By Nicholas Jason Lopez
The moment his kindergarten teacher got up and played Beethoven’s fifth symphony, Steven Nathan walked over to sit at the classroom record player in complete awe.
He had never heard music that sounded like how he felt inside. From then, he has yearned to create music himself.
After he had been in a straight-forward rock band that toured non-stop, he felt the desire to step away and explore something new. He wrote endlessly until he found himself in a new place and started Don’t Believe In Ghosts on his own.
A mix of experimental rock with a keen splash of modern alternative/indie, DBIG have appeased the musical masses since their 2016 formation. With over two million plays on retail radio, they’ve has also been heard on shows for National Geographic, MTV, The Travel Channel, as well as The U.S. Open and features on VEVO.
“I didn’t want this to be like another rock band with four white dudes playing rock and roll trying to get everybody’s attention,” said Nathan. “Who cares? It’s just boring at this point. I don’t feel like ‘Oh, we’ve achieved all this,’ I feel like it’s still the journey to figure out what it’s gonna be, where it’s going and I guess you don’t know until it’s over and then you go ‘Oh, well that’s where it went.'”
Nathan was still amazed at the turnout to DBIG’s first-ever show, played in New York City.
“The fact that anybody showed up to that was like one of the coolest things,” Nathan said. “People came and they cared and they wanted to hear it and they hadn’t heard anything I did with this new band. It was based upon how my music had made them feel before. They were giving me a shot and giving me a chance.”
As far as influences for DBIG’s music, Nathan keeps an ear to everything out there. He just wants to evoke emotion.
“I try and hear what’s new,” Nathan said. “In my mind, it’s like if you think music was better when you were a kid, that’s the moment you’re old, you know? So it’s like, you always have to be like listening to new stuff and be open to it and as an artist, you want to see where things are going and be aware and always embracing and understanding why things are changing. I’ve never tried to imitate any of the stuff that I listen to. I just take the vibe, emotion, the feeling, like Beethoven made me feel a certain way, so that’s like you’re trying to create those feelings yourself.”
Besides Nathan on vocals/guitar, DBIG also features Dan DelVechhio (guitar), Alex Goumas (bass, keys) and Ken Yang (drums). Nathan came up with the band name as a perfect way to sum up his experiences.
“You don’t want to give energy to the ghosts of your past and worry about what they think and what they’re saying,” explained Nathan.
In 2017, they released their debut full-length album, ‘Give It Meaning.’ Dr. Fink from Prince & The Revolution was featured on keyboards.
The band is also known for their regular output of various unique, creative, self-produced music videos, which Nathan has a big hand in.
“It’s about creating a little universe for the song, a little place for it to live,” said Nathan. “It kind of inspires the thought. They’re like little stories in and of themselves. It’s really cool when we do get the time to really focus on a song to create a universe for it and a video, and to come up with something really cool around it and give it the attention that it deserves. If you’re gonna put that time and effort into something, you might as well.”
The video for “Slow Down” was released in Aug. 2017 and was a Top 10 Most Played Song at College Radio last year as well as number one for three consecutive weeks on WKRO based in Paducah, Ky..
“In that house, it’s like totally trapped in the sixties, just super cool and we got to have a lot of fun with that and that was an exploration in Wes Anderson and [Alfred] Hitchcock inspiration all kind of thrown in there, this is kind of like basically getting all those ideas from all those different classic filmmakers and just kind of doing something with it, it was fun,” said Nathan of the music video.
DBIG sold out their first-ever headline show at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom to start 2019 off. They have an entirely new album ready to go, set for release later this year. They put out three singles, “Don’t Wake Me Up,” “The Chase,” and most recently, “Take You To The Wild.” “Don’t Wake Me Up” was mixed by eight-time Grammy-winner Ken Lewis (X Ambassadors, Bruno Mars, Lorde, fun., One Republic) and debuted at second on the ALL ACCESS Retail radio chart. The music video for “Don’t Wake Me Up” also featured Gilbert Gottfried.
As fas as the future, Nathan said he loved what they’re doing now and what has been built. He hopes to be able to get back to the point of being on the road with the group, but for next year, he wants to play some festivals.
“We just work really well,” said Nathan. “The thing is with past bands and we’ve all been in a ton of different bands with different people, you’re forcing something. You’re creating expectations for something and when the expectations aren’t met, something’s forced and it’s whatever. Then it becomes this tension and these things that build these animosities. It’s like we just kind of get along as friends. We have fun, we joke around a lot, and we also create and I think that’s the thing. It’s like putting this together, finding these guys, it’s just a creative team that has a lot of respect for each other. We just happen to all believe in music and want to create.”