“There were a lot of extenuating circumstances that led to the death of Nautical Disaster, both private and public,” says Berkeley Kent Austin, singer-guitarist for psych-rockers Heart Beat Trail.
In April 2010, after four years and four albums, Nautical Disaster played their last show at the Tin Can Ale House. The band’s breakup came months after bassist and backup singer Jaye Furlonger left the band. The Austin-Furlonger collaboration wasn’t the first — the two played in the Daffodils before forming Nautical Disaster in 2006 — though, it sounds as if it will be the last.
“We came to a rather abrupt and unexpected fork in the road musically and personally,” says Austin. “She went high, I went low, and never the twain shall meet. In the end, I was mostly unmotivated to continue to write [new music] for the band and wanted...reinvention.”
Former Nautical Disaster/Daffodils bassist Jaye Furlonger -- who married in 2010 and is now known as Jaye MacAskill -- went on to co-found the comedic rock band Pony Death Ride, alongside hubby Joe MacAskill. Their song “I Think My Boyfriend's Gay for Morrissey” earned a fair amount of press, almost as soon as Pony rode out of the gate.
Meanwhile, out of the Nautical wreckage, Austin formed Heart Beat Trail. And although the band has the same members as ND, minus Furlonger, any musical similarities are hard to find.
In their search for “reinvention,” Nautical Disaster guitarist Damian Delgado opted to play bass, and bassist Matt Nelson moved over to the drums, joining Jason Lewis as part of the band’s drum duo.
The change in roles resulted in a change in tempos and a different style of music. “Nautical Disaster was a rock-and-roll band with some blues thrown in,” writes Austin. “With the Heart Beat Trail, we are expanding those tendencies, slowing things down, and exploring the sonic landscape.”
Austin considers the band more atmospheric, likening the songs to those that would “sound good coming from a cave deep in the Himalayas while some Yeti were getting their groove on.”
And as for the band’s decision to use two drummers. “[Nelson] really wanted to get back to playing drums,” writes Austin. “He has a drum pad that he can key in different sounds and effects that just put the songs over the top.”