Last month, when New Zealand duo Nat & Jono released their new EP We Can Only Laugh, we were immediately spell-bound by their rich folk sounds. The duo weave tunes that blanket you wholly; immersive sonic gems that stay in your body for weeks.
So fresh off the EP’s release, we caught up with the duo to chat about some of our favourite tracks, their history as a duo, and what the future holds.
Fresh off the release of their incredible new EP We Can Only Laugh, we caught up with New Zealand-based duo Nat & Jono for a chat.
HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?
N&J: Hey! All is well thanks. Jono has just returned back to Christchurch after studying in Auckland which is super exciting! We are writing as much new material as we can at the moment and doing gigs here and there! having heaps of fun.
HAPPY: We’re loving We Can Only Laugh! How does it feel having the EP out there in the world?
N&J: Thank you so much that’s so awesome to hear. We’ve over the moon to finally have our stuff out there, oh my! It’s been such a journey and definitely something we’ve worked towards for a long time. It’s a cool feeling to have people listening to our music not only in New Zealand but all around the world. This EP is the beginning of the much more to come!
HAPPY: Six Dollar Shirt was a stand-out track to us… could you tell us a bit about that song?
N&J: Six Dollar Shirt is probably the most mellow track on the EP and also the saddest. It owns some of our most poetic lyrics! The name is no lie, the chorus of the song was actually influenced by a shirt Nat purchased from a thrift store a while back that did indeed cost six dollars. Although the name is silly, the song is a serious track that describes disappointment. For us, the song pays tribute to those times where you simply have done all ya can do but it just doesn’t seem to be enough! This being something that sadly I’m sure everyone has experienced before. The outro is supposed to sound siren-like, similar to an ambulance, which goes hand in hand with the opening line of the song. Ambulance sirens are a symbol of help and safety. In moments of disappointment and sadness, it’s important to speak about it because there are always others around you who want to help!
HAPPY: Did you find there were any recurring themes you explored throughout the EP?
N&J: Well the EP title itself, We Can Only Laugh shines a light on the theme of growing up and in particular, learning new things. I think this idea of youth is definitely weaved throughout a few tracks on the EP in both the lyrics and sound. The five songs also have a large focus on people. Surrounding yourself with those who genuinely make you happy and put you at ease is super important. We hope that the songs on this EP provide a feeling of contentment and relaxation. It’s important to take a moment in this busy world to just step back, be childish and sip the loveliest of teas with good friends.
HAPPY: With this EP, you’ve arrived with such a concrete vision of your sound. How long had you been playing together before you released that first track?
N&J: We first started singing together when Nat was ten years old and Jono eleven, so about eight years! We’ve had plenty of time to develop our sound, one we like to think is original to us!
HAPPY: Are there any particular artists you’re both digging at the moment?
N&J: Yeah for sure, we’re always finding new music that we just love. At the moment I think a standout artist that we dig would be Bon Iver – no explanation necessary! The man’s a genius. Some other artists that I would say our music is taking inspiration from at the moment would be Daughter, Tiny Ruins and Amber Run.
HAPPY: What’s next for Nat & Jono? Any other exciting plans in the works?
N&J: What’s next! A single or two, followed by an album we hope! I think we would also like to have a wee New Zealand and potentially Australia tour at some stage. We are continuing to write as much as possible and hopefully will be playing in a couple of festivals at the end of the year! Plenty to look forward to.
HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!
N&J: Thank you so much!
We Can Only Laugh is available now. Listen above.