2nd June 2021
2021 has clearly been a hard time for all of us considering the unfortunate pandemic out there but Ian Nelson has been one of those people who is making the most out of this time by using the fullest of his creativity. From releasing a phenomenal new track titled ‘Unfinished Conversations’ to showcasing a breathtaking performance in the critically acclaimed movie ‘Paper Spiders’ alongside a well packed cast of Stefania LaVie Owen, Lili Taylor, Peyton List and more, Ian Nelson has been on the forefront of talent this year.
I recently had an extremely heartfelt conversation with Ian who was really passionate to share insights into some of his projects and had shown the same excitement for this interview as me. Delving deep into the creativity process behind his latest track to the experience working on ‘Paper Spiders’, read what Ian has to say about his journey in his latest interview with ReVamp.
Well my first question obviously will be how are you doing? How are you maintaining your creativity during times like these?
I mean you know its not easy. Everyone’s having a hard time. You know weirdly enough, its actually a good time for writing. Its hard to be isolated. Sometimes it is hard to write whereas sometimes it just flows. So, in terms of maintaining creativity, yes its been a little difficult.
You started out your journey as an actor and then further went on to set your foot in the field of music. How do you intend on balancing both these elements together when it comes to factors like time management?
Well its funny, I wrote ‘Time Management’ on the top of my schedule for this week. Its funny you say that, because I literally wrote those words since its hard to balance these things. Although I think its also a great joy that I have an opportunity to balance both of these elements. When ‘Unfinished Conversations’ came out, a week later, my movie ‘Paper Spiders’ was released. So navigating both these projects was a little hard.
I think that it is just about giving the things attention that need attention when they need attention. Sometimes acting takes presence just due to the fact of what needs to be done in the moment. I think something that I had to learn was that I don’t have to put one thing on the top of each other. Like if I’m focused on acting, I don’t have to keep my acting on the top of my music and vice versa.
You know its interesting too as a lot of people asked me if I quit acting since I started making music which I found somewhat really frustrating and at the same time, a difficult to answer question since its a preconceived notion that people can’t do two things at the same time. Its hard to wrap your head around that idea while there are so many artists that do multiple things like acting, directing, producing, all at the same time. For me, acting has not taken a backseat ever. Both acting and music have equal roles in my life.
Before delving into your music, I’d like to start by talking about your recent project- “Paper Spiders”. First of all huge congratulations on that. What was it really that made you accept this project?
I read the script for ‘Paper Spiders’ and thought it was a really cool story. It is a movie just about a family dealing with mental illness and I loved my part. The character I played in the movie was of Daniel who had a pretty rough childhood in terms of his family not being around and him figuring out things on his own. The script really seemed great. I had seen Stefania (LaVie Owen) around Los Angeles. I had obviously known her projects so I was really excited to work with her. Like honestly, there was no downside to that film. It was a wonderful role. Wonderful director, wonderful script and cast.
What can you tell us about your character in the film and was there any characteristic that you grew to appreciate about your character that you maybe didn’t realize was there when you first started playing him?
Going on what I said earlier, the people perceiving others in an explicit term like ‘Oh, this person does this. This person does that,’ and its hard to adjust to the changes. Ironically everything is constantly changing. I find it fascinating but even buildings have a lasting period. The idea that everything is changing and nothing is really simple. So what I love about Daniel is that on the surface Daniel is kind of an assh*le. If you ran up to him at the street, you’d be like that’s the rich dude who has a great car and he’s not the kind of guy who doesn’t looks like a kind of person who people like to hang out with.
Its like, we need to be more forgiving as humans and to be much much less judgmental. My biggest goal when I was playing Daniel was I didn’t want the audience to think that he was an asshole. I remember telling the director ‘Yo! This is a great part! But if I do this performance wrong, the audience isn’t going to like him.’ That was the risk of playing a guy like that who was not so understanding. One of the things that I learned from this character was obviously that people need to judge less and we need to get people to be more kind. We need to give situation some time, we need to allow our judgments to be there and see what they are like and then work on them.
People are really connecting to this movie. I have done a good amount of films. Its not always like this where the response of the movie has been such positive. I think the people really connected with ‘Melanie’ and ‘Daniel’. There is really an acceptance going around. Melanie is truly accepting Daniel and because she is giving him his safe place and because he is giving her her safe place, they are actually able to connect with each other at a very real level.
Now coming to your latest track “Unfinished Conversation”. What was the idea behind the song? I know its been just a week since you released the track but are you enjoying the reaction that you have been receiving so far?
I think the people have been reacting to this song like I imagines they would in the best case scenario, people are saying its not a song that is solely about a relationship that’s gone bad. People are reacting to this song on kind of the deepest level that this track was written on. It is a really spiritual song.
It is about the battle between us and the noise that we hear in our heads. Its really about this subconscious noise that we deal with that may not even be ours in the first place. I think people are really connecting with that. People are coming up with very personal things like how they are relating to the song.
Its very much different from my first song ‘21st Century Love’. Its also a song that people can relate to but it wasn’t written with the same intention of trying to really get into something really personal and something not so easy to talk or write about. So, the response has been very incredible on this track.
What was the creative process like with the song? Did you face any kind of challenges?
I had this acapella chorus stuck in my head which is the chorus you hear in the song. I didn’t have any chords. I was at the recording session with my music producer Jacob McCaslin and when I finished the session, he was like ‘what else you got?’ and I told him ‘I have this chorus.’ I sang it out for him and he thought it was rad. So, he grabbed out his guitar and was like let’s figure out the verse structure.
Most interesting thing was actually like my understanding of the song was through an experience that I once had with this girl on a date and it was you know, this regret of feeling like I stopped something really beautiful from happening. It felt like an unfinished conversation. So I started writing the song from that perspective and what it actually turned into was that the song was now not just about a person, it was about an emotional turmoil. This song was about an emotional phenomenon that I thought was more honest and harder to write.
I think the notion of regret is something that I perceive as something that isn’t a bad thing. I think regret points me in a certain direction of growth. Like the regret that I had from that girl on that day, it led to so much introspection like ‘Why did I not seemingly move forward in that relationship’ and it led to growth and understanding of myself and it led to the song and I’m really proud of the song.
That’s great. So glad to hear that. Lastly, what’s next for you Ian? Do you have any new music or project in the pipeline this year?
We’re shooting the music video for the third single right now. I’m thrilled about this next single. I’m very proud of the song. If people loved the video for ‘Unfinished Conversation’ then I think the music video for this song is going to blow people’s minds. It’s visually amazing. We shot the first half of the video a couple weeks ago and we’re going to shoot the other half this weekend.
In terms of acting, I have got some really exciting stuff going on right now and hopefully we’ll start up shooting. I mean its crazy that all these projects take a lot of time to come together but I’m really excited to put out these projects for people to see!