Interview: New Navy
By Zanda Wilson
New Navy popped and rocked their way onto the indie music scene in 2011 with their debut track Zimbabwe, which also found itself sitting at number 5 on Triple J’s most played list for that year. Since then, the three-piece has toured the country on multiple occasions and released numerous killer singles, before going on a brief hiatus earlier this year in order to re-invent their sound. The result is their brand new single Heaven, released in anticipation of their tour alongside Andy Bull in September.
We caught up with Jamie to chat about the new sound that they’re vibing, gigging, touring, and the challenges of putting together a full length LP…
‘Heaven’ seems to have a smoother, more chilled vibe than a lot of your previous stuff. Was it intentionally a new direction sound-wise for you guys, and does it mean we can expect more of the same on the new album?
It was definitely an intentional thing to release that song first. It was a weird strategic decision for us, given that the first song that we’ve shown everybody is literally the slowest and longest on the album. Heaven was one of our favourites, vibe-wise, and we wanted to give people something different. We never planned for it to be a radio song; it was more just ‘here’s something different’. We’ve definitely got some more radio tracks; in fact one will be coming out very soon, probably within a week or two. Heaven was more about putting out a vibe - we can sound different, and that stuff on the album will be different.
When can we get our hands on the new album?
We don’t have an exact release date but it will be early next year, I think February is the plan. It was going to be earlier but we decided we would just get all our ducks aligned and get everything happening at the same time. We seem to have a habit of rushing everything and doing everything last minute. We’ll also be consistently releasing singles up until that point, so you’ll probably hear at least a quarter of the album before it is actually released.
Making an album is obviously a massive project. Give us a bit of an idea of the sort of process that you guys are going through in terms of making the new album?
It was a pretty chaotic thing to put together. The whole thing was an experience, and a bit of an experiment. We got together, and it’s just the three of us at the moment, James, myself and Luke. We wrote all the parts including the bass and drums although we don’t play those instruments. So we pieced it all together in a studio pre-production style and then took those parts to session drummers and bass players and got them to play them live. So the whole thing was a bit of an experiment but it’s all really worked out for the better.
We went into lockdown in a house on a lake and threw a bunch of songs together. Then we went down to Melbourne, down all the songs, and re-recorded some of the parts we had brought here to Sydney, it was kind of written and recorded all over the place. That may have been why it was such a long process but it came together in the end and we’re super psyched about it.
What sort of challenges has it posed both musically and as a group for you guys?
The main challenge was because it was recorded in different places. Most of the recording was done in Melbourne but then it was kind of all over the place so it was about keeping it in sync, together and sounding as a whole as opposed to this Frankenstein kind of project. So that was the main problem, it wasn’t a matter of just coming into a studio, bashing out songs and then being done. It was just about keeping uniform to the whole thing.
The video clip for ‘Heaven’ seems to be this contemplative, roller-skating love story. Tell us about the video?
We hit up a guy called Jack Naylor who Luke our singer was a friend of and he pitched that idea to us and we weren’t really sure what to expect; he just said I’ve got a couple of roller skaters and a rink. At first we thought it was going to be super quirky, like Juno style roller derby type thing. I don’t think any of us expected it to turn out as this sort of beautiful ballet type dancing thing, so we were super happy with that. I think it really matches the song and a bunch of people have written that on our Facebook wall about how well the two are paired. Someone actually wrote that the film clip convinced them about the song.
You’re touring with Andy Bull in September. How did that come about and what are you most excited about?
It came about because we signed up with Select Music which is the same as his label. I’m not sure if he asked for us or we asked for him. But we knew the tour was there and it was an option. There were a couple of tours that we were possibly down for and he was our first pick so we were stoked when he said he’d have us on board.
We’ve actually locked down a couple of headline shows. So in Brisbane and Perth we’ve actually thrown in our own shows separate from Andy Bull.
You’ve played all over the country multiple times, at festivals, in warehouses. What has been your most enjoyable gig, and what do you think makes a good live show?
A good live show for me is playing all my parts without fucking up. I guess it’s a vibe thing. We’ve played big festival shows that have kind of been a bit weird because you’re distant from the crowd. And we played that warehouse show recently which is the first time we’ve played these new songs. It was a really cool vibe because it felt like an abandoned warehouse and it was BYO so everyone was just in party mode. You can play a massive show that felt average and you can play a tiny show that felt amazing.
Anything else coming up on the horizon? What can we expect following the Andy Bull tour from you guys?
Well obviously there’s the tour soon and later this year we’ll probably do our own headline shows around the country. Then hopefully we get put on a bunch of festivals over summer and then the album. I think we are aiming to head to the US early to mid-next year, so that’s nothing that’s locked in but it’s hopefully on the horizon.
Tickets and tour dates here: