Nate Wood is a Grammy nominated drummer/multi-instrumentalist/engineer living in NYC. Nate is a founding member of the group Kneebody, and has played with a wide variety of artists including Tigran Hamasyan, Ben Wendel, Donny McCaslin, Taylor Hawkins, Chaka Khan, and Wayne Krantz among others. Nate also leads a project called Nate Wood - fOUR where he plays drums, bass, synthesizers and sings at the same time. When not touring, Nate masters records, often using his LCD-1s, LCDi4s and Euclids for various tasks.
Here's our chat with Nate:
Can you pick out any favorites from your work that you're particularly proud of?
I’d have to say my fOUR project. It is the natural progression of my earlier records where I played all of the instruments and engineered them from start to finish, but now the performances happen by playing 4 instruments simultaneously in 1 pass. I see a lot of potential in the project, and I just want to have the opportunity to keep doing it.
How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on recently?
I do a lot of things: anywhere from playing drums, to drums and bass at the same time, to guitar and background vocals, to recording and/or mixing/mastering. So really almost anything. Except horns, I don’t play horns and never will (horns and golf are no-go zones).
How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?
My parents are both great musicians, so I lived and breathed music from ages 2-4 (apparently). Then put the drums away for baseball cards until age 9, when I started playing drums again. I grew up playing metal, funk-hip hop, pop music, jazz and whatever else.
Can you name any factors you feel majorly influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?
Too many to mention, but mostly my parents Beth and Steve Wood. Also Tris Imboden, Frank Cotinola and Richard Stekol were my main reasons for going into music. I have been very lucky to meet and/or play with many of my heroes. Also at this point I feel like my peers are my heroes, and I am very inspired by all of them.
Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?
Honestly, the frustration is ongoing. The world of tech/human value is always shifting, especially with the music industry. So it’s a constant tail chasing game to keep the imagination and the fiscal world connected and not at odds with each other. But at the end of the day it’s all very exciting and engaging.
Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?
I have been utilizing many of the new analog synths that Korg makes. I find them modern and deep, yet also limited in the perfect ways to inspire performance. Other than that, a laptop and headphones! (And a good DAC/headphone amp).
Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?
Follow what moves you, make connections, say “yes”, realize everyone around you is probably awesome, and work as hard as you can all the time!
How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?
I have been working with headphones since the dawn of my engineering, in probably 2002. Around 2017 I got more serious about headphones in that I began actually using them for the majority of my mixing. I continue to rely on them more and more.
How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?
As a mastering engineer, I was inspired by Glenn Schick and his embracing of headphone technology. Since I travel so much as a touring musician, I became obsessed with freeing myself from my studio and being able to work anywhere. I went through many brands/voicings before realizing Audeze was what I wanted to work with. They have visceral bass that feels like speakers, top end detail that is natural but not hyped, and midrange that has definition but doesn’t make my ears hurt after a few hours. There is something about Audeze that sounds musical like good audio gear.
Do you have any additional comments or stories you want to share?
I bugged Karthick about including linear phase presets in Reveal, and I’m SO glad he did. I think this bumped Audeze up yet another level. They are so remarkably dimensional!