SubAp!: How old are you?
Nate Brenner: 29
How is Merrill’s stitch job on your pants working out?
So far it’s holding up great!
You’re from Indiana, but you’ve lived in the Bay area for almost a decade and call Oakland home right?
Yep, I’ve lived in Oakland for the last 7 years and consider it my home.
Have you thought of moving to a different city? Where?
I think about moving sometimes, but am pretty sure I’ll stay in the bay for a while. Sometime I think about moving back to Indiana, to be close to my family. But mostly I fantasize about moving to Istanbul, Buenas Aires, or Lisbon. Those are my top 3 dream cities.
You exist in a climate where listeners have pretty much abandoned the idea of “genre” and are pretty much open to all types of music. What’s it like to be able to present your art to such a generally accepting audience?
I think it’s a great time to be a musician. People have been doing a lot of very creative things in the pop music context and audiences seem to really appreciate it.
You are smack dab in the middle of this fall tour with WHY?, and you’ll be off to Europe in about a month. What has the response to the live set been like, and what’s it like to tour with such a revered artist like Yoni?
The audiences have been very responsive to our music. Most people are hearing it first time, and seem to be pretty into it. Along with WHY? we are also touring with a folk duo called the Black Swans. All three bands have been having great shows every night, and I think it says a lot about WHY?’s fan base. Their fans are open-minded, and appreciate different styles of music. Yoni is a very talented performer so I’ve been loving watching him perform and just taking notes so I can get better myself.
Sam is going to see his wife when you get overseas, but there is there anything in particular that you’re looking forward to doing when you get there?
We are playing a couple amazing festivals that I am very excited about and also doing more shows with WHY? over there. We’re also going to get to go to Istanbul and try to record a few tracks that could end up on the next album or EP, depending on what we come up with.
You’ve mentioned trying to get that improvised feel when you’re producing your compositions. Does that same urge manifest itself in your live set? How do you keep yourself as well as devoted fans on their toes when you perform live?
We’re keeping some places in the set very open so that every night we’ll play something different. It helps us stay engaged with the music, and I think the audience can feel this energy of spontaneity and fun.
What kind of non-traditional instruments made it into the live rig for this WHY? tour?
We’re pretty stripped down for this tour, so all of the bottles, pans and other cool instruments are in our samplers.
What are your plans when you finally get off the road?
I made plans to compose the score for an independent comedy. I’m really excited to work on music for a film. It’s definitely something that I’ve always wanted to do, and it feels good to keep work on music, but take a break from touring.
What happened to the nine songs that didn’t make the Dirty Glow LP? Any plans to do anything with them or will you scrap them and start fresh when you begin working on new Naytronix material?
There’s a chance that I could throw a couple of them on an EP, but I think I’m better of just scrapping them. When I start working on the next record I want to have a clean slate and see what I come up with.
I understand that you are open to working with others, but how possessive are you of the Naytronix sound? Will new material be approached as a solo endeavor or be a more collaborative effort with the current band?
I love playing with the current band and definitely am open to the possibility of it becoming a collaborative band instead of a solo project. I think in a lot of ways it makes sense to keep it solo though just based on my crazy busy schedule. When it’s a solo project I can make decision quickly, and work on stuff all the time even when I’m traveling. So in a lot of ways it’s a solo project based on convince and not necessarily a musical decision.
Talk about your relationship with Plug Research. It’s obviously the home of Flying Lotus, but why did you ultimately decide to release the LP through them?
I thought Plug Research was a great place for Naytronix. I love their current and past roster. Those guys are very supportive and great to work with.
You were recording Dirty Glow at the same time that Tuneyards was recording whokill. I know she helped you walk away from songs that you were obsessing over, but did the actual whokill sessions with Merrill affect the way Dirty Glow sounds? Is there anything on the LP that you wish you had done differently?
Working with Merrill on whokill definitely had a great influence on the Dirty Glow sound. We used a lot of the same instruments and both worked with Eli Crews (mixing engineer). With Dirty Glow, I recorded it all by myself then brought it into Eli’s studio to mix, but Merrill recorded whokill at the studio and mixed it there. I was influenced a lot by bird-brains as well though, since Merrill recorded that all by herself, and it was her first record.
Your podcast for Plug Research is all over the place. You’ve mentioned your father getting you into Sly Stone, The Meters and some jazz, but do you remember who/what it was in high school/college that started to point in the direction of music from Charles Mingus, Caetano Veloso, and Rodelius?
So much of the music that I’ve been introduced to in the last few years was introduced by a good from of mine DJ Fitz. He is tune-yards European tour manager so I’ve spent most of the last 3 years riding around with him listening to the rarest of the rare jams that he has in his collection.
Is there anything that you listen to that might be embarrassing? Are you a closet One Direction or Taylor Swift fan?
Hmm does Lady Gaga count?
Naytronix opens for Why? tomorrow night at Crowbar in Ybor City, Fla. More information on the show is available at our calendar page. Listen to aforementioned podcast below.