Rarely do two individuals with vastly different skill sets manage to intertwine so successfully, however, Australian duo NAATIONS has broken the mould to create something special.
With a fine-tuned sound and danceable, hum-worthy vibes, Australian duo NAATIONS is never too far away. The chemistry between the Nicky Routledge and Nat Dunn flows organically and is more than distinguishable from many others who make up the genre. The two have developed tracks that have popped up throughout music platforms, such as “Want Me More,” “Touch Me” and “Real Life,” their single with Gorgon City and Duke Dumont.
Between Duke Dumont, Gorgon City and NAATIONS, “Real Life” has found much success, racking up nearly 33 million streams on Spotify. Expect that to change soon as with the summer weather it will be hard to take “Real Life” off repeat. Between the insanely catchy acoustic version has a smooth blend of piano keys and the powerful voice of Nat, it will be hard to resist the urge to sing along.
The group manages to find collaborations within the genre as well, such as James Newman, Alex Metric and Baby Daddy, acknowledging the partnerships as an influence to keep them moving in new directions and exploring different methods.
Working with Duke Dumont, Gorgon City, Rudimental and Anne-Marie and all the other people we’ve worked with definitely gives us a reset for when we both come back to NAATIONS. We have been working with James Newman and Baby Daddy from Scissor Sisters on our upcoming releases, in ways we wouldn’t usually attack it from. Alex Metric has helped us shape a lot of what we call ‘British dub’ which I guess is what defines the NAATIONS sound.
A lot of their influence comes from the European nightlife and cities such as London, Amsterdam and Dublin, among others. The two aren’t afraid to admit the influence over their sound, as they often call it British Dub themselves, which they say defines the NAATIONS sound.
“I think our writing style of quite a dark subject matter blended with the uplifting production feels like a nice way to receive maybe quite a serious message,” Nat says. “The tear-drop and star in our NAATIONS visuals are symbolic of that balance of ‘darkness & sadness vs hope & dreams’ scale and that’s the most important projection from us to culture and the listener.”
The creative process in the studio is more than enjoyable, as the two stick to what they know. Nat takes on the melody, lyrics and song structure, while Nicky tackles the production and overall sound. The duo isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty, however, as they find themselves constantly pushing one another and steering within those roles as well.
“We actually were just talking about the 12 months that have just passed which is really such a short time to have had the wonderfully rewarding moments we’ve been fortunate enough to experience so far,” Nat says. “The Brixton show supporting our mates Gorgon City was really special. Our set was brand new and it really went down well on the night.”
Live performances, however, is when they finally get to experience a connection with the crowd. Exciting to the point of overwhelming, their connection to their fans comes about naturally and effortless and they share the sounds together. They reveal that their priority this year is to tour and visit those that have shown copious amounts of support this far. A debut EP is expected later year this, and they’ll quickly take it on the road.
Words by Eric Cooper – Stay tuned for “Air and Water” releasing July 27th via Access Records.