We recently found Nate. He's our new favorite guy. Or did he find us? I guess it doesn't matter how it happened, it's just good that it did. Cuz he makes us smile.
So Nate, when did you first learn about Simple shoes?
In the seedy retail jungle of my local mall, there was a store. A store that served the edgy alternative culture sect known simply as skaters. I identified with these beanie-clad practitioners of kick flips and their punk rock prowess. And what you may ask was the name of this sanctuary of style? It was called “Journeys.”
Though my relationship with gravity never allowed me the glory of sending my meaty bigfoot-like frame into the air, I did enjoy the thrill of a 3 a.m. downhill run, hearing my chain wallet jingle in the breeze.
And in order to stay firmly planted to my grip-taped steed, I needed skate shoes. Awesome ones. For the ladies.
So, I too found myself at Journeys. There, amidst the Airwalks, the Vans, and the Etnies, was something different. Something no one else had yet.
The Simple OS Sneaker sat apart, confidently waiting for someone to recognize its “alternative to the alternative” appeal.
And in my continuing effort to be “that guy, “ I snagged my very first pair of Simples. I loved them. I wore them all the time. And no one else had them for a while so it was extra legit to my teenage brain.
Wordy? Yes? But did you really long and hope for me to say, “At the mall”? Maybe, but right now I’m the Captain of the S.S. Storytime!
We've noticed you’re a red shoe kind of guy....OS Cherry......any story there?
For the longest time I only wore black shoes. I also wore only black t-shirts, because METAL. Later in life when I became a designer, I looked at myself and thought, “You need an accent color.” I have always had that thing that some of us get where we want to stand out, but just enough to get noticed at a show, not full on Lady Gaga meat dress attention.
To that end, it worked exquisitely. I have become easy to describe and find in crowds.
“You know, Nate. Tall hair, beard, RED SHOES.” - All my friends describing me to new people.
You live in Knoxville.....tell us about Tennessee and the creative community in Knoxville?
Let’s start this off right. Firstly, we have Dolly Parton. She was born and raised in the luscious hills of East Tennessee. I could stop there and win forever. The whole state will fight you to the death and then come back from the dead and fight you some more if you bad-mouth Dolly.
Secondly, Tennessee is absolutely jam-packed with music! And not just country. Brian Bell from Weezer grew up here. Mike Mahaffey of the band Self started here (if you were a teen in the 90’s look them up).
The music scene today is better than ever. New venues are opening up and you can catch live music any night of the week pretty much all over.
As for the arts not primarily involving sound, we have loads of film, and TV here. There are lots of indie film festivals, art gallery shows, and so much TV that you wouldn’t believe. Do you like “Fixer Upper?” that’s HGTV. That’s here. Food Network? Also, here.
Really, many of us here tend towards creativity. I’m not sure exactly why that is, but we’re makers. Seeing someone drawing, painting, singing, dancing, or acting on the corner is so common that no one gives it a second thought.
It might be that we’ve got solitude for introspection, and city life shenanigans for the drama. Everything an artist needs!
We know you’re into music.....who inspires you musically these days?
Over the past year or two I’ve become completely enamored with musicians who are adding to their music that something extra that helps them stand apart. Now that we can all make music on our phones on the daily commute, it’s harder to get noticed. There has to be some added layer of entertainment. A story. To that end, artists like Andrew Huang, Jeremy Blake, Cuckoo, and Rachel K Collier are producing loads of video with their music, and it adds a layer of richness and realness that we don’t see as much of from major label artists. It might be quirky themed music videos, weirdly entertaining tutorials, or making music out of unexpected things. I’m drawn to that and it influences the music and art that I make.
And MUTEMATH, always MUTEMATH.
Do you have a Simple philosophy? Are you familiar with Moonlight Chronicles?
A Simple philosophy? Hmm. Mostly likely this: You’ll never know if you don’t try. I would like to come to the end of my life with every idea explored, person loved, and the what-if banished from my mind. Whether it all works out like we planned, we’ll end up with great stories. And after we’re gone from this life and on to eternity, that’s what we are. Stories.
I had not heard of Moonlight Chronicles before we spoke, but after looking into it I have found it very relatable. Some of us have nomadic hearts. You get to know yourself when you wander. I spent a large part of 2014 living in a Toyota 4Runner traveling the states alone (until I met my wife). It was hard, weird, and wonderful. If you can do it, I recommend it. #vanillatothegrave on Instagram if you’d like to see what that was like.
Ok, last question Nate, what’s the one thing we can do to make our life more simple?
I love this thought. “Do not tax your life with the forethought of grief.” That is a most assuredly botched line from Windell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things.” (Also, a fantastic album of the same name by the band, Paper Route!) Don’t fear what may come. We worry so much. My dog has zero worries. The bird singing outside my window? No worries. The peace of wild things. How much of your life would you get back if you never worried?
You can enjoy more of Nate here.