What happens when two guys, both familiar faces from Bristol’s downtown restaurant scene, chase their dreams all the way to L.A.?
They actually make it.
Not long ago, Bristol residents Ryan Murphy and Nate Mott moved to Los Angeles to see if they could break into the music industry. The answer was a resounding “yes.”
They began writing soon after landing on the west coast, and soon after met Jack Turner, a native of the United Kingdom and multi-talented artist with his own dreams of an acting career. They named themselves Cable Car and within a year they had written, recorded, and released their first EP, “Ride.” They have also licensed their first song to the CBS daytime drama “The Bold and Beautiful,” and signed a publishing deal with Heavy Hitters Music. They are currently finishing the writing for their next LP release, with producer Michael Pappas. In two months, they will film a performance for a Ted Talks seminar on desire, the central topic of their recent EP.
They characterize their sound Pop&B; a hybrid of Pop and R&B that Nate describes as “a collection of Ryan’s hip hop drums, Jacks bluesy guitar and my singer songwriter something or other.”
Nate has found the journey incredibly inspirational. “The life and culture out here is so much more geared to supporting the arts than you would ever expect,” he says. “The business of music is part of it, for sure, but mostly we are surrounded by creative people living creative lives.”
Ryan grew up in Bristol, right on the Bristol/Warren line, and his parents, Jay and Theresa Murphy, still live in the house in which he grew up. “Most of my family lives in the East Bay and the southern coast of Massachusetts, so when I’m home I get to see almost everyone….And I’ve got two little cousins who are apparently quite the athletes in Bristol!”
Nate came to Bristol following a childhood spent mostly in Vermont, some of which was lived in a cabin that had no running water or electricity. “I’m New England through and through,” says Nate. “My parents moved around a lot separately so things could get a bit complicated. I felt there was never a place to call “home” until I found Bristol, where I lived for 7 years prior to moving to Los Angeles.” It was, to date, the longest amount of time he had ever lived anywhere. “When I think of a hometown, Bristol is what comes to mind.”
As for Jack, he grew up in Weymouth, UK. “It’s a small fishing and tourist town on the south coast,” he says. “Pretty similar to what I know of Rhode Island.” Working for Google brought Jack to San Francisco—then night school acting classes inspired a move to L.A. “It was mostly my plan to act—but then I met these really cool guys called Ryan Murphy and Nate Mott. The rest is history.”
Their respective moves to L.A. have yielded some truths, both expected and unexpected. For Ryan, discovering the level of talent in the Los Angeles music community has been a revelation. “I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of meeting people with such passion and competency for what they do and how they carry themselves,” he says. “I still can’t believe such people let me work with them!”
As for Jack, the last thing he expected was to meet “people from Rhode Island with no ego who just want to create. It has been a total treasure.” Still, he admits coming from the U.K and spending his days with a couple of guys from Bristol has led to more than a few moments of culture shock. “I’m pretty used to it now,” he says. “I’m still trying to hone in on the Rhode Island cultural norms so I don’t embarrass myself. In general though, the culture in the United States is to focus on the individual. For example, here, the onus is generally on the speaker to be heard rather than the listener to pay attention. Those types of differences, and the root of them, fascinate me.”
“I’m sorry Jack what were you saying?” Nate asks. “I wasn’t really listening.”
If you don’t know Ryan and Nate by name, you probably know their faces, if you have ever been in downtown Bristol, on the hunt for something good to eat or drink. Ryan spent some time working at Leo’s Ristorante “for the wonderful Paul Mancieri and his family.” Nate gives thanks to Beehive proprietors Jen and Chip Cavallaro, his employers of 4 years, crediting that job with “showing me the truly wonderful people that make up that little town by the bay….I was able to play my music and develop my songwriting while working in a supportive and creative environment.”
Safe bet, if you didn’t meet Ryan and Nate at Leo’s or the Beehive, you would have at Aidan’s, which Ryan claims pours the “best pint of Guinness, anywhere,” while Nate recalls pints of Harp and, at this time of year, Pumpkinhead. (And adds that he would like someone to please send him a Reuben.)
Ryan became a drummer by default: “Growing up, my friends all played guitar which left me to learn to play the drums,” he says. “I’d always been really into music, even making little rap tapes when I was very, very young.” These days, he claims inspiration from hip-hop and pop, ranging from Kanye to Katy Perry, who he calls “a playlist must.”
Nate picked up the acoustic guitar at the age of 10, but it wasn’t until he moved in with his father the summer before his freshman year of high school (in a town where he knew nobody) that it became more of a constant companion—with unexpected benefits. “To be frank, a guy with a guitar in high school is like winning the lottery if you know what I mean,” he says. “I found other musicians and had my first band by the middle of that year. A few battle of the band wins later and I was hooked for life.”
More recently, according to Nate, “I met the stupendously talented Ryan Murphy along the way. Then Jack soon after moving to LA. The two of them influence me more than anyone else right now.”
As well as it has gone to date, packing up and moving to Los Angeles has been a challenging leap of faith for all three musicians. Jack left behind a comfortable job and a great network of friends. “It still frightens me when I think about it, but fortunately it’s easy to jump on a plane and see people.”
According to Nate, “leaving Bristol was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’m a creature of habit and I feel that I had ingrained myself in the very fabric of Bristol.” But he knew that he’d have to make that break if he wanted to make a legitimate attempt at a recording career. “I’m not much of a crier but when I drove over the Mt. Hope bridge for the last time I damn near lost it.”
Ryan agrees. “I had gotten to a point where I was going to either settle down with a career or pursue my borderline-insane passion for music. I chose the latter….We just kind of did it.”
For Ryan, Nate, and Jack, working together has become a seamless mix of independence and collaboration. “That’s one of the best things about this band,” Ryan says. “Ideas come from anywhere, and all of us can develop them.”
“We all work to create the finished product,” says Jack. “So a lot of the writing is just bouncing ideas off of each other until we’re happy.”
Adds Nate, “We don’t put limits on what each person can do. We allow all of our ideas to be heard in whatever format they come in and we go from there. I will admit having us all live in the same complex is incredibly useful.” Each of them has his own studio and workspace, each catering to the individual’s sense of production. According to Nate, differences in the songs can be attributed to which apartment they started in.
For now, Ryan, Nate and Jack are are intensely focused on seeing Cable Car launched, whether that means recording the next EP, licensing more of their music, or playing the L.A. club circuit—nothing is off the table. In fact, performing in any of L.A.’s many clubs has been just as big a part of this project as the recordings. Their favorite clubs include The Mint and an intimate second floor club called Room 5, where they are playing November 7.
They are just trying to do everything; be a part of anything offered that feels like a good fit for Cable Car. “For us it feels the sky is the limit,” says Nate. “Right time, right place, right people. Creativity abounds and we are so excited about the future.”