Analogue Music | Corvair


By Matt Conner

A new musical outlet from Brian Naubert and Heather Larimer was on the way, but the pandemic certainly helped deliver it home.

For years, Naubert and Larimer have made music in other bands in and around their native Portland, Oregon home. From Larimer's tenure fronting Eux Autres to Neubert's stints in Ruston Mire and The Service Providers, among others, the level of experience between the married pair is extensive. Which gives their newest outlet, Corvair, so much of its muscle.

Corvair's debut album is a great indie pop/rock mix for fans of Land of Talk, Deep Sea Diver and the like. For Naubert and Larimer, the final results were obvious when listening back, but the journey to find "their sound" was an unexpected one pieced together one layer at a time. Their previous experiences served them well, but the muse still held surprises.

Here's the story of a husband-wife duo leaning into what they love most and a pandemic that helped put it all together.

Analogue: You’ve both been a part of other projects. How is it to try to launch something new in the midst of this global pandemic?

Heather Larimer: We’re actually very lucky to be married to each other, so we’re in a bubble that is very comprehensive. We’d started this record maybe a year before lockdown and we’d done drum tracks in a studio in October. Then we were just chipping away on building the rest of it at home over the fall and winter. We were moving slowly… I don’t even remember why.

Suddenly the pandemic created this whole new relationship with time. It also felt the stakes were really high in this way that art matters. Most people think art is the first thing to trim away in your life when things are in crisis mode, but it just felt more important to us—not necessarily to the world—as a way of reclaiming some space to be making something if you don’t know if the world is ending.

Brian Naubert: Yeah, it was very surreal. You don’t know what to do with yourself. Everyone was in the same boat where you’re stuck at home. What do you do? You just binge-watch content that’s gonna be there for a while before it’s all going to go away.

Heather: We didn’t do that at all.

"it just felt more important to us—not necessarily to the world—as a way of reclaiming some space to be making something if you don’t know if the world is ending." -Heather Larimer

Brian: Yeah, instead of doing that, we had this room to go to in our little home studio. Pretty much every night we would carve out time. After a remote working day or whatever, we’d light some candles, put on our pajamas and start cranking out tracks.

The album is pretty thick with layers, so it took quite a bit of time. And we’re trying our hardest to be perfectionists about it. We obviously didn’t have any time or pressure with money or a studio. So we just did as many takes as we wanted to take. It became our security blanket in that time.

The other thing is that, as we were recording our first record, we were in a position where we were needing to form the band. But we can’t. So we were relieved of that pressure of having to play live and really focus on that. We could put all of our attention on artwork, on videos, on recording, on writing new stuff. That stuff takes a ton of time. I hate to say it, but it was almost a relief that we didn’t have to tackle that other part that we’re about to tackle now.

Heather: Yeah, of having to recreate these songs live.

Analogue: How much of that dedication to the craft every night was about diligence or was it just organically what you would do?

Brian: I think it’s both. We would have organically done it, but given the opportunity to spend more time on it, we did. We didn’t consciously say, ‘Hey, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Let’s spend all our time recording.’ It filled a void, basically.

Heather: It felt really positive. I think when stuff is really scary or gnarly and it’s easy to disassociate. That’s what you’re doing when you binge on something. So it felt really positive to us. We could drink several bottles of wine or we could work on this. [Laughs] Both are valid choices but tonight we’re going to record!

Brian: Or we’d drink a lot of wine and record. [Laughs]

Heather: That’s true. [Laughs]

Analogue: So Corvair was in the works before the pandemic, then?

Brian: In the year leading up to the pandemic, we basically started writing some of the foundations of the record and came up with a name. We knew we wanted to be a band. The interesting thing is that we didn’t know what our sound would be like or what our identity would be. We talked about it as much as possible and planned that out but we still just didn’t know. In fact, the end result is quite different from what we assumed we were going to be.

Heather: We knew we’d be a duo and that we’d do what we liked but there was a moment when we were like, ‘Are we writing Rumours?’ I think there were times we thought the record would sound a lot softer than it did.

Brian: Yeah, there’s this indie soft rock movement happening and we thought we might fit in with that well. That’s a delicate one, too. You don’t want to be derivative of that sound or pandering to it. But it turned out to not be that at all.

What’s interesting is we might have still thought that a little bit maybe by choosing some keyboard patches that might be on the less aggressive side. But when we recorded with Eric [Eagle], it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, a live drummer adds a lot of energy and power to a song.’ And he’s actually more of a jazz drummer, so I think he played more aggressively than he would normally. It just turned out that way.

The songs were primarily written on acoustic guitar and piano in bits and pieces. We crafted them all together and made song structures out of them as best we could, but all we had to show the drummer ahead of time was some voice memos. We had to say, ‘Disregard the way this sounds. We’re not the Gin Blossoms.’ So we sent him all that and went to Seattle to play the drums with him. Then the songs just took new directions.

We had this basket full of songs to take home, and that’s right around when COVID hit. So we had layering but it was important because layers were going to determine the sound of this band. We were literally creating this Frankenstein at home with only the foundation of a drum beat.

Analogue: You said you didn’t know what to expect but once you hear it, did it make sense?

Heather: Yeah, I think so. As songwriters, we have a lot in common and a lot that’s really different. It was scary for me to collaborate because Brian is a much better musician than I am. But I think I’m a good songwriter. I’ve been writing songs for a long time. So I think we brought things out of each other. To me, what we made makes total sense now. But anytime you make something with somebody else, you’re negotiating.

Brian: You’re right. It totally makes sense. It seems so obvious now. But we had no idea. It did surprise us at the time, but once it settled in, it seemed to make total sense.

Heather: But we were navigating decades of other musical history and then we decided to do something together.

Brian: We actually tracked 16 songs, so we were building 16 little castles one brick at a time simultaneously.

Heather: Never having played them live. You can’t over-emphasize that. We never had a band practice where we could rip through our set.

Brian: It’s like The Queens Gambit where she has to go play chess against entire chess teams. She makes one move and then walks to the next board and makes her next move and keeps going only to do the lap over again. We did one guitar part and then onto the next song and then it’s vocal part and then the next song. It took us a long time.

Heather: I’ve always recorded in the studio where the meter is always running which scares the shit out of us. So for me, this was the most creative I’ve ever felt in my whole life.

VISIT: Corvair