Introducing Interview: nav/attack

Formed as a solo project with Andrew Lynch, nav/attack have received acclaim from the likes of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, KCRW and LA Weekly for last year’s Errrors EP. Now, with the addition of drummer Jason Echeverría, they’re building a reputation for their surreal other-worldly creations.

Having just released a brand new single, we caught up with Andrew Lynch to find out more…

Hello nav/attack, please introduce yourself!
Hi, Andrew Lynch here. I am the singer of nav/attack and I play a bunch of the instruments. If you aren’t familiar with the band, some people say we’re too futuristic and some people say our sound is too retro. I had a guy from a record label tell me our songs are for the “older demographic” but according to Spotify our audience is mostly 18-22. We love to confuse you! Just kidding.  Recently someone described our sound as L.A. turning a glacier (I was actually born & raised in Alaska) so I thought the next logical leap from the chill-wave genre could be glacier-wave. What do you think?

You have returned with your new single ‘Centipede’, can you tell us a little bit about the track?
‘Centipede’ is based on another film script I wrote. It’s set in the future and centres around a 50 year old woman who is imprisoned in her own home, awaiting execution for killing her parents. She’s been locked up for so long the outside world has changed around her. So the song is from her point of view, trying to figure out how to make it through her last days. P.S. There’s cowbell on the chorus.

nav/attack was formally a solo project, how has the direction of the project changed since you have became a duo?
Working with Jason has made things way easier for me.  It’s awfully quiet working alone and so easy to drift into perfectionism, which can sometimes lead to creative paralysis.  Having someone to consult with and collaborate with speeds up the process.  If I have a question or concern I can defer to him.  He has a great sense of structure so we did a lot of cutting down the songs.

Who would you say are your biggest influences musical or otherwise?
For the “How to Be an Artist” category: David Bowie, Miles Davis, and Radiohead.  As far as non-musicians, definitely Stanley Kubrick. All of these people have this forward-thinking, I-don’t-give-a-rip what you think of me now approach that is completely inspiring.  Making art isn’t about the trends, it’s about making something big and new. I am super into combining acoustic and electronic music and nobody has done that better than Bowie, Miles, or Radiohead. I will always fall short of the genius of Kubrick, but the important things for me to take from his work are his attention to detail and artistic obsession at any cost. Even he worked so very hard be that good.

You made your name in your hometown of Los Angeles, what is the scene like back home?
There’s a great mix of big music venues and tiny clubs, which is cool. This city is full of so many indie bands out there playing shows every night, there’s a very big menu. But then if you’d rather go see Brian Ferry play with an orchestra, you can find that as well.  One time I was playing at my favorite intimate L.A. venue called The Bootleg Theater and some people I knew weren’t there because they were across town watching Jeff Lynne or some other huge band. The competition is real.

Any bands or artists from LA you would recommend to a UK audience?
One of my personal favorites from L.A. is a band called Chicano Batman. I love their name and I love their music even more.  Their new album is this brilliant psychedelic soul and it just feels like blue skies and palm trees. If you’re looking for something heavy, check out a band called Youth Code. They work a lot with modular synths so the sound design is amazing. Each song is like a mini-album in itself – I love the arrangements. I haven’t seen them live yet because they don’t play here much but I’ve heard the shows are crazy. I think they’re headed to Europe very soon.

You previously collaborated with Adam Goldberg on a series of videos hooked around your last record, how did that come about?
I had written a half-baked screenplay about a woman whose mind is hijacked by an evil doctor who implants her with a chip so he can rent her brain as advertising space.  The script became the basis for videos. Adam is dear friend. He and I have collaborated a lot on his records and he asked me to lay a small part in his film “No Way Jose” so I of course said yes. As a way of returning the “favor,” Adam agreed to be in my videos as a local newsman who drinks blood. It was a part I wrote specifically for him and he was so great for it.

What are the difficulties up and coming independent artists face in the music industry today?
At the moment, content is so de-centralized, which is good, in that we can all use whichever platforms we prefer to consume media, but it leaves me with a scattered feeling, both as a consumer and as a creator. Last night I was trying to find a film to watch. I use Netflix, but I also use Amazon, VUDU, and HBO. They all have a certain amount of overlap and they also each have their exclusive content. If I’m just browsing, it’s overwhelming and sometimes exhausting. That’s how I see music right now in that there are all these different places to get music, and if you’re an independent artist, someone has to literally search for you in order to even know you’re there.  As a consumer it’s frustrating because I’m sure there are unknown bands out there probably making music I would go crazy for, but how do I get to them?  Some people here in L.A. started a record club called VNYL and they send you a hand-picked selection every month based on your musical preferences, social media accounts, etc. We need more ideas like this.

Have you played live in Europe in the past? Is there a difference between a European and US audience?
I played with Adam’s band on Radio 6, then we played shows in Paris and Brussels. I don’t want to get myself into too much trouble, so I’ll just give you my first impression. The Paris show was packed because we were opening for The Dears. When the music started, the venue went completely silent for the whole time we played, presumably out of respect for the musicians. In my experience, over here, there’s definitely a bit less audience attention focused on the music.

Do you have plans to release anymore music before the end of 2017?
Yes, definitely. We’re just finishing mixing a new LP which will probably come out as a whole in the winter, but in the meantime we will be releasing more singles from album. Thanks!

Huge thanks to nav/attack for answering our questions! 

‘Centipede’, the new single from nav/attack, is out now via Sparse Symmetrics.

Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.