Interview: Nate DiRuzza
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My parents listened to a lot of classic rock while I was growing up. Pink Floyd, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, etc. When I was in high school, I really wanted to learn how to play the guitar because I had friends who played and could play some of those songs I loved. I couldn’t do lessons because I was so involved in sports and that took up all of my time. So my friend let me borrow his electric to just teach myself. I was addicted to it, but after about two months, my parents said it’s time to give that back. “You can’t just borrow it forever.” Then, they surprised me with it on Christmas morning. My mom was good friends with his mom and apparently bought it from them, secretly made me wait a month or two until Christmas, and then I really taught myself. If I hadn’t gotten into guitar, I would either be an NBA star, or I’d be drawing for Marvel Comics haha those were my other dreams.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I like to go out with friends, play basketball, go to the movies, go on hikes, and all kinds of stuff. I’m kind of an extrovert who feels energy and happiness around other people. Although I do like alone time here and there, I’m constantly coming up with ideas for songs when I’m out with friends. I’ll pull up google docs on my phone and write down lyrics that suddenly come to me from a conversation. Then a melody might come so I record it in my voice memos haha
How long has your band been around?
I’ve never had a band. I’ve always kind of wanted one, but the only person I have found to keep believing in this is me, so I use session musicians for my albums and sometimes for live shows.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based out of Northeast Ohio. I was raised in Alliance, Ohio. I think it influenced my music because the only thing to do in Alliance Ohio is go to Applebee’s (which was a special occasion) or go see a movie (which was a special occasion). I had a lot of time after soccer, basketball, baseball, track, or whatever I was doing to learn the guitar and write songs about the girls I wished liked me back lol
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
My most memorable shows were when I was playing for schools. I toured the midwest with a motivational concert for Elementary, Middle, and High Schools. Most of the schools chanted my name for an encore, but there was one particular school I’ll never forget. The encore was planned and I had to go hide somewhere before I came back out. So I’m in this locker room all by myself, and about 500-600 kids were screaming my name so loud for me to come back out, I cried. I was in that locker room alone and just started crying haha
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favorite here in Nashville is definitely the Bluebird Cafe. I love a challenge and if it’s too easy, I don’t feel much. The Bluebird was a challenge because everyone is silent when you perform and they are right in front of you. You have all these faces staring at you from a few feet away. Other than that, the House of Blues in Cleveland is one of my favorites. A place I would love to play is the Ryman Auditorium. I want to sell it out. It’s a goal of mine.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
It would be with my friends. Nick Lavery, Corinne McKnight, Ed Cawthon, and Andrei Garthoff. Steve Moore (two time national banjo champion) would be there too and play with me. If it were with super stars, it would be Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, and John Mayer.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Practice even when you don’t want to.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Stop worrying so much because most of the things you worry about never happen.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
There’s a song coming out on my new album called Heartless. I went through a really tough heartbreak and for the first time, didn’t crank out a bunch of songs from it. I was so hurt I wouldn’t even touch my guitar for months. My two friends Nick Lavery and Corrinne McKnight invited me over about every night so I wouldn't have to be alone. They wrote Heartless for me and about the situation I was going through. They felt my hurt and put it in a song. I didn’t really know how good it was until I went to their live show in Franklin where they performed it. I was in the front row and pretended like I didn’t have tears in my eyes. You know you have good friends when they care about you enough to write about your broken heart from your perspective when you can’t.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
My favorite song to play is Rebound. It’s also a new one coming out on the album. I like it because the guitar part is pretty complex and it’s super fun. The most requested is probably Pumpkin Pie from my 2015 album Spell Cast.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
I just brainstorm about things for a while until I think of something I haven’t done before. I also continue to improve on guitar so I’m not playing the same way, or the same type of licks every song.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Life sucks and people are shitty to you, but you have to keep going :)
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
The future holds endless possibilities. Although I get impatient sometimes, I’ve learned to enjoy the journey and love where I am at this moment. If I would’ve been on the mainstream radio and “made it” twelve years ago, I really don’t think I would be as happy as I am right now, have the friends I do right now, and have the dreams that motivate me every day. So my plans for the future are to keep building, growing, and acquiring wisdom.