curtains: in conversation with nautics

neeharika nene


Nautics, a New York based band, carved out a bold space for themselves with their first album – IV: The Misadventures of an Indestructibly Melancholy City (2015). Since then, they have continued to release incredible music that any rock aficionado would enjoy. Songs like I’ll Be Waiting, Post Madonna, and their newest single, Thoughts on the Ceiling have succeeded in building a character that is unique to Nautics.


We had the opportunity to speak with all four members – Kenzo Repola (vocals and guitar), Van Cameron (bass), Levitt Yaffe (drums), and Amir “The Hands” Brivanlou (keys), and dive deep into their perceptions of death as musical artists.


In this conversation with Nautics, we discuss their individual relationships with death, how it drives one to create more, and music that has left a mark on them.

photo: ori


Push up Daisies: What has your relationship with death always been like, and how do you view it now?


Levitt: I never thought I have had a relationship with death, I have had family members and friends die, if that counts but besides that nothing. I don’t view death negatively, every being has an expiration date, and when it comes they move to another plane.

Van: I don’t like to think about it much. Death is a scary concept to me. The idea that existence might not be permanent is something that makes me feel insecure about a permanent period to my existence.

Kenzo: I think the main experience I’ve had with death happened in the last year. I saw my Grandmother’s lifeless body sitting in her bed. She was cold. I don’t think I ever had a real understanding of how finite life was until I saw it timeout. It was a good experience and now her ashes sit in my house. I think I became more comfortable by the concept after that.

Amir: I’ve been very conscious of my own mortality from a very young age. Death’s finality still really shocks me.


Push up Daisies: Are you spiritual or religious? How do you think your culture/ideals affect your perception of death?

Van: I like religion a lot. I’m not really religious, but I find it interesting.

Kenzo: I don’t believe in life after death, but I think we all share an energy. Everything in the universe is connected. I’m not sure how, but I feel it is.

Amir: I’m from a family of scientists so death has always been very matter of fact.


Push up Daisies: As a creative, how does the thought or fear of death inspire you/does ever drive you to create more?

Levitt: I just want to be able to do everything I can before my time is up.

Van: I think a period at the end of your life makes you want to be impactful. You only get a finite time to create things of value, so it’s important to try and do important things.

Kenzo: I don’t fear death. I fear being murdered or drowning, but I don’t fear an end. I think what drives me are the lives that I am surrounded by, who I love and who push me forward through the unknown.


Push up Daisies: How would you like to be remembered?

Levitt: It depends on what I have accomplished by the time of my death, but for now I would like to be remembered as a good friend, someone who is compassionate, and someone who is always willing to listen.

Kenzo: As a kind and loving person. Hopefully something I leave behind carries on that intention.

Amir: I want to be remembered as someone who had a positive impact on people’s lives however large or small.


Push up Daisies: What are you most proud of in your life?


Levitt: Being an older brother, and being creative in the musical sense (Nautics) and with the book I am currently writing.

Kenzo: I think learning how to read and write in school. I struggled a lot with learning disabilities and developed a lot as a writer throughout high school and college.

photo: evariste


Push up Daisies: How does the thought of death affect your every day life?


Levitt: It doesn't, sometimes I think about it but then the thought of death passes. It will come someday but until then I don't really need to think about it. I am just trying to live my life to the fullest.

Kenzo: It doesn’t. Maybe it keeps me from tripping and falling to death, but generally I am unconscious of it.


Push up Daisies: In what ways can it be healthy to contemplate death?


Kenzo: To think about it in relation to life, and to further your appreciation of it.


Push up Daisies: Have you ever seen a film/art piece/read a book revolving around death, that left its mark on you?


Van: I like a lot of music about death, but the more subtle references I think are more impactful. I liked the lyric in This Life by Vampire Weekend.

'Baby, I know death probably hasn't happened yet

'Cause I don't remember living life before this.'

I like this lyric cause in my opinion it kind of comments the certainty some people have with death. They assume that there can’t be an afterlife or death simply because they’ve never experienced one.

Kenzo: I really love The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. I enjoy the characters and how the show skates around the idea of death, even though it is the backdrop for the show.

Amir: Been listening to When You Die by MGMT a lot so that’s in my head right now if that counts.


Push up Daisies: Is there something that you would be willing to die for? What would this be?


Levitt: My family.

Kenzo: The people I love, I think. Or maybe if I could save many lives. I’m not fully sure.

Push up Daisies: What are your ideal and worst ways to die?


Levitt: For sure in my sleep, and the worst way I can think of would be in a plane crash.

Van: Ideal way would be quickly. The worst way would probably be a heart attack in bed, or drowning.

Kenzo: Best way is either something funny like slipping on a banana, or something epic like an explosion of fireworks. Worst way is probably being killed by someone you love. That may be kinda poetic though.

Amir: Yeah definitely ideal would be old surrounded by my family and my two border collies, Max and Sheila, as my grandchildren sing an Irish hymn. Worst way would be very random and sudden.

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