Good Saint Nathanael and the Art of Helping Your Fellow Man: An Interview With Nate Allen
Good Saint Nathanael
I have known Nate Allen for a decade and a half. We have never been super close, but close enough to stay in touch and keep up to date on each other’s lives. In fact, when I went through my recent divorce, Nate was one of the first people to reach out to me and see how I was doing.
I first met Nate at the infamous, and now defunct, Tom Festival, the gigantic Christian alternative music festival in the picturesque Columbia Gorge. It was just him and an acoustic guitar, standing in a circle, singing punk rock while the crowd went nuts around him. Crowd participation and inclusion have always been a part of Nate Allen’s repertoire. Then, there was Destroy Nate Allen, a punk rock project with his wife, Tessa.
At the denouement of Nate Allen’s first Destroy Nate Allen tour, he spray-painted the words “My Goal Is Resolution” on his acoustic guitar. The openness and intricacy of that statement set him on a heretofore unknown course for his life. The next step on his journey was to transform into Good Saint Nathanel and record his debut album Hide No Truth. For those familiar with Allen’s more raucous and cutting earlier material, Good Saint Nathanael presents a departure—at least musically. The raw honesty and empathy still shines through.
On Hide No Truth, Allen grapples with personal evolution, destruction, and spiritual exploitation. Audaciously electing to walk through pain, Allen emerges with an unambiguous and dark folk record about his Christian religious faith experience and its accompanying difficulties. The result is Hide No Truth, an earnest, melancholic, and impossible to forget album. Nate Allen has put the world on notice that he is a songwriter to be reckoned with.
Can you give my readers a little background on Good Saint Nathanael? How does it vary from other projects that you have done?
Good Saint Nathanael is a quiet, gentle often very sad, intentionally crafted project. It is the result of 5 years of inner-work and artistic growth. A lot of people will be surprised when they hear this record because it’s very different from anything they would associate me with.
You’re originally from Roseburg, Oregon (right?) where are you based now and what brought you there?
I am from Roseburg, Oregon. These days I live in Kansas City, Missouri. We moved here for work and then found the city cheap so we decided to stay.
How has the new record been received?
So far the response have been very strongly positive, but I know it’s not for everyone and some people will really not like it. It’s quiet and takes some time to absorb.
Where do you see yourself over the next decade?
I’d like to write some books and make more records. Hopefully become a better man and help other people heal long the way.
"Lightning" by Good Saint Nathanael
I know there’s been a lot going on in the world and the country, but also a lot of good things in your personal life. Do these things reflect in your music?
Everything I experience can end up in a song or my stage banter from simple conversation to mundane experiences or words on a wall are as likely to end up in lyrics as say processing childhood trauma or major life change. Nothing is really off limits.
What is the songwriting process like for you?
It’s currently something like this. An idea pops into my head. I recording into my phone - unedited. I collect a batch of these until I have time to sit down and go over my notes with excel sheets and word docs. I’m likely to print things at this point because I love the feeling of paper on my hands. From there I kick, change and examine a song until it feels done. If it can clearly communicate when I play it for other people on just an acoustic, I know it’s a decent song. Then I’m likely to go over it a few more times.
If you could only mosh to one song for all of eternity, which song would it be and why?
Oh man, “Something Must Break” by Ninety Pound Wuss comes to mind.
Does pineapple belong on pizza?
I think it does. It reminds me of my grandfather who lived in Hawaii.
Who are your primary musical influences?
Sadness, Abuse, Anxiety, Holiness, Fear, Trembling, Stubbornness, Recovery, and Hope.
What are your desert island movies?
Empire Records, Almost Famous, The Motorcycle Diaries.
"Hide No Truth" by Good Saint Nathanael, album trailer
What are some of your favorite spots to perform?
These days I prefer silent great sounding rooms, that are great for listening and comfortable for everyone in attendance.
If you could form a band with anyone, living on dead, who would be in it?
I’d like to have another punk / weird band with Tyler [Hentschel] from Insomniac Folklore.
How often do you perform?
Somewhere between 30 to 60 dates a year at this point.
Do you have any advice to young musicians out there about how to handle yourself in the industry?
It’s worth paying for mixing and mastering.
What is your favorite food?
What are your hobbies, outside of music?
I greatly enjoy watching [and] playing sports, reading, writing, good deep conversation, European board games and ms. pac-man.
There are a million bands out there. Why should people devote their time to listening to your music and going to your shows? What makes you guys different?
Well I think all my projects are especially good creating audience connection and presenting experiences people rarely forget. My new record Hide No Truth is brutally honest and surprising gentle at the same time. I believe it takes a lot of unexpected turns. This is by far my most crafted set of songs I have released and will show a lot of people what I am capable of as a songwriter at this point in my career.
Where can folks purchase your music and keep up to date on upcoming shows and events?
Visit goodsaintnathanael.com I just redesigned it.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for this interview and extra special thanks to anyone who has supported my art at any point of the years. I am grateful to still be playing and singing songs.
© 2019 Justin W Price