With their winning combination of winsome and heart tugging melodies, deep grounding in traditional pop song-craft, and commitment to each other as both friends and collaborators, Nautics are Replay’s most prolific band. Featuring the keening, lovelorn vocals of singer/guitarist Kenzo Repola and ably backed by Van Cameron on bass, Levitt Yaffe on drums and Amir Brivanlou on keys, the group’s 20I5 EP The Misadventures Of An Indestructibly Melancholy City is an exciting display of bourgeoning talent on the rise. The slow burning, percussive punch of opener ‘Stomp Clap’ conjures classics like the Ventures’ “Walk Don’t Run” and Spoon’s “The Beast And Dragon Adored”. Meanwhile, the insistent jangle of “I’ll Be Waiting…” and “Break Up” brings to mind some favorites of 80’s UK rock, like Robert Smith and Morrissey.
As they continue to evolve, play more gigs and find an audience in the city, we talked to Nautics about their process, the nature of their collaboration and the role of Replay Music Studios in facilitating their success.
“We all write the songs together,” says Cameron. “From the practice room the songs evolve. The initial ideas are mainly Kenzo, and from there we flesh out songs.”
From The Beatles to the Beastie Boys, great bands require a capacity to transcend personal and aesthetic differences and weave disparate visions into a coherent whole. This process requires patience, time and more then anything belief in one another. These are elements Nautics possess in spades.
Repola elaborates on the nature of this mutually beneficial creative partnership: “We are our own favorite guys in the world. We trust each other.” That sort of all for one, one for all ethic is evident on the Misadventures EP, which was recorded over a scant eight hours. Despite the extreme restriction on time, the band felt sufficiently confident in one another to take chances with familiar originals.
“When we recorded ‘Stomp/Clap’, we messed around with the studio,” says Repola. “It was simple, but we made it weird.”
The collaborative process surrounding “Break Up” was arguably even more fascinating.
In characteristically self -deprecating terms, Repola says of his composition: “‘Break Up’ was such a basic song, I actually wrote that on the ukulele, which is disgusting, and then I brought it to the band and they all made it what it was.” Ukulele or no, the results speak for themselves.
Whatever their ultimate trajectory, Nautics are a consummate Replay Music Studios band. A group of old and new friends brought together, coached up and encouraged, and ultimately set loose on a delighted and unsuspecting world, they exemplify what Replay is all about. “We like the quality facilities at Replay and Greg is a great band coach,” the band enthuses. “He keeps us in line and we are more productive when we are here.” And their coach agrees – Replay helps the band stay focused.
As some of the members finish up high school this spring, the band is set to play at the Replay Music Studios Spring Showcase, June 11, 1:30-4pm at DROM. Though this may be the end of one chapter, we haven’t heard the last from Nautics. The band recently recorded new material at Rubber Tracks Studio in Brooklyn, and is excited to perform around NYC this summer. Look out for more inspiring material and performances from this group of musicians!