Pole dancer to lead singer in a band isn’t necessarily the most natural career path, but it has provided a great source of remedy and inspiration for Brighton-based Natalie Indya West, lead singer of rock band Indya.
Studying on a music course with a 50% scholarship Natalie needed to fund her study fees but her job at McDonald’s didn’t cut it. Her friend told her of an audition for podium dancers at a nightclub that paid good money so she went along – only to find out that was a *ahem* gentleman’s club.
Natalie told us: “I had never pole danced before, but I found myself being a natural professional at the audition and I got the job! Before I knew it I was earning £1,000 a week and able to pay my college fees. It’s seedy I know but it was here at the club that I started writing songs.”
Those songs were inspired by her profession as well as her battles with bulimia and a drug addiction – which she has thankfully come through as a result of her music – to form a sound she describes as: “Think Joan Jett in business with Royal Blood but with a touch of Hendrix.”
That sounds pretty damn good to us, and comes across in in this year’s debut EP Strip Me Down. It starts as it means to go on with opening track Harder Faster, with a fun stabby riff and big drums that flow into the opening vocals “I’m all alone with your love, Under the sheets feel your touch, Just me and my man making love.” Then a fast-paced chorus of “Love me a little bit harder, and faster” flows into another fun verse then a winding guitar solo that bursts into a high-pitched guitar shred. It’s an impressive, slightly saucy opening to proceedings.
The EP’s raunchy bluesy rock title track Strip Me Down was written on the bus ride home from Liverpool Street to Romford. It starts with a big bold guitar riff that’s soon replaced by the seductive opening vocals “Hey there baby, How you doing doing tonight, You’re driving me crazy with the way that you’re looking at me right now, I’m feeling your light yeah as I see that your eyes are slipping me down, I’m feeling your touch as you slowly make your way down. Then cries of “Strip me down” are followed by “Round and round i go tearing it up and down that pole” is followed by a big singalong chorus.
Similar in style is the lively Not A Line, which opens with a funky riff alongside a backing synth sound then distant vocals supported by palm-muted chords “I see you out my window, I’m trying to flag you down, You don’t even see me, You don’t know what I found.” The vocals intensify as the guitars build towards a singalong chorus of “Your love, your love is all I need I need to make me feel safe” followed by the fun guitar riff. The second verse kicks off in the same style as the first, then kicks into the saucy vocals: “I’m feeling kinda sexy, As I lay here on my bed, The rush is getting harder, As I’m getting off my head” followed by another catchy chorus. A building synth section flows into a big guitar solo then fun almost spoken building vocals flow into a final chorus. Check it out in the video below:
And the EP goes out in style with the fun, energetic and brilliantly titled Meet Me At The Bat Cave. Give it a listen below:
Natalie quit the pole dancing after completing college, started Indya the band, and since then things have really taken off – playing a gig alongside Noel Gallagher, and earlier this month supporting cult 90s band Space at The Garage in London.
On that Gallagher gig she tells us: “Being able to play live at the O2 Liverpool at Noel Gallagher’s aftershow party was pretty amazing. Alan McGhee & Noel DJ’d that night. There were a lot of people there it was a fantastic buzz and I would so love to be able to do that all over again. The journey was a disaster though! I was stopped twice by the police because of my awful driving – I drove the Rock’n’Roll bus from Brighton to Liverpool, there and back. I was so so tired.”
Natalie is also passionate about Musicians Against Homelessness, a charity run by the aforementioned McGhee, from Creation Records, for which she hosts a monthly music night at Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton. She tells us: “I am a huge fan of MAH. I helped the homeless anyway before this charity ever existed. Music is pacifying and healing so to be able to play to earn money to go towards MAH is very rewarding. It’s a breath of fresh air to be able to contribute to making the world a better place.”