Friends tour the UK but are still finding it 'tough to survive'

Nat Waters (second from right), Evan Tate, Josh Pears and Curtis Murphy of Bandit, an indie band formed in Liverpool
-Credit: (Image: Samantha Corcoran)

A successful band still has to have “grit and determination” to survive.

Nat Waters, 28, is part of Bandit. The indie band has played at festivals across the country and has seen its music played to millions across the country.

Nat plays in the band alongside Evan Tate, Josh Pears and Curtis Murphy. Speaking to the ECHO, Nat says the idea for Bandit came about gradually.

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He said: “I'm from Preston originally. I went to Liverpool for university and then met a couple of lads that were interested in the same sort of music. Then we started playing together and then it was only after really a couple of years that it came together.

“People came in and out, then we got all the lads we have now. We wanted to have a bit of grit behind us. We were all interested in all the indie stuff, but it was a bit dirtier and it was a bit more gritty and a bit more grungy than the typical indie that we were listening to.”

Nat credits his dad Dave for where he ended up. He said: “To be honest, I owe all that to my dad. He sent a fax to one of his friends when I was born, and he said, his name is Nat Waters and he will play the guitar. I think since then, my dad's been my hero and we've always had that musical bond in common.”

Nat counts performing at Kendal Calling, a music festival in Cumbria, and having their music played on BBC Radio One as the band’s biggest achievements so far. However, their journey hasn’t been without its difficulties.

Nat said: “None of us are particularly well off. I think there's a lot of rich kids in the music industry these days, with mums and dads that work at such and such record label or whatever. For us, we all work day jobs to pay rent.

“We've been around for a little while, we've been up and down, we know the ropes and you would think that streaming royalties and like your live shows would be the biggest earners.

“However, you're down in London playing a gig, a support show for £50. And then you've got things to factor into that, like petrol or an even little dirty takeaway at a service station will cost £40 between the four of us.”

Thankfully, there is some hope in that regard. The PRS Foundation, a charitable funder of new music and talent development, has awarded Bandit a grant to develop music quality and sound and to increase marketing for a new EP.

Bandit performing at the Kendal Calling music festival in Cumbria
Bandit performing at the Kendal Calling music festival in Cumbria -Credit:Samantha Corcoran

Nat described the money from the PPL Momentum Accelerator Fund as a “godsend” for the band, adding: “I think that it's going to make a hell of a difference. I think that PRS Foundation is probably one of the most beautiful and honest entities in this music industry, so to be awarded that's brilliant.

He added: “Liverpool is a great city for the music scene. However, it's tough as well. Venues are shutting down - how are we going to combat stuff like that? How is there this need for bands to come through, but there's no network for them to really come through?

“I think that's why companies like PRS, and Help Musicians and the Merseyside Arts Foundation, are there to give these bands support, I think they are the real gems in this whole music industry, to be honest.”

Even before this funding though, Nat was proud of what his and the band’s accomplishments, despite sometimes struggling to acknowledge this. He said: “There's always that need, that striving to be like, all right, done that now, what next?

“I probably should take more time to kind of go, that went really well. If I could see myself now when I first started out, I'd just be like, oh my God, surely with what he's done, he must be mega famous by now.

“And you know what? I'm proud of everything that we've done. And I've made some great memories along the way and I've met some great people.”

Nat is optimistic for the band’s future too. He said: “It is a tough game, but we're in it for the long haul. And there's different things on the horizon.

“The fans that we've got are the most important people for us. I think this funding is just going to allow us to really step that up, to be honest, especially over the next year or so.

“I think that you've got to have real grit and determination for it. You've got to be a cockroach that you're trying, that people try to stand on, but as soon as they uplift the sole of the boot, you're still there to crawl away.”

You can find out more about Bandit here and PRS Foundation here.

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