Immerse yourself in Water From Your Eyes, the enigmatic duo from Brooklyn fusing arthouse aesthetics with a post-punk edge, captivating listeners with their unconventional indie pop brilliance.
Water From Your Eyes, the enigmatic duo from the heart of Brooklyn, effortlessly blend arthouse aesthetics with a post-punk edge, leaving listeners captivated by their unconventional indie pop brilliance. Enter Nate Amos and Rachel Brown, the visionaries behind the highly anticipated album “Everyone’s Crushed” and the creators of visually stunning music videos that redefine artistic boundaries.
In an interview with Happy, Nate and Rachel offer a glimpse into their intriguing lives. Nate, a connoisseur of horror films and music, finds solace in the eerie melodies while meticulously backing up his ailing computer. Meanwhile, Rachel’s return from a sublet in the vibrant streets of Chicago added a dash of cosmopolitan allure to their nomadic existence, firmly grounding them in the thriving music scene of Brooklyn alongside illustrious acts like Sweet Baby Jesus and The Cradle.
Delving into their creative process, Water From Your Eyes showcase their evolution as a powerhouse duo. Rachel’s poignant lyricism takes center stage, accompanied by Nate’s musical wizardry. Collaboration has been the lifeblood of their artistry, allowing them to surmount obstacles like their breakup while sharing a living space. Their music, a soul-stirring exploration of anxiety and uncertainty, serves as both an escape and a catalyst for profound introspection.
With an unrivaled sound and visuals that mesmerise, Water From Your Eyes continues to be a profound source of inspiration, bringing wit and whimsy to the tumultuous tapestry of modern life. As they traverse their musical odyssey, they aspire not only to forge an indelible impact on the world but also to treasure the small joys that infuse their journey with boundless love and passion.
Happy: What are you up to today?
Nate: I’m in a days-long process of backing up my old computer which is dying.
Mostly watching horror movies and listening to music while I keep an eye on that.
I’m mostly just hanging out and decompressing in between tours while I’m home in Brooklyn, trying to build up as much energy as I can.
I’ve been eating a lot of Chinese food from a restaurant I used to live next to – I would hang out on their roof and one time they saw me and got upset but I think it’s been long enough that they don’t recognize me anymore.
Rachel: I flew back to New York today from Chicago, where I’ve been for the last week doing nothing but sitting at my parents’ house playing this new game on my phone called “Township” where I run a town (farm, manufacture, etc.)
I’m back in New York right now, but I am staying at my friend Ana’s apartment because I’m subletting my apartment until July.
She’s at the gym so I’m in her living room with her family’s cat she just brought back from New Jersey. His name is Larry and he is so cute, but I am allergic so I am sitting here sneezing and typing.
Happy: Where’s home, and what’s the music scene like in your neck of the woods?
Nate: Home is Brooklyn (when I’m here). The music scene is awesome and really wide-ranging but I can’t really say I know that much about what’s going on these days as we’re usually on the road.
There are a lot of really inspiring artists that I’m aware of, and I’m sure there are even more that I don’t know.
Rachel: I live in Brooklyn, but lately it doesn’t really feel like I have a home.
There’s a place where all of my stuff is but I do not seem to be currently living there seeing as though I’m on my friend’s couch right now.
I have no idea what’s going on in the music scene here, I haven’t been in Brooklyn for more than a month and a half continuously since before March 2022.
I know there are lots of very talented artists here (i.e. Sweet Baby Jesus, Fantasy of a Broken Heart, Kolb, The Cradle, Joey Agresta, Hank, Godcaster, etc.) but I have no idea what’s going on.
I hope everyone’s doing well. Very sweet and talented folks here.
Happy: Tell us about your average day.
Nate: Generally waking up in an unfamiliar place and heading to the next show, wherever that is.
I’ve been reading a lot recently. When I’m at home I watch a lot of movies/tv shows and try to write music as much as I can.
Rachel: Usually I have a stomach ache. That’s the one real consistent thing about my life right now.
I’d say an average day on tour is waking up and driving many hours. Looking out of the window at the view from the highway.
Sometimes it’s so beautiful and sometimes it looks like every place you’ve ever been but I think there’s something beautiful about that as well.
Happy: What about your ultimate day?
Nate: Nice weather, good food, good book, fun show. Playing music with my friends is pretty much my favorite thing to do so I don’t really have a ton to complain about. Not having to travel very far is always nice.
Rachel: I would drink a lot of coffee, eat a lot of food, and chat with a lot of friends. Sunny and 75.
Also everything is free so I don’t spend any money. And maybe, just for the hell of it, it’s somebody’s birthday–but not mine, somebody else’s.
Happy:Tell us about your creative community. Who are some artists or bands that have inspired you, and how have they influenced your music?
Nate: I grew up playing Bluegrass music with my dad – that definitely had a lasting impact on me.
For years I made music with my bud Ryan and sometimes I feel like I’m still trying to get on his guitar-playing level from when we were 18.
I think making music for and with Rachel has had a huge influence on the way I go about things.
Hard to say how anything in particular has had a tangible effect because I honestly still just feel like I’m stumbling around trying to understand the writing process but those people are definitely 3 major shaping factors.
Rachel: There are so many people I could talk about but I’ll just talk about Nate because I wrote the “N” up there for him to type next to so I’m already thinking about him.
Nate inspires me everyday as a songwriter but more importantly he inspired me to keep writing music years ago and he asked me to do this project which is the first and only project I’ve ever been in that wasn’t just mine alone.
He encouraged me to put myself out there creatively and helped me record almost every album I’ve ever put out.
He’s also a wizard when it comes to music, it makes me want to make music that doesn’t make any sense to me or expand my horizons sonically.
Happy:What did you read or watch last that opened your eyes and mind to a new perspective?
Nate: I’m honestly still reeling from the first time I watched “The Pyramid Code” and that was like 10 years ago.
Rachel: I watched “Beau is Afraid” which was definitely a new perspective and eyes were certainly open while I was watching it.
I do think it was good, I’m not really sure what perspective I’ve gained but I certainly saw a lot of imagery I didn’t previously have in my head.
Happy: Your latest single, ‘14,’ has a very unique and intriguing sound. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind it?
Nate: “14” was an attempt to make serialism/microtonalism function in a more melodic context than I had been using them in.
At the time I was struggling with some substance abuse issues and felt physically ill pretty much all the time so that’s where the “throw you up” line came from.
I was realizing that I had to make some significant lifestyle changes and was feeling pretty helpless. Rachel axed and replaced the other lines (thank god) and I’m really proud of the result.
Rachel: Nate is a wizard! I swear. I feel like lyrically I was inspired by that sense of nostalgia you have when you’re smoking a cigarette alone on a summer night on your fire escape and you miss everyone you’ve ever met and there’s all this regret over how you’ve missed out on all these different things but also this sense that nothing as changed at all and it’s the exact same night over and over and over.
Happy: You’ve described your forthcoming album, Everyone’s Crushed, as your most collaborative yet. How did this collaboration process work, and how did it influence the sound and direction of the album?
Nate: This is the first album that I didn’t contribute any fully finished lyrics to. I would generally just have a single line or an idea of what the vibe could be and then Rachel would take the reins from there.
I also did a lot less production with their voice – very little is double tracked or effected. Things are pretty much left they way they were recorded and Rachel’s personality shines through a lot brighter on this album as a result.
Rachel: I think on our other albums there were a couple of songs that Nate wrote by himself but that was not the case on this album.
I think our ability to make music together has naturally improved and it’s had a positive impact on our sound.
I still don’t really know how Nate makes music, a real modern marvel. It’s like if Nikola Tesla had decided to dedicate his life to music instead of scientific invention. I’m glad he didn’t make music though, he was really good at science.
Happy: Your music often explores themes of anxiety, uncertainty, and the complexities of modern life. What do you hope listeners take away from your music in terms of these themes?
Nate: Music has always been an escape for me – all I’m ever really trying to do is give people an inkblot that helps them process things in their own way.
I don’t want them to take any particular thing away from it but I do hope it helps them in one way or another.
Rachel: I just hope people have new thoughts, things they didn’t think about before. Or a question–endless questions.
Questions are one of my favourite kinds of thoughts. They’re so indefinite, they could lead anywhere. Or perhaps a thought that ties together two separate ideas they’ve had coexisting in their head, a thought to tie everything together and make it all make sense.
I don’t know if our music has any real effect on people like that but I hope in general that people feel less anxious or more in control of their anxiety.
Happy: You’ve released an incredible music video for ‘14.’ How important is visual storytelling to you, and how do you approach creating music videos?
Nate: Rachel makes my favourite music videos. Our music is very visual to me so I’m always ready to feel like we’re compromising with the visual aspect, but I see what Rachel comes up with and am just like “goddamn they really did it again”.
I don’t really have a ton to say other than that I’m always floored by Rachel’s ability to pull it off.
Rachel: I went to film school so I guess it’s pretty important to me. I’d like to think I value my own time.
First, I like to listen to the song and think about what imagery would make sense and what would be feasible to shoot.
I like to picture locations and actions. I prefer simple concepts, nothing too on the nose, but visuals that match the song’s emotional expression.
Then I try to get as much footage as I can–but not too much since I’m also editing.
And then I usually decide one night that I’m going to stay up the whole night to work on it, so from 10pm until 10am I sit on my computer losing my mind and then I send it to everyone and say “I just spent all night doing this, let me know what you think” and then I take a nap.
Happy: You’ve mentioned finding humour and silliness amidst the chaos and despair of our world. Can you tell us about a specific moment or experience that inspired you to approach your music in this way?
Nate: I think we both deal with our respective dark sides by making light of them.
We never made a conscious choice to approach music in that way, it just kind of happened.
Rachel: I don’t know any other way–if I did then I would probably have a job with a salary and health insurance right now.
This is the only way I have ever approached my entire life and in some ways it is working out in my favor but in many ways I am insane.
Happy: You’ve been making music together for a few years now. How has your creative process evolved over time, and what have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a band?
Nate: We’ve learned to trust each other more and more creatively and to easily defer to the other when one of us feels really strongly about something.
The biggest challenges were definitely finding a path forward when we stopped dating and figuring out how to tour (we kind of just jumped in with no clue).
Rachel: We used to date and then we broke up while we were living together. I would say that was probably the biggest challenge we faced as a band.
It’s been pretty easy since then. Our first tour was pretty difficult since neither one of us knew what we were doing, but we’ve learned a lot in this past year.
And I feel like once you go through something like living with someone for months after you break up, doing anything else with them is like slicing cake. Or whatever the phrase is. My friend was just showing me her new cleaver so my thoughts are on slicing. Eating cake? Easy as eating cake? I don’t know if cake is involved in this at all but anyways, I feel like the creative process went from being completely unserious to somewhat difficult and forced to learning how to collaborate again in a more serious way and then this album being the culmination of the work we’ve put in on the band and on our communication.
Happy: Do you have any gear that you can’t live without?
Nate: My computer. I guess a guitar? As long as I have something to record on or program bleeps and bloops into I will make do.
Rachel: My computer. I’ve got everything on here and I haven’t backed it up in over 400 days. I’m living on the edge here. Every day could lead to disaster. But I’m still here, the things on my computer are still here. In this way, I am blessed.
Happy: What are your plans for the future, both in terms of your music and your lives outside of the band?
Nate: I would like to continue to make music (it’s the only thing I’ve ever really focused on). It feels like we’re on a pretty good path stabilizing our presence as a band so we’re sticking with that for a while.
It would be awesome to own a house at some point. I want to eat a lot of good food. I really love to help other people with their music, that’s something I’d like to do more of again down the line.
Rachel: I would like to own a house with a porch someday. I am hoping that music will allow me to do this otherwise I will probably try to get a job that a robot won’t be able to do and hope for the best.
Mostly I’d like to contribute to the world in a material sense. I’d like to know that everyone has access to water, shelter, food, healthcare, etc. Working towards a world in which human rights are guaranteed.
Happy: What makes you happy?
Nate: Friends and art. Making art with my friends. Helping my friends make art. Water and laughing. Being a goofball. I am blessed because those are some of the main things in my life.
Rachel: My friend is brushing her cat next to me and that makes me happy. Spending time with my friends and family makes me happy.
Seeing new places makes me happy. Music makes me happy. There are so many things that make me happy it’s pretty impossible to write them all down.
But sometimes being happy makes me sad, so emotionally I am not to be trusted.
Photos: Eleanor Petry