FROM BLACK-MARKET RECORDS TO THE INDIE UNDERGROUND OF MOSCOW, MUSIC HAS PLAYED A HUGE ROLE IN NASH'S LIFE. READ ON TO DISCOVER THE STORY BEHIND THE MUSICIAN...
I was born in the Soviet Union to parents who were avid fans of both classical and modern music. It wasn’t easy to access Western pop and rock, but they still somehow managed to follow the trends - allegedly my father managed to obtain the first Abbey Road LP in the USSR, the day after its release!
Growing up, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Deep Purple and many others were household names. One of my earliest memories was putting Beatles for Sale on the tape player - I can still remember how beautiful it sounded to my toddler’s ears. Even before that, I was apparently a big fan of Neil Diamond’s Song Sung Blue, putting it on so many times that it drove everyone insane (they eventually hid the disc from me).
My parents didn’t play any instruments but they were keen on their kids learning, and all four of us (me being the youngest) had lessons. I started playing piano aged six. To keep me engaged, my teacher started learning jazz music with me, and since then swing and shuffle rhythms have been ingrained in my head (I use them so often in my songs that my producer jokingly calls it ‘Nashuffle’). I started playing guitar aged 16, teaching myself.
I was always a somewhat sentimental kid, and music was so important to me, speaking to my mood and the way I felt about life. As a teenager, I mostly listened to ‘60s and ‘70s music like Led Zeppelin and the Doors, and the most important band to me was the Beatles. I knew all their songs by heart and sang them all the time - they also helped me learn English big-time.
Around that time, everyone I knew was listening to hip hop, electronica, nu-metal or Russian pop/rock, which were not my cup of tea at all (...I hated them). So I was pretty sceptical about contemporary music, until I discovered bands like the White Stripes, the Strokes and the Hives. I remember when one of my friends put on ‘Fell In Love With a Girl’ and it completely blew my mind - it sounded so fresh and full of energy, yet seemed to capture everything I liked about ‘60s music and harmonies.
These bands were under the radar in Moscow, and not many people listened to them - naturally, my friends and I felt very cool that we knew about them. Together we created a website about the genre where we could chat with like-minded people and discover even more music. Music, music friends and concerts started taking up a bigger and bigger part of my life, and about that time I wrote my first song (about being upset with my girlfriend at the time); it sounded a lot like the White Stripes.
I kept writing songs, but I never really knew what to do with them; I didn’t have a lot of musician friends, and even fewer who liked what I liked. I always wanted to do something with my songs, but it took me a while to understand what and how I could do it.