LA based glitch-pop outfit nav/attack follows last year’s EP Errrors with dystopian themed single Centipede, released on 8th September 2017 via Sparse Symmetrics.
Centipede is set in a post-apocalypic future, where breathing outside is illegal and everyone is addicted to narcotics-infused candy. A hypnotic, whirring cacophony, the track races with the glitchy speed of retro arcade games, building tension that opens out into a cinematic soundscape.
In this interview spotlight, we chat with nav/attack about influences, music consumption preferences, challenges, the latest project and more.
Full Q&A along with links and a stream of Centipede can be found below.
Let’s dive a little deeper into You, the artist and your music. What attracted you to this genre(s) or style(s)?
What makes any art form exciting to me is unpredictability. My parents were strict and I’ve never liked rules very much. When I heard records like Bowie’s “Low” or Nine Inch Nails “The Downward Spiral” or especially Radiohead’s “Kid A” which has a brass band playing with distorted bass… I started to realize that music can be really weird and artistic, acoustic and electronic—yet they all basically adhere to a “pop” sensibility—that’s exciting to me.
What led you into this journey with music? And further, what drives you to push it out to the public?
Like a lot of people, my introduction to music was playing (trumpet) in the band at public school, which was a great experience. But then I got my first electronic instrument when I was a teen and that’s when I discovered how many sonic possibilities are out there. It was a Korg 01W keyboard which had a 16-track sequencer, so I spent hours at a time in my room alone learning programming and arranging, and experimenting with sound design. I didn’t share anything I did with anyone for a long time.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so by the time our music gets out to the public I’ve heard the songs thousands of times. If I don’t push them out to the public, I’m afraid I’ll go crazy. I like passing them on to potential audiences so I can move on and don’t have to obsess anymore. It’s quite a relief.
Who or what influences your creativity? Have your tastes in music changed over time?
My creativity is driven by not being able to sit still. I like to keep moving and keep trying new things. I skew towards workaholic sometimes and I get edgy if I’m not writing or recording. My tastes in music have definitely expanded and yet there are also some bands I don’t listen to anymore, mostly because I’ve heard them so many times. That’s actually a scary thought—why did you ask me that? Just kidding. Yeah, I guess music is more like clothing than I realized. Sometimes you’re just over something.
Were you trying to accomplish anything specific on this new project? Creatively or otherwise?
Yes, last summer I wrote a film and all of our new record is intended as a companion piece to that story. I directed a series of interlocking videos for our first LP and the idea is to do something similar for this record, based around a cinematic story.
What was the last song you listened to?
“Happy House” by Siouxsie & the Banshees, the first song on the album “Kaleidoscope.” I love that record so much.
Which do you prefer? Vinyl? CDs? MP3s?
I still use all three—I have a turntable at home, my car only plays CDs, and there are mp3s on my phone. I love vinyl for the vibe and it’s cool not to stare at a screen while listening. CDs sound the best so you can blast songs really loud and they bump hard. MP3s are so portable, but they sound kind of dead and there is something that freaks me out about carrying around hundreds of albums—it kind of feels gluttonous.
How about this one…. Do you prefer Spotify? Apple Music? Bandcamp? Or something else? Why?
I use Apple Music, but I think I prefer Spotify. I know that makes no sense. As a Mac and iOS user, I feel trapped in the Apple zone. And to be fair, Apple Music Connect is an interesting way to follow artists you’re into and get cool bonus content from them. (Hint, hint.) That’s from the consumer side. From the artist side though, I really love Spotify’s analytics—the ability to see which countries are listening and what are their ages is helpful when you’re trying to plan tours and press.
Other than the digital era overwhelming us with access to an abundance of music, what is the biggest challenge you face when trying to connect with or find new fans?
It’s probably mostly because of the abundance of music you mentioned, but I think coping with people’s short attention spans can be difficult. And that makes it hard to connect with new people. Sometimes it feels like we’re all going to an art museum but on 4x fast forward. We show up to look at the Magritte for ten seconds then we’re done. Music is such a time-based medium, both in the way it’s created and in the way it’s consumed. Grizzly Bear just spent like two years making their new record. There are obviously a lot of music lovers out there who will sit and listen and give those pieces of music their due attention, but I start wondering if we’re all just going to eventually only make 60-second songs for Instagram.
Where is the best place to connect with you online? Discover more music?
If you’re looking to connect, Instagram. We love making visuals and videos. If you’re looking for music, SoundCloud. We have been putting more and more unreleased tracks, remixes, and even acoustic versions up there.
Anything else you’d like to add before signing off?
If you like music videos, check out our VEVO channel for some really out there stuff.