by Caleb Calhoun
“Avocado is nature’s butter.” That is where the interview with Natural Born Leaders’ guitarist and vocalist Mike Martinez begins. We are sitting at Bar-Taco, a groovy little fusion joint in downtown Asheville, NC, living the five-o-clock somewhere lifestyle.
He is friendly and welcoming and there with his cousin Trey, who is the perfect sidekick for an interview. I have plenty of questions and what was supposed to take thirty minutes turns into ninety. The thing of it is, Natural Born Leaders has kind of wiggled their way into the consciousness of this city in a very non-traditional way.
“I think originally it was a necessity,” Martinez explains as we chat about how for three years the only digital music they have released has been in the form of YouTube videos. “Everyone in the band went to school for recording.”
With all of those music engineering backgrounds you would expect them to be recording their own work, but, knowing the detail and equipment necessary pushed them to go a different direction. “With live videos people are a little more lenient on sound quality. Still, we don’t plan on releasing a full length album any time soon, if ever. Every few months we want to release something new, like, if you look at Chance the Rapper, that is a prime example. He is just releasing singles and that is how he got to where he is.”
They also built their base organically, taking gigs anywhere that would let them play, their ever-changing sound winning fans in diverse places. From one of the most touristy bars in Asheville, to the goth club right across the street, no audience was too much of a challenge. They played in dives, they played in rock clubs, they played in venues known for electronic music, and, a few months ago they headlined to nearly 600 fans at The Orange Peel.
“It’s been crazy as hell, we have played everywhere,” he explains. “It’s weird how everything, even to where we are now (has come together). Not that we haven’t had to put effort into to. We work as hard as fuck, but, as soon as we made up our minds that this is what we were going to do, everything has fallen in place.”
With a sound that floats seamlessly between rock, reggae, jazz, hip-hop, funk and other styles of music, we at Live Music Daily have a hunch that, if they keep working hard, everything is probably going to keep coming up roses for Natural Born Leaders.
We are proud to be premiering their newest single, Time Flies By right here on Live Music Daily. Originally written as a twenty-three minute jam the boys have trimmed the fat all the way down til what is left is a beautiful, four-and-a-half minute cut of musical filet mignon.
Check out this phenomenal track, one that fully features their style and tempo changes, and look for the full EP to be available on your preferred app on May 5.