Nathan Mitchell from Kirkcaldy is proof that dreaming the impossible – combined with a lot of hard work – can pay off.
This time last year, the self-taught musician was preparing to release his first album, created entirely solo during lockdown.
Fast-forward 12 months and he has just released album number two, with more exciting plans to come.
Nathan created band The Foundation of Freedom last year just a few months before the first lockdown. When the world shut down, his aptitude for music took flight.
Nathan says: “I’ve had a passion for music from an early age. When the first lockdown rolled around it really gave me an opportunity to make my own music.
“Compared to today, I feel there was a lot more variety in the music from the past. I’m just taking the best bits from the past and making music I actually want to hear.”
With no formal training, Nathan writes and perform his own songs. He has also created a recording studio in his bedroom to lay down and mix tracks.
Deep Music for a Shallow World came out in June 2020 and he released second album Swimming Against the Trend in April, on the same day he turned 22. Single 2135 is due out on May 21.
‘A big part of me’
Nathan has Asperger syndrome, which means he sees the world differently and his songs don’t necessarily follow normal conventions. He’s also dyslexic and cannot read music.
“I wouldn’t be as creative. I’m not sure I could do it without it – it’s a big part of me,” he explains. “It’s just seeing the world in a different way.
“I’ve got my own studio in my bedroom. I learned as I went along. I’m self-taught. Everything you hear is me.
“I can’t read music, but if I listen to a song I can just play it by listening. I can play the keyboard, the bass, the guitar and I sing everything. I don’t even know how I do it – I just do it. It’s hard to explain.”
When he’s not strumming, recording or producing, the former Balwearie High School pupil works at timber specialist Haldane in Glenrothes.
He creates his own artwork and even built the Raleigh Chopper bicycle he is pictured on in silhouette for his new album cover. His tracks have had airplay on a local radio station.
“Some songs are feel-good, a few have a psychedelic vibe. Some are darker, there’s a couple of ballads – one is a single-take recording – and two out-and-out rockers,” Nathan continues.
“I attempt to have a unique Foundation of Freedom sound and wrap my music around my voice, almost like Alice in Chains meets The Doors.”
Nathan is now in the process of remastering his first album for release on June 12, marking a full year since its launch. He also intends to create an acoustic album and record an acoustic gig of his favourite songs to date.
His music is available via Bandcamp and he’s hoping to put a band together in the future for live performances when restrictions ease further.
Nathan says he’s had great support from family, friends and work colleagues and proud dad Craig Mitchell adds: “If you have ambition and you are prepared to work hard whilst recognising there will be hurdles to overcome along the way, there are no limits to what you can achieve.”