Nautica: The Interview


Words by Jackson Balling.

After some slight movement of dates and times and immediately following a return from a show in Cambridge, Massachusetts that took them closer to Maine than Vermont at first, I finally got to meet up with the guys from Nautica. I was surprised to find them waiting for me as I came down to Big Heavy World after a class, but even more surprised to find ourselves on the outside looking into the typical spot for interviews. In a moment of pure desperation, I chose to hang out and talk about band life near the fire escape, and it proved to be a choice that reflected the band very well.

Formed as a platform for singer and guitarist Baxter Barber around four to five years ago, the project didn’t start to take off until around two years ago. Baxter began to collaborate with bassist Quintin Cardinal, who he was in a band with previously, and the trio that met with me was rounded out by a singer/guitarist turned drummer, Evan Engisch. They released their first EP, Colorful Symphony, last August, and have been slowly growing within the local Burlington punk scene with their unique alternative and noise rock touch on the genre.

Their latest EP, Winter, was released earlier this month and celebrated with a free show in Jim’s Basement, along with my previous interviewees in Dented Personality. Baxter expressed happiness in the release of the EP, citing great reception for a group of songs that otherwise wouldn’t have seen the recording process and significant pride in the fact that it was self-recorded in a basement during a three day period and mixed by Evan himself. I could also tell that it was an important thing for the band to do at the time, and it subconsciously seemed to push them beyond where most local bands find themselves.

From there we talked about the future of the band, which will find itself without Baxter in the fall due to his acceptance to the Eugene Lang College of The New School in New York City. Despite this, which would cause uncertainty and fear in typical local bands, the Nautica. trio is going to get as much done in the future as possible. This includes plans for a recording session for their debut full-length record with Ryan Stack at Format Audio, known for his work on the recent The World Is… record, Whenever, If Ever, playing in as many shows at 242 Main as possible during the summer, and perhaps heading out on tour for a couple of weeks.

The interview was rounded off by sharing some goofy stories of band life, and while nothing could really beat winding up on the wrong highway and almost missing the interview itself, there were other stories of losing Evan in Rhode Island or even right here in Burlington, and how Baxter blasts Waka Flocka Flame before shows, a slight tradition that he believes prepares him for the set.

The biggest point expressed during our talks was that the band lives a mellow life, and that music is similar to a hobby to them, but recently it’s been picking up and they’re just going for it. They’re comfortable with their music and the local scene has embraced the trio’s sound and attitude. Perhaps the greatest thing about the band is the infectious chemistry between the three, and simply how fun it was to talk music with them.

If you enjoy this look at the band, be sure to check them out at the upcoming BHW 18th Birthday Party Extravaganza on April 12th at 242 Main!