Two guys loaded with talent, energy and ambition. That’s In the Whale. It doesn’t even matter if you like their music or not, these guys put on a show. Before Nate and Eric entertained a crowded Hodi’s Half Note last Saturday, I was able to ask them a few questions. Hearing what they had to say put my mind at ease when it came to rumors and accusations.
EFC: Bohemian Nights 2015 was quite amazing when everyone was afraid the ITW performance was rained out, but then you packed The Artery and rocked the house. It was a BoNi highlight for everyone and a true sign FoCo loves you. What is your love letter to Fort Collins?
Eric: First off, we want to thank the city of Fort Collins for being a place that allows local and regional bands the opportunity to entertain. We’ve played a variety of venues and events all over Fort Collins from the Road 34 to the Aggie, Bohemian Nights and other events, we’re very lucky. Fort Collins has been a big part in our development and the evolution of In the Whale. From playing to nobody to selling out multiple venues, we truly appreciate people coming out and giving In the Whale a chance.
Nate: Couldn’t have said it better. We were lucky to have the Artery and the festival programmers at Bohemian Nights put something together last minute. You can’t control the weather, so when we had hundreds of people show up and try to get in, it’s flattering and genuinely appreciated from the two of us.
EFC: You have a lot to say about girls in your music and I really want to know if it’s a direct reflection of your experiences and thoughts… What is your ideal woman?
Nate: We once were told that as entertainers, “Take real life scenarios and turn them all the way up, whether you have those experiences or not. Embellish for the sake of entertainment.” Our first record was exactly that. It was an over exaggeration of when you’re in your early 20s and want to be wanted. You’re living on your own and the shackles of college, family, and an insulated behaviors those parts of your life provide are gone. It weaves in the concept of addiction and the desire to belong, to be loved. You’re still figuring out who you are and where you fit in the world. Our recent releases touch heavily on excess, being bullied, and not conforming to what people expect you to be… whether those people are people in the music industry, listeners or other bands, it’s up to them to decide. A song like “Mail” from our recent EP “Full Nelson”, is an apology letter to relationships lost. We’ve had people reach out and tell us it summarized their relationships with loved ones because of destructive behaviors they’ve displayed. Have I personally lived the storyline of the song? No, and I never will.
Eric: As you grow older and become more experienced as a songwriter, your storytelling evolves. Are we at the place where we want to be with songwriting? No, but we’re moving towards it more with each release. While some of the songs we wrote are centered on guy-girl dynamics, it was what we knew turned to 11. Were those songs meant to demean anyone or make people feel uncomfortable? Never. In the Whale is about cutting loose and having a good time.
When you’re 24 and lack self-confidence, you perpetuate a false bravado. Every song we’ve put out isn’t about our day-to-day lives, many are just songs… They allow people to pull from them what they choose. If Nate writes songs about what he sees while working in the mortuary, people would say In the Whale’s too morbid or glamorizing death. Some people read too far into songs, miss our cynicism, miss our sarcasm, and that false bravado, to advance their agendas.
Nate: Approaching 30, you reflect on things that, for both positive and negative reasons, shaped you into the person you are today. Hindsight is 20/20. All of us have things we wish we could restate or clarify.
Eric: As for our ideal women, our girlfriends and moms are pretty great examples because they’re very strong willed people. If they found anything we did as demeaning they would tell us before those songs even saw the light of day.
EFC: What comes to your mind when people call your music Bro-Rock? What would you call it?
Eric: Bands get lumped into a variety of sub-genres, whether it’s widely used, made up, or used as a way to talk down about a band. As a listener, you’re entitled to put a band into whatever genre you choose. Some people call us Alternative, some call us Rock, occasionally we hear Grunge, it’s all up to the listener. If a someone chooses to lump us into the sub-genre you mentioned, that’s their prerogative. In the Whale never set out to be everything to everyone, and we’re obviously not for that person. If you’re not a fan that’s ok. f you spend your time trying to be everything to everyone it’s analysis paralysis.
Nate: We hope that all people who attend our shows have a good time and leave feeling like they got their money’s worth. That’s what I look for when I spend money going to a show.
EFC: Tell me something about yourself that FoCo may not know.
Nate: We just finished our new record here in Fort Collins at the Blasting Room. Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore worked with us on the release and it’s been an amazing experience. It will be released sometime later this year, we’re just hammering out some details with some folks.