Interview: Robb Nash
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
***NOTE, this is via Eric Alper***
I always loved music but never thought I’d do it for a living growing up since band was my worst mark in school, and I didn’t have a good enough voice to get into choir. For me, music was just a way for me to tell my story and try to spread some hope.
When asked in grade 12 where I thought I’d be in 10 years…I said I’d be working at the local bank. They have my application, and I am still waiting to hear back.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
The job I had before getting a record deal was being a radio DJ where I did impressions and prank-called people…still can’t turn that part of me off!
How long has your band been around?
There have been many member changes like so many bands, but we recorded our first Album in 2001.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I live in Winnipeg, but band members live in a few other provinces.
How did you come up with the name of your band, and what does it mean to you?
We chose the name Live On Arrival because I was found Dead on Arrival after a car accident and resuscitated. I got a second chance and am trying to make something of it. But after walking away from the record deal, we have just gone with the name of my charity, “The Robb Nash Project.”
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Kitchener Ontario where we played an out door show. I sang a song called Hello Goodbye that I wrote about a homeless guy I met on tour. Hearing the crowd singing along to the song, which was so personal to me, gave me chills.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My Dad was never a fan of my music but was a HUGE Johnny Cash fan. So after walking from my record deal, I had the chance to do some prison shows. That has to be at the top of the list. Meeting inmates and hearing their stories of what they went through that brought them to such a dark place really rocked my perspective on how I look at people. Often the difference between you and the person next to you is the environment they grew up in.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
That’s right…..it would be a diverse stage.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Find out WHY you are doing it. If you’re trying to be famous…you don’t sign autographs
for a long time. If you want to be rich…..you don’t make money for a long time if ever. But the reason you play music is a way to express yourself and share a song with anyone willing to listen….that gets you through the days when there are 4 people in the audience and $4 in your wallet.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
I wish I wouldn’t have always waited for the next big milestone to celebrate. To quote Andy from the office, he said something like, “it’s too bad you don’t realize you’re in the good old days before you leave them.”
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I know it’s cliche but as an artist….you’re usually most pumped about your latest music, but the title track of our new Album called THIS IS WAR. It talks about the fact that we are at war with an invisible enemy called mental illness. It talks about the fact that we think we have created paradise in the western world. But is it really the promised land we think it is? If it is, why are there so many suicides and overdoses? I think it’s time to unite and fight because I believe we are losing some of the most gifted people.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
As much as I love our heavy songs…I like when we have the chance to break it down and unplugged shows with Cellos and Violins. Most requested might be a song called Trouble Child that we worked on with a bunch of “outcasts” from a few alternative schools where we had them work the whole process of writing a song. From playing guitar, drums, keys, vocals, lyrics, studio time, photoshoots and designing an album cover. If you have the chance check out the video on YouTube.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Every song is either about something I have gone through or someone we met on tour. Recording this new Album was tough because normally we meet at the studio in Vancouver, but we wrote and recorded all 18 songs without every being in the same room. A challenge but an amazing experience that I wish we would have filmed.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
That someone else has felt what you have felt—love, pain, hope, heartache. Everyone has headphones in their ears walking down the street. We all feed ourselves with something. It can calm you down before you go to bed and get you pumped up before a hockey game.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Oh, if you could tell me a band that hasn’t, I’d be shocked. When you write together, share the stage, tour together….you become more than friends. It’s a very personal experience, and unfortunately, sometimes, when people said that the current lineup was no longer working…I was the guy that had to lead the discussion….and I lost one of my best friends.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
After staying underground for the last few years….because of covid….we have decided it is time to share the songs and stories we have collected over the last ten years of touring. We signed a distribution deal with Warner Canada, who is helping get our new music out there
and the first single just dropped called this is war with the Album to follow soon.
We also shot a documentary over the last two years that will be launching soon that has us following up with a handful of people we met on our tour through prisons, reserves and schools who handed us their suicide notes….to see where they are now, and we could not be more thrilled.
We also put together a team of psychologists, social workers and teachers to take those stories and songs to create on an online curriculum for schools that we beta tested in 4 provinces in Canada, and the response has been amazing.
Info about all of this is available at www.RobbNash.ca