Indie rock band All Get Out have been on the road constantly since the beginning of this year, traveling the nation with Anberlin and even opening a couple dates for fun. The band is currently out supporting Transit on the Young New England tour, and idobi writer Catherine Yi caught up with lead singer Nathan Hussey at their recent show in Los Angeles to talk about the constant grind of touring, dealing with tough crowds, freestyle lyricism and more.
Can you give us a little background on how this band started?
We started somewhere around 2006 or 2007 with just some random people. I played in another band at the time called The Explorer’s Club. It was like a Beach Boys-ish kind of band [laughs]. It was fun. But I played in it and then I stopped going to school, so then I decided I was going to try my own band and if it didn’t work, I’d go back to school. So I started writing some songs and then had a bunch of people play randomly. We just played for like twenty dollars wherever we could. And then members became more solid and we found ourselves doing like two shows a month and then four and then next thing you know, it was every weekend and then it was all year.
Yeah, your bio says you’ve played 250 shows a year.
That was two years in a row we did that. Years ago though.
What’s it like touring that much?
It’s weird, our record took about a year to come out and then it took another year to get off the ground, for people to start catching on. We had some time off, so now we’re doing touring like that now where the first half of the year is just booked. Like in December we did two weeks and in January we did three, and then we were home three weeks and then we did six weeks and then we were home for ten days and now we’re doing six and a half. It’s hard, I mean the point is, the older you get it’s more difficult. You start just wanting to be home. But you know, it’s just a lot of fast food.
Gotta save the money.
[Laughs] Yeah it’s the worst way to save money too. But you do save money, it just hurts.
So earlier this year you played two dates with fun. How was it opening for such a huge band?
Awesome. It was weird because usually the first couple shows of a tour you’re getting used to it and your voice is getting back into shape. I mean, you can practice all you want but it’s not going to be the same as if you’re playing live. It was strange to go from small club tours, a couple weeks off, and then playing the sold out Tabernacle to 2600 people, like it was crazy. I don’t want to sound so green about it but it was enough to make you anxious.
Was that the biggest venue you’ve ever played?
The biggest crowd for sure. We played the Ryman the next day in Nashville and that was a pretty big deal. Usually you have to do a lot more work to get there so we got really lucky. It was amazing.
How’d you get the spot opening for them?
I’m guessing they called some friends of ours and asked them to play, because we’re not really big enough to be asked to play that. But they called some friends of ours and they were on the road so they suggested us because we’re good friends with them. Yeah, so they asked somebody and they said to pick us so they did.
What has been your favorite tour ever?
It’s hard to say because I feel like I’m shooting other people down when I say that their tour was not good, but my favorite tour was La Dispute, Balance & Composure, and Sainthood Reps. That was my absolute favorite tour.
And why would you say that?
We sit in a weird genre where it’s like we’re not hardcore and we’re not very clean so it’s like a strange middle ground that almost doesn’t exist. So with that you had Balance & Composure, which was kind of like this heavier grungier rock but nothing like hardcore about it, and then you have La Dispute who’s like closer to hardcore but there’s something else, and Sainthood Reps are about the same as us as far as sonically. So you had these four bands that didn’t really fit in one genre, but all four bands together almost made a genre. That’s why I liked it. It just felt the most comfortable and the crowd was eager to listen.
If you could tour with anyone, who would you want to tour with?
We did a tour with Manchester Orchestra back in 2008. I would like to do that again. God, if I could tour with anyone…
Like someone you haven’t toured with yet, but you’d want to.
My dream, and it wouldn’t work, but my dream is to tour with David Bazan. He’s my favorite songwriter of all time. That’s my absolute dream, actually, but that wouldn’t really work. Not to sound like every other band, but I’d love to tour with Brand New. That’d be awesome.
Being from South Carolina, how does it compare with California?
Oh my gosh, it’s otherworldy. Well, we have beaches. I’m from Charleston, which is on the coast, and we have a lot of islands and beaches. The music scene’s finally picking up again back home, but for a long time it died off. Only now, bands are starting to come up and starting to get off their ass and go do it, you know. We were lucky, we had like Manchester Orchestra when they were young. They were the first time we had ever known somebody to have tried and succeeded I guess. So we had that early on, we saw our friends like “well, what did they do?” Ok, they helped us and so we did it. We haven’t really guided anybody but hopefully people back home see that and do that. Yeah, it’s beautiful though. It’s a little swampier and way more humid.
What’s been your favorite place to play so far?
I love Chain Reaction and I had a kinda bittersweet time with it.
What made it bittersweet?
Well, the first time we were there was with La Dispute. It was a really tough crowd, so a lot of hecklers telling me to like shut the fuck up. I don’t know if they said that verbatim, but they said some nasty shit, which was fun because that was the first time I ever told the crowd to shut the fuck up and they just cheered. They loved it and a dude said something again on the next part where it’s just me singing, and this girl turns around and just goes “shut the fuck up!” It was awesome, it was the birth of that. I’ve stopped doing that, but I did it for about a year, telling people to shut the fuck up. It actually made me laugh and a lot of times it doesn’t work, like the guy keeps going and you just start laughing because it’s like, “well I tried.” But yeah, and then it’s sweet because this last time it was packed again. I don’t know if it was sold out but I feel like it was.
The Transit show?
Yeah, it was sold out.
Yeah, but like the whole place was dead silent. It was amazing. It doesn’t happen very often.
So it’s been almost two years since your full-length, any upcoming releases planned soon?
We’re working on demos now. We probably have, not all of them are worked out, but we have fifteen to twenty songs and ten of them are pretty done, just for demos. We’re trying to figure out now who to do the record with and all that stuff. So we’re plotting now. Once we get out of the tour season, you know.
When do you think you’ll start actually recording it?
Well I would like to do it late summer. I don’t know when though, I mean it would be awesome if that could happen but we’ll see.
So do you think you would release it by this year?
It would be next year because the end of the year is kinda a tough time to put out a new record. That’s what we did with our last one and it gets drowned out because everybody’s trying to get ready to put out their release in the new year.
What’s your usual songwriting process?
It’s kinda backwards from a lot of people, and sometimes it’s even different with me. I used to do full songs just by myself and then take it to the band and work it out to make it sound like a full band, and not make it sound singer-songwritery. Now I’ve been doing music and melody first, which usually come at the same time for me. But lately, I just haven’t been spending that much time on lyrics until it’s time to record them. I just go in there by myself and put them on the spot. It’s weird, it’s not that they mean any less that way. It’s just that it takes off the restraints of being perfect and saying something the exact way you want it versus saying something inside of an emotion, like when you’re arguing and you say something you don’t mean. That’s the good stuff. It puts a sense of humanity into it that I can say things that I don’t mean and because I feel a certain way. Then you can even come back at the end of the song and talk about your rationality. I’ve been finding that way works to get honest lyrics, which just seems so backwards. I felt like I was cheating, but that’s what I’m trying for this record and it’s worked pretty well. I mean you can always go back and edit whatever you think doesn’t sound right or if it’s just too much to say.
Who would you say are your biggest influences?
David Bazan, like I said earlier. That’s my all time biggest. I try not to admit it too often, but Andy Hull is a friend of mine and he’s also just that good. Like I said, I knew exactly what I wanted to do but I didn’t know how, and he didn’t know how, he just did it. I look up to him in a lot of ways.
That’s like the lyrics, like just doing it.
I know, that’s exactly him. I didn’t even think about this, but it’s exactly what he does. You’ll hear him make up songs on the spot. I remember when they did, before Mean Everything to Nothing, they were doing “Shake It Out” live and I asked like “Hey man, I’m playing this solo show, can you sing me the lyrics to ‘Shake It Out’?” and he was like “I don’t know, write them. I don’t know what they are, make them up.” So I wrote “Shake It Out” once [laughs]. But yeah, Andy Hull’s a big one, David Bazan’s the biggest. Musically, everybody loves Brand New. I’m sure they don’t want to hear that but I’m just gonna be honest about it. Another one is Colour Revolt, they’re huge.
So what do you think you’ll spend the rest of the year doing after this tour?
Writing. Writing and recording, and I had a solo record I was almost done with but then my hard drive crashed so I lost it. But I’m gonna try and do something. I don’t know when though. I’m pretty slack about it because it’s hard to get motivated. And I was writing these songs for this record coming up so I didn’t want to risk putting a song in the wrong boat.
So what does get you motivated then, when you say it’s hard to get motivated?
It’s weird, it’s like a lot of people say to write when you’re sad or whatever. I like to be a little more objective with it and wait until I’m not. Time crunch is a big motivation. It’s just like college where you don’t want to study until the day of. You should be studying, I mean you’d be a lot better if you did. I don’t read very often, but I started reading last year like recreationally, and that was a big motivation. Like a lot of sci-fi, Ender’s Game in particular. I wrote a couple songs about those books. Yeah, and I’m married so being away is a motivation, like I don’t want to be away. It’s really push and pull, like taking this seriously and I have to leave home. It’s hard to say. It’s hard to balance that for sure, and that’s motivation, and touring for The Season. The Season’s all about touring so that’s probably the biggest motivation. It’s just because you’re fucking tired. People say it’s like a vacation, and yeah a lot of it is, but it’s so much over time that it’s just exhausting. It might be like between set up, tear down, playing, and selling merch I’m only doing 3 hours of work a day but you’re either driving a van for six to twelve hours or sitting in a van for six to twelve hours. It’s weird, but that’s the biggest motivation, touring in the lapse of being gone.
Any last words to say?
Thanks for reading. If you’re in a band, get off your ass if you’re serious, and start playing for nobody and hope people start coming.