Off the back of a two-year hiatus from music, Melbourne crooner Nasty Mars details some of the interpersonal growth he experienced over that time and the creative process behind his new single ‘Sage’. Known as a staple figure in Melbourne’s live music scene bringing a unique blend of soul, R&B and hip hop, Nasty Mars returns with a new video and fresh direction, experimenting with a sound we haven’t heard in his previous releases. The track features fellow Melbourne artists in veteran Baro Sura and newcomer Boy Ace, accompanied by a slick visual directed by longtime friend Sam Morton. We caught up with Nasty Mars about his new sound and some of his biggest lessons from lockdown.
How have you been the past two years? We haven’t heard from you musically in such a long time.
All in all, I’ve been pretty good over the past two years. The last time I released music was in 2019, I released an EP with my band, the Martians. We were getting ready to take the next step and release more music and whatnot. Then the pandemic hit. In terms of music, the most annoying thing about the pandemic was it made me not want to release music. Because it sort of brought me back to a place where I had time to sit down and think about everything. And in that time, I started thinking about the music industry, society and the way people consume music. I just really had to sit back and just learn. So, I did a lot of self-learning over the past two years. Because there was a lot of information that I just didn’t have, that I’d gained just from being locked down. Living in Melbourne, being in the city that was the most lockdown city in the world, we had a lot of time that we had to spend and learn by ourselves, thinking about life, reflecting on everything. It was perfect, because back in 2019, a lot of the moves I was making and a lot of the thoughts that I had, my preconceptions about music, after taking the time to sit down and learn about everything, I just realized that a lot of them were wrong. So in a way these past few years there were a lot of negatives, but there’s a lot of positives too.
Did you record much over the past 2 years?
I recorded a lot. I went back to my roots of experimenting with making music by myself, which is how I started before I linked up with the band, The Martians. Towards the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, myself and the Martians started making these songs, but then when the pandemic hit, we were unable to get together and make music. And when I make music with those guys, the way I like to do it, is by getting in the room with them and that’s how I feel music of that nature should be made, you know, when everyone’s playing the instruments, and you guys are all in the room together and you’re making music in the most organic way possible. But when the pandemic hit, we weren’t able to do that anymore. In the same way that it forced me to sit down and think about everything and reflect it also forced me to sit down and make music by myself. I recorded a lot and there’s a lot of demos in the hard drive now that will never see the light of day. The hard drive classics.
Is this your first music video? I couldn’t find any online, any social media platforms.
Yeah, this will be my first music video that I’ve ever released officially, and I’m happy about the fact that I got to shoot it with a long-time friend of mine, Sam Morton. We’ve been friends for a long time, we grew up in the same area in the southeast suburbs of Melbourne. And I became privy to his work when he asked me if I could be the subject of his documentary. And in that process, having been the subject of a documentary that he made about music and about me—I came to learn that Sam has a strong attention to cinema. So, it just seemed like it was the right decision to work with him. We both have a mutual love of cinema and we both feel that when it comes to music videos, there should be a cinematic aspect to the video. This is Sam’s time sharing a music video with the public. I’m really excited for him.
The song is different from your 2019 Project Heaven’s Got a Groove. Is this your new style per se? Or can we still expect some slower Soul and R&B music?
The past two years for me and making music has been a lot about experimenting. The EP that we released in 2019 is really just like one iteration of the type of music that I make, and I make so many different types of music. It’s really a sort of reflection of what I listen to. I love D’Angelo, but I also love Lil Baby. Throughout the process of experimenting, I feel like I’ve made a lot of different types of music. So, this is just one of those things. So definitely a lot different to what I have made before, but it is also definitely a reflection of the fact that my tastes in music is extremely eclectic.
The song features Baro Sura, a frequent collaborator, and Boy Ace. This is your first song with Boy Ace, so I was just wondering how did this song come about?
The way the song came about, me and Ace were linking up to finish another song that we were working on. We had to re-record a couple of the vocals on the other song that is also produced by Hancoq, this song is produced by him as well. We went to Hancoq’s house, Baro had come over just to kick it. And as we’re recording the vocals for the other song, we finished it pretty quickly. He started playing beats and when he played the beat for this song Sage, Ace and I started writing to it instantly. I wrote the hook quickly, Ace wrote his verse quickly and then shortly after Baro wrote his verse, and it’s just one of those really organic things that happen. Oftentimes the homies just link up, a bunch of us in the studio. Someone plays a beat, and we just write to it.
I know you love a good live show, with the return of live shows, do you have anything in store for the people?
Most definitely, The Martians and I were working on a set to play and this show that was supposed to happen July this year. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic it got cancelled. But on that note the show that we were practicing, building and designing to play, we still have intentions to play that show. We have been working on that slowly. We’re very keen to present what we have been working on early sometime next year.
With the year coming to a close, what’s the plan going into 2022?
Going back to the note of really sitting down and trying to learn as much as possible about music, the music industry and the game. At the end of the day whenever there’s business involved, it’s a game. So, going into 2022 My plan is to release a lot more music and start working on things on the business side of the music game. I’ve been working closely with a couple of my day ones, family and we’re just really looking at ways to build something and navigate the blossoming Melbourne music and Australian music landscape in a way that we can, really help put ourselves on and other people on. Just really contribute to the culture. So, 2022 for me is about making significant business moves, whilst also releasing as much music as I possibly can and good music because at the end of the day, all I want to do is just share good music with everyone. That’s what this is all about.
Follow Nasty Mars here for more and check the video for ‘Sage’ above.