One of the best parts of North Carolina’s music scene is the familial vibes that go around. Some have described it as an “incestuous” community where lineups are interchangeable, band members come and go, but everyone feeds off of one another. So what happens when one of the area’s most beloved songwriters decides to go on his own and craft an album entirely on his lonesome…well something along the lines of Weller.
Nathan Toben has long been a fixture of the North Carolina music scene. Years ago he could be spotted in rhythm sections for acts like Wild Wild Geese or Americans in France, but he’s best known for being the mysterious front man for The Toddlers. The Toddlers received constant praise from musicians and concertgoers alike for their dark, dreamy pop songs that propelled them to opening spots for acts like Lost in the Trees and The Love Language. But once the band released their full-length debut they seemed to die out with a whimper. Now nearly half a year later Nathan Toben has resurfaced as the sole member of Weller, an incredible music expedition into the depths of “studio magic” and the inner-expanses of one man’s mind.
Toben joined Grant Golden in the studio for Carolina Grown two weeks ago to discuss the inspiration behind his concept album 1, a piece of work that’s as brooding as it is groovy. Compelled by the age-old concept of the four elements, Toben teamed up with Wesley Wolfe (who covered most of the production for the album) to crank out an album’s worth of introspective pop brilliance. Throughout the hour Toben discussed the songwriting process behind these tracks, his inspiration for making this a studio exclusive project (meaning no live shows) and what we can expect to hear from the esteemed songwriter in the near future.
Listen below for some selected tracks from Weller’s debut full-length and the full conversation: