In what could be called a musician’s dream job, Nick Saxon hooked up with National Geographic and has been travelling the globe and documenting what he sees, with his music as the soundtrack. Having flown back into town just prior to Reverb going to print, Pearl Davies caught up with Saxon to find out how his life has changed.
National Geographic — you have been with them for a while now yes?I’ve been working for National Geographicfor over 12 months now and absolutely love it! It’s an honour and privilege to work for such an internationally respected brand. After a solo show in Sydney, I was introduced to a NatGeo representative. They were looking for a male presenter and apparently had been following my music on Youtube. It was my music that got me here. It was through hardwork gigging and stepping out into the unknown. After I quit my job as a dogman in 2009 to chase my music dream, it has been far from easy. But the rewards are showing. I had no previous experience in TV or presenting, so there was a lot of pressure on me to perform. When we were shooting in PNG, it was my debut as a presenter. There was a producer, sound man... the works. We were in Milne Bay for the Annual Canoe Festival. I was standing-by taking some still shots on my camera when the producer ran towards me shouting, “Nick, come on, we want you in this shot!”. There was a tribe of warriors dancing a traditional dance in front of the whole village and I was meant to be in the middle. I swallowed my fear and thought, “this is it, Nick, just get in there and do it!”. It was an amazing experience, something I will never forget.
What do you think is the most valuable lesson you have learnt during your travels and how has this influenced your music?Every place I visit has an entirely new feeling to it. You never know what to expect. The architecture, the landscape, the culture... always different and always changing. That’s the beauty of travelling, you evolve as a person as you continue to travel. And for a musician, your music and song writing evolves as well. The thing that affects me most, though, is the people. I have met the most incredible people with unbelievable stories of hardship and suffering as well as success and glory. It’s the people that influence me.You have travelled through quite a few developing nations. I’ve seen some very poor areas of the world — places that make you want to breakdown. There was a time in Nepal where we were in transit between locations, along aback road through some farming village son our way to Chittawan National Park. I was watching the colours of the fields flash past my window when I looked to the left and saw a man on all fours, naked and covered in what looked like human faeces, crawling across a patch of grass. Attached around his neck was a rope, like a leash, that a woman was holding. She was taking him for a walk. There was something seriously wrong with this image — it burnt into my mind like a scar. Something as simple as saying hello, or donating some extra cash when you buy an apple helps. There are also stacks of charity organisations shown in front of us every day on TV. Child sponsorships, fundraisers — every little bit helps. Awareness is the first step.
Do you do a lot of reflection and writing on your flights?Yes I do. Airports and planes are a great chance to polish some lyrics, or work on that riff that’s been bugging you for weeks. It’s funny, the amount of musos you meet in airports when you pull out the guitar and start singing. It’s a great way to break the tension.
You’re literally making your own soundtrack to your travels, to your life. Do you think you’ll ever run out of words and expressions?I hope not! I hope when, or if, the travelling slows down, the songs won’t. I guess I’ll have to see. If that’s the case, it looks like it’s back overseas for some waves and jams.
Any news on your next album?Yes, I have exciting news on the new album. I wanted to write a nautical soundtrack, creating stories from my life and putting them into a nautical theme. So I drove out to Fennel Bay with all my gear and recorded a demo on my folks’ little timber boat, so I could capture the elements of the surroundings — water, birds, mooring lines…
Nick Saxon performs at:the Brewery, Byron Bay, on Friday June 29Hoey Moey Hotel, Coffs Harbour, on Sunday July 1The Aztec, Forster, on Friday July 13