Interviews, Reviews

Turn off and RESET: EP Review and Interview with NATIIVE

Newest release from NATIIVE and FINLAY recently dropped at the end of March of this year, a collaborative EP titled “RESET”.  

We’ll go through the EP, track by track, with a few insider-looks about the project from NATIIVE.

If I don’t feel something when I’m making it, I won’t put it out.

NATIIVE

LA-based producer, NATIIVE,  and artist, FINLAY, are no strangers to making hits together. The duo released their first collaboration in 2018, titled ‘Memories’, and have continued to create absolute pop magic since. 

They have been working together for about 3-4 years. Besides the music that they have put out together, NATIIVE also produces FINLAY’s solo music as well. One of her own most known tracks is ‘bones’, a single released in 2020. 

NATIIVE says that they feel like they’ve “…developed a really good process of working and writing together.” They continue with, “We are both on the same page musically and usually just feed off of whatever we’re both vibing on at the time. If an idea or a song isn’t working, we both usually feel it and just move onto something new until we land on something we’re both excited about.”

This project follows the journey of both creatives coping with burnout from the daily hustle of being an artist, the hustle of LA, and the messy combination of both. Through a period of turbulence the first tracks were written, and everything fell into place after that. 

The EP went through a few phases of life: the production inspired the lyrics, then the lyrics inspired the final production. Truly expressing, the process of understanding that you’re being faced with a problem, and once you look into it and process it, you come out different than when you started.

Starting from the title track, ‘Reset’, the EP hits the ground running with the ticking of a clock woven into the fibers of the introduction to remind you of the passing time. How busy that life can get, and how easy it is to lose track of time. The first infectious melody of the EP kicks in at the end of the verse, picking up the pace to glide into the reflective pre-chorus, to the inquisitive chorus that is the perfect preface to this EP: “Honest now, let’s just turn off and reset”

Talking with NATIIVE about their production style and what makes a track, a NATIIVE track, they said “If I don’t feel something when I’m making it, I won’t put it out” and this clearly comes through throughout the entire EP. 

NATIIVE is notorious for crafting an entire emotional atmosphere through their production, utilizing organic sounds that keep a track feeling both nostalgic and fresh, and FINLAY’s energy/vocals are the perfect match for this. 

We can hear a great example of this in just the first 30 seconds of ‘Free’.

The emotions conveyed in this track are wistful and give off the energy of an amber stoplight in the middle of the night of a day gone on too long, and the escape home that follows. Crafted intentionally to pull feeling from the listeners, just as NATIIVE felt when producing, ‘Free’ inspires a sensation of warmth in the heart, a longing for a peace once felt. 

Rolling from the free-flowing echoes of ‘Free’ — we enter into a more rigid, demanding tone in the beginning of ‘Have It All’.

Confronting the frustration with relationships that just aren’t worth the trouble when life is already busy enough. Balancing personal and work life can become too much at times, and in this track we see the calling out of someone who’s aware they’re wasting time, and they simply cannot have someone’s time and the games that they want to play too. Keeping hard boundaries and letting the words slide off the tongue, in this track we hear the thoughts of someone who has had enough and knows exactly what they want to say. The production of this track pairs so well with the energy it gives off, it almost feels like each clap after the vocals are whip-like. 

Wrapping up the tracklist, we come to the reappearance of ‘Memories’, the hit-single from the duo, that has amassed over 1.2 million streams on Spotify since it’s initial release in 2018. 

In a way, it seems that the return of ‘Memories’ ends the story that each new track has told. The soft and playful reverberated guitar turns into a musing, dewy-eyed blend when the vocals come in. Seemingly recalling the honeymoon phase of a relationship, where it seemed that nothing could possibly shatter the rose-colored lenses until the very moment the song starts. Realizing things are different, that if they could just go back to the start, that they’d never let it slip away from them again.

I asked NATIIVE how it felt now that the EP was finished and released, and they said that they feel good about the release. 

I had a great time creating it and I’m so happy that people are enjoying it. The process for creating this EP was one of my favorites because we went into it with zero expectations except for to make a few songs that we really liked.”

This project came through a tough year for the music industry and its artists with the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling many things the year had to bring for music, but it seems that NATIIVE and FINLAY made it out alive and free. 

Being active and releasing music during the pandemic hasn’t been easy. 

NATIIVE has said that it “…definitely influences how I approach production. In some ways I like it better.” But, on the other side of things, NATIIVE says that it can let the mind wander a bit too far into tracks, spending more time than intended on them. Ultimately, “I’d say it’s helping me be more self aware as a producer. Trying new styles, knowing when I’m doing too much, [and] knowing when it’s just right.”

There’s no doubt that there’s more exciting things to come from NATIIVE and FINLAY, but based on this nostalgic-dreamy EP about cleansing the mental palette from the chaos of the LA grind, it’s safe to assume that they’re both slowing it down with life just a bit, at least for the moment, to live their lives instead of their lives living them.

Listen to the RESET EP on Spotify!

Keep an eye out for new releases from:

NATIIVE // SpotifyInstagram

FINLAY // SpotifyInstagram

If you loved NATIIVE’s RESET EP with FINLAY, check out FINLAY’s recent album release, ‘edge of mine’.

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