The former UVic student’s new single comes out next week
Nate Silas is a UVic grad whose passion for music has followed him since high school. His latest project is a self-written song titled “Wandering Lunacy” which pays tribute to an old friend. I interviewed Silas to discuss the inspiration and message behind the single.
Tell me a bit about yourself and how you started making music.
I grew up on Vancouver Island and did my undergrad at UVic. I’ve been playing music since I was probably 12 or 13. I started playing in garage bands doing pop-punk, and then in high school I was in a classic rock cover band.
I really have always loved travelling. I’ve always enjoyed going to different places, meeting people, learning different languages, and all that entails. I really got into teaching seven or eight years ago and through that I found my way over to the U.K., where I live now.
I went through some personal stuff very shortly after moving to the U.K. I finally started doing a bit of work on myself, and for the first time in quite a while started actively writing songs. That was where it really started. I thought, ‘I’m in London. I don’t really know anyone here. I’m pretty much on my own. I need to find something to keep myself going.’
Can you tell me about the person who inspired your new single, “Wandering Lunacy”?
Shaunah was someone that I knew in high school. She was genuinely quite a remarkable person, she just had that energy of really making a good impression on everyone who got to know her. I’d say she was kind of on the shyer side. But if you did strike up a conversation with her, she just had this warmth and transcendent quality about her. And she was very, very creative. She was really influenced by Salvador Dali, so her own sketches were really very surreal.
When I moved to the U.K., I was a little bit isolated. I was on a video call with a friend from high school, and she talked about how Shaunah had died earlier that year. I hadn’t heard that. And so I had to absorb that information at the darkest, dreariest time of the year with no friends around.
I just googled her, and her MySpace came up. And yeah, it actually hit me very hard because it was exactly as she looked in high school, and I hadn’t seen her for a number of years after we graduated. Just having that physical image of what she looked like when we were teenagers. I could remember exactly what kind of a person she had been and what it meant to connect with her, to speak with her. That was very, very emotional for me.
Is there a message in your song that you want listeners to hear?
I think certainly a lyric that I feel encapsulates the whole thing is, ‘I’d forgotten how beautiful you were — I guess you forgot that too.’ But I didn’t really mean it romantically, more sort of just beautiful as a human being.
I think that idea of just remembering how beautiful you are is [my] message for all listeners. Only as an adult, I’ve come to realize that [self-love] is categorically not what a lot of people are brought up with. Everyone does have their beauty and [should] just remember to share it and do everything they can to take care of themselves and keep spreading their beautiful light with the world.
How did you share “Wandering Lunacy” with Shaunah’s mom, and what did she think?
A mutual friend heard the song in the original version, and said, ‘Would you mind if I pass this on to Shauna’s mom?’ That was when I knew, ‘Okay, I actually am comfortable releasing this as a single,’ because her mom said, ‘Thank you so much for doing this. You really got it just right.’
The origin of “Wandering Lunacy” was her old email address, which her mom remembered as well.
What is The Compassionate Friends, and why are the proceeds for this song going towards them?
The fundraising element was my mentor’s suggestion. She said, ‘Because it is a song about a friend that you lost, is there a charity you think might be connected that might benefit from whatever revenue comes from streams and downloads?’ And so I thought about it, and then it was actually quite obvious because I know that Shaunah’s mom has for years been going to sessions with The Compassionate Friends. Their whole brand is that they’re not a [counselling service], but they’re a group session for parents who have lost a child.
I was afraid that going to The Compassionate Friends, that they’d say, ‘Oh, well, no, we don’t need your help. We’re fine.’ But someone got back to me within a day or two and said, ‘That’s really lovely.’ They said they would mention it in their newsletter, and they were really grateful for any donations I can make.
What else do you have planned as a musician?
Likely there’ll be another single late February, beginning of March. I’ve recorded with a friend of mine at his university studio. I’m hoping that I can get that EP produced by April 30, my birthday, and I can have four or five songs available.
“Wandering Lunacy” can be found on all music platforms starting Jan. 19. Nate’s Instagram is @nate_silas_music, and he streams twice weekly on Twitch @nate_silas.