Monday, October 02, 2006

The Sea Navy interview

The Sea Navy has a new record and an album release party for that record this week at the Sunset Tavern (Thursday, 10/5). I interviewed main guy Jay via email. Enjoy the read!

1. How do you think others would describe The Sea Navy, and is that the same or different than you'd like to think of yourselves?

I would say we are an indie rock band from Seattle, WA. However it always depends how much people know about music. For instance a friend of mine was telling me the other day he went out with some people from work and he was explaining what his band sounded like. He mentioned Elvis Costello and he was greeted by blank stares. You would think that people in their 30s would be able to grasp a reference like that but you never know. Same thing with genres. If say to a relative we are an indie rock band that doesn't do anything so I usually say we have bass, drums and guitar and our songs are no louder or faster than The Beatles.

But if you talk to people who have an interest in music and they ask what we sounds like I tell them as far as the music goes I would say I am taking audio cues from Elvis Costello, The Modern Lovers, Billy Bragg, oldies radio, Gamble and Huff ( ), Superchunk, Buffalo Tom, Ted Leo, early Lemonheads, Pavement, Guided By Voices, Teenage Fanclub. I am also taking a bit from Afghan Whigs, Come, U2, Helium, Sebadoh and Mission Of Burma but that does not come across in the music as so much as what I'm thinking when I'm writing.

2. What are your feelings about the state of pop in the Northwest and Seattle in particular? Where do you guys think you fit in?

We are still the new kids in school so I don't know how to answer that. I have been treated very nice by the bands, press and club people we have met so far so hopefully that continues.

3. The new record is coming out on 10/5. What are you most proud of with this recording? Anything you wish you could change?

No changes. This record is the record I wanted to make. This record would not be possible without TW Walsh. TW was a perfect match to work with for this record. I know TW from when we both lived in Massachusetts but never really got to work with him until we both moved to Seattle. We have overlapping musical references which is important when writing and recording. Every time he would add a keyboard part or a bass part I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. I would be sitting there wondering where he was pulling this parts from. They were perfect fits but they were things I would have never had thought of. He has a pair of golden ears which is something I thank him for daily. Everyone should go to and pick up his new record.

4. Why is the record called "oh these troubled times?" It's obviously a lyric in "arctic advice," but why choose it for the title? And while we're on the subject, what is "arctic advice" mean to you guys? Google produces some interesting results.

I have a pet peeve about naming albums after songs featured on the record so I thought I would use a lyric instead. "Oh These Troubled Times" works on a personal and political level. Also I think it sums up the feeling of the record. While the songs may sound happy the lyrical content might suggest otherwise.

The title comes from a lyric in Arctic Advice which was written a couple months after my then girlfriend, now fiancee moved to Seattle from Boston in 2002. Actually Arctic Advice is the first song on the record because it was the first song I wrote in Seattle. I couldn't find steady work so I turned to temping and was placed at this horrible company on the east side of Seattle and I was probably the most depressed I have ever been my entire life. I was one click away from selling all my musical equipment on Ebay. During my first week of temping a mass email went out to the entire full time staff alerting them to fact that the company was being sold and most of them (and most of these were people 50 and above who had been their a loooonnnnggg time) were getting laid off. The place was depressing enough and now all these people are walking around sobbing and comatose. So towards the end of the email was a brief pep talk of how even though the end was near they should still "carry on" and put on a happy face. I just thought that was some strange advice to give people. So the term "arctic advice" came from that experience.

5. The Sea Navy have been performing for a while now. What would the 2001 edition say to the 2006 edition?

Scott Craggs (drums, 2001 ) - (jokingly) "that ain't how that beat goes."
Nick Hubben (bass, 2001) - "Brighter. More distorted. (just kidding.) I think T-dub sounds great, always have."

6. If you could open for any band, from any time period, who would it be and why?

Here are some bands I would have liked to open for or at least be in the audience…..Talking Heads (1977 to 1979), Matthew Sweet ("girlfriend tour"), Elvis Costello & The Attractions ("armed forces" tour), U2 (any tour before 1984), Pavement (any period), The Modern Lovers (any period), Lemonheads ("lovey" tour)

7. Who are your favorite Seattle bands and why?

I'm going to include other NW bands….DCFC, Long Winters, Thermals, Spinanes, Modest Mouse, 764Hero, Can't See, Siberian, Cops, Western States, Pedro The Lion, The Soft Drugs, Boat, Vive Voce, Laura Viers, Juno, Whalebones, Swaybacks, Decemberists, Common Market, Elliot Smith, Helio Sequnce, The Shins, Neko Case, Joggers, Sleater-Kinney, Julie Dorion, Jesse Sykes, Sunny Day Real Estate, Love As Laughter, Pond, Seaweed, Beat Happening, Zumpano, Crystal Skulls, Model Photographer...I know am missing a bunch but that is what I think when I think of NW bands I like. I have always been a fan of music from this area. I have been very lucky to have lived in great cities (philadelphia, boston, seattle) for music. I feel lucky to be part of the music scene in Seattle.

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