Since introducing NAVVI to the world in October of 2013, Seattle’s Kristin Henry and Brad Boettger have released a steady stream of seductive sonics, culminating in the tempting textures captured in their latest 2014 EP, //. KEXP caught up with the duo to discuss the visual qualities concealed within a hazy Kodak cover art.
“We went out to South Lake Union for the shot, there is a strip out there with great lighting and a view of downtown,” explains NAVVI. “Dusty [Henry] was behind the camera. If we can do things on our own we always try to, but every now and then we need an extra set of hands to get something accomplished. He’s been a huge help for us that way since we started. We had Dusty take a short video of us out there in hopes that we could grab a still from it. We didn’t have much of a plan and were just hoping something would work out. There were maybe 10 stills that came from a 30 to 45 second video. Some were in focus but didn’t quite look right, while a few were out of focus and maybe weren’t technically sound but had a strong composition. We ended up using one that was out of focus a bit but was right in every other way.”
They add, “While filtering through footage and editing the trailer for the EP, we came across the footage from that night. A funny outtake from the photo session for the album cover makes a brief appearance at the end. You have this kind of serious shot for the album cover, but behind the scenes we are all just a bit grabbing for straws for what to do or where to stand and how to look. It ended up being a great way to tie the album art and the trailer together.”
There is an wondrous, extraterrestrial quality in regard to the bright lights and character outlines situated within the cover art. Explaining the thought process behind the photo shoot, NAVVI tells KEXP, “We like to leave a bit to the imagination with most all of our art and images. We’re both drawn to album covers and art that play with the viewer’s inclination to fill in the blanks. It’s a place to work from that has been a natural fit for us from the beginning. Looking straight on carries a boldness we admire but can’t seem to pull off. As soon as things are cropped just so, or a piece is taken away, everything feels right. We are more inclined to engage with it.”
Staying in tune with the rich, floating, nocturnal echoes of the music, the deliberate defocusing of Kristin and Brad creates soft but strong silhouettes which stand out enigmatically due to the dreamy blurred backdrop of the city. “We had a couple of different photo sessions that we did, but nighttime in the middle of the city seemed to be the right fit for what the EP had become at that point,” claims NAVVI. “I think we lucked out that we found an image that underscores our equal relationship as music partners as well as the kind of setting that directly inspired the majority of the EP. A considerable portion of the lyrical and musical content of the EP was made with the things you think, feel and experience in the evening.”
NAVVI’s // is a multilayered sonic attraction, cut with punchy white powder rhythms, provocative reverbs and flirtatiously foreboding vocals. With its strong artistic affiliation to the dazed out imagery appearing on the cover art, // is another rare jewel to come out of the Emerald City. Make sure you do yourself a favor and dig around for it.
You can find a digital copy or the limited edition cassette of // from the duo’s Bandcamp page. Keep up to date with NAVVI on their facebook and twitter page and check out the promotional video for the // EP below: