Nathan-Paul and the Admirables at The Mousetrap Indianapolis, IN – Interview
The Admirables performance supporting Moon Hooch at The Mousetrap impressed me so much I had to ask them for an interview. To my surprise they said yes, and in a few minutes I was sitting with the whole band. The Admirables are Nathan-Paul – Alto saxophone and vocals, Tommy Lehman – Trumpet and vocals, Matthew Derubertis – Bass Guitar, and Michael Ode – Drums
According to Nathan-Paul, The Amirables is a state of mind. “I can’t really explain our beginnings, because… I think – Did we come from a shooting star? We’ve been alive for longer than you can imagine.” Tommy wondered, “Are you gonna tell her what planet we came from?” I had asked them to tell me the origins of the band. The first answers came in the form of cackling from more than one of the musicians. Nathan proclaimed my question to be hilarious. According to Mike, he started subbing in the band his freshman year of college, “Which was like, 6 years ago.” From this I can deduce that Nathan-Paul and the Admirables from Cleveland, Ohio have been around for at least a few years, but I get the impression that the band didn’t really want to be too specific. “The beauty of this band is evolution,” says Nathan. Mike agrees, saying “What we were playing back then and what we’re playing now is completely different in approach.” Nathan wants his band members and listeners to be along for the ride, saying “People have always wanted a solid idea of whats happening, but I’ve never been able to give that, you just gotta be along for the ride.” Matthew says, “The sooner I embraced the chaos, the more fun it became, and the better the music got, and the better the feeling behind it.” If The Admirables are providing a ride for their listeners, they are quite the vehicle. The Admirables are Nathan’s own sonic experiment. They started as a soul cover band and have evolved to their current incarnation. The musicians have been playing since childhood. Mike got his first drum set when he was 3 and doesn’t even remember life before drums. Matthew is the only member that has been with Nathan-Paul since the beginning, stating, “The people that didn’t make the cut got too confused. Early on I learned if I asked Nathan too many questions about what was supposed to happen in the music they weren’t going to get answered, so I was like alright I can just do what I want.” He does it well. I watched the show from several places around the venue, but I found myself gravitating toward the rhythm section so I could watch Matthew up close. As a fellow string player I was extremely impressed. I saw him play a multitude of techniques with a ridiculous amount of ease. Matthew and Mike form a rock-solid rhythm section of the dirtiest, funkiest, most wonderful kind, and provide an impressive foundation to the music. This band is unique in that it doesn’t have any chordal instruments, and as awesome as the sax and trumpet leads are, the rhythm section has to be absolutely tight and solid. It works for them very well.
Most audiences aren’t used to hearing bands without guitars or keyboards carrying the main structure of the music, but The Admirables create an environment that stands on its own. The band’s sound is absolutely infectious. It’s a combination of funk, soul, and jazz sometimes decorated with chant-like vocals. Their music includes looping riffs and notey melodic phrases provided by trumpet and saxophone. Nathan and Tommy complement each other well while harmonizing complicated phrases, played in sync during even the most complicated sounding unison runs, and frequently traded solos. Their sound engineers were great as well, adding delay and reverb effects to the sax and trumpet during epic solos. They flow seamlessly from one song to the next even through extreme tempo and meter changes. Watching the Admirables perform feels incredible. I was even a bit emotional at one point because I was enjoying the moment and feeling so amazing. This wasn’t by accident, but by design. Matthew said, “The thing I really love about this group the most is that we just want to embrace our creative crazy selves in the moment every time we perform. If there’s something that the group is about, it’s about spreading that energy of just embracing being yourself and expressing what comes out in the moment.” Nathan added, “I want to play like it’s my last day on earth. So when I get done I’m just like, if that’s my last show ever I’m cool with that.” Mike had the most profound thing to say about the band’s purpose, “I want people to know no matter what you’re going through right now it’s gonna be okay. There’s hope. It’s gonna be alright. That’s why we’re playing music. We’re trying to make people feel better. Help them if they’re away from their joy. This sounds cliché, but we’re trying to do our part.” I told Mike not to worry about the cliché. More people should be saying and doing just what The Admirables are doing through their music.