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Nathan Golub Yep Roc Records

Faces Behind Yep Roc: Nathan Golub


Ever wonder who’s behind your favorite Yep Roc releases? Every month we’ll introduce one Yep Roc employee with a personal Spotify playlist and a quirky caricature from our creative designer, Nathan Golub.

However, this month it’s Nathan’s turn for the recognition, so our general manager took over caricature duty. If you’ve ever marvelled at the album art of your favorite Yep Roc release or enjoyed looking at one of our event posters, odds are Nathan had a hand in its creation.

Nathan’s playlist was inspired by music he found at his local record store when he was a teenager. “I’d go there and pick up a lot of classic rock vinyl, bands and musicians that I’d heard about but wasn’t hearing on the radio: the Byrds, EmmyLou Harris, Tony Rice. Bob Dylan, that’s a big one.”

What’s your job title?

Graphic Designer

What does that encompass?

Designing album packaging, working with outside designers, designing Redeye & Yep Roc printed and digital material. Sometimes I draw funny pictures of my coworkers.

What was the music scene like where you grew up?

There wasn’t much of one. I grew up in New Port Richey, Florida, which is just above Tampa on the West Coast. There were bad blues bands and Jimmy Buffet cover bands.

What shaped your musical taste?

Anything that wasn’t bad blues bands or Jimmy Buffet covers. I end up listening to a lot of music that I’m interested in learning how to play. In my twenties I was in a bluegrass band, and really enjoyed learning about that style of music. I got into playing pedal steel and started listening to a lot more country to learn that style of playing. I’ve always been into rootsier stuff and older stuff. But there’s so much good music out there, it’s a good way to narrow down what I’d be listening to. And right now I listen to a lot of music that my son’s into. The soundtrack to the movie Cars starts to become enjoyable after you’ve listened to it for the umpteenth time. It’s probably a form of Stockholm syndrome.

First album you ever bought?

I think it was a Weird Al album, and I bet it was either the parody of Smells Like Teen Spirit, or it would be Fat. What was the Smells Like Teen Spirit parody? Smells Like Nirvana. I bet it was Smells Like Nirvana, and then I went back and got the older ones because he put out Fat and all those when I was too young to listen to it. So, I’m going to say Weird Al, Smells Like Nirvana. I bought that before I bought a Nirvana album.

Explain the design behind your Spotify playlist. Was there any sort of theme?

Mostly songs that I was listening to when I was growing up. There was a used record store in town and I’d go there and pick up a lot of classic rock vinyl, bands and musicians that I’d heard about but wasn’t hearing on the radio: the Byrds, EmmyLou Harris, Tony Rice. Bob Dylan, that’s a big one. Aside from that there wasn’t any real design outside of what I’m just listening to through the day. I was looking around thinking of songs I have either listened to for a long time or stuff lately that I think is cool.

Best interaction with a Yep Roc artist?

Jukebox the Ghost sent me booze. They sent me a bottle of wine. So, any Yep Roc artists that want to send me alcohol, they’re welcome to do so. I’ll just put that call out there. On the design side we just finished up the Chris Stamey album and he was really, really happy with the design. We worked a lot on it and it ended up being a really good result we were both happy with. In terms of work-wise, that one was really good. I mean, every artist has been fun to work with. On the Josh Rouse release I didn’t do a lot of heavy design work but I did production assistance and gave his designer printing & technical advice and they ended up giving me a credit on that, and that’s been one of my favorite Yep Roc releases. So, it was cool to get a credit on that.

What would be your dream concert? You get to choose a headliner & two openers.

Weird Al, Thelonius Monk, John Hartford. They would all perform opening sets, and then play together as the headlining super group.

Upcoming Yep Roc release you’re most excited about?

Definitely the next Dave and Phil Alvin. I just started talking with them about some album design stuff and we just got some photos. And Mandolin Orange’s Such Jubilee. I’ve been listening to that a whole bunch, that one’s cool. Oh, and Aoife O’Donovan’s next album.

Stranded on a desert island with two CDs, what are they?

Gillian Welch’s Soul Journey and the soundtrack to the movie Cars.

Favorite design for a band/event you’ve made at Yep Roc?

The cover to the Sawyer Sessions album for Record Store Day, I got to draw that. That was cool, that was nice to have a drawing on the cover of an LP. Usually if I have illustrations published they’re a lot smaller than that, so it was nice to have a big twelve by twelve one, and hopefully we’re going to use it for something other stuff down the line. And it’s no specific artist, so I’m not playing favorites.

What do you draw in your free time?

I really don’t have one thing. I draw a lot of trucks right now for my son. And if I’m getting back into drawing I’ll do a self-portrait a day. So, a lot of my sketchbooks have 15-20 pages of just self-portraits. They all look really different, and there’s not a lot of pressure because if it’s a drawing of me, I’m not going to care if it doesn’t look like me. As opposed to if I draw somebody else, and they don’t think it looks good. It’s kind of a warm up exercise, but definitely when I’m drawing more I’ll do a lot of self-portraits.

Most influential (visual) artists to you?

Design-wise I can’t say there’s any main influence. As far as illustrators, Alan Cober was a big one for me, just really awesome pen and ink stuff. Sort of in that same vein, Jack Unruh, whose work looks a lot like Cober’s stuff. I met him a few times and talked to him about his work. I had a teacher in school, Regan Dunnick, and I always really liked his style as well. I’ve always been attracted to illustrated journalism, things that tell a story and have character. My wife got me the Bernie Wrightson Swamp Thing collection and another collection of his stories for Warren Publishing, which are both amazing. I can’t draw like that but it makes me wish I could.

What did you study in school?

Illustration at Ringling School of Art and Design (Sarasota)

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