Every now and again, I have the great fortune to bump into a contemporary musician or band who embodies the very essence of the 80s music I love. Recently, I was privileged to meet Ricky Humphrey online, currently recording as Nature Kills. The music I have heard him create has blown me away.
As Ricky, himself describes this phenomenon: “Nature Kills”—melody-driven, bass-thumping, guitar-wailing, synth-swirling music.
“Nature Kills” was born out of an idea in October 2010. The band “Rise” had ceased to exist and I was in a musical wasteland. I became driven obsessively to create music that I wanted to hear. I missed the music from the 80s and craved the textures and melodies that were created during this time. I needed a vehicle for this and that became “Nature Kills.” I want my music to sound fresh and new, but also have that contemporary feel; one foot in the 80s if you like.
Ricky Humphrey was kind enough to grant an interview to Rave and Roll. Read on to learn more about this super-talented man and his music.
What is your first musical memory?
Nazareth—Bad Bad Boy
What instruments do you play?
Bass, guitar, and synth.
Which one do you favor and why?
Bass—it’s where I feel most at home and am most proficient.
Did you take lessons or are you self-taught?
Bass—self-taught, though I did have a few lessons with Nick Beggs (Kajagoogoo/Ellis,Beggs & Howard, and now touring with Steven Wilson), as I wanted to develop my slap/funk style. Guitar and synth—self-taught.
Who were your favorite musicians growing up?
Mick Karn (Japan)—he was my introduction to bass. I was just blown away by his unique style. Gary Numan for being so inspirational; a true awakening took place for me at this time. Talk Talk—just awesome!
Who are your current favorites?
Peter Murphy—he has such an amazing voice and I just love his lyrics. Depeche Mode—I was not a fan of their material when Vince Clarke was involved, but have grown to like them more and more with each passing album. Gary Numan still does it for me and he is still evolving, which is cool. Trent Reznor, NineInchNails, and How to Destroy Angels—again very inspirational in all that he does.
Have you ever played in a band?
Yes, my first band was Sirahn, then The Open Hand, followed by Rise.
Do you prefer recording alone or with other supporting band members?
Both have their advantages. I have more control over my current projects as I am working alone. In a band situation, there’s a lot of diplomacy and at times tension, which can be good but it can also hinder.
When you write, which comes first—melody or lyrics?
This one is difficult, I write lyrics as and when I’m inspired but generally don’t have a melody in mind; however, when I have an instrument at hand I create melody, rhythm etc., then seek out a lyric that feels suitable. I don’t have a vocal melody sorted until I have a musical backdrop to work with, and then try to enhance it with a vocal line.
Who or what has influenced your style of music?
Japan, Gary Numan, Peter Murphy, Depeche Mode, Trent Reznor, and Talk Talk.
Do you see a particular direction that your music is taking, and if so, where is it going?
I feel it becoming somewhat darker with a few hints of lightness here and there just to keep the balance. I like to move more toward the Dark Wave/Goth genre but for now I’ll stick with Alternative until I make the leap.
Nature Kills music is available live and online, with a CD available soon. Experience it for yourself: