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Thee Nathaniel Fregoso & the Bountiful Hearts

Bleistiftrocker Interview

Check out this interview I did with Bleistiftrocker! Everyone gets a namecheck: The Make-Up, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Les Savy Fav, Cate Le Bon, Amyl & the Sniffers, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Wet Leg, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Dyan Valdés and The California Raisins. You can find the English version below.

Photo by Alison Bell.

In the "Questionnaire" section, artists answer a total of 15 questions on the subject of music. They are also given an additional task: take a music-related photo or draw or write something with a pencil. This time with Nathaniel Fregoso.

First CD: The California Raisins - Sweet, Delicious and Marvelous
The California Raisins were a group of raisin clay figures who made soul and R&B music. They were popular in the 80's and although the music was very white and the concept quite racist, it was this CD that brought me songs like "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and " (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay”. As I got older I discovered Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Otis Redding - all of whom had a huge influence on me and my performing style.

First concert: My father was the manager of a Spanish language radio station in Los Angeles and growing up I went to a lot of concerts. People like Vicente Fernández, José José, and Selena were very famous in Latin American countries and in the Los Angeles community, but as a brown-skinned child of immigrants trying to blend into California culture, they didn't really resonate with me. I think it was this outsider status that drew me to punk when I was in college. The shows that really influenced me were the late 90's indie bands - The Make Up, Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Les Savy Fav and Blonde Redhead. I went to these shows all the time and there I found like-minded people and a sense of community.

Earliest childhood memory related to music: My life in music begins with my father. He was a songwriter in Mexico and wrote a popular standard called "Sabrás Que Te Quiero" as well as many other songs. Music was always playing in my house and he would often rewrite lyrics to make them humorous and sing them in the singer's exaggerated voice. He never gave me songwriting lessons, but he did teach me how to have fun with language and I think that's why I'm so drawn to music today. It's a form of play for me.

Current favorite song: Cate Le Bon - "Harbour"
I love Le Bon's new album "Pompeii" and I keep playing the song "Harbour". The song is about feeling safe in the arms of someone special, but the lyrics remain a bit abstract and I like that. I recently saw her at the Frannz Club in Berlin and was blown away by her performance. The sound reminded me of Iggy Pop's "The Idiot". She comes closest to Bowie and yet is an original.

Most Embarrassing Favorite Song: Kanye West - "Jesus Lord"
Kanye West is a problematic figure in pop culture and I disagree with many of his actions. Apart from that I'm a fan of his music and I think the Donda album is a masterpiece. When Kanye raps, "And if I talk to Christ, can I bring my mother back to life?" / And if I die tonight, will I see her in the afterlife?” I get goosebumps. I'm not a religious person, but I like religious songs because they come from a place of fervent love and devotion.

Own favorite song: Thee Nathaniel Fregoso & the Bountiful Hearts - "Oh Baby!"
I was once engaged to a woman in Los Angeles and I wrote this song for her. I think it illustrates our complicated relationship quite well: "You give me something to live for / You give me someone to kill for / That's what I'm getting my thrills for". We shot the video during a soundcheck at the Columbia Theater in Berlin when we opened for our friends Allah-Las. I'm now happily married with two kids, but sometimes it's fun to listen to this young, angry, and confused guy.

Favorite Song Line: Jay-Z - "Kill Jay-Z"
I like the whole concept of this song - kill your old personality and become someone better, "Cry Jay-Z, we know the pain is real / But you can't heal what you never reveal". If Jay can reflect on his life, see the flaws, open up, and shed a few tears, can't we all?

Best concert: Amyl & the Sniffers at Zukunft am Ostkreuz 
Amy Taylor is rock 'n' roll's greatest frontwoman. She's like a boxer on stage. You can't take your eyes off her and she might just punch you in the eye. As a performer she is very inspirational and I couldn't stop dancing throughout the show.

Worst Concert: I went to Beach House a few years ago and left halfway through the concert because I found it so boring. There was absolutely no energy on stage and every song sounded exactly like it did on the record. Nevertheless, I like their new album "Once Twice Melody" very much. So maybe all is forgiven.

Best Own Concert: In 2007, The Blood Arm opened for Muse in a Roman amphitheater in Nîmes, France. I don't know if it was our best concert, but it was definitely the most exciting.

Vinyl, CD or mp3? Vinyl. I don't have a CD player and mp3s take up too much space on my computer.

Download or stream? Streaming. I remember a time when you couldn't take all your music with you everywhere and I don't miss it.

Club concert or festival? Club concert. I want to be able to touch the singer's hand and feel their sweat on my face.

Three songs that should not be missing from my mixtape: Wet Leg - "Chaise Longue", Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen - "Like I Used To", Dyan Valdés - "Fade Away"

Which album I definitely won't take to a desert island: The California Raisins - Sweet, Delicious and Marvelous

About the photo: A few months ago, my in-laws drove my wife's childhood piano from London to Berlin. It's in our living room now and I love playing it and thinking about her taking lessons as a kid. It's also wonderful to see our kids fooling around on it.
Categories
Holiday

Big Day Out

Saw The Stones and visited the Mick Jagger statue at Big Day Out in Dartford today. I also saw some dinosaurs. I’ll leave the puns to you but it was a fantastic day.

Categories
Holiday

Portsmouth, England

24 hours in Portsmouth. What a town. Thank you, Giovanni, Molly Bounds , James Sharp , Hannah Smith and all my new buddies! I had a wonderful time!

Categories
Family

Gravesend

It’s wonderful to be back in England. 🇬🇧 ☀️

Categories
Family

Roofensee

Family weekend at the lake. 🏊🏽‍♂️

Categories
Music

Gorillaz

I had a great time at the Gorillaz concert at Parkbühne Wuhlheide this weekend. A massive thank you goes to Brit Bee and Nathan Ihara for facilitating these magical moments. Scroll through for a peek. 轢 轢 轢

Categories
Music

2022 Faves

I’m here for you: I’ve put up a playlist of my fave tracks of 2022 thus far. This includes Pusha T , Wet Leg , Automatic, Brezel Göring, Gene Galaxo , Cate Le Bon , Die Sterne , Lizzo and lots more. Link’s right here.

Have a nice weekend! 🍦

Categories
Music

Fête de la Musique 2022

Fête de la Musique 2022: there was a 30-minute window after the kids went to sleep for me to catch live music. I walked across the street to Bildungs- und Kulturzentrum Peter Edel in Weißensee and listened to some classical pieces played by Yanick Rafalimanana (my neighbor) and Inmo Yang. They were fantastic. It’s great to live in a city that supports the arts!

Categories
Family

Weekend Fun

Great weekend with Ali Bell and the kids! Lots of parties, lots of sun. 🌞

Hard to believe now – it’s cold and rainy today. 🌧

We’ll get through it. Have a good week everyone!

Monday, Monday
Categories
Bountiful Hearts

Pitfire Review

I’m grateful for all the positive press for Keep It Wild! The EP is available to stream everywhere and if you haven’t seen the video yet, it’s here. Check out this great review from Pitfire:

Mr. Fregoso has been hanging around in the indie rock underground of Berlin for a long time and has been working on this project with the long name for about two years. This small three-song EP shows that you can discover happy pieces between punk, indie and something glamorous with this group.

The opening title track sounds a bit like Dead To Me or something, and it’s a lot of fun. Crooked vocals, self-hating lyrics, tempo and punk guitars, it all puts you in a good mood. It gets a little wilder afterwards with the quasi-glam track «Belarus», where the name of this beautiful country is repeated endlessly in the chorus and one is also reminded of 80s glitter rock. The bouncer “Out of Key” also sounds chaotic and wild, which shakes you up with really appropriately weird indie vocals and quasi-Libertine memories. After that, a nice acoustic piece sung in Spanish is included on my promo copy. Crude but nice.

I hadn’t heard of Fregoso before, but this is a fun thing in every sense. Moody and energetic 10 minutes with sometimes wild singing. Cool!

If you made it this far, here’s wishing you a fantastic weekend! ☀️