Nate Brazier wants to rewrite the pop formula

100%: With three EPs and a few viral TikTok tracks under his belt, the 20-year-old is cooking up a distorted, breakbeat-influenced flavour of R&B. We asked him all about Lorde, Mexican food and the perils of indecision.

Nate Brazier is having a hectic day. He’s preparing for the release of his second EP of the year – and there’s high demand for it, too. His 2022 track Patterns was a TikTok hit, and Brazier’s songs have since been played over 10 million times on the platform.

I’m really glad it connected with people,” Brazier says of Patterns, Zooming in from his mum’s place in Thames Ditton, Surrey. After that, I finished the song as quickly as possible to put it out properly. Everything snowballed from there, and that’s how my label found me. I now get to do this full-time, which is the best.”

As he tells it, Brazier couldn’t keep his hands off the instruments in the music room at school. I was probably a bit jarring, going to all the after school clubs and obsessing over music lessons, all of that,” he says, laughing. Taking matters into his own hands, as a teenager, Brazier bought himself a laptop and learned the basics of production as a way to enhance his songwriting.

I was massively inspired by experimental production, people like Arca and A.G. Cook,” Brazier continues. My now manager, Jim, found me via a song I randomly put on Spotify when I was 16. Since then I’ve been building up a bit of an arsenal of music, doing lots of sessions and trying to find a sound.”

The DIY production lessons paid off, then. Brazier’s sound pulls threads from so many different genres such as future garage, dance music and R&B, that it kind of defies clear categorisation. The proof is in his new four-track project, Nothing is Sacred. I’d call it alternative R&B or even pop,” he says. I’ve always wanted my stuff to be really vocal-led, like proper songs. With this EP, I wanted to lean into that and throw in some hip-hop sounds, too. But the vocals are what tie it all together.”

On stand-out track Episode, Brazier contends with coming of age: Hold it down around the grounds of foes /​When all the hounds of hell in my head are home /​Fought our ground and found our corner stones,” he sings against a beat that’s equal parts melancholy and energetic. I’ve used quite a lot of iconographic references, looking to things like religion to try and find my own tribe, and through that, myself.”

The artist Brazier first remembers being really obsessed with is Lorde, and specifically her album Pure Heroine. She’s just writing about boredom, her friends, her hometown,” he says. It wasn’t necessarily about love and partying, which is what I thought everything had to be about. That was so influential, not following that pop formula. I thought: I can do this. I can write about this stuff too.’”

10% Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?

I was born in Morden, Wimbledon way. I have such fond memories of living there. Then we moved a bit further out when I was around 13, which was a shame because that’s when you’re just getting old enough to be more involved in London. Now I’m based between London and Bristol.

20% If you were cooking to impress someone, what would you make?

I’m not that good of a cook but I love Mexican food. That’s my go-to cuisine, so I’d probably cook a chilli because you can throw so much in the pot, as long as you’ve got a good base for it. So I’d go really extra with that, add in all the salsa, guac, sprinkle a bit of cheese on there and it instantly looks the part.

30% What’s a bad habit you wish you could kick?

I’m very indecisive, whether it’s finishing a song or choosing a sandwich for lunch!

40% How do you overcome that?

I need to have a friend with me at all times. But if I’m with another indecisive person, nothing’s going to happen whatsoever. I need to work on that, for sure.

50% What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?

I’m trying to think of something that isn’t crazy cliché, because a lot of good advice normally is. This is quite cringe but someone once said to me: ask for forgiveness rather than permission. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. At the end of the day, it’s so much easier to apologise and admit you fucked up. Things always work out in the end.

60% If you ruled the world for a day, what would go down?

They have the Fête de la Musique in France, which is basically a massive block party over one weekend in the summer. It’s like carnival here in London. I’d have one of those every week – street parties, sound systems. I hate going to a club and having to get through security. It’s way more fun to just rock up. By law, everyone has to get lit at least once a week.

70% Love, like, hate?

I love mornings – they feel full of freshness and opportunity. Inspirational, I know. I like green tea, even though I’m not sure if it’s good for you. Either way, I’m hooked on the bland, hot taste. This is going to sound really bad but I hate feeling unproductive or like I haven’t got anything to do.

80% Dream holiday destination?

Probably Mexico. The culture there is amazing, the sun’s always out. They’ve got great music and great food, beaches, cities… Everything.

90% Most memorable DM you’ve ever received?

I got a DM from Potter Payper once. It was really unexpected. I only had two songs out by that point, and neither of them sounded like anything he’d be into. He just said, I like what you’re doing”. It was really cool.

100% If you could travel back in time to watch an iconic music act perform, who would it be?

I think I’d want to see Lauryn Hill in the 90s, when she’d just left The Fugees. There are so many videos of her on YouTube where she’s just spitting wisdom for hours. She’d be so special to see.

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