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Tuesday, December 12th
The Hot Sweat
Hana Pestle
Canada has brought the music world its share of great music such as Nickelback, Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne, Our Lady Peace, Michael Buble, Bryan Adams, and more. And could we be adding The Midway State, an alt-rock band out of Collingwood, Ontario? Perhaps. You may have heard of them as one of their songs landed a bit on the waning minutes of the FOX hit show 'The O.C.' on February 21, 2007.

The band is ready to explode in the U.S. following their small taste of what American audiences can give to them...here's our interview with Nathan Ferraro.


Spencer: That’s good. Ok so I have just a few questions for you, but first can you introduce yourself?
Nate: Yeah totally. I'm Nathan; I'm the singer/piano player of The Midway State.

Spencer: Cool.
Nate: Yeah.

Spencer: So you guys are on tour right now, right?
Nate: Yea. Just, uh, driving from um, Florida to Nashville, Tennessee at the moment.

Spencer: Oh that’s gotta be fun.
Nate: It's a long drive.

Spencer: So who inspires you guys to like start the band?
Nate: Making music? Um, I don't know I like. I love like a lot of different groups, like I loved

Spencer: What’s your favorite song to perform?
Nate: Of ours? Right now I love playing a new song off our new record called "Hold My Head Up"

Spencer: How'd you guys come up with the name The Midway State?
Nate: Um, The Midway State was a friend of ours in high school, um, it's kinda like we were brainstorming names for our new band and he said The Midway State and, uh, we actually were on like MSN at the time, like a chat thing. He typed that over and we were kinda like 'Oh that’s cool' we just liked how it looked and what not and so like it kinda suited us at the time. Um, and the meaning of it has just kinda grown as we have.

Spencer: That’s really cool. Um, where are you guys originally from, like where did you grow up?
Nate: We're from like Toronto, Canada like, do you know where Toronto is?

Spencer: Yeah.
Nate: Yeah so we're from there. We're originally from a small town just outside of Toronto called Collingwood, me and Daenen the drummer from there. It's just a small little ski town. And then we moved to Toronto when we finished high school.

Spencer: That’s awesome. So like what inspires you the most when you're trying to come up with a new song to write?
Nate: For myself like as a songwriter, what inspires me is like a lot of different art kind of inspires me like I'll go to a movie, and uhm, like different movies will really inspire me or plays will really inspire me.  But other bands, other music, uhm, poets really inspire me. A lot of different artists, different forms of art in general. Like if I hear a song or watch a movie that I love it like evokes some emotion in me that’s awesome, that like inspires me to want to go create myself, you know? And then, yea, and then just like a lot of just being in that kind of inspirational mood like maybe I'll be up in my cottage or with my family or like everything inside and stuff like that like, um, just stuff that’s with your senses that makes you feel like kind of melancholy and it just happens where you are right at the moment kind of just makes me wanna create something. Kind of the opposite kind of thing of big cities and rush and hustle and bustle and like being busy and that kinda stuff is like anti-inspirational for me.

Spencer: Oh really? That’s interesting.

Nate: Yea like, people always talk about like New York and LA and Paris, stuff like that being so inspirational for artists, but for myself I'm much more inspired by like, um, just like certain types of nature and like being more like in solitude and you know, listening to different art or watching different things of art that’s more what inspires me.

Spencer: T hats really awesome. So how do you guys know each other?
Nate: Me and the drummer met in high school, me and Daenen, we've been best friends for a while. We met like back in high school he was in a different band and I asked him to be in my band cause I needed a drummer. And then we moved to Toronto, um, right after high school and put out, we were looking for a new guitar player and bass player, so we put up ads in the university jazz program, the music program for the universities, and then Mike Kirsh and Mike Wise, bass and guitar, responded to that. Called me up and we were like 'Hey,' and we did auditions with them and we loved them and then that’s kinda how the band ended up as it is. And now we've been together for like a year and a half or two years just about now.

Spencer: And you guys all get along real well?
Nate: Yeah like we never get in a fight, like we get along real well. Like even being a van together like all the time we don't fight because we are all going for the same goal, you know, and we're all just working towards the same kind of thing. Kind of like what we're doing is so fun, it’s hard to fight when you're having the time of your life.

Spencer: Yeah I totally understand that.
Nate: So yeah.

Spencer: Who is your favorite band or musician, like if you had to choose one top person or band?
Nate: Just one person or band?
Spencer: Yeah.
Nate: Um, for me..right now I think it would be Carole King, she has a record called Tapestry I don't know it’s from the 70s and like I really have just, I discovered her record about a year and a half ago and she’s like this incredible songwriter and something about her voice I just heard her sing on the radio and I was like, kind of one of those things I was talking about where hearing someone else really inspired me to do my own thing. So Carole King really inspired me. And also like a band I love the band Fleetwood Mac. They have a record called Rumours, and yeah, Fleetwood Mac great album.

Spencer: Oh I think I've heard them.
Nate: Yeah, they're cool. And then like I'm trying to think of a modern band that everyone might know of. Like I love Snow Patrol right now. I think they're awesome.
Spencer: Yeah, they're cool.
Nate: Do you like Snow Patrol?
Spencer: Yeah.
Nate: Cool.

Spencer: Yeah. Do you, like you yourself, do anything before every show that if you don't do you just like flip out?
Nate: Yeah, like I stretch. I don't have like a crazy weird, like, kind of like symbolic thing, but like I stretch and I do all my vocal exercises and stuff like that. And then I like to drink coffee before shows or tea. Something like hot, I love drinking something hot, just like warming up my voice, singing scales, and jumping around and like stretching.

Spencer: Awesome, like get the energy flowing?
Nate: Yeah exactly, get your body warmed up and make you feel like you’re ready to go on stage, otherwise, I get out there and I feel like, I see all these people, and you feel like unprepared cause I haven't done my things to get ready.

Spencer: Yeah. Did you guys get discovered in any like weird kind of way?
Nate: We got discovered by a guy named Jason McKimbelmen, he's a lawyer in Toronto, and he’s a young guy. And like he wasn’t really big at the time. We were like 17 and we had driven from like car pool like one night down into the city to play in this bar where like we weren't actually allowed in the bar but we lied about our ages so that we could play the show, and we played the show and this lawyer saw us play and talked to us afterwards and then called us up and was like 'Guys I'd love to work with your band I think you guys are really good and whatever' and we were like sure we were super excited. So basically just through Jason he slowly introduced ourselves to more and more people and met our producer named Gavin Brown who's like a really big shot producer in Canada, called us up and was like, 'Guys I got your stuff from Jason, I'd love to start working with you' and uh, it just kinda went from there. It's pretty cool cause we weren't expecting anything to come out of that night in Toronto that we drove down to play but that was kinda like maybe a defining moment for us.

Spencer: Yeah, totally. Do you have a certain philosophy on music?
Nate: Yeah I think that music has to be honest, I think that’s like the most, the one and only important thing about music and all art, it has to be honest, it has to come straight from the artist, because I think that the general public, myself or you, when we're listening to music or other art I think that we can tell in a split second when something’s not honest. And I think that that’s what people relate to is honesty, you know?

Spencer: Yeah, like that’s really deep, like true, so true.
Nate: Yeah, like you can hear it someone’s lyrics, you can hear it in the way they sing, you can see it in the way they dance on stage, like its everything you know?

Spencer: Yeah. So like you guys are definitely in it because it’s something you love to do, not just something you want to do. If that makes sense.
Nate: No, no not at all. I think that like it gets too much work involved and then if you just wanted to do it you would want to go straight to the top right away, but I mean yeah we wanna successful we love doing this more than anything else. I just love writing songs, like that’s my favorite to do in the world, so you know, it works out.

Spencer: Were you in choir or band or anything when you were in high school, or school for that matter?
Nate: I was in the choir in grade 8 but I actually got kicked out of it, for fooling around and shit like that.

Spencer:*laughs*Nice.
Nate: So I wasn’t paying attention enough cause like a few of us were messing around and my teacher told me not to come back.

Spencer: Oh wow.*laughs*
Nate:*laughs*But then in high school and like that I now like I take singing lessons and stuff like that in Toronto and I work with a vocal coach, and practice singing every single day.

Spencer: Have your friends and family been supportive of you?
Nate: Yea like my family has always been, and my friends, they've always so supportive especially like, my mom taught me how to play guitar when I was about 14 and my moms the one who made me take piano lessons when I was like 6 and 7 years old. But um, and both my parents have yeah. My dad bought us a van to start touring when we were 17 years old and although my parents weren't like musical, like they were musical but they weren't like musicians themselves, they just always wanted me to do what I want to do you know? And like I worked hard in school and stuff but music was more important to me and they always supported me in that so I'm like super duper grateful.

Spencer: That’s cool, and your friends were they always there for you or did they ever say that it'll never happen, like you'll never be able to do it?

Nate: Yeah I've had it with kind of a lot of people, I think that anyone who’s really going for something you know if you wanna become any type of goal and you set it I think there’s always gonna be those people that are jealous or that are, just don’t like you and you know they so they always have people tell us you know you guys suck you guys aren’t going anywhere whatever but sometimes it hurts you know but we always kind of like through high school and stuff just like tried to just really do what we really want to and you know and like realize that yea there’s a lot of people like that out there but I mean hopefully when our record comes out and years from now, I mean I'm laughing at them now cause I'm happy to be doing what I want so you can't really change your mind on that.


Spencer AbbottSpencer Abbott is a staff writer at Musiqtone. You can reach her at spencerabbott@musiqtone.com.





(C) 2008 Musiqtone. All Rights Reserved. Any part of this interview cannot be used without written express consent from both the representatives of The Midway State and Musiqtone.
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