This Is Lorelei Talks Making an “Album” Album (6/24 at JB’s w/ @ and 10/22 at The Foundry w/ Dehd)

Earlier this month Nate Amos (of Water From Your Eyes) released Box for Buddy, Box for Star, the first “official” album from This Is Lorelei (which dropped courtesy of...

Earlier this month Nate Amos (of Water From Your Eyes) released Box for Buddy, Box for Star, the first “official” album from This Is Lorelei (which dropped courtesy of Double Double Whammy), a solo project whose music he’s been self-releasing online since 2014.  The album — whose origins date back to the summer of 2022, when Amos decided to stop smoking weed after a trip to Stonehenge — was called “The best pop record of the year so far,” by Paste, with Under The Radar adding, “Box For Buddy, Box For Star does what you wish all modern music would.  Listening through makes for an endless joy of discovery with a handful of carefully placed and familiar way stations to guide your way.  Whether country, pop, dance, folk, or some cobbled together hybrid, Amos’ seeming ease in navigating his way through these 10 songs finds an artist at the peak of his powers.”

This past Thursday This Is Lorelei played an album release show at TV Eye in New York.  And while Nate will be playing shows with Water From Your Eyes throughout the summer and early fall, he does have two upcoming shows in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.  This Monday, June 24th, he will be supporting our own @ at Johnny Brenda’s and this October This is Lorelei will be on tour supporting our buddies Dehd, including their October 22nd date at The Foundry.  I recently got a chance to chat with Nate Amos via Zoom about making This Is Lorelei unofficially “official.”

Izzy Cihak: Since this is a Philadelphia publication, I have to ask your thoughts on the city, as you’ve played here a handful of times now.  I actually just saw Water From Your Eyes with Squid at Union Transfer.

Nate Amos: I like Philly a lot.  I’ve gotten to know it more through the lens of playing shows recently, but one side of my family is mostly from the area, and I lived in Downingtown for a couple years.  So, Philadelphia is kind of one of my spiritual East Coast homebases to a certain extent in a way that extends back to my childhood.  So, I like Philadelphia!

Izzy: I know you’ve been releasing songs as This Is Lorelei for quite some time now, and you have a lot of them, but Box for Buddy, Box for Star is your first proper album.  I know that this collection of songs began when you decided to stop smoking weed, but what is it that made you want to make this “proper” release, or did that come after you started writing some of the songs?

Nate: It was a couple different things.  I was feeling like I should probably move in the direction of taking this project a little more seriously, in terms of how I released the music…  With a couple albums that I made before this, I’d almost done it, but then I had a moment where I impulsively just put it online.  So, it was something that I felt like I had to do at a certain point, but then when it started to take shape a little bit, it kind of began to want to become an archetypal “album” album: 43 minutes, 10 tracks, relatively straightforward.  And for the first time, the need to do a slightly more formal release lined up conceptually with the music, which I think is why it happened for this album, in particular.

Izzy: Have you had any favorite reactions to the album, whether things that fans have reached out to tell you or things that have been written about it?  There have been a lot of really cool things written about it.

Nate: It’s funny, because with Water From Your Eyes it’s a little different, because it’s more a band, but with this project it’s kind of like a character doing it, but it’s still just me by myself at the end of the day, so I’ve actually been trying not to look at too much press stuff, at least until the full album comes out.  If there were no negative side effects of it, in terms of a rollout, in a perfect world, I would have chosen to just release the whole thing as a unit.  I understand the need for singles, and it definitely helps with a lot of things, but I’m trying not to read into anything too much until the whole album’s out there, because that’s really how it’s designed to be digested.

Izzy: Now I don’t know if I should bring this up [laughs], but I read something particularly amusing about it.  PAPER said, “If it had been released two decades earlier, it would feel at home on The O.C.‘s soundtrack.” Which I think is such like a cute thing, but I’m curious to hear what you think of that assessment, which I feel could be taken in a lot of different ways.

Nate: [Laughs] I mean, I don’t think it’s unfair.  I mean, I’ve never watched The O.C., so I don’t really know, but I hope different places take away different moments of time that were thought of in the making of it.  Because that was one of the ideas with the album, to try to erase the sense of what time it’s from.  And the early 2000s, that’s when I was kind of like becoming a conscious human and absorbing music, so there’ll always be a tie to that, for sure.  If someone feels like it sounds like it’s from a different time, then that’s kind of part of the idea, to not have it be connected to this time, necessarily.

Izzy: Have you noticed a lot of crossover fandom between Water From Your Eyes and This Is Lorelei, (which I realize you’ve actually been doing for longer than Water From Your Eyes, albeit in a less like official way)?  They’re fairly different projects, but each, individually, are also fairly eclectic and hard to pin down.

Nate: I kind of have a hard time simultaneously focusing on one sort of sound, and also am instinctively always trying to get away from anything that could lead to be kind of pigeonholed.  It’s funny, for me, because the two projects do have very different headspaces, but there is still a connection.  I don’t know how much of a fan crossover there really is.  Sometimes people will ask me about Lorelei at a Waters show, but I also have people who message me and say that they had no idea that I was in Water From Your Eyes until they saw us perform somewhere.  So, I like the idea of not everybody necessarily knowing about both things.  But yeah, it would make sense that there’s a little crossover because, at the end of the day, they feel very different to me but they’re also both things that I make from my bedroom, so they’re coming up from the same place, ultimately.

Izzy: You’re signed to Double Double Whammy, which is such a cool label.  How is it working with them and being a part of that label family?

Nate: They’ve been really wonderful to work with.  The whole process has been really nice, especially with this project not having really existed in any industry sense before.  I wanted to go ahead and get it over with, but I was still pretty nervous about it.  And I’ve felt like, for a project that I’ve always been hesitant to give anyone else any control over, I’ve been very comfortable working with them, and they’ve been very sweet.

Izzy: Do you happen to have any favorite labelmates yet, whether artists you’re friends with or artists that you think are just doing really cool things?  There’s a lot of artists on the label that we really love, like Babehoven, Florist, Hatchie, Hovvdy, and Katie Bejsiuk, who are all sort of industry friends of ours.

Nate: I do like Babehoven.  I really like Allegra Krieger a lot.  Actually, years ago I used to occasionally do sound for her.  Told Slant is an old friend of mine.  But I’ve been so busy since we’ve signed, I should probably get to know some of my labelmates a little bit more [laughs].

Izzy: You actually have two upcoming Philly shows, your upcoming show with @ at Johnny Brenda’s and you also got added to Dehd’s fall tour… which I’m already going to with them.

Nate: Oh, cool!

Izzy: What can be expected of a This Is Lorelei live show?

Nate: I’m still kind of figuring it out.  For a long time, I was just doing kind of karaoke sets, because it was just practical, and I didn’t have to figure out what I was gonna play until the day of the show.  But recently I’ve been touring with a band, with Al and Bailey, who’re also in the live backing band for Water From Your Eyes.  We did a tour opening for Omni.  There’s kind of the same inherent problem that we’ve run into with Water From Your Eyes in that there’s such a wide range of sounds that the idea of recreating it all live isn’t particularly feasible.

In Water From Your Eyes we use a laptop backing track and go at it from an angle where we have a lot of what’s going on in the recording in there, and we’re adding things live.  Whereas with Lorelei, there’s still a little bit of backing track stuff, just because I like the idea of a predesigned set, a predesigned flow, so you just start it, and it goes all the way through and it’s like a video game and you just get through different levels.  I like that format for live performance a lot, because I think it keeps people on their toes.  But, that being said, with Lorelei, I think the idea that I’m kind of zoning in on live is to just have it be a band reinterpretation of the songs, and not worry about what the recordings sound like at all, and just approach it more like, “Let’s strip this song down to a basic level and how it works best live in this format.”  So, loosely, like a band show.  And I have an idea of doing maybe some karaoke portion of it or something for longer shows.

Izzy: And is it gonna be mostly songs from Box for Buddy, Box for Star, or are you gonna bring out some of the older, less “official” releases for the live shows?

Nate: I think it’ll be a mix.  One of the consistent things with this project is that some of the songs, while they’re being written, you can tell if it’s gonna be a song that’s gonna make sense to do live.  And then there’re certain songs that you just know are impractical to play live, which you can kind of do if you’re doing the karaoke set type of thing.  But that applies to this album just as much as any past Lorelei stuff, so it’ll probably be a pretty even split…  I definitely enjoy playing a lot of the old material a lot, so that probably won’t be going anywhere.  It’s not like this album’s gonna come out and it’ll be just that stuff.  I want every set to have deep cuts.

Izzy: Your upcoming show with @ is in quite a bit more intimate of a setting than your upcoming dates with Dehd.  Does the venue space and its size play into how you approach performing at all?

Nate: Not really.  Obviously, psychologically, performing in front of a large room of people is very different than playing for like 10 or something.  I find that I perform my best when I’m just very focused on the performance.  For me, crowd interaction isn’t what I’m necessarily trying to go for.  It’s more about just demonstrating the songs and letting them speak for themselves.  Because the more I say, the less the songs are what’s being said by the set.  So, the result of that is I just tend to disappear into my own head performing.  It’s kind of gotten to the point where it doesn’t really matter how many people are there.  It’s generally like going back to the same space.

Izzy: And what are your thoughts on @ and Dehd?  I’ve seen @ a few times and they’re rad, and I’ve been a big fan of and covering Dehd kinda since the beginning…

Nate: I’m stoked about both of them!  They’re both bands that I’ve listened to a fair bit and have a lot of mutual friends with.  I know the people in @.  Dehd, I don’t think I’ve ever met them, but we have a lot of mutual friends.  It’ll be fun!  Lorelei doesn’t have a huge touring history, so the idea of going out on tour is still very fresh, so I’m excited that it’s two bands that I know and like.

Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you?  In addition to these dates with Dehd, what are you hoping and planning for Lorelei in the near future?  I know you’ll be on the road with Water From Your Eyes for some dates this summer.

Nate: Now that this album’s actually coming out, maybe I’ll be able to write new Lorelei stuff.  That’s kind of why I used to put things out so fast, because it gets kind of blocked up.  But, also, usually, in terms of what I’m working on, there’s an alternating year system, where right now we’re finishing up this album cycle with Water and I’m doing a lot of writing for that project.  But that’s supposed to be done by the end of the year, so probably writing a new Lorelei album next year, I think, and taking touring opportunities that I really want to do.  I don’t feel as much pressure to tour really hard with Lorelei as I do with Water From Your Eyes.  But, that being said, I definitely do plan on touring and doing whatever it is that bands do: tour, make album, repeat, as I have time to do so.

*Get your tickets to see This Is Lorelei supporting @ at Johnny Brenda’s here.

**Get your tickets to see This Is Lorelei supporting Dehd at The Foundry here.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.