Who is NAVASA?

NAVASA is an electronica altrock duo featuring Tammy Sue Everett and Gregory T. Biribauer, formed in 2014. Tammy grew up in the heart of Pennsylvania and Greg is originally from Toronto, Canada. The pair met in Denver, CO, but are now based out of the Delmarva Peninsula on the US Eastern Shore.

Both members contribute to the creative process, with Tammy handling vocals, drums, percussion and keyboards while Greg focuses on guitars, synthesizers, programming and mixing.

The pair’s first available outputs were two 5-track EPs entitled Sensurreal and On And On, released through the now defunct Ralenteer Records NYC. Lauded for their meticulous use of space and structure, NAVASA gained a foothold in the underground downtempo/ambient scene that was emerging around the world.

At the beginning, NAVASA was mainly an instrumental project, but as time went on, they started to explore other musical forms and incorporating more of Everett’s vocals.

2015 saw the duo release two vocalized singles, “Escape From You” and “Lazy Dayz” through Tiefhaus/Nikita Digital based out of San Francisco and Berlin. These tracks incorporated experimental pop and rock sensibilities rarely heard in electronica. Later that year the duo released the full album Dustification through Nodeski/Datablender, based out of the UK. A number of these tracks were included on a series of compilations.

In 2017, NAVASA formed their own label Abraca Pocus, releasing the albums 1963 and When Angels Dream a year later, showing an even broader range of influences that spanned altrock and jazz to long-form space-rock alongside their ambient and experimental roots.

NAVASA discuss the making of their album “When Angels Dream”, and get down and dirty about zero-point energy

by Justin Clauss/Tiefhaus

Where is NAVASA based out of?

Biribauer: NAVASA originated in Denver, CO, but we have since re-located to Maryland. We loved the mountains and wide open spaces of Colorado, but we decided to be nearer our families on the East Coast. Tammy grew up in the heart of Pennsylvania, and I’m originally from Toronto, Canada.

Everett: We now live in the country. The locals call this part of the world the ‘Slower Lower’. It’s had a positive effect on our musical outlook.

What kind of musical background did you grow up with?

Everett: I’ve been around music all my life. My Dad was a jobbing drummer around eastern Pennsylvania. He would have me sit behind his 1958 Slingerland kit, showing me various techniques, mainly jazz. At some point, he got me a cheap guitar and I banged away on that for a couple of years. I also picked up piano and eventually got myself a synth to play along to my favorite songs. This lead me to playing live beside DJs and others.

Biribauer: I started my musical journey when I found an old acoustic guitar of my Dad’s that was lying around. I took lessons when I was 16 years old when a local band needed a bass player. My teacher, Grant Tomkinson, was teaching me The Beatles “With A Little Help From My Friends” by the third week. That bass line is totally sick! I guess he figured I could wrap my brain around it. All that opened my ears and eyes to the power of music and how the masters break traditional music concepts.

What other works have you released in the past?

Everett: We released two 5-song instrumental EPs called Sensurreal and On And On through Ralenteer Records & Rights Management NYC in 2014 and 2015. Ralenteer is now defunct, so those EPs are no longer available. We might re-release them at some point, but there are no immediate plans.

We also released a full album called Dustification through the UK label Nodeski/Datablender in 2015, plus a couple of singles through Nikita Digital/Tiefhaus, based out of San Francisco and Berlin, entitled “Escape From You” and “Lazy Dayz”.

Biribauer: Those two singles feature Tammy’s vocals. Up to now, most of our output has been purely instrumental, but occasionally, when we feel it fits, we’ve had Tammy sing. In 2017 we released an all-instrumental album called 1963, but When Angels Dream features quite a bit of Tammy’s vocals.

What went into making this album?

Everett: When Angels Dream is a culmination of 7 years of working together. Some of the concepts and first ideas date back to 2011 and took years to realize their full potential. We also knew that Angels would not be genre specific, that it was about incorporating jazz and alternative and progressive rock into our electronica base.

Bands like Pink Floyd, How to Destroy Angels and Massive Attack, as well as Miles Davis and Billie Holiday, were touchstones for this record. Of course as always, we tried to make everything sound as uniquely NAVASA as possible.

Biribauer: Angels took on a life of its own that was almost in another dimensional universe apart from our other albums. There were some false starts, long gestating periods, some re-imagining of concepts. We followed our muse in the most natural way possible, but we also knew this album was a step above.

Can you give us some examples of the songwriting process?

Everett: Sure. The song “If I Ever” started out as a bombastic waltz-time ballad that we eventually abandoned and came up with track you hear now. “And This Too Shall Pass” was recorded over a two year span, with parts being added here or there, finally winding up in that Floyd-esque type jam at the end. “Intravenous” began as a somber instrumental electronica vibe, which you hear at the beginning, but then developed into a full blown rant against fake news. I’m just sick to my stomach about how the mainstream media has hi-jacked the narrative to serve the deep state, so I busted out those lyrics.

Biribauer: We try our best to let material develop in a natural way, with no rules as to what it should sound like, but rather what it could sound like. After we finished 1963 back in November 2017, which is a great instrumental album in it’s own right, we felt that it was time to push through and complete Angels.

In an alternate reality, not doing or pursuing music, what would you be doing?

Everett: Well, we would really enjoy running a music school for children. Oh, that’s still music, isn’t it? Well, we would love to help people somehow. Maybe run a mission and feed the homeless. Or how about starting an international campaign to stop geoengineering? We’re kind of tired of breathing in barium, aluminum and other toxic particles that are extremely harmful to our health, land and air, because the government is trying to fix the mess fossil fuel has done to our planet. It’s an attempt to decrease global warming and keep everyone addicted to antiquated fossil fuel energy.

Go on.

Everett: Well, the bottom line is that we could have zero-point energy TODAY, the technology was discovered by Nikola Tesla in the earlier part of the 20th century, but it’s been suppressed. The oil barons, along with the shadow government and deep state, want us tied to 19th century-era fossil fuel concepts because that’s where their money is. Zero-point energy would mean free-for-everyone, and that goes against their bullshit agenda. The world has lost 100 years of technology advancement due to greed and the cabal’s addiction to power.

Don’t just take our word for it, you can research the internet and find Dane Wigington at www.geoengineeringwatch.org. While he is called a conspiracy theorist and worse by the legacy media, he’s the only one funding his own scientific research and analysis, proving time and time again what geoengineering is doing to us and the planet. You can also find 175 US patents that prove such practices have been occurring for the last 60 years. Those patents are out there to find. You just gotta look.

Are you guys UFO believers?

Everett: Absolutely. We’ve seen and heard them right outside our house here in Sharptown, MD. Our tin-foil hats are outside in the car (laughs).

From what you’ve mentioned, I would reckon that NAVASA might be conspiracy theorists.

Biribauer: Well, conspiracy is the new truth. What are we actually? We are awake.

Okay. Back to music. So what embarrassing songs would any of your friends or family find on your mp3 player?

Biribauer: Hmmmm… Okay. Well, there’s “Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward, “Eastbound and Down” by Jerry Reed and “Macho Man” by the Village People. That Village People track is REALLY embarrassing, but it’s just to have a laugh now and then.

What is your dream musical project?

Biribauer: To do what we’re doing now, but to have Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich produce it for us. Then maybe have Brian Eno pop by for a listen.

How did you come up with the name NAVASA?

Everett: From the outset, our concept was to make timeless music that could let a listener travel without moving, something that could be absorbed endlessly if stranded on a deserted island.

Biribauer: We then started looking for deserted islands on Google Earth. We eventually landed on Navassa Island, located near Haiti in the Caribbean Sea. It’s not completely deserted, but it was close enough. It also hints at the acronym for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Since a lot of our music is pretty spacey, it seemed a perfect fit for us.

Any final thoughts?

Everett: Music is everything to us. It’s our blood, our air and our home. We hope people will feel that kind of connection when listening to our albums.

Artists We Love [Introduction]

Whenever you look up NAVASA, whether it’s here on our own website, or around the internet on sites like Facebook or Soundcloud or YouTube or whatever, you’ll see a short bio that describes our influences and how they range from Boards Of Canada & Télépopmusik to Air & Massive Attack. As much as these artists do indeed influence our music, there are a number of other artists that we absolutely love and listen to often.

In an effort to further expand this list, we are writing a series of blogs that take a look at who we feel are touchstones to our muse and guides to our musical souls. We can’t distinguish any one more important than the other, they all have a special place in our hearts. Some of them sell millions of albums, some don’t. Some are long gone, some still creating more masterpieces. As time goes on, we will expand this list beyond the 12 artists you see below, with a few surprises along the way. Whoever they are, we encourage you to immerse yourselves in their work, if only to feel the joy we have experienced over and over again.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” – Plato

Happy reading! Warm regards, NAVASA

Artists We Love [Brian Eno]

Brian Eno

Brian Eno has been a consistent influence on NAVASA. His trendsetting Music for Airports ambient music album has been an invaluable influence while creating some of our more dreamy and spacey atmospheric tracks like “Guided by Stars”, “On Approach”  and “1963”. Also, the classic Here Come the Warm Jets, his first solo record after leaving Roxy Music containing work with Robert Fripp and others, showcases a genuine guide for anyone interested in what is known as “artrock”.

Brian’s musical endeavors have allowed us to become the band we want to be instead of the band we’re supposed to be. He will forever be in our hearts as the agent provocateur that keeps NAVASA’s music from ever being overtly commercial. (In other words, we’d rather starve to death than ever sell our soul to the devil to sell records.)

His videos from the 70s are relatively archaic and not worth showing, but this video for “An Ending (Ascent)”, from the album Atmospheres and Soundtracks, which you might also recognize as the ending music in the movie Traffic (which is where this video comes from), is worth a look. The music is so beautiful it can take your breath away:

Brian Eno eventually went onto producing megastars like U2 and Colplay, but it’s his own personal work that will forever stay glued to NAVASA’s heart.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Eno

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/brian-eno-mn0000617196

Artists We Love [Billie Holiday]

Whenever we’re following our muse and deciding to add vocals to one of our tracks, Tammy tends to call on two singers for inspiration, namely Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. They are two giants of American jazz, and their résumes reflect an unparalleled dedication to their art. Billie’s smokey voice and sparse arrangements lent a depth to her music few could match. Unfortunately, a weakness for drugs and alcohol and a number of abusive relationships stifled her career way too early.

If you’d like to check out her original recordings, you can start here with her classic “Strange Fruit”:

We are also big fans of Billie’s Verve Remixed repertoire, including Don’t Explain (dZihan & Kamien Remix), Speak Low (Bent Remix), Strange Fruit (Tricky Remix), Yesterdays (Junior Boys Remix) which can be accessed on Spotify here:

https://open.spotify.com/user/thecompletecollection/playlist/24JSmVYjkOuWqlwrdOqdZZ

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billie_Holiday

Artists We Love [Pink Floyd]

What more can be said about Pink Floyd? They began back in the sixties and became one of the world’s biggest bands, filling stadiums and selling millions and millions of records worldwide. You can definitely hear their influences in NAVASA music, one of the most obvious being the end jam of And This Too Shall Pass, included on our When Angels Dream album. We feel Pink Floyd set the table in a way that lets us explore the farthest ends of our imaginations. It all might be commercial suicide in this modern era of free digital downloads and million dollar marketing campaigns, but we will at least go to our graves knowing we tried to make the most intriguing art we could muster up, album sales be damned.

As you can read in the wiki information below, Floyd’s chart-topping success was not without turmoil, criticism and loss, but the one thing that kept them afloat more than anything else were their fans. The band’s unwavering vision and reluctance to give in to commercial trends connected to their audience in a purely cerebral way, keeping them coming back for more, year after year, even when the product was less than spectacular.

The real question, though, is this: Would a band like Pink Floyd be signed by a major label in 2019? We believe not. With sugar coated auto-tuned pop, dirty lyric hip-hop and wall of thunder nu-metal eating up modern radio airwaves, an A&R Executive would find it impossible to convince the higher-ups back at the office that a psychedelic and experimental band, known for long jams, spacey textures, freaky noises and far-out lyrics would poise themselves to sell 250 million albums over the next 30 years.

It’s a moot point now, because EMI Records did see some sort of potential. and it was a different time when minds were more open to experimentation, but could you imagine taking your boss down to a club and showing him or her this band (check video below)? It’s all very innovative, but it’s absolutely the farthest thing from commercial music. Then after the show, you pull him aside and say, “These guys are gonna be one of the biggest musical forces on the planet.” Yeah, right! Anyway, thank God someone did, or we would have missed out on some brilliant music.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Floyd

Artists We Love [Calexico]

Calexico might not be known to a lot of you. They have shunned the spotlight in favor of remaining true their roots, not the most commercial of musical decisions. The album we know best is their fourth, 2003’s Feast of Wire, a beautiful collection of songs featuring their usual Tex-Mex sound surrounded by elements of mariachi, jazz and other musical influences (and mysteriously not mentioned in their wiki). The songs on Feast of Wire showcase some amazing structures, with feature instruments coming and going throughout the mix, while the drums, bass and rhythm guitars flow together as a strong foundation for inspired lyrics. Add to this some experimentation with synthesizers and other electronica on some tracks, Calexico shows you that they are not hindered by traditional “Americana” rules, but are eager to explore their muse with passion and intent.

So, we can hear you asking, “Why is an electronica band like NAVASA listening to a Tex-Mex band?” Well, the answer is simple: We love artists that are true to their art, not true to the commercial pressures of popular music, and Calexico fits that bill perfectly.

Check out this video for “Quattro”, from the Feast of Wire album:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calexico_(band)

Artist We Love [Nine Inch Nails] [Atticus Ross & Trent Reznor]

NAVASA are Nine Inch Nails advocates through and through, being fans of all the albums since Pretty Hate Machine all the way to the newest release Bad Witch. We appreciate Trent Reznor’s ferocious appetite to push every musical boundary possible while using every last bit of state-of-the-art technology. Trent implemented MIDI, drum machines, Pro Tools, Reason and other software way before a lot of people. We must admit, some of the material gets a little too noisy for our taste, but we accept these forays into pure industrialization as a part of a greater whole.

Atticus Ross came on the scene as a producer and programmer in 2005 with the album “With Teeth”, Trent’s return to greatness after bouts with alcohol and cocaine after the disappointing reaction to The Fragile., and has been there ever since. Atticus seems to be a solid foundation for Trent to bounce his ideas off and keep his head up.

NAVASA also have a small personal connection to the Nine Inch Nails story. Greg’s late great friend Bill Kennedy, who he had met in Toronto and eventually followed down to Los Angeles for a number of years, had engineered tracks on the Broken and Fixed EPs as well as Trent’s first full album for Interscope Records The Downward Spiral. Greg states, “Bill and I were roommates for quite awhile. I was there when Bill first got called to work on some sessions with Trent. Interscope needed someone to guide him through the mechanics of an SSL console and other equipment at A&M Studios, where Bill worked full time on a lot of albums. He was ecstatic at the chance to work with one of his true heroes.

“So as it goes, I wound up bumping into Trent and mentioned that I was Bill’s roommate. I also mentioned that I had dubbed him “Kill Bennedy” as a friendly barb because Bill was a little crazy in a good way. Time passes and the Broken EP comes out, and there’s Bill’s engineering credit and it says “The Kill Bennedy”! Bill didn’t talk to me for weeks, he was so pissed. After a while though, everyone started calling him “Kill”, the name really stuck and it became his calling card, so what can I say? Shit happens.

“After Downward came out and became the biggest thing ever, Bill got commissioned by Trent, along with Scott Humphrey, to produce some remixes of the track “Closer”. They got Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe) to play drums and Jon Brion (Fiona Apple, Kanye West) to play bass, both uncredited. I wound up contributing the staccato guitar riff on “Closer (Further Away)”. It was a combination of me hammering away while Bill grabbed the neck of the guitar.”

You can check that remix out here:

“Bill was one the greatest engineers who ever lived and I miss him a lot” explains Biribauer. Kennedy passed away in 2012 from drug and alcohol abuse.

Check out the wikis, there’s a lot there. NIN will forever have a deep place in our musical hearts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Inch_Nails 

Artist We Love [Radiohead]

Like Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and a few others, Radiohead are an institution. One could say that they are the last great band in history. Their worldwide appeal has consumed the modern musical terrain with release after release of re-invention, but where other artists would eventually lose their grip on quality, Thom Yorke and company have retained an excellence unmatched by their peers.

NAVASA’s Tammy Sue Everett might explain it best: “They’re the only band out there were I love every track. You can’t say that about anyone else. We admire a number of artists, but there always seems to be a few bits here and there that don’t quite live up to the standard. Radiohead blow right through that with a severe attention to detail, art, adventure, surprise and solid songwriting.”

A lot of new bands will site Radiohead as an influence, but how can one say that about a band that is impossible to pin down? Are you influenced by “The Bends” or “Kid A”? Those two albums are at opposite ends of the spectrum. How about “Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box” or “Pyramid Song”? Those two songs are back to back on Amnesiac and don’t sound anything alike. You probably say that about any two of their tracks. So, as much as we admire them, we can’t possibly say they are an influence because their output is too varied and vast to pin down.

One thing we can say is that we do subscribe to Radiohead’s mission to never repeat themselves, to express themselves through light and shade, by being simple and bombastic, symphonic and guttural, cerebral and low brow, loud and soft, far out and extremely close. And that’s just in the first two minutes of each song.

We salute this band. No one comes close. We are all just disciples.

To get a glimpse of just how good Radiohead is, look no further than Live from the Basement. This one is from 2011, featuring their album King of Limbs (there’s another from 2008). What we noticed is that the live versions ARE BETTER THAN THE ALBUM VERSIONS!! Who does this? Who has the balls? Who has the wherewithal to pull this off? We’ll give you one answer…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiohead