I Dream of Vinyl

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“We actually fought much more on the first record” – An Interview with Corvair

With a timeless sound blending 70’s pop, 80’s synth  rock and 90’s indie rock, Bound to Be is the new album from Portland, Oregon outfit Corvair. Comprised of the husband/wife duo of Brian Naubert (Ruston Mire, Tube Top, Pop Sickle, The Service Providers) and Heather Larimer (Eux Autres), their second record will be released on June 23 via Paper Walls and the cult indie-pop label Where It’s At is Where You Are Records out of London, UK. You can pre-order the album on Clear Vinyl, CD or Digital Download via the band’s Bandcamp page right now.

Featuring Larimer and Naubert on vocals and instruments, along with Northwest powerhouse drummer Mike Musburger (Fastbacks, The Posies), the new album explores darker and more complex themes and traverses far-flung musical territory with mercurial mood swings compared to their self-titled debut.

Ahead of the release, we caught up with Heather and Brian to talk about the making of the album and the perils of being in a band with your partner.

Hi! How’s everything going right now?
Pretty great. Summer is cranking up, the flowers are going off all around us, the new record is about to come out, and you are interviewing us. Life is good!

What classic album cover is your current mood?
Heather: Rumors, only we are in pajamas and gazing longingly at a pizza.
Brian: Scorpions – Lovedrive, of course.

Your wonderful sophomore album “Bound To Be” is out this week. When did you write and record the tracks?
First of all, thank you. We wrote it over about six months, but the bulk of it was written in snippets during a 30 day songwriting challenge we gave ourselves, to disrupt our own habits. If the self-titled debut was written together on a porch with an acoustic guitar, this was written all over the place–thank God for voice memos. After assembling songs, we tracked with our drummer and then did all the overdubs at home over about another six months. I think the process made us more aware of differentiating songs, stylistically, than on our first record.

It feels like you’ve been more adventurous, both musically and lyrically, compared to your debut record?
Thanks for noticing! Probably the first record of any band is trying to figure out what you actually organically “sound like”. Because we were so isolated during the inception of the band, we didn’t even know what we were really making, so every song felt like a little miracle. With this record, we wanted to push things. It’s a lot more emotional and honest, and we ended up bending genres when songs were feeling too straight. For example, “Wrong Again” is fairly Liz Phair in its essence but then we added some Beatles classicism to undercut that, or when “Tenseless” was sounding too Americana we gave it a psychedelic Lee & Nancy spin. Or, “Moon Was a Bowl” was feeling too sedate so we cranked up the tension with a thrummy drum track and more dancey elements.

If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
Heather: I mean, sorry to be cliche, but probably Abbey Road? Lord help us. And we wouldn’t be mad at Steve Miller’s Fly Like An Eagle, either. Not proud of it, but true.
Brian: I was going to say Abbey Road too, or another record with a photograph of a London street, Ziggy Stardust.

As a husband/wife duo, does that ever cause any problems if you don’t like each other’s ideas or lyrics?
HELL YES. We actually fought much more on the first record because we didn’t have any collaborative credibility yet. The fact that we respect each other’s strengths is a given now. So we can say harsh stuff like ”hey I think you can do that guitar solo more aggressively” or “those lyrics are kind of weak” and it actually feels like a vote of confidence. But we still fight a fair amount – now we just know ahead of time what it’s going to be about. Which is, precisely, that in every song, Heather will want to do 16 vocal takes and also use too much vibrato and Brian will want a synthy keyboard pad throughout and to use slapback on the vocals. But we still like each other a lot, after all this arguing.

You released a Christmas song in 2021 and 2022 – have you already got this year’s track written?
We do, but we are considering trading it for a cover. It always feels a little presumptuous to write an original. The canon is already full of greats. The one we’re thinking of covering might be the best of both worlds. It’s an early oughts indie song. Marginally canonical, in certain circles…

You’ve been in a few different bands over the years – what should fans of “Bound to Be” check out from your back catalogues?
Heather: Hell is Eux Autres. Or Sun is Sunk by Eux Autres. The bookends of the band. Hell Is is almost punk at moments, it’s so raw and naive. Someone recently told me that when it came out, college radio DJs were going, “What the hell is this??” because it was so weird-sounding. There’s a song where we scream for a good 30 seconds. What were we thinking? And then Sun is Sunk is where we did some of our best songwriting, but it was an EP so I feel like it got a bit underheard. Is that a word?
Brian: I had always been most proud of my first “baby”, Ruston Mire – Steady Jobs and Flying Cars. I happen to have three songs I wrote about Heather in the late 90’s. It’s feeling a bit dated to me now so I’d also mention my solo release: Hoffabus. It also has a song about Heather and even though it was recorded 15-19 years ago, it still feels like it’s in the same vein as some of the stuff we are putting out now.

What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
Sausage, jalapenos and pineapple. It would be called the Diet Starts Tomorrow or maybe the Three Amigos. But we are also obsessed with a certain real-life pizza at Portland’s brilliant Pizza Thief. It’s called the Hot Tony and often we just look at each other and raise our eyebrows and say, “Hot Tony?” and it’s ON. We’re going tonight because it’s been a week and we are well overdue. The Hot Tony cometh.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2023?
We are making a video for “Wrong Again,” finishing writing record #3 and then tracking it with our drummer, releasing a new Christmas Song, and tracking a Christmas Album for vinyl release in 2024–so we’re already behind! No rest for the wicked.

You can find out more about Corvair by visiting their website and follow them on Instagram and Twitter for all the latest news.

Photo Credit – Megan Brown

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