Exclusive Interview: Pop-Culturalist Chats with Local Nomad
September 13, 2021 by Kevin
Michael Desmond a.k.a. Local Nomad is a Long Island native who’s returning to basics with his indie-pop classic “On and On”. Since bursting onto the scene, Local Nomad has captivated listeners with his crooner sound and narrative lyrics, amassing millions of streams worldwide. He’s been championed by publications including Flaunt, Under the Radar, Atwood Magazine, and quickly become one to watch.
Pop-Culturalist was lucky enough to speak with Local Nomad about his career, “On and On“, and how his next body of work marks an end of an era for the gifted young artist.
P-C: How did you discover your passion for music? Local Nomad: It was back when Total Request Live was still a thing. I was watching music videos. When I was fourteen, I used to go and play guitar and sing in my garage so no one would hear me. I did that for about a year, and then I learned how to sing. I’ve been taking guitar lessons since I was eight. It all spiraled from there.
P-C: Who or what has had the biggest influence on your career? Local Nomad: That’s a really good question. I’ve had so many good mentors in my life. I’ve had a lot of people that I’ve actually become friends with. It’s rare that you find mentorship or people who are willing to help you. Those are the best kinds of teachers. I’d say one of those people is my friend’s uncle who took me under his wing as a guitar player. He taught Billy Joel’s guitar player. He used to put a cigarette on the end of his headstock, lock the door, and be like, “I’m going to show you some riffs. I’m going to show you some sh-t.” He really changed my guitar playing.
I’ve had a couple of other mentors in my life. I have one now. I just moved to South Carolina. I met this woman named Margaret through my sister. She has awoken so many creative things in me, and those things are important to have. My dad has been a big advocate for music since I was young. My sister and I took lessons from a really young age, and that helped us foster our creativity. I’ve always been a really creative person, but that springboarded a lot of my creativity.
P-C: You’re an artist that’s been steadily releasing music throughout the years. If you had to pick one song that best encompasses who you are as an artist, which would it be and why? Local Nomad: There are some new songs that I have coming out that I’d say encompass who I am as an artist. I’d say two of those songs are “Getting Old is a Bitch” and “Snakechild”. Both of the songs are playful, but they’re about serious topics. It took me a while to get to that point with my songwriting and to allow myself to embrace the humorous side as well as the serious side. It’s a cocktail of both.
P-C: Tell us about “On and On” and the inspiration behind the song. Local Nomad: “On and On” is a song that I brought back from a long time ago. I wrote it about ten years ago. I was in a different band at the time. Over quarantine, my dad and my old manager Eddie Levy convinced me to redo it. They were like, “Why don’t you just redo this song?” I dove back in my catalog of songs and I said, “You know what? This is still great.” It has a really cool Killers/Phoenix vibe. That’s how I tackled it.
I guess when I wrote the song I was so much younger and wasn’t as jaded as I am now because when you’re nineteen or twenty everything is like, “Nothing can go wrong.” Like I’ve said to many people, the song for me is about being in a touring band in your early twenties and having that passion to keep going and try to make it as a band. That’s what it means to me now because I’m still trying to do the same thing years later. I’m still trucking along, and hopefully, it inspires some others to keep moving forward.
P-C: You had a lot of success already in your young career. When you look back, is there a particular moment that stands out to you? Local Nomad: Either touring with Taking Back Sunday or getting our songs played on the Kardashians’ show or by American Airlines.
P-C: What do you hope to say as an artist? Local Nomad: I hope to inspire people. I hope to revive a sense of nostalgia in people and generally make people feel good. That’s what music has become for me because it makes me feel good. I hope it does the same for other people too.
P-C: How would you say this next body of work differentiates itself from previous releases? Local Nomad: It encompasses the end of an era for me because I dug back in my catalog for some of these songs. This EP is the end of an era for me musically and stylistically because I’m always changing. I’m always trying to do different things. This body of work basically encompasses my twenties, and it means a lot to me because these songs I’m putting out are some of my favorites I’ve ever written and I totally reimagined them. It’s definitely fun. It’s a weird feeling, but I’m really excited to put them out.
Pop-Culturalist Speed Round
P-C: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist? Local Nomad: I’d say Sheryl Crow. I really like Sheryl Crow. I literally will go from Sheryl Crow to Lamb Of God to Gojira to Muna to Britney Spears to Seal to Michael McDonald.
P-C: First album you bought? Local Nomad: Boyz II Men.
P-C: First concert you attended? Local Nomad: Tony Hawk had a tour. It was the Boom Boom Huck Jam where there were a lot of bands from Victory Records and there was skateboarding involved.
P-C: An album that changed your life and why? Local Nomad: I’d say Tears for Fears’ Songs from the Big Chair or Elliott Smith’s XO.
P-C: A venue on your bucket list to perform at? Local Nomad: Madison Square Garden.
P-C: A must-have on the road? Local Nomad: Water and Advil.