Despite being in the midst of the summer festival circuit, New Navy’s super friendly guitarist, James Chave-Dubois, took some time out to chat with Woroni about the band’s upcoming gig at the ANU.
Vibey guitar licks, dreamy vocals and a backbeat of punchy tribal drums, New Navy have crafted a sound evocative of escapism and coastal freedom.
A beguiling call to abandon the tedium of the daily grind, their hit single “Zimbabwe” conjures sun-soaked images of beach raves and silhouetted figures swaying to melodic floaty beats. Tapping into our nation’s adoration of coastal vacations, Zimbabwe surfed into 67th spot on Triple J’s Hottest 100. Not bad for a band whose reach, until recently, extended as far as their family and friends.
Naturally, the New Navy boys hail from pristine beach country, Ulladulla to be precise. Their road to success is paved with a delightful backstory of long-term friendship.
“We are all good friends. We all went to high school together and then parted ways for a couple of years and reunited in Sydney.”
With much of the album conceived and written while holidaying in Uluwatu, a picturesque Balinese surf spot and now their debut album’s namesake, the New Navy boys clearly cherish their downtime. James insists that sourcing creative inspiration is an entirely legitimate excuse to escape to magical locales with instruments in tow.
“It doesn’t really matter where you get away to…just getting away from everything to whole different surroundings just really helps creatively”.
Since bursting onto the national music scene through Triple J Unearthed in 2010, the speedy road from obscurity to sold-out shows has seen New Navy swap holidays for headline stages, including gigs alongside Wolfmother, The Holidays and Philadelphia Grand Jury.
And which gig rates as the band’s favourite to date? With chilled muso nonchalance, James plays the “no favourites card”, instead vaguely agreeing (at my insistence) to offer the “ANU’s O-Week gig” as a response to all future questions of this nature.
Despite their whirlwind run at success, and in a slightly sour snippet of poetic irony, the boys are yet to indulge “Zimbabwe’s” hedonistic mantra and “leave the paperwork for other days”.
“We all still work full times jobs. It’s a hard slog”, James said before cheekily acknowledging that headlining an ANU gig is a sure sign that New Navy have cracked the big time.
Whilst they may still be paying their dues as struggling musicians, 2012 is sure to be big for the band. James remains unfazed but hints at the prospects of another EP.
“We plan to do more writing, more recording, more live shows. Just doing it all over again really”.
And, fingers-crossed, handing in their 2 weeks notice as well.
New Navy will be playing alongside Kimbra and Ajax at the ANU O-Week Full Moon Party on Friday 17 February 2012.