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Ford Natirboff sets off on a musical journey

The lifelong musician releases album, celebrates with El Rocko gig

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FORD Natirboff has been playing music since he was young, but it was only recently that he decided to cement his place in the scene with his album Keep On Dreaming. The album is a lush-sounding collection of pop songs that recall bands like T. Rex and even the fuzzy garage psychedelia of Ty Segall.

Natirboff recorded the album mostly on his own, using a Tascam cassette 4-track recorder for the majority of the production and enlisting a roster of local talent like Jason Bible to play certain instruments. It’s been a long time coming for the talented writer and performer, who tells Connect that music has always been a huge part of his life.

“My third memory is playing the drums as a little kid on a little toy set. I was probably, like, five,” he says. “I started playing the drums seriously when I was 12. My mom bought a drum set for herself, so it was just in the house. I started playing on it and we got dual lessons together, and that’s how it all started.”

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Guitar and piano soon followed, and his father bought him a bass the next year. He’d been writing songs the whole time, and even tried to start a band with his cousins - explaining to them that if they worked hard on music as kids, they wouldn’t “have to work later on in life.”

“No one really understood that, so that was the frustrating part for me,” he says with a laugh. “So it’s taken until this past year to be a full-time musician, but I had aspirations of doing that way back when I was young.”

Natirboff’s musical education was informed majorly by the British Invasion, and specifically bands like The Who and The Beatles.

“The Who was the first band I ever got into. They were like a substitute for having a spiritual experience,” he says.

“Before I ever got into spirituality, I had The Who. And The Beatles, when I listen to them it’s like listen to love or family. They’re kind of a level above everybody else. The Rolling Stones are like smoking a cigarette or driving a car for the first time. All of that stuff really got to me.”

The Who’s Who’s Next particularly impacted Natirboff, and he credits the album with changing his life.

“The way [Keith Moon] plays is like the way Jackson Pollock paints,” he says. “Also, the songwriting is this beautiful street poetry that’s easy to understand and relate to. The energy that’s put behind everything is more than any other band - even the punk bands, probably.”

Keep On Dreaming was a long time coming for Natirboff, who says it came out of necessity for him on a creative level.

“It started with me saying, ‘Enough is enough. I have to create something,’” he explains.

“On the first day I got up really early to hunt down and buy some cassette tapes, which are really hard to find. But once I got the tapes, I just started recording everything. I’d compiled a lot of material, so I had a clear vision of what I wanted the theme of the album to be.”

The album, he says, is “exploring what it means to be a dreamer and how it relates to relationships and personal ambition.”

“The songs all sound different,” he says. “There are no songs that really sound alike on the album, but they all carry the same theme so they’re all connected in that way.”

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