"Same sad story. That's a fact. One step up and two steps back." Some beautiful painful words within one of Springsteen's many classics. Far from taking steps back, equaling Bruce's raw earnest beauty, Melbourne, Australia's Nigel B. Swifte has forged a nourishing journey documented within his lovely 'Pale Yellow Moon.' In his inaugural trip to Japan, the "what you see, what you get" from this old, yet young surfing soul, Nigel had plenty to share before paddling away under a coincidentally moonlit Tokyo:
-Since you're a surfer also, when dawn comes, what do you pick, the board or the guitar?
NS : (grinning wide) Yeah...Well, the guitar is getting picked more at the moment.
NS : But it's been winter back home. You know. I'm a bit lazy. I don't surf much even though we have much better surf in winter. It's about an hour and half drive. The surf report is much better these days so you check on the web, which is good, but my commitments, you know, I'm trying to make the music thing happen, concentrating on that, managing myself. You know, I'll be surfing more in summer. I'll take the guitar as well and a tent.
-- How much sleep did you get while making the album?
NS : Well... It was a huge learning experience this album because I recorded it myself um mostly and I wrote it myself, produced it myself and mixed it myself there in my home studio.
-- For you with the beauty of friendship, how has your music been your friend?
NS : Ah, it's probably been my closest friend a lot of the time. It's funny that you mentioned that 'cuz I get inspired by some of my friends actually. A lot of my friends in Melbourne are dear to my heart. And some of my songwriting has been inspired by them definitely, but my music has been my friend 'cuz um, it's ah, it takes me away from the reality of a situation. It lets me... vent things, vocalize things that I normally couldn't communicate. It's let me get things out of my system that are either emotionally killing me or making me really happy. You know, it's a companion that way. I also have a piano.
-- An upright?
NS : Actually (grinning) yes. I bought it back home for $300. There's an auction house down the road from my parents house and I went in there one day, they had an old piano and I said to the guy, "How much does a piano go for normally?" And he said, "Between this much and this much." And I said, "How about I put $300 on this one." He said, "You can leave the bid and if you get it, I'll call you up." So I said, "What are my chances?" He said, "Not much." 2 days later, I got a call, "Come pick up your piano (huge grin)." The reason why I mentioned it is. The guitar is something easy for me. Well, I mean, it's very familiar. Sometimes you get caught up in your own knowledge or your own technical ability. For me, sometimes if I sit down with the piano, it's a very emotive link. It's almost a better frame than my guitar because the emotional state wherever I am comes out because I really don't know what I am doing. Like a child finger painting I guess.
-- What is the flipside to your best friend?
NS : (Grinning sheepishly) Yeah, well, my friends are always complaining that when I go to a concert that instead of relaxing, I'll be examining the technical ability or the production. Or gee, I wish they fixed that microphone or fixed that light. Because I produce my music as well as a sound engineer and a guitar player and songwriter, I have to go through this kind of, sometimes, I have to go through a process.
-- So how do you rank those different positions? What gets priority?
NS : Well, it used to be the sound quality, but that's not so important anymore. It's more of the emotional content, the soul I think. The feeling behind it, whether it's real or not.