Interview: Nahko And Medicine For The People on their music, delivering medicine to the people, and why this pandemic is not a climate solution

MTTV and giving medicine with their latest album Take Your Power Back

In this interview Nahko And Medicine For The People talks about their latest album Take Your Power Back and why this pandemic is not a climate solution.

Nahko And Medicine For The People is a group of 6 musicians with different backgrounds and ethnicity from different parts of the world namely Nahko Bear, Chase Makai, Justin Chittams, Pato, Max Ribner, and Tim Snider. Despite the difference in culture the group transcends and paved their way towards success. Nahko Bear first started as a solo artist and the group was formed and they called it Nahko And Medicine For The People where they promise to deliver 'medicine' for the people using their music.

When asked what binds them, aside from music, seeing that they came from different cultures they said that it is the passion for a New World.

"The Daily Mix: We love how diverse your band is and how you all came from different places and cultures. Aside from your love of music what do you think is the thing that binds you as a group? 

Nahko And Medicine For The People: One of the many things that bind us together as brothers, comrades, and allies is our passion for a New World. We all want a planet and society that is healthy and loving for our future ancestors."

A lot of artists support a cause but what separates them from Nahko And Medicine For The People is that this group's work surrounds their advocacy. By using music, they were able to express their message nailing them their reputation as outspoken activists and advocate for both social and environmental justice.

Other artists create music and then pay it forward by participating in various charity programs and causes, Nahko And Medicine For The People, on the other hand, work with their advocacy as the center and their songs are just one of the proofs.

Aside from the causes they support listed on their site

Nahko And Medicine For The People released their first album Dark As Knight in 2013. The album was a critical and commercial breakout that lead them in the Top Ten of Billboard Heatseekers Chart. The recognition of their record brought them the band to different festivals around the world.

Seven years after the release of their first album, and a bunch of albums and EPs after, the mark they left with Dark As Knight is still burning up until this day. Two of the song from their first album is part of their Spotify most popular hits- Black As Night at #2 and Budding Trees at #1.

"TDM: Your Top 5 songs on Spotify contains two songs from your 2013 album ‘Dark as Night’ (Budding Trees is #1 and Black As Night is #2). How do you feel knowing that people can still relate to and continue to love your older songs up until this day? 

NAMFTP: It feels great! I think new folks are discovering the music every day, too, which is exciting. There’s something timeless about those songs. Even though I play some of them nearly every night when on tour, I find new meaning and inspiration from them every time. The artist in me looks back at those songs, how I wrote them and how I recorded them, and thinks about all the ways I wished I’d done things differently, but they are classics just the way they are!"
Like other artists, Nahko And Medicine For The People's creative writing process vary from one song to another. With six members in tow, their usual process is Nahko usually having the framework of their piece and then they will fill the gaps all together like one great team.

"TDM: What is your creative writing process like? How does each one of you contribute to your music and how do you decide if the song is good enough? 

NAMFTP:My writing process is so different for each song. It’s often difficult to make myself sit down and finish something. I usually have the skeleton to songs for quite some time. I work best, when it comes to finishing something, when I’m around other people creating and writing. The fellas in the band all contribute a lot, musically. As with writing the songs, the same often goes with writing parts for the band. I’ve generally got a skeleton and then we will fill in the gaps as a group. Generally, it’s not really about if the song is good enough, but more so if it will make the album. If a song needs more work and just isn’t cutting it, I never throw it away entirely. One of my tips to other songwriters is never throw a song away. You never know when a part of it or all of it could get used down the road!"
Their teamwork is not the only thing that makes everything easier for them. A band member with knowledge of different instruments and their expertise only leaves no doubt about their accomplishments.

However, as much as possible the band does not want to complicate each of their songs with chords and instead gives their focus on the story.

"TDM: In one of your interviews, you mentioned that you're the kind of the musicians who refuse to complicate your work so you just use simple lyrics and chords and choose to focus on the story instead. Your music speaks volumes despite having simple lyrics and chords, so far what is the most challenging work/song you've done and how did you tackle it? 

NAMFTP: Well, the entire creation of this new album ‘Take Your Power Back’ was definitely the biggest challenge to date. However, to get specific, the song on the album [entitled] “Twisted” was very troublesome to get ‘right’. It went through somewhere near a dozen iterations before the final product. We’ve been trailblazing our own ‘Medicine’ sound for years now and this song and album fall in line with my insatiable passion for non-genre conforming songwriting. After all the versions of “Twisted”, we managed to get it to a place that felt right. It just took a lot of patience and throwing paint at the wall!"
The growth of their music is shown as a heart on a sleeve, it's very apparent and reverberating with their every music release. When asked what are the factors that affect the whole vibe of their music Nahko revealed that it is a mix of many things.

"TDM: Your music evolves throughout the time, aside from life's experiences, what factors do you think affect the whole vibe of your music? 
NAMFTP: What I’m listening to, how I’ve changed, my love for the ever-shifting relevance and creation of new music and genres, what mood I’m in, what message I’m trying to convey, annnnnd maybe what kind of song I think it is."
When we think about a band we somehow assumed that their lives solely revolve within their group only- or at least mostly. Nahko And Medicine For The People band members actually have a life outside their group! Aside from having a personal life and life as a band, each one of them actually still has their own solo career in music.

Being always on the road can sometimes become hectic and tiresome and being able to balance their musician and personal life is a lot of challenges.

"TDM: We love how despite being in a group, you guys have different lives and you are living it individually. How and why is this important to you? 
NAMFTP: Having a life outside of being a full time touring musician is what we all had before the job became demanding. It’s been tricky to balance home life + tour life, but practice definitely is required for this task! We are advocates for wholesome, holistic living and therefore make every effort to seek and live the balance. We all struggle, but it is part of the journey."
If we were to describe Nahko And Medicine For The People, it would be holistic. They don't just linger nurturing people's emotions with their music, they also take a course of action to achieve their goal to serve medicine for everyone. They don't just make you realize things but also continue to teach you how to live holistically.

Aside from the projects and programs of the causes they support, they also have Medicine Tribe Television Presents: REAL MEDICINE where they invite guests and speakers to talk about societal issues and how they are holding up with everything that is going on in the world- another way of delivering medicine to the people!

When asked about what he has to say to everyone in light with the COVID-19 pandemic, he answered beautifully- a genuine answer all the people must know.

"TDM: One of your mantras is to deliver medicine to the people by creating music, but you don’t just heal the people but also our environment through your songs and causes. In light of our current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, its tragic effect on mankind and the positive effect on Earth's environmental problems, what can you say and advice to other people? 
NAMFTP: I would remind everyone that this pandemic is not a climate solution and as much as I would love this to be a silver lining, it is not. The next trillion-dollar crisis is here and steadily worsening and we need to design a global plan that helps us become more resilient to the climate crisis. I would offer that many of us have been ready for our world to evolve long before this pandemic. If there is a silver lining, it’s that social norms can and will change in seconds. There is hope for a hive mind. Returning to a system that does not value our health or our vulnerable communities is not an option. Creating a regenerative system that works for all of Creation is imperative and the opportunity is now if we can take it."
To end this post, Nahko promises fans more and it includes acoustic albums, motorcycle tours, and big medicine!

Listen to Nahko And Medicine For The People's latest album TAKE YOUR POWER BACK.

The Daily Mix Mag is an online music website based in the Philippines which is dedicated to all the latest news and happenings in the music industry. We feature news, events, latest song releases, and artists. For collaborations and partnerships please see this link.

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