The Long Journey Behind Nathan Quick's The Mile
For the last year and half, Houston native Nathan Quick has been slaving away on a new record. That album, The Mile, has finally materialized, and it is a hauntingly emotive EP, brimming with tales of loss, heartache and resiliency through life's struggles.
"Through writing these songs, I've looked at myself a lot differently," Quick says during a recent sit-down. "I used to be eager to make a bunch of money and throw it around like it didn't matter, and it just... it doesn't matter."
Having spent a year working on an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, Quick realized that no amount of money was worth being unhappy. À la Tyler Durden, albeit with less self-destruction, he discovered firsthand that the things we own can end up owning us.
So he came home.
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"It didn't make me any happier," he admits of having more cash on hand regularly. "I'd bust my ass for three weeks then come back and try to make it all better in the next three, because I knew I was going back. And I can't live like that."
Returning to his old stomping grounds, Quick wasted no time getting back to recording. He continued working with John Griffin of SugarHill Studios, where he learned that less can be more, abandoning a full-length ten-track album for a shorter but arguably better final product.
"They were essentially fillers," Quick explains of the four tracks that were cut. "They aren't bad songs, but John asked me, 'Why not have something that you believe in rather than have a bunch of songs that you're not confident about?'
"He has an ear for the sound and vibe that I try to capture, and we're into a lot of the same music which also helps," Quick says of Griffin. "He's not afraid to tell me what he thinks, if he doesn't like how something is sounding, he'll tell me straight up. He's heard me at my best and at my worst, which is helpful because he can push me to achieve the best takes I can do in the studio."
Together, they compiled a short but strong EP, one that should resonate with Quick's fans and garner him even more attention. Though every song on the album is of a personal nature, the lyrics are accessible to just about anyone.
"I started writing 'Pure' in late 2012," he says of The Mile's opener. "I was dating this girl, and I wasn't feeling good enough. But I was in love with the idea of being with her, and I just wanted to be something pure in my intentions and in my words."
It's an engaging track, but not only for the hopeless romantics; the lyrics can be applied to other aspects of life as well. It's about wanting to be more but not knowing how to grasp it. The rest of the record, meanwhile, is full of self-reflection and ongoing struggles with an underlying grit.
As a whole, The Mile is a representation of where Quick is trying to go, who he's trying to find and what he wants to become. And after the past year and a half of writing and recording, he feels closer to it.
Quick's album release is this Saturday, April 26, at Fitzgerald's. Also on the bill are BLSHS, The Beans and The Trimms. Doors open at 8 p.m.
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