You know what we like more than music, here at Dork? Food. You know what else? Sleep. You know what else? Cats. Well, Jerry Paper (aka Lucas Nathan) is also a fan of at least one of those, and he’s bringing his passion to our May Bank Holiday Weekend extravaganza, Homeschool. No, it’s not a set featuring him taking a nap, or eating breakfast, it’s cat tricks. Cat! Tricks! We’re very excited, and to help sustain us between now and then, we’ve hit up Lucas to chat Ernie, Poofy and (obvs) his new album, which is coming very soon indeed.
Hi Lucas! How’s it going? Are you coping ok with self-isolation?
Yeah it has been super intense but certainly doing a lot of personal emotional growth!
What are you up to at the mo, day-to-day? Do you have a lot to be getting on with?
I have a few projects going on; mixing a friend’s album, working on the music for an abstract web show called Transmissions from B.O.I.N.K. on Eternal.TV, planning the next episode of my OTHER Eternal.TV show called Jerry Paper Teaches, trying to figure out ways of livestreaming that are interesting and good, and of course, writhing with anxiety as my album release date approaches.
Are there any tips you’ve picked up to make self-isolating a bit more bearable?
Well, I am lucky enough to be isolated in my home with my wife and two cats so I am not quite so lonely. I have found that this has accelerated my wife and my growth in communicating compassionately and effectively with each other which has been really great! Also, I have realized that the more nights I get super high and dance for a prolonged period of time the happier I am. I will certainly take this lesson with me out into the world when I emerge from my hole.
Tell us about doing tricks with your cats, how long have you guys been in training?
I’ve had Ernie for about 8 years and Poofy for 4 years, and we’ve been in pretty hardcore training since then. I’m sure you can perceive the sheer dedication and talent from the video.
What’s the most advanced trick your cats can do, are they very accomplished?
Poofy does a really advanced trick where I scream his name and if I hit a certain tone he slams his head into anything near him. Unfortunately, I found myself unable to accomplish this trick during the filming of the video. I am consumed with shame.
It must be weird releasing an album at the moment, have current restrictions mucked up many of your plans?
Certainly a bit fucked, had to postpone all my touring plans which is always most exciting and fun right around album release. That being said, I spent two years of my life working on this bad boy in some manner or another and now I release it unto thee and whatever happens with it is out of my control. Hopefully, it resonates with people, that usually happens in ways I can’t predict and don’t understand.
‘Abracadabra’ sounds like a fun record, how fully-formed were your initial ideas for it? What was its evolution like?
I spent a whiiiiile writing songs for this one, making very fully formed MIDI arrangements before I went into the studio to do the proper recording. I wrote something like 20 songs and then pared it down to what I thought were the 12 best.
Did you hit any notable challenges during the writing and recording process?
Every record presents its own unique challenges. I like to approach each record differently, it keeps my creative light lit and keeps me from having the same old ideas recycled in different ways. With this record, I did fleshed out MIDI demos and thought that going into the studio just with an engineer would be a piece of cake, that it’d just flow outta me and be so easy because I did all the mental work ahead of time. Instead, I found myself wracked with self-doubt and confusion for much of the process. Took a bit of self-reflection to move through it all but I think I emerged a more realized version of myself and I think the album reflects both that struggle and the ultimate realization. I feel really good about how it came out, it feels very much like a reflection of the process that is my life at the time I recorded it. I hope that is not too convoluted… It makes sense to me but I am not sure if I articulated it quite perfectly.
Do you have any foolproof sources of inspiration that you find yourself revisiting?
I don’t think so! Always changing and growing, that’s how I try to be.
Is there anyone you feel is doing particularly exciting things with music at the moment?
Macula Dog is definitely doing some VERY strange and exciting things with music and they just put a new record out. Nothing sounds quite like ’em, and the live experience is not to be missed. Similarly incredible live (and on recording, of course) is Jennifer Vanilla. Big big big fan of her.
If you could pick up one new skill while self-isolating, what would it be?
I would love to learn how to train cats.