How did you come by your stage name?
Well, we went through a bunch of names before we landed on NATE WYLZ & SOUNDZ. Our first band was called AVENUE but that was kind of lame. Then we were PSEUDERANTHEMUM but that was just a mouthful. We actually ended up calling ourselves PSEUDER-DERP-DEE-DERP just as a joke. But when I settled on Soundz, I chose it for several reasons.
It first crossed my mind when I read Henry David Thoreau’s classic book “WALDEN.” The fourth chapter was called SOUNDS. And it had a really big impact on me at the time. The whole book did, but that specific chapter really stood out to me. And when PSEUDERANTHEMUM was proving to not really roll off the tongue (laughs) then we decided that we needed a new name. And what made us pick SOUNDZ was the fact that we dedicate ourselves to no specific genre.
We’ll play punk rock, metal, blues, reggae, jazz, classical, pop, hip hop, and everything in-between. And just the fact that we are musicians made a big difference. I mean, we make sounds (laughs). No, but for real, being a musician is a special thing. As a musician, and especially a writer and composer, we take what would otherwise be dead silence and we add a note here, a chord there, maybe a tap on the hi-hat, or perhaps a long vocal chord with just a hint of vibrato.
Piece by piece, we cover that silence with various sounds. And eventually, as it all starts to come together, the would-be silence is given life, and SOUNDZ! It’s insane that we even got to this point. I mean the entire human species. Billions of years of evolution and fighting against odds that are stacked against us nearly every step of the way.
I mean four and a half billion years ago, the Earth and our other seven planets formed. And then 4.5 billion years of insanely improbable evolution later, we not only have conscious beings, but we have the ability to communicate with language, understand the mathematical language of our universe, and build cars, cell phones, computers, and the internet itself.
We are the luckiest species in the entire observable universe. And this evolutionary process has gifted us with the ability and the desire to make music. I don’t even know where it comes from. I MUST make music. Just as a painter must paint and a writer must write.
I put a lot of thought into all of this and landed on SOUNDZ. But there was a little problem. Someone had already used the name SOUNDZ, a rapper. And we had already made the name known, so our producer Bob suggested we put my name in front, NATE WYLZ & SOUNDZ!
When did you discover your love for your craft and what made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in it?
This question is a lot more than it seems. I’ve been playing music and writing songs since I was a young child. I learned how to play Happy Birthday on guitar when I was five and everything just started to fall together. But it wasn’t just music that I was passionate about. I was a writer first and foremost. I had written my first novel in the second grade and had written many short stories and stuff before that. I have always considered myself a writer first and a musician second.
Though the outside perception is probably that I am first and foremost a musician. I mean I play the guitar, bass, drums, clarinet, saxophone, piano, harmonica, flute, the duduk, and many others. I never could get the tuba though (laughs) I don’t have the lungs for it.
But even though I have been diligent with my music for the majority of my life, my writing has always come first. But it’s crazy because I’ve written 16 novels and hundreds of poems and probably about a hundred short stories, but I’m just now finally getting close to publishing my first novel.
It’s called THE INVOLUTION and it has been 3 and a half years in the making. But since I have always been a writer, I always showcase this with my lyrics, and poems. I put so much thought, time and effort into every word I write. To the point of obsession. I even like putting little hidden messages, codes, or hidden words, turning the lyric sheet into a crossword puzzle.
It’s insane. I know no one will ever catch it so I don’t know why I even do it. I guess it’s for my own twisted satisfaction knowing that such dark, personal secrets are dangling right in front of the fans’ faces, but they’ll never even know.
I can’t even tell where my passion comes from. I just always have made music and written. I have quite literally written nearly 500 songs throughout my life. And I kind of screwed my life off for a while dealing with depression, mental illness, drug addiction, and a severe self-hatred. But I’ve finally overcome all of that. And when our first album VISIONZ came out and sold as much as it did, it felt like a dream come true. And we went on tour and played all over in front of massive crowds.
I never actually expected to see any success, so it was nice. I’ve always been that guy that squeezes his eyelids and palms, strains his body, and squirms along with the music. Nobody looks as dumb as I do when jamming out. It’s because of the passion. I feel the music. I become the music. It becomes me. Nate Wylz AND soundz, together.
To what or whom do you accredit your sense of style?
Oh, come on! (Laughs) This is an impossible question. We don’t even have a “style” per se, we play a little bit of everything like I mentioned before. So I mean, there are a plethora of bands, musicians, and even writers, novels, filmmakers, films, and many other things that had an impact on my so-called “style.”
I mean as far as music goes, it really does range; Joy Division, Burning Brides, Ravi Shankar, Bob Dylan, King Crimson, The Doors, The Ramones, Thelonious Monk, Anoushka Shankar, Charlie Parker, Nirvana, STP, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Primus, Mr. Bungle, TOOL, Modest Mouse, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Robert Johnson, Cream, Hendrix, Joplin, Charlie Christian, Jim Sturgess, and the list just goes on and on.
I’d have to say the biggest influences in my life have been my memaw, Sandy Wiles, my recently deceased grandfather, our original drummer passed away recently as well and his influence was impeccable. My best friends Sean Todd, Kody Lovell, and Jeremy Yandell, who also passed away. There’s someone else that tops the list but I’m not going to mention that name (laughs).
Books like Infinite Jest and Walden, movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Bergman’s Through A Glass Darkly, the television series THE WIRE, and even my passion and obsession with physics have had a big impact on my music. In ways that sometimes surprise me. But if you want the truth, none of these have impacted me enough on their own to even be worth mentioning.
But it was actually every little step I’ve taken, every word I’ve learned, every painting I’ve marveled at, every person I’ve met, relationship I’ve built, every snack I’ve eaten, physics equation I’ve studied, and everything in between.
Every little detail of my fragile, one-of-a-kind life has brought me to become the person I am, and to create the art I have. I’ve made seemingly mundane decisions that had I not chosen then I wouldn’t be sitting here doing this interview with you.
I can’t accredit anything in particular with my style, or any aspect of my being. But instead, everything is accredited. Every smile or frown, every hiccup or toothache, every little detail of my entire life is responsible for my style, my personality, my desires, and ambitions. I am never the same person I was the day before.
Nate Wylz & Soundz Interview with Muzique Magazine
On your current project, how did you come up with the concept?
Our newest album TRANSCENDENTAL HALLUCINATIONZ has been a long time coming. We started production after we finished our tour for the first album. Way back in the winter of 2019. We started working on it and got every single bit of the instrumentals done.
Then at the beginning of 2020, I was supposed to come in and do the vocal tracks, but the studio was shut down by COVID-19. Not just the studio, but the interviewers such as yourself, the venues, the stores …I mean the entire world was on its ass. This isn’t news to anyone.
But the album just sat on the back burner for the last two and a half years. Only a year and a half was due to COVID. Then we had to deal with the death of our original drummer, Doug. One of my best friends, Jamie Jo died. Then my grandfather died.
I also got very sick. I could have literally died from being so damn sick, but I made it through, and two and a half years after production began, we are finally finishing it up. And my albums never really have just one concept.
It’s about nature, life, death, depression, happiness, philosophy, conformity, my path to atheism, my views on objective versus subjective morality, my denial of free will, my recognition of my past mistakes, and dealing with the consequences of my actions, as well as some others.
The album focuses a lot on my traumas, mistakes, and a few experiences that changed my life forever, such as my DMT vacations (laughs). You see, in 2017, I lost the love of my life, the trust and respect of everyone I loved, my job, and my home, and I was neck-deep in a drug addiction I believed I would never make it out of alive.
But then, in 2018, I moved to LA, got sober, started my novel, released my first album, and changed my mind on several things. Like my newfound atheism and disbelief in free will. I started obsessing over physics, I went back to college, I stopped letting my mistakes define me, but also battled the consequences, with no more hiding necessary. Before I began changing my life around, I had let myself become someone that I was scared to be.
I hurt the ones I love, lost myself, and essentially had to let that personality die so that I could be who I am today. In fact, anyone who thinks they know me but hasn’t seen me since before this change has no clue who the hell I am. I am just a passionate man on a journey. And this album is an artistic way of exploring these themes, exploring myself, life, the cosmos, and everything inside and beyond. This album has me naked to all.
What was it like to hear your music playing on the radio?
It was surreal. The first time I ever heard one of our songs on the radio, I cried like a little girl. I had always struggled with self-doubt. So many people told me “You’re never gonna make it anywhere.” And even though I shouldn’t let it get to me, for some reason I did. Not anymore! “Remember The Future” was our first song to get radio play and it mostly took off on various college radio stations, I guess that I just appeal to that age group the most, which I’m unsure if that’s unfortunate or if it’s a good thing.
If it wasn’t for the radio play we got, we would never have been able to go on tour, and our album VISIONZ would not have sold as much as it did. I mean it wasn’t some huge success or anything but I mean I have seen a few random strangers wearing our band t-shirts and I have been approached a few times on the street by people who actually knew my name. It’s a really special thing, and none of it would have happened if “Remember The Future” didn’t get the radio plays it got. We had three songs from VISIONZ on the radio.
Technically four songs, but “Dance With Me” only got a few plays here and there so I don’t really count that one. “Don’t Feel Bad” was our second song to get a decent bit of radio success. And it seems to be a fan favorite. I’ve had audiences yell the song out to us as a request during our shows. It’s a feeling I never thought I’d get to experience. Then there’s our song “Voodoo Australia” and that is the third song of ours to get radio play, and I was surprised by that one.
I mean it’s a blues/rock piece with a hint of psychedelic and lyrics taken straight from my poetry book. Don’t get me wrong, I actually think “Voodoo Australia” is one of the better songs on the album. But I thought maybe “We’re Something Else” or “Methodical Abrasions” would get radio play over voodoo. In fact, Methodical Abrasions is one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever written.
But perhaps it’s not necessarily the commercial type. But either way, I couldn’t be any more grateful for the success of “Remember The Future”, “Don’t Feel Bad” and “Voodoo Australia.” I just hate that our hiatus lasted long enough to make some people forget about us. But, we are back! TRANSCENDENTAL HALLUCINATIONZ is finally seeing its long-awaited release. And I know we’ll have some radio songs on that one, no doubt in my mind. I am hoping to top VISIONZ in every way possible. But I’ll leave that for the fans to judge.
What was it like to go on tour, and what do your shows mean to you?
After the release of VISIONZ, we went on a 3 month long, 46-state tour across the US. It was one of the greatest times of my life. We got to open up for some pretty awesome bands, like LORD HURON, IN THIS MOMENT, COUNTING CROWS, MOON TAXI, and many others! But the best show I’ve ever had the opportunity of playing was in Detroit, I believe.
I mean, with all the venues we’ve been to all over the US in just that 3 month period of time, looking back at it all just feels like a big blur. But I’m pretty sure we were in Detroit, or at least somewhere near Detroit when we played a show I will never forget. We didn’t get to open for them, but we opened for the band that opened for them. But, who are them?
MODEST MOUSE, who was already one of my favorite bands that are still around today, as most of my favorites are dead, or disbanded. But I will never forget that day, chatting with Isaac Brock backstage for a bit was even more surreal than hearing my music on the radio.
It is a bit nerve-wracking to know you are playing alongside such great bands but see yourself as a nobody. But I’ve always felt more at home on stage than at my own actual home. I perform better than I record. Recording an album is just a lot more stressful and is just an entirely different process than performing. I will never forget my first time on stage. I was in High School and I was so damn nervous about performing,
I didn’t think I’d be able to get on stage, but I did, and something magical happened. The moment I stepped on stage, plugged up the guitar, and stood at the mic, the apprehension disappeared and I put on a show that appeared as if I had been performing for years.
No matter how nervous I am before a show, it always fades when I get on stage. If there is anything that I am most confident in when it comes to my music …it’s not the writing, composing, or recording, it is performing! I can honestly, humbly, and proudly say that I am a hell of a performer.
I’ve played after bands that had the audience still and quiet, just to get the crowd wild, crazy, and involved, the crowd is a part of the show. My energy sustains myself and the crowd. I jump around, destroy things, and play solos with my teeth and tongue and I never feel the music more than I do when I’m on stage. I was born for it. I haven’t performed since 2020 and am so excited to announce that we are touring again this fall. Come check us out and see us at our best!
What are some of your greatest challenges, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic?
The greatest challenges I have ever faced in my life? That’s easy: Drug Addiction, losing the love of my life, losing myself, homelessness, childhood abuse, being seen as someone I once was, but no longer am, my self-hatred, mental illnesses and so, so much more. I haven’t had an easy life.
I’ve struggled my way through my entire existence. And most of my life could be seen as wasted if not for resulting in the strong, passionate, loving, benevolent, motivated, inspired, intelligent and humble person I am today.
I know who I am, exactly. And I used to have no idea who I was. My identity was an enigma to me. But now I know. I know my flaws, my greatest attributes, I’m confident and, yeah, just very self-aware. I know what I am capable of, and I know what I simply cannot do. I’m confident in what I know, but am eager to fill in the blanks and don’t pretend to know what I don’t. I’ve noticed many people have a hard time accepting their own ignorance.
But we are all ignorant, just as we are all intelligent. We know what we know, and don’t know what we don’t know. Intelligence can only truly be defined by whatever situation you find yourself in. All of my obsessive physics studies will get me nowhere if I need to fix my car. Ya know, I’m having a hard time with this question. My greatest attributes when it comes to my art? That would be entirely subjective. That is more a question for the fans.
I know that my greatest attributes as a human being are my passion, talent, curiosity, desire for knowledge, and the constant motivation I give myself. I’m my biggest fan, as anyone should be. No one will ever support you like you. And since we are a different person at 20, 30, 40 and 50. Each year, you are not the same person you were the year before.
You are not the same person at 20 as you are at 30. But which one of those is closest to your idea of you? Which is closest to the outside perception of you? You will never fully know anyone else in life, and no one could ever fully know you.
They can only use their moments with you, and your reputation to discern who you are. So it matters not who anyone else thinks you are, or what they might think of you. Every day is a chance to be someone better, someone, new. As long as there is life, there is hope. And I’m somehow still here, alive, or at least I think I am. Sometimes I’m not entirely certain. But of course, there is no path to absolute certainty anyways.
What are your plans for the near future?
I plan to keep evolving, as an artist, as a human being, as a musician, writer, friend, role model, physics student, actor, and in every other way that it is possible for me to evolve. The new album comes out on June 13th., and since there was such a long hiatus, I actually plan to release three, if not four, albums by a year from today.
One of which will be a solo acoustic album. Then we are going on tour in August. I’m publishing my first novel near the end of the year, I’m playing the lead role in a film called BITER, and I’m relentlessly studying physics and writing my own physics book that essentially describes reality as I interpret it. I don’t believe anything without evidence that is falsifiable and reproducible. So I have become very critical in my journey of self-discovery, and my quest for oneness with the cosmos.
I am writing an autobiography, but it’s only going to be available for those fans that have joined our fanbase on our website. I will be starting a podcast soon, discussing a plethora of topics. I will continue learning, indulging my passion and creativity, I will become a better artist all around, and maybe even open myself up to try new things I’ve never tried before.
You live this one life, then you die at a time most inconvenient to you, and that is it! My life cannot be squandered. It would be my greatest mistake. I am going to keep overcoming what I must overcome, and keep evolving where I must evolve. I will always be active, and I will always be the artist I am. Like I said earlier, I can’t help but create art. Hell, it happens on accident sometimes (laughs). I have so much planned for my future, and my potential frightens me.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank, any shoutouts?
I’d like to thank the fans first and foremost. I’ve had some amazing fans. I’ve had fans send in fan mail, fan art, or some would even just write me a message or a letter. It warms my heart to know that I am making a difference in some people’s lives. One fan messaged our Facebook page out of the blue and told me about how I inspired him to pick up the guitar and start writing songs, he said he looked up to me and that I was his biggest inspiration.
I legitimately cried when I read that message. I mean, that’s one of the many reasons I do this for. But with my amazing fans aside, I have a lot of people I’d love to thank. Some of them I already mentioned before but who cares, right? They deserve all the love they can get. My girlfriend Madelene is everything I need in life right now, and she means more to me than she probably even knows. Sandy Wiles, my grandmother.
Jack Terrell, my grandfather, my friends Sean Todd, Kody Lovell, Dan Chartrand, Ivann Acuna, Jarvis Williams, Cash Price, and my deceased friends Jeremy Yandell, Jamie Jo Kirshner, and our awesome drummer, Doug McClew. I also can’t go without mentioning Jim Sturgess, the actor from Across The Universe. I would not even be the person I am today if it wasn’t for his influence on my life. Madelene might kill me for mentioning her, but I feel like I’d be lying to myself and to the whole world if I didn’t mention my ex-girlfriend, Angelina Rose.
I had never been closer to another human being before in my life, until now of course (laughs). We may have ended badly, and will never speak again, but neither of us can deny that if it weren’t for one another, neither of us would be the people we are today. To everyone I mentioned, thank you all so very much. I hope anyone I failed to mention doesn’t hold it against me (laughs).
How can fans find you?
All they have to do is say my name three times in front of their bathroom mirror, with all of the lights out, and I will appear (laughs). I’m joking, of course! I mean, just go to a record store near you and pick up one of our albums. Or you can stream our music on Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, or whatever streaming service you use.
We also have a Facebook page. Just type in NATE WYLZ & SOUNDZ. And we have a website that has just been published, even though we should have been on top of that a long time ago. The website is WWW.NATEWYLZSOUNDZ.COM. We put a lot of love, time, dedication, and diligence into the website. We really did go all out. Secret pages, codes to crack, mysteries to solve, prizes to win, and the best experience of our music that you could ever ask for.
Those are the best ways to find us. But if you ever see NATE WYLZ & SOUNDZ performing anywhere near you, the best way to find us is to just show up to one of our shows. Ya’ll can share links on your website, right?
Cool, I’ll give you some links to add to this. But yeah, record stores, concert halls, streaming services, Facebook, or our official website. But make sure you keep a lookout for our upcoming album TRANSCENDENTAL HALLUCINATIONZ. It will be in stores on June 13th.