Natanael Summer is the singer-songwriter behind a mysterious solo project LAKESIDES from Sweden. A few weeks ago his hauntingly dreamy single “Bullet” reached the top spot on the Indie Top 39. We are extremely happy to introduce a conversation with LAKESIDES.
Tells us about your journey until the release of debut single “Home”
It was a real rollercoaster. Going back to October 2018, I was working three jobs at the same time, starting the first one at 5 am and coming home after the last one at 11.30 pm. This was all I did every single day of the week. I really found myself living the life I feared when I was growing up. I finally hit rock bottom in November and realized I had wasted three years of my life working for something that would never make me happy.
One day I just had enough. I quit jobs and decided that all of my time and energy from there on would go to creating music and pushing a new project.
I knew this was the right thing to do, but during the following months, I felt a mix between the joy of finally following my dream and an overwhelming feeling of panic from not being able to pay my bills.
Quitting my jobs and dedicating time for music was the right thing to do. However, during the following months, I felt a mix between the joy of finally following my dream and an overwhelming feeling of panic from not being able to pay my bills.LAKESIDES
I eventually worked this whole thing out and I couldn’t be happier that I made the decision to change my life around.
How would you describe your sound?
Atmospheric, fragile, longing and hopeful.
I jokingly say that reverb and delay are all there is to it. But I really like to crank those pedals up and blend everything together into a beautiful mess.
This is your second single this year. How do you feel about it?
It feels amazing! The release of my debut single was a big thing for me, but this release felt even better since I’ve proven to myself that Lakesides is more than just a temporary project. I’ve suddenly got 2 singles out and it feels like it all became more of a real thing with this second release.
What was the inspiration behind “Bullet”?
My girlfriend & I lived in a car for a couple of weeks during the summer of 2018. During this time I took my time to reflect on what actually made me feel the way I did back then. I never felt like I could fit in a social situation at this time. I was never really satisfied with anything and felt like I needed to be heading in another direction in life but I didn’t know how.
I wrote the song in a small village we stayed in one night in Norway. It was something about the views and atmosphere in Norway that allowed me to put words on whatever was going on in my head at the time. It was the first time I had finished a song in months.
What quote would reflect ‘Bullet’ the best?
Live for someone elseLakesides
For me, this song is about changing yourself to make other people satisfied.
Is there any cool story related to the song?
Maybe not a very cool story, but the funny thing is that I didn’t plan on releasing this song at all. I was just about to send one of my other songs to my distribution service when I found the bullet recordings on my hard drive. I was like “Okay THIS is the one”. But I had already announced the release of a new single so I had to finish this one really fast. I called Filip Liedholm, who mastered the song and asked him if he could meet me in the studio the same day. I contacted David who created the artwork and asked: “how fast can you make me a new album cover? “.
The song went from a very rough bedroom recording to a finished and released song in about 9 days. I really couldn’t have done it without these guys.
What are your musical influences?
I wish I could pick only three or four artists that have inspired me, but it’s very hard. I listen to everything from Chopin to old UK dubstep and everything in between. And I think I pick up a little something from everything I listen to whether it’s a melody, a word or just a feeling.
But most importantly I have the benefit of living together with three very talented musicians who inspire me very much every day.
If I’d choose 4 bands or artists that have inspired me a lot in life I’d say The Grateful Dead, Shane McGowan, Of machines and Mac Demarco. Even though these might not be reflected in the music I make today I know they’ve had a great impact on me musically.
How would you define success in the music business?
Success for me is to have an engaged group of people showing up to gigs, listening to my music. But it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a big fancy label behind you, or money coming in every month.
If the people in front of the stage are more interested in their pint of beer than what you’ve got to show them there’s still a lot of work to do.LAKESIDES
What are the challenges you are facing as an independent artist?
The boring, maybe obvious answer would be; The money. It’s like running the shittiest company ever.
But except for the money it’s, in my case as a solo artist, not really having anyone to help me make decisions or help me reach out to promoters, media or new potential listeners.
As an independent artist at this level, you are your own manager, your own promoter and your own studio tech. As fun and free, it might be it can be really frustrating at times.
Do you have a motto in life?
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you”.DR SEUSS
A playful way of saying “be your own individual” which you might could guess based on my previous answers in this interview has become an important thing for me.
What would be your advice for those who but feel stuck?
Do not rely on others.
Are you stuck because you can’t play the guitar good enough? Practice. Don’t wait for a new Steve Vai to walk into your life. If you don’t know anyone who can help you record your music, take your time to learn it yourself. There are plenty of free or cheap ways to do it yourself.
Do you need a music video but you don’t have a camera crew? Grab your phone and start shooting. If you want it to happen, make it happen! When you find people who want to help you along the way, look at it as a bonus. But start with relying on yourself.
Making music takes a lot of hard work. It can be exhausting and frustrating many times. But it’s also the most fulfilling thing I can think of in my life. If you find something you love to do whether it’s writing music, taking pictures or experiencing beautiful places, just let yourself do it.
There is no regret in making yourself happy.lakesides
What you got planned for 2019?
As we speak I’m spending the last couple of hours in the studio recording a new EP. I can’t put a release date on it just yet but I’m already very proud of it. Later this summer I’m shooting a music video together with Nick Serlstedt who directed and shot the video for “HOME” and straight after that, I’m starting to work on the live set to be able to start touring.
There are some cool collaborations coming, and maybe some more releases before the EP. I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year brings.