Interview With Micah Nelson
The experience of joining Outlaw Music Festival is comparatively much different for another act on the bill. Micah Nelson, who calls tourmates Willie Nelson dad and Lukas Nelson brother, performs under the moniker Particle Kid, and his own music waxes and wains between Americana, trippy folk-soul and lambastic anthems. During a recent call from the road as he traveled out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, through “scattered storm squalls,” he shared his point of view. Q: Tell me about being on the road with your dad and brother. A: It’s great; we rarely get to hang out other than on the road. Otherwise it’s pretty scattered. We’re all touring all the time in various places throughout the world, so it’s nice to be on the same lineup. It’s our family ritual. Q: Your music is sort of genre-defying, so describe how it fits in with the rest of the acts on Outlaw. A: To be honest, I often feel like a fish out of water. I think it’s a festival of artists (who) all have great songs. There are memorable songs that tie it all together. I have (songs) that fit into folky, Americana genre if I arrange them that way. ... Lately I’m really into lyrics and melodies and songs that anyone can play. And songs that are relatable, which I think ties this festival together. It’s called the Outlaw Fest, which, to me, sort of represents anything that’s in defiance of convention, whether it’s in the country genre or rock genre or a non-genre, an indefinable act. Artists that are kind of going against the grain somehow. In that way, I guess I fit in. It’s weird; I feel like I can kind of fit in with any type of scene musically. It’s a really fun rush to bring whatever your vibe is into that setting. I try not to treat an arena show any different than a house show. It’s just louder and there are more people there. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter too much as long as the music is good. Q: Why is activism and honesty in music so important in the world today? A: Music is a part of every culture ever, and it informs culture on a mass scale and has the power to do that. So naturally, having a message wielded through music, it can reach that many more people and have that much more impact. I think our culture is so suicidal and demented and egomaniacal and materialistic (that) unless we start ingesting some honesty and messages of truth into the music and substance gets out there and people hear it and influence culture, we’re just going to annihilate ourselves. So I think it’s really important to talk about things that matter, things that make people think. … Music is one of the most potent vehicles for that, as time has proven again and again and again.