Buzz feeds buzz; it’s the way of the media. Before that can happen, though, you need a catalyst. Something buzzworthy.
NAVVI has that on lock.
NAVVI, an electro-pop duo from Seattle, barely entered the music scene and immediately started making waves, reaching as far as Europe.
“The thing is we weren’t even trying to generate any sort of buzz in Europe. It just happened organically,” said Kristin Henry, who adds her ethereal, haunting vocals to the music and helps produce the songs.
“It’s been pretty cool, actually. Pretty unexpected,” said Brad Boettger, the producer behind the dark, looming beats, gesturing with his hands as he spoke. “You think to yourself, ‘we’ll release this, and maybe we’ll get people from Seattle to kind of maybe like it,’ you know. That’s your thing. Maybe they’ll like it, maybe our friends will appreciate it. Then all of the sudden it’s people with British accents interviewing us…”
“On the radio!” Henry chimed in, ecstatic, hands in the air.
I met with Henry and Boettger at the Anchored Ship Café in Ballard, one of my favorite coffee shops—fitting, because they easily topped my list of interviews.
They sat at a long, wooden table below an antique mirror, a stream of sun lighting Henry’s face as they played wooden tic-tac-toe. Classic Seattleites, Henry looked gorgeous in her chic outfit of dark colors and red lipstick, and Boettger could blend into the crowd outside at the Ballard Sunday Market with his black coat over grey hoodie and dark beanie. They both possess ease and charisma, making them very approachable and likable, yet unassuming, which undoubtedly translates into their music.
Henry and Boettger teamed up just a few months ago, in July, unsure where the initial work would lead. They didn’t know each other in the beginning and, as with any project in the early stages, both musicians wanted to make sure the other would work just as hard, be just as committed.
Boettger set out to produce five songs within a two-week time period, the time limit helping him push to get the work done. He did it ahead of schedule, finishing in just 10 days. He passed off the tracks to Henry, waiting to see what she would do with the beats, not expecting dedication—almost the opposite.
But she proved herself quickly.
“It became evident that she was really passionate about it, and in order for things to be as good as they could be, we both needed to work on the songs [together],” Boettger said.
“We were self-editing and really, like, being thoughtful about the decisions we were making. It went faster when we worked together and it was better when we worked together,” he said.
In October, just three months after they began working, NAVVI released their first two singles, “Weekends” and “No Lights.”
The buzz began.
Publications throughout Europe picked up “Weekends,” beginning with high-traffic blog Crack in the Road, writing promising reviews about the duo’s first releases. NAVVI soon found themselves doing an interview for radio and getting written up in magazines.
On November 20, SSG Music premiered NAVVI’s music video for “Weekends,” continuing the fast-pace, buzz-generating path the duo seems destined to walk.
Henry and Boettger worked together to create the mood and theme for the video, focusing on the mysterious, dark elements that play into their music. She had told him that she wanted to be in the video and thought they should get some city shots, and Boettger had done similar things in the past.
“I think what I ultimately wanted for the video was to just, like, set the mood for who we are as a band, you know, not really tell a story,” Henry said. “Kind of like what SSG said, it kind of answers the question ‘who is NAVVI’; you can’t really see us, there are dark shadows, you know. It really sets the mood, sets the setting for like what we want to do.”
“I just wanted it to—to be more of an aesthetic or mood rather than ‘we’re standing on rooftops with, you know, wind blowing in our hair, and you really get a good sense of what we look like.’ I was really trying to avoid that, and I edited it as such,” Boettger said.
“Any time that the light was really going to reveal her too much or myself too much, then it instantly became less interesting. I don’t care for that,” he said. Henry glanced at him, then sideways, laughing, and asked if he thought they looked boring.
“Yeah, I do,” Boettger said, laughing slightly with a smirk. “I’ve seen the footage.”
Boring without the mystery, fitting the cloak still surrounding NAVVI. We have yet to learn much about them.
“We came out of nowhere,” Henry said.
So what’s next for NAVVI?
“I think right now our focus is to just stay on the path we’re on, the two singles,” Henry said, playing with her nails. “We’re planning to release two singles [in December], and from there we’re really trying to decide.”
“I have noticed lately that it seems like people’s time is so fought for by, like, so many different things that you kind of almost have to earn somebody’s attention to have a full-length album, to have a full seven songs and someone actually sit down to listen to it,” Boettger said, gripping the front of his face in thought.
And he’s right. The digital age saturates us with songs left and right, and you need to have something important to say if you want people to listen.
“And I’m just picturing the amount of work that we would both put into, like, even an EP or a full length, and I don’t know, I feel like it’s going to take more than a year,” Henry said.
“If we’re putting something out there, I just feel like I want to be 100 percent into it and 100 percent proud of it. I don’t want to rush something like a full length. We’re still early on,” she said.
Listen to NAVVI on Bandcamp, and watch for a live show in the next couple months.