Nate Poeppel

A Look Into the Life of a Young Career Maker

One of the hidden gems of the Aberdeen area is the budding scene of local musicians. As luck would have it, we got a hold of Audio Engineer and Tour Manager, Nate Poeppel, one of Aberdeen’s most ambitious musicians. Nate is currently working with Sioux Falls band, The Spill Canvas, while they’re on tour with Motion City Soundtrack, but he was kind enough to answer some of our questions.

When did you first start playing music? When did you realize you wanted to make a career out of music?

I first started playing music when I was seven years old. My parents gave me a guitar for Christmas that year, and my mom taught me how to play. A few years after that, I began playing bass, trombone, and a few other instruments.

I always enjoyed playing music, but writing was mainly my thing. I believe that writing is the reason I still play music and record albums. Throughout the process of learning how to make my own albums, I realized that my production and business skills would allow me to produce, engineer, and market albums for other artists. Throughout the past four years, studying marketing at NSU, I filled my days with audio work. This included singles, albums, senior recitals, live events, and online work for clients around the country. I learned most of my craft through experience, but I also heavily studied great engineers like Fab Dupont, Chris Lord-Alge, Jonathan Roye, and Greg Wells. My audio and business background led me to a tour managing job for Nick Thomas (The Spill Canvas) in 2014, and that made me realize that I wanted to make a career out of music.

What is that career? How has it transformed from what you started doing to what you are doing now?

I would describe myself as a producer, engineer, tour manager, and marketer. I’ve focused on working with organic artists. Real, natural, honest music is just what I enjoy listening to. Some reference artists to this genre may include John Mayer, Angus & Julia Stone, and Bahamas. My career allows me to work with artists around the country, both online and in-studio. It also allows me to work with bands like The Spill Canvas as we tour with Motion City Soundtrack this summer.

When I started, I knew that I loved writing and playing music, but I also knew there were far better musicians than myself. I grew up with a father who enjoyed mechanical design and engineering. Of course, this is not audio, but I feel that the concept of capturing and molding something accurately and working towards a product that is beneficial to consumers is similar in all types of engineering. The music business side of my career was influenced by connecting with artists over the years, talking about audio with other engineers, and studying business at NSU.

What kind of impact or presence do you think you’ve created in the Aberdeen area? 

I hope that I left an impact on others throughout the past four years. Aberdeen has giving me a massive amount of opportunity through Northern State University and also the downtown music community. Through my years of performing and engineering, I’ve been able to establish sustainable relationships with artists like Ron Parker, Matt Harmel, Jill Warner, Micah Reierson, and many others. These community artists allowed me to connect with others and grow my business. Through my work, I’ve also been able to help others create their own impact on the community. Whether it be live events around town or albums that the Aberdeen community has listened to, the area has enabled me to impact others with the music I’ve helped capture, enhance, and distribute.

Tell us about this road trip you’re on right now.

Nate Poeppel

Nate with his 2012 Freightliner Sprinter Van, which he converted into a micro studio apartment.

I just moved to Sioux Falls, SD and am excited to tour this summer. From March to May of this past school year, I took on a new project. Having a fascination with “tiny” living, I decided to trade in my Honda Ridgeline pickup and convert a 2010 Freightliner Sprinter Van into a micro studio apartment. This will be used as a mobile office and adventure mobile. My van has hardwood flooring on the main floor and bed loft, a custom designed cabinet for the kitchen, a sink, a two-burner stove, a refrigerator, a full-sized bed, solar panels mounted to the roof, and a massive amount of storage for all of my gear. The process has been overwhelming some days, but I’ve had help from a good friend, Troy McQuillen. I won’t be touring in my van this summer, but I plan on making extended-stay trips to various locations throughout the U.S. and Canada over the next few years.

What are your plans for the future? Where do you want your life to go from here?

I still feel that I’m constantly changing and learning new things with the opportunities that come my way. Although most of the future is unforeseeable, I intend to keep my same career path, extend into new markets such as video and graphic design, and see where this life takes me. I hope to live in new places and pursue anything that piques my interest. //

Follow Nate at his website.