When your granddad is the man who coined the term “rock and roll,” you have to be into music, right? Thankfully Santa Monica’s Nettie Rose had a song or two in her heart growing up and today she’s making her way through this crazy industry by doing a lot of it on her own. She’s got a team to help her when need be though, like when she’s taking some time away from the insanity that is LA and living in Nashville to record. She says it’s her way of cutting off from the world.
Which she has been doing over the past year. Nettie has been working hard to follow up her last People I Know. Now her fans and the rest of the world are patiently for her next album, Libertas. We dished a lot about that, as well as what she hopes the future holds for her.
Kendra: If we were to say People I Know and Libertas were siblings, what role would your upcoming, Libertas, play and why – as in the baby, middle child, oldest…
Nettie: I wouldn’t call them siblings, although sometimes I refer to my songs as my “kids.” The first album reflects myself at a younger age. My friend Joe Richey described it as a narrative of “(my) tender and tossed years (ages 16-23).” I couldn’t define it more eloquently than that.
People I Know was an organic, self-produced sound, a straight-off-the-board feel. I think Libertas shows the development of an idea I had with that record, only I execute it more efficiently, resulting in an indescribable, modern-vintage hybrid sound.
Kendra: What track on the new record are you looking most forward to sharing with the world?
Nettie: Those who’ve heard it tend to gravitate towards the songs “Boise” and “All Alone.” Lyrically, those are some of the most vivid on the new LP. I am particularly pleased with the title track, “Libertas.” The mixing in general is also mind-blowing. I know it is a vague thing to say about an album, but Niko Bolas is a genius, and I’m honored he’s done both my records now.
Kendra: You often write with this colorful cast of characters within your lyrics. Who are some standouts on Libertas?
Nettie: My producer Sal Oliveri really understood the narrative-driven aspect of my songwriting, and brought it forth as it never has been before. Pre-production and sonic mood boards were a big part of our process. For example, People I Know painted renegades, vagabonds, and vixens in a youthful, romanticized, “sepia-toned” light. This time around, we can finally see these same characters for who they really are. Meaning, their deep darkness and yearning, and why they are truly important to me.
Kendra: Recently you said that you love playing the smaller places around the country because you “love connecting with people and seeing their eyes light up.” What show in the course of your career so far stands out the most in that retrospect?
Nettie: During the last show in Echo Park, the crowd in the bar-room started dancing around, singing the chorus of “Ride Ride Ride.” Hearing those people chanting my name for an encore, beers swinging in the air, even when all I had was an acoustic guitar accompanying me, felt like a pure high as a songwriter. You seek to captivate people with your songs, that’s the number one priority. That’s what keeps me going.
It doesn’t matter whether I’m playing in these random brick and mortar dives with sawdust floors, because people are willing to come out and support me anyways. They are the ones that matter—the fans.
Kendra: Working on the new album, you haven’t had too many shows going on. You played one recently, but are there more to come in the near future?
Nettie: Yes, I do plan to book more shows in the near future. I don’t play too many, honestly, because I don’t have a booking agent. This is a totally self-run deal, down to hand-cutting my albums!
That being said, when I release Libertas, I’d prefer to have some more promotional momentum when I release it.
Kendra: Come this time next year, what are three things you hope to have accomplished; either personal, professional or musical?
Nettie: If I could license a song or two for film or TV this year, that would be a large accomplishment in my eyes. Libertas as an LP is a cinematic experience that it compliments moving imagery very well.
Kendra: Since I’m all about passing on good karma – who is an artist you’ve come across recently that you want to shout out and why?
Nettie: Not a contemporary artist, but I’d love to “shout out” to the basically unknown songwriter from the 60’s-70’s named Phil Ochs, a big inspiration for me.