Having just finished my interview with Hello Industry’s Nathan Peterson, I am inspired to do more. Hello Industry has just dropped their 4th EP, When I Was Young, he is a pretty busy guy. But music is not the only thing on his mind. Hello Industry is husband/wife duo Nathan and Heather Peterson and they have an incredible story. Meeting in college, starting a band together and now fifteen years later still making beautiful music with one another. Their songs are of strength, bravery, broken hearts, loss and triumph. Everyday is a fight for them. Their youngest daughter Olivia was not supposed to be in their lives and they fight everyday to make sure she is. Their love and appreciation for what time they do get is amazing and inspiring. Here is what Nathan had to say…
-Tell me about your new EP, When I Was Young.
This is our fourth album and I think this is our favorite one, it represents who we are the best. It’s really honest and we are really proud of it.
-Your songs all have a theme of being stronger and being brave, they have an inspirational pull but also sounding a bit heartbreaking. How would you describe your music?
I think anytime there is real courage or bravery it always has to be connected to sadness or heartbreak, otherwise I am not sure what that courage is based on. I think they go hand in hand. This album deals with a lot of heartbreak.
-Are you talking about Olivia mostly?
That is definitely the most recent heartbreak although some of these songs were written before she was in the picture. The title track, “When I was Young”, that song is more about me and my wife Heather. How big of a distance there is than we started our lives together and today, we used to have so many hopes and dreams and what we wanted to accomplish. Fifteen years later in our marriage, we are closer now and more aware of our faults and more tired [laughing]. So the song is just talking about what happened to all of our energy and strength. The last three songs were written about our daughter Olivia. We learned a little over a year ago she had a fatal disease and wasn’t supposed to be born alive and if she did, it would maybe be a couple of hours. So the delivery room was set up much like a funeral home. So for the next several months we did a lot of crying and picturing what would she have been like, what color of eyes would she have had. So when she was born it was the worst moment of our lives, it was like she wasn’t alive and that is what we prepared for but then she took a breath and she kept breathing. She lived through the first couple of hours and we wouldn’t sleep because we didn’t know how long we had. But she just kept breathing, so we took her home and now she is 10 months old. We are still told she won’t live much longer, but they have been telling us that for so long. So we live day-to-day just celebrating that she is still here and not thinking about how much longer she will live.
-How did you and Heather meet?
Heather and I met at Northern Illinois University. We were both part of Campus Crusades and she was in a band and I joined the band so we met over music and still together.
-What is your process for writing a song?
Mostly for me is scheduling a time and playing consistently. I just sit down and start making noise and I go from there. I feel like there is two voices in each person. The every day voice that just kind of needs to get by, everyday responsibilities and insecurities. And another voice that comes out when I calm down and when I quiet myself and let that voice speak, and that is the voice that writes the songs. So a lot of times its just about kind of getting out of the way and letting that creative more centered and more of who I am voice speak. That song may have been waiting for months inside me, I just needed to give it that space to show itself.
-Who influences you?
Radiohead is a big influence of ours. Heather is classically trained on the piano, so she is more influenced by that sound. So we pull from a few different worlds.
-What do you hope to accomplish with this new album?
I feel like there is a lot of hiding and avoidance that happens in our culture. We are made to think pain and discomfort are things to be avoided at all costs and we build our lives around that. I think by doing that, by avoiding pain, we also avoid real life and living. I hope that some of these songs help make pain and discomfort okay things, it is a part of living life. Help people spend their energy on things we value the most, family, relationships, art. They can be the most painful things but that is life, we can’t be afraid of getting hurt. It’s kind of a big hope but it’s what I hope people take from this.
Who was your first concert?
Fernando Ortega, he is incredible songwriter and a huge influence to me.