MP3 player or record collection, what guilty pleasures would we find?

A lot of guilty pleasures in there! Let’s go have a look…

1) Shania Twain – ‘Come On Over’
2) The Backstreet Boys - ‘Larger Than Life’
3) Madonna – ‘Beautiful Stranger’ (from Austin Powers)
4) Wheatus – ‘Teenage Dirtbag’
5) B*Witched – ‘To You I Belong’
6) Steps - ‘Tragedy’
7) Limp Bizkit – ‘My Way’
8) Avid Merrion - ‘Bo Selecta! A Proper Crimbo’
9) Crazy Town - ‘Butterfly’ (spookily, I heard this on the radio today)
10) Nelly – ‘Ride Wit Me’
11) The Offspring – ‘Pretty Fly For A White Guy’
12) The soundtrack from Trainspotting.


What's next for Natalie McCool?

My brand spankingly new double A side ‘On Fire / Fortune’ is due for release just after Christmas, so I will be promoting that on all of my sites and there will be a music video for each song released in due course. So it’s all going to get very interesting, and I urge everyone to keep an eye on my website for more exciting news and sneaky peeks of things.

Natalie McCool's new EP, Fortune, is out in January 2012.


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