Thurs., January 24th, 9 p.m.
Palm Room, 11 East Salisbury Street, Wrightsville Beach
Nautilus has been playing in and out of venues around Wilmington since the fall of 2010. Consisting of Evan Bost, Brian Smith, Connor White, Trent Harrison and Jonny Rienerth, the five-member jam band met at UNCW and wanted to create sounds that inspire and energize all who listen. Folks will hear airy reverberating guitar intros, progressive drums, bending chords, and hearty electric keys at any of their live shows—many of which take place all over town in the coming month. With vocals that lie somewhere between the Allman Brothers Band, Phish and a little Grateful Dead, Nautilus doesn’t disappoint.
encore had a chance to speak with guitarist and vocalist Brian Smith about the genesis of their music and from where it’s inspired.
encore (e): Self-proclaimed genre of “tasty grooves, funky jams” and with listed inspirations of some of my favorite old-school bands (think classic rock founders Jimi Hendrix, Doors, among others), how did you guys end up becoming a band and come up with your sound?
Brian Smith (BS): We started out as a small project back in November of 2010, just as a friendly collaboration to do what we love doing: playing music. We started writing originals right away and developing a unique sound that incorporated different genres and time signatures. We’re always trying to keep the audience on their toes, never knowing what’s coming next. Our sound is still evolving and will be ever-evolving as we grow as musicians and as a band.
e: Did you come up with your logo yourself?
BS: Our friend Brian Mitchell, a student at Savannah College of Art and Design, designed our logo. We asked Brian to design us an album cover for our first album, basically whatever came to his mind when he thought of our sound and style, we gave him no direction as to what to create; he just did it. That design has become widely recognized as the Nautilus symbol.
e: The first time I remember seeing you was on UNCW’s campus in the concrete auditorium. I think you were covering “Finally Moving” by Pretty Lights, and people flocked to sit down and listen. Any plans to come back on campus and surprise us with some afternoon tunes?
BS: Playing on campus is always enjoyable for us; new faces and performing for students that either can’t make it to our shows or are simply not old enough to come into the bar that we’re playing at. As of right now there are no plans to come back on campus, but if an opportunity is to rise then we will surely play UNCW. Playing on campus is very enjoyable in the summer time so be on the look out when we tilt our way back into the sun.
e: Bring me through a little of how you guys come up with new material.
BS: All of our originals have been written by the entire band; although, one member may contribute a larger slice of the pie in one song, the rest of the band always has input and suggestions. We usually have a theme or an idea that we center around the song. For instance, we will start out with a riff, then the riff will turn into a section of the song, then that section will become a smaller part of another section, and so on and so forth. We practice at the location known as “The Chateau,” a house that resides on the Intracoastal Waterway, directly in the middle of Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach. It is a musical oasis that we can all go to, to clear our minds and rehearse in the tranquil environment that takes you away from Wilmington. Inspiration is derived from our fans, always trying to keep our fans happy and coming out to our shows. Writing new songs, covering new songs, crazy set lists and improving our sound with new musical equipment are all in the name of our supporters.
e: Has Wilmington affected you as a band?
BS: Being a jam band in Wilmington has really opened a lot of doors for us, starting from scratch, and working our way up to fill a niche that hasn’t been filled in this town for a long time is something that Wilmington has offered us. We are also involved in many of the larger music events that happen here in town; we always volunteer to help out with Pipeline Event Management. We love volunteering our time in the name of music, being able to speak to a great musician for 1 minute makes our entire day, seeing the gear they use and the professionalism that big bands portray has definitely rubbed off on us only making us a better unit. Wilmington has been great to us!
e: “We are in it for the music, nothing more.” Seems like an awesome and simple enough philosophy for me. What are your plans for 2013? And where do you hope to see the band going?
BS: 2013 has so many doors open for us, at this point there is no telling what we may end up doing but the ultimate goal is to hit the road and start touring. We also have plans for a second album, which will feature all new tunes and a new version of “The Drip.” We have very high hopes for this album, so stay tuned to our Facebook page for release announcements.
Also catch Nautilus on the 26th at The Whiskey with Old You; on Feb. 9th at Banks Channel with Pseudo Blue; on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14th) at Orton’s Pool Room with Alligator; and on Feb. 26th as they return to The Whiskey for a Lotus after party (Lotus will be playing Brooklyn Arts Center earlier in the evening).—Trent Williams