From Bwana to Nathan Micay, there seems to be no endeavor too ambitious for the Toronto-born, Berlin-based producer. We’ve been following Nathan Micay’s career since the Bwana days, and it appears his sound continues to evolve with each new chapter in his story. His debut record, Blue Spring, is out now on LuckyMe, and it’s easy to see why fans have been anticipating this record for what felt like an eternity. It’s been hyped up by other creators as his best work yet, and Blue Spring successfully lives up to that hype.
The record tells a story through 11 carefully crafted tracks, each given an utterly unique title. It begins with “Romance Dawn For The Cyber World,” where Nathan gently eases us into his soundscape with atmospheric sounds and slow pacing. The progression on this track does a fantastic job of setting the stage for Blue Spring in a way that makes the listener feel like they’re entering a new state of mind.
One of the album’s standout tracks takes cues from the ’90s era of raving: “Ecstasy Is On Maple Mountain” sounds just as satisfying as the title implies, employing a nostalgic 303 in the midst of glittering, high-spirited progressions. You’ll find more where that came from throughout the rest of the album, making this nearly hourlong listen a memorable one.
Since this is Nathan’s debut record, I wanted to learn what inspired Blue Spring and get some more details on the production process of this record. Listen to the album and read on to learn more about Blue Spring in Nathan’s own words below.
How do you recommend listeners experience Blue Spring on their first listening experience? In what setting?
The goal was to make the album a pretty versatile listening experience. Obviously there are tracks for the club but the overall idea was to be able to enjoy it as a cohesive work in wherever you like to listen to music. I’ve enjoyed it most on airplanes and I’ve had other friends tell me it’s their new album to read to. Then others seem to like the harder-hitting singles in the club. One thing I will definitely recommend is to listen while you look over the comic book. Helps bring the entire project together. The goal with this project was to make something deeper than just a collection of songs.
As your debut album, how long have you been working on these tracks? What inspired the record?
This was actually the third attempt at an album. I first started putting tracks together in late 2016. I thought I had the first thing finished in the fall of 2017 but we decided it wasn’t the right sound and so I took another year to finally get to what you hear now. The record was heavily inspired by the ethos of the classic rave era of the early ’90s. Apart from the obvious musical influences, I was really inspired by that sense of community and real-world connection that I feel is really lacking today. I also really focused in on the infamous Castle Morton Festival of 1993 and the UK government’s reaction to it. You can draw a lot of parallels to the actions of governments today.
How has your artist project changed since transitioning from the Bwana alias to Nathan Micay?
I think it’s become much more cohesive and driven by an actual idea of what I want to achieve with music. With the Bwana stuff, I was just kinda making scattered sounds. I’m proud of the work I did, particularly “Capsule’s Pride.” However, every release was so different that I never felt like there was a constant in my output. Now it all really feels much more cohesive and there is a connection between each release. I’ve also become more involved in various film scoring projects since then and of course I do it as Nathan Micay as well. I hope to one day look back at it all and see the connections and a full, multi-faceted body of work I can be proud of!
Can you tell us a bit about the artwork for the album and the associated comic?
The artwork and comic were drawn by the insanely talented Dominic Flannigan and Peter Marsden. The idea was to do a kind of reversal on “Capsule’s Pride.” Whereas with that project we took heavy inspiration and imagery from Otomo’s Akira, this time we turned it around and made our own original work. The album artwork is a frame taken directly from the comic book we put together to go with the vinyl. It’s based on a synopsis by myself and brought to life by Dominic and Peter. It follows a youth revolt in an alternate reality of 1993 where technology has far surpassed our current standards and the world is ruled by an authoritarian regime. We took real inspiration from current terrifying trends and real-life events of the past. I couldn’t be prouder of the comic book, to be honest. It’s an incredibly detailed piece of work! Big ups Dom and Peter.