For the past two years Seattle duo NAVVI have been receiving major recognition from the likes of NME, Brooklyn Vegan, and The Line of Best Fit for a string of self-released singles, however, this Friday, May 27th, will see the release of their debut full-length, Omni. The album, which features a few of the band’s previously-released singles, is a sensuous and morose blend of ‘80s synth-pop and contemporary R&B of the most ethereal persuasion. NAVVI are comprised of vocalist Kristin Henry and producer Brad Boettger, who recently took some time to tell me a bit about the band’s history and process.
Izzy: First off, how is the Seattle music and arts scene at the moment? Any favorite local peers, organizations, or projects?
NAVVI: Super varied. A lot of really good punk bands and hip hop artists. It’s also been cool to witness and be part of the growing electronic scene. When we were starting out, it was pretty rare to play a local show with an all-electronic lineup. That’s changed in the last couple of years. Some local acts we’ve been feeling lately: Zoolab, Pillar Point, and DJAO.
Izzy: So this band is still relatively new, but you’ve already gotten some pretty big deal critical acclaim. What have been some of the highlights of the band for you so far?
NAVVI: Thank you. We’re really grateful for it all. When we take a step back, the coolest reality is that we’ve already surpassed all our initial expectations. The fact that we have people outside of our immediate circle who listen to our music will never get old. Our road trip to LA last year to play “It’s a School Night” at Bardot was pretty memorable too.
Izzy: Is there anything you think is important for fans and potential fans to know about your aim as artists? I know that you’re very dedicated to being DIY.
NAVVI: Our DIY approach was born out of necessity, but it’s cool that it has defined us as band. We’re just trying to create what we like using the resources we already have, while maintaining the fun in it all.
Izzy: How would you characterize the process of how the two of you work/write/record together?
NAVVI: It’s balanced. We both take on a dual creative director role. Songwriting, production, structure, etc. we both have a hand in. Even though we lean on each other’s strengths to execute the ideas, the ideas come together as a team effort.
Izzy: Your debut album, Omni, is about to hit shelves. What would you consider to be the album’s most significant influences?
NAVVI: The “wabi-sabi” view came up a few times while we were working on this album. There were points in the writing process where we both had to step back and just accept that a song was going to be what it already was. Writing this album has kind of forced us to see the meaningful beauty and realness in imperfection, and that it’s not something we should be so afraid of. As far as musical influences, I (Kristin) was years late to the game and just discovered the brilliance of Portishead’s Dummy and Massive Attack’s Mezzanine… I love an emotive voice.
Izzy: I really love the album, but I especially love “Polychrome,” so I have to ask how that particular track came about?
NAVVI: It came together really quickly. The beat only had one or two iterations and the melody came very quickly over the course of a weekend. I (Brad) was listening to a lot of music that was leaning into the ’80s synth nostalgia sound as well as some ‘90s 808 heavy productions styles and wanted to blend the two worlds for this track. The finale section leads into the next track on the record and initially it was a single long track that just felt better breaking up on the record.
Izzy: Finally, how do you plan to spend the remainder of 2016, after your album drops? Any chance we might get to see you on the road in the somewhat near future?
NAVVI: We’ll be playing Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party in July. We’re also looking to take some time in the early summer or late fall to do a small West Coast Tour: maybe stop through Portland, San Francisco, and LA, but nothing is confirmed yet. There have also been conversations around our next move as a band. There are many lanes we’d like to explore, musically, and I imagine we’ll start working on new sounds in the fall/winter.