NAHKO Medicine for the people of WA

Lead singer and songwriter for famed American band Nahko and Medicine for the People, and recognised human and environmental justice advocate, Nahko is set to deliver a very special and unique experience to fans as he hits Western Australia for shows at The River Hotel, Margaret River on Friday, April 26 and Freo.Social on Saturday, April 27. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with Nahko to learn about his love for performing solo, Australia’s beaches and crowds and bringing his message of social and environmental justice to the world through music. 

You’ve been to Australia a few times before for Bluesfest, but have you managed to make it across to WA before?

Oh yes! Many times, in fact. the first gig I played was in a little house backyard. It was a blast. I crowd surfed for the first time there in Yallingup, I believe (laughs).

And what are you looking forward to on this visit here? I heard you’re a surfer as well so it shouldn’t be surprise there’s a visit to Margaret River on the cards?

That’s right! Getting in the water will be a huge mission indeed. And visiting with friends, too.

You’ll be making the journey solo, or for your shows at least. What’s different about playing by yourself? Do you find you are able to show a side of yourself and your music that maybe you can’t when you have the group (Medicine for the People) with you?

Absolutely. I can take my time! Playing solo is my roots and is always a favorite of mine because I can really massage the stories and songs in that intimate setting. More fun for the fans I think too.

Although released later, your solo album My Name is Bear has been described as a ‘precursor’ to your albums fronting Medicine for the People, with the songs written when you were younger and before you formed the band. What was it that made you want to bring these songs back and release them all these years later?

I’ve been waiting for the right time to breathe new life into the old songs and it just seemed like it was time. I’ve got a volume two in the works. I just don’t like having old songs that really detail the bigger stories in the band records to not see the light of day.

Besides your music you are also known for championing social, political and environmental causes. Is it also a part of travelling that you like to get to know about what issues are important to the people wherever you go and if so what have noticed or felt are the things that need attention in Australia?

Yes, I feel as though I get to check the pulse in each place and its people. Everywhere I go, human beings are suffering from many of the same social issues and the environment as well cries for similar caretaking and justice. My prayer is that through song I can inspire folks to deepen their awakening and therefore care for all creatures great and small.

And as someone clearly passionate about a number of things, was music always the natural path for you to express this? Or could you have easily gone a different way in life?

I could have easily stuck to farming! I loved it. I did that for years in Hawaii. Also, classical piano was a thing when I was a teenager. I could have gone the conservatory route! Glad I didn’t though.

And what kind of impact do you hope your music has on people that come to see your shows? How do you want them to feel when they are there or what memories or experiences would you like them to take home with them?

I’d love them to let the music cover them like a warm blanket. To nurture, cradle, and empower them. I want to see people make a better community, home, and planet.

What’s next for Nahko in 2019 and beyond? Is there any more new music on the horizon to look forward to?

Yes! We are currently piecing together our fourth record as a band. It’s going to be a powerhouse. We are growing and maturing as a band and my writing and compositions are only getting deeper with time.

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