Exclusive: Interview with NAATIONS

Comprising of singer/songwriter Nat Dunn (who co-wrote Marshmello & Anne-Marie’s hit track FRIENDS + Charli XCX’s single, 5 In The Morning) and ex-Van She member + DJ Nicky Night Time, NAATIONS is an electro pop talent from Australia.

Known for their experimental tunes, Nat and Nicky work to create narratives that listeners can both enjoy and relate to. Their motto became evident with the release of a socially conscious single “Real Life”. With more than 30 million streams on Spotify alone, NAATIONS garnered huge attention when they released the single with Gorgon City and Duke Dumont. Both the song and the collaboration speak a lot about their music.

Till now, they’ve played at notable music venues including Output in New York as well as Brixton Academy, Camden Assembly and XOYO in London to name a few. The duo recently joined on stage with Annie-Marie, supporting the Australian leg of her tour.

In an interview with CelebMix, Nat and Nicky talk about their journey and their new EP “Teardrop”. Check out the complete interview below:

Please tell us about your journey. How did you guys meet and how has been your journey so far?

Nat: We met via a mutual friend who is now our publisher. Nicky saw me singing drunk on his insta.  

Nicky : Haha, singing Whitney if i remember and pretty bloody well !

Nat: The journey has just begun, but has been pretty lovely so far getting to write and play around the globe together this last year.  
Nicky : We’ve been lucky enough to play V festival in the UK in our first year, as well as O2 Brixton Academy and Brixton Electric, Output NYC and a bunch of other venues and a have only an EP out with a hand full of singles ! So feel pretty lucky I reckon !

Your collaboration with Duke Dumont for “Real Life” gave a glimpse of your musicality. But we would like to know about your vision as musicians? What kind of music do you aim to put forth?

Nat:  We have such diverse musical influences and taste between us and my background is playing in live bands and in terms of studio tracking to tape and Nicky is also from a band background being in Vanshe and loves nerding out hard on analogue synths and things so although we birthed onto the airwaves as NAATIONS from a house music angle I feel like we are delving into a more live instrumental moment or two with what we are writing at the moment for our part 2 EP: STAR.

Nicky : Yeah I think we are lucky enough to be able to straddle not just pure club but also the more electronica side of life whether it be live instrumentations to tempo shift or darker style indier records

Do you have any influences who you look up to?

Nat: I look up to producers like Linda Perry and Rick Rubin. I love that they are very eclectic in style.

Nicky : Quincy Jones ! Haha also love R and S records ! Our mate Dan from RNS always stays with us and is always playing us new amazing records with styles that I have never even think existed ! I find I look too people who are doing new interesting ways of making people move.

We would like to know a bit about the creative process that goes behind your songs.

Nat: We generally love writing just the two of us starting very organically with Nicky playing some different chord progressions, and playing with different sounds on them to inspire the mood the song might take on. I will usually sit silently and write it in my head or sometimes I will be quite vocal and just go in the booth and jam an idea out.  

It really depends if I’m a Channel that day or not. Last EP I had a chord progression that I played Nicky on ukulele and we started that way so it really changes every single time we write and I think that’s kinda nice. We also love collaborating with mates. We have such talented friends and they are the best to write with too!

How did the collaboration with Duke Dumont happen and how was the experience of working on the track?

Nat: Duke heard a demo of Real Life we’d written in Sydney in Nicky’s bedroom and he liked it a lot and so did the Gorgon City fellas so we all jumped back on it, messed with it separately, and together and then re-recorded the vocals in Los Angeles…and da-duh! Real Life was born.

Congratulations for your EP “Teardrop”. How has been the response?

Nat: Positively stoked with the response we have gotten so far on our first ever body of work. We had dear mate Baby Daddy of Scissor sisters work on a couple of the tracks and he is a total gem so more to come from the 3 of us too. UK love has been real on it so we can’t wait to get back over there and play and write some more to drop this next one (part 2 of the series) STAR Ep.


Please tell our readers a bit about the EP and the lead single “Long Time”.

Nat: I’d been writing with Makonnen on his project and he quickly became one of my favourite humans and my little brother muse so one night Nicky and I were working on finishing our Ep and Makonnen came by the studio and the 3 of us ended up staying there all night into the morning writing ‘Longtime’. He’s the best.

You have just supported Anne Marie on her tour. How did you guys feel it went?

Nat:  She’s an absolute legend and the shows went off. We can’t believe the response we got from her lovely fans.

Nicky : Was insane how amazing the response was playing records to crowds live that have never heard it before … Kids trying to sing the words that we hardly know ourselves !!

How have your experience been on the live shows? Which venues do you wish to perform at, in the future?

Nat: I want to go to Asia and play there. I want to play in Brazil too. Also We are from Australia so it’d be lovely to go home and play Splendour In The Grass and Falls Fest. That’d be rad.  

Nicky : Anywhere and everywhere !!

Would you like to share with us your future projects or endeavours?

Nat: We are about to get back into the studio and work on the Part 2 EP Star. We have another exciting collaboration coming out early next year too. We won’t say with who but we’re stoked for you all to hear it.

Nicky : Lots and lots of collabs and productions about to drop that we are very excited about !!!

Check out the songs from the EP below:

What do you think about NAATIONS’ album? Share your thoughts via tweet @CelebMix.

Written by Ayushi

Hi! I am Ayushi from India. The only thing that is consistent about me is my passion for writing and reading. Weaving words to form a story is the best thing I know and the only thing I want to do.
"Writer by nature is a dreamer, a conscious dreamer."
-Carson McCullers

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