Novanauts Gives Mass Discussion on Music, Shows, and Much More!


Rock band NOVANAUTS goes into great detail about their latest releases, including an album, new music in the form of single's expected soon, with shows and much else in-store! Really the band goes into massive discussion about so much, find it all below.


1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

Luke: Our friendship started first. We met through mutual friends in Valdosta, Georgia. I thought Brett had a cool style and interest in music. At that time, in the early 2000s, we were both hardcore music scene kids. Soon after we became friends, we started meeting up together to play.

Brett was drumming for a local hardcore band and I joined to give it some flair with keyboard. At the time, bands that mixed synth atmosphere and breakdowns were getting super popular, and I could hold down some pads while people were chugging away on the guitar. And that's how I got involved in our first group. I believe I was 15 and Brett was 16.

Though that band was quite sloppy, both of us took music seriously and we had a commitment to it as a major part of our lives. We were in bands for what felt like different reasons than most kids at that age.

As we played in that band, we realized we had a lot in common with a desire to experiment with other styles. We did what we could with what we had at the time. My parents were gracious enough to let me use my bedroom as a studio.

Brett would come over and we would flip the bed against the wall to make room for his drum set and my pedalboard. We would set up and pressed record on a stereo track recorder and would do these improv recordings, working out ideas live. Two guys in a room just creating.

A lot of those improvised tracks turned into another band called Fight the Last Month. I was scheduled to move out of the country during that period and we were just waiting for me to leave. So the name felt like a lament of what we had started in our circumstance. But plans changed and we kept the name. That was the start of our duo. That time was really influenced by bands like Explosions In The Sky and Mewithoutyou. Eventually Fight The Last Month dissolved and Brett moved to another state.

I started playing with a different band in Valdosta called Kalvinova that I took from Valdosta to Athens, Georgia during my time in university. We started off as an instrumental group really inspired by DJ Shadow and Gorillaz. It was guitar, bass, drums, with samples and electronic elements. We gained a lot of local respect for trying new things and putting on impressive live shows. MuteMath was our “north star” in so many ways at that time. Everything changed rapidly when I started to sing.

Kalvinova’s songwriting really started to change from ambient groove to more focused on guitar, vocals and drums. We kept the electronics but made a lot more use of synth over samples, adding somewhat of an electronic dance music influence to our vibe.

When Kalvinova dissolved in 2010, I had a large backlog of unreleased music. I realized Athens was not far away from where Brett was living at the time, so I called him up. That backlog is what we grew into Novanauts.

Brett: We had the pieces to the puzzle and we finally fit them together with our interests. We weren't satisfied in our endeavors solo or otherwise, and together it just worked.

Luke: I had always played around with multiple instruments: keys, vocals, guitar and Brett was very dedicated to the drums. So, it was a natural way for me to be really creative melodically and always have a supportive drummer to play with and experiment with on a lot of different ideas. We recorded our first single “A Little Better” with Lee Dyess in Valdosta and played a few shows in Athens. The fact that we were good friends and enjoyed spending long hours together made it all even better.

Brett: That’s the one thing that is kind of necessary in a band: that you actually stand each other. So, I'm glad that has definitely worked out.

Luke: Before I moved away to medical school, we took a hiatus for almost 10 years. Then, while I was in a lighter period, I thought, there's no good reason to refrain from creating together, despite distance or life seasons. There may be adjustments with the calendar, but music was an important part of our life. So, I reached back out to Brett and was really excited that he was willing to pick it back up. That's really what created this next iteration of the band.

We took a lot of the songs that we had written and we went back to Valdosta to work with Lee again who was, thankfully, still running the studio, despite the COVID pandemic putting the stop on a lot of other small businesses at the time.

We were able to take a lot of the old songs, plus some new songs and write and record our first album right in the middle of lockdown. That really launched the new era of Novanauts and really helped define what is the initial brand: pensive yet optimistic, exploratory, electronically infused alternative rock. In the end, music that hopefully encourages people to see the beauty of life, appreciate togetherness, and take positive action.

Brett: Whatever our message is, it's a message of whatever you're going through, whatever you're feeling, whatever you're going through, you're not going through it alone, and we can get through it together. The lyrics might not always say that, but that's the feeling we want to invoke.

Luke: There's something about the way our music comes together that feels very expansive.

2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?

Luke: Novanauts was a derivative of Kalvinova. Kalvinova came from Mason Lusk, who we still write songs with from time to time, misspelling the keyboard I’ve had since I was about 10 years old. The Yamaha Clavinova. We recorded a lot of instrumental tracks under the name Kalvin Nova and then changed it to Kalvinova.

A lot of the backlog of music I wrote for Kalvinova was the first kind of batch of songs that we used. It didn't feel right to continue the name Kalvinova without Mason Lusk and Jeremy Bell, my former bandmates. We wanted to move forward with a different sound and image. I wanted to keep the spacey theme with “nova” and I always liked the suffix “nauts”. It felt like explorers or astronauts.

Brett: I think we were literally just sitting there thinking we needed to come up with a different band name, but we wanted to keep it in the same vein. We've always been interested in space and, I think, we even had a conversation the night before about quantum theory and supernovas. What is a black hole? You know, just all these different things. We just finished writing “A Little Better” when we finally decided on the name.

Luke: We like what space can invoke, you know; this endless expanse. There's always new opportunities in space it seems. There are always undiscovered worlds.

Brett: The idea of the massiveness of it is beautiful and scary all at the same time.

Luke: Like being in a band like ours.

Brett: Or just being a human being and existing in life.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Luke: We claim to be based out of Atlanta, Georgia. That is where I live. Um, but in a literal sense we have a practice space in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brett lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. We make use of technology and file sharing to create over distance and meet up every 4 to 6 weeks or so to play, write, record, or all of the above. That's how we make it work.

The music scene in Atlanta is one of the best in the southeast. Atlanta has a lot of really talented bands. There are also a lot of small venues that have a pretty frequent schedule of talent coming through. There's a big indie rock presence which would make sense with the history of Athens, Georgia being so close. Even though Atlanta is very well known for hip hop music, there are a lot of indie rock and pop punk bands here.

Perhaps because it is a big metropolitan city in a predominantly rural part of the country, there's always been this alternative edge to Atlanta. The alternative rock scene here is alive and well. I remember back when I was in middle school, there's a place called The 7 Venue back in Douglasville that was always hosting like hardcore bands, and the Masquerade has been an institution in Atlanta for a long time hosting alternative bands of various kinds. Places like Little Five Points also have a long history of alternative music.

Brett: In a larger scene like here, there's so much talent and it can get a little overwhelming. But, that's another reason that why you do what you do is so much more important than the actual act of doing it. You don't do it for the competition. All of that is very human. You know, things we can kind of fall into. But I think it's so much more important to realize that we do what we do because we love the music and we want to give people a shared experience of hope whenever they come to a show. We want to give people a shared experience for whatever time frame that everything's gonna be alright.

Luke: Even though there are a lot of bands in Atlanta, the vast majority that I have interacted with have been very supportive of developing a local scene and supporting each other; not throwing in a competitive aspect to it, but recognizing that we're all creative and we all love doing this.

Brett: The music scene in Greenville, to be 1000% honest, can be super cliquey. It doesn't do us any good to shy away from the bad part of the music scene. So you have to rise above the noise and ignore it. It's not as easy to find shows in Greenville as it is in a place like Atlanta. Sometimes you have to fight the idea of a bunch of people gatekeeping all of the venues. That's not the way to be. We musicians should come together and support each other, raise each other up, and realize that everybody has their place in the scene.

Luckily, we found a sweet spot at Inchoate Art Gallery willing to take a chance on our first show back after our hiatus of almost 13 years of performing.

It takes persistence and consistency. You have to quiet the voice in your head that “it's too hard” or “you just need to give up” and “just move on to something else”. That's not a way to be. You gotta fight through that and realize that you belong there just as much as anybody else.

Luke: There's quite a few bands in our region that I've interacted with, not only the ones that we've played with. Sorry to those I leave out that aren’t at the top of mind.

Internet Islands seem to have so much coolness with their imagery and sound. Future Self is one of these bands that I'm really excited to hear kind of the music they're putting out. Almost Legendary have been very supportive of us from the beginning of our involvement in the scene as have Over Anna. They all seem like really supportive people. We had a good time playing with Pretty Colors and Mostly Strangers. Fun folks to hang out with at our first Atlanta show. Sorry to anyone I'm leaving out, but there's just been a lot of love in the local scene.

When we started trying to get shows, we got this spot on the calendar at Smith's Olde Bar because someone dropped out. I had to find two local bands or else we were gonna risk losing the show.

And everyone was messaging back and forth together trying to get someone on the show. I was really thankful for the community coming together and making that show a reality.

Brett: And we had a lot of support from the venue in helping the show become a reality as well, which was awesome to see support from an area where sometimes you don’t get a lot of support as a new artist.

4. How would you describe your style?

Brett: Every time that I've let anyone listen to it, their genuine reaction is, “oh, this is so early 2000s, I like this!”

That is very much what we are. We are products of that era and our influences. Mutemath, Muse, even harder bands in that era.

A lot of my drumming is derivative of different drummers that I listened to during those times like Aaron Gillespie of Underoath.

Luke: I was gonna say it's funny how influences influence our style, but we never completely reach a level where someone would listen to us and say, “oh, they sound like a blend between this band and that band and this band.” When you listen to specific elements of the style, you can totally hear our influences.

My journey as a vocalist, I loved the Foo Fighters and also was really into classic rock. I really like powerful vocals. I was trying to sing like classic rock and then like Foo Fighters and then I got introduced to more indie stuff and bands like Coldplay and Keane. Then I listened to more post hardcore. For the longest time I can remember riding in the car trying to hit notes and hold them out like Aaron Gillespie. I loved that style.

When I got introduced to Muse, Matt Bellamy's guitar playing and vocal style, it was so chaotic but yet beautiful at the same time. He has this, this way of taking a guitar riff and making it sound so sloppy but yet heavy and precise at the same time. And I really like that interplay between musical control and straight up aggression and rawness. And I think a lot of my guitar playing style definitely comes from that influence.

My vocal style is kind of a mixture between alternative rock and emo.

We are a rock band at the core. We have electric guitar, vocals and drums, but we don't stay there. We're not married to that combination. We can explore other areas, but we like to write high energy songs that really enhance the performance of those core instruments. There is such a beautiful sound when vocals, electric guitar, and a drum set sit in the mix when they're locked in. That's been a lot of our true north when it comes to building up songs recently. Does it sound good stripped down? Then let's have some fun and add some atmosphere and some synth layers to enhance the experience.

Brett: We ask ourselves, “could this be played on an acoustic guitar and people still say, ‘yeah, that's nice.’” That’s our north star right now. We were trying so much at the beginning to throw on layers to sound more and more epic. Now we're finding ourselves saying, “if we take that one thing away it will be so much more epic, and it really is.” It's beauty through simplicity. I believe that should be a guiding light for most artists. What can I do to get my music and my feelings across without too much. Because with the opposite, you can start to lose what you were trying to do in the first place.

Luke: When we started off playing our style of electronic alternative rock, the ability to play synth tracks and to sync with MIDI instruments was so new in the scene we were in back in 2006. I mean, people have been playing with backing tracks since backing tracks existed, but when it comes to our scene, it was rare. So we were eager to incorporate these tools that we were learning how to use in a cool, interesting, impressive way.

Nowadays, you can basically do anything you want with modern music production technology and reproduce it in some form live. So the emphasis becomes less of, “I wonder what we can do?” and more “how are we doing it?”.

It's the intentional choices of how we are using synth or modulation on parts. I think it's very freeing as an artist, because even though our current songwriting is based on writing a good song that feels good to play live stripped down to just its raw elements, we're not married to that. We have all this ability to shift and explore and morph over time with various tools. But still at the end of the day, we want to write good songs that feel good to play live and connect with people.

5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?

Luke: Our first release was “A Little Better” in 2010. Since then, we have released one full length album titled ‘Decade Mosaic’. It was released in 2020. It’s a 10 song album. It's very ambitious musically and was a lot of fun to write and record. This year we have released two singles, “Out In The Open (The Day When We Stood Still)” and “Distracted”. We have more planned for the upcoming months.

With Novanauts, you can expect an epic journey and an intentional song.

With “Out In The Open (The Day When We Stood Still)”, I wrote that song back in like 2008. It's taken many, many iterative improvements until we finally decided, let's just lay it down and put it out into the world. It's another epic journey.

Brett: We were changing that song up until we recorded it. That's how it always is. Adding a few changes to it over time together created a better musical experience for us and whoever is listening to it. You know, your music is constantly changing. You never know what it's gonna become. And, that's the beauty of music. You can have this idea of what this piece you're trying to get across is, you know, and then you hit that one note and you're like, “or that”, or decide to do that one rest or that one. It becomes a wholly different thing and I think that it’s so important to remember it’s about the journey more than the destination. I mean, so cliche to say, but that's how you should live life. Cliches are cliches for a reason. I say that all the time.

Luke: “Out In The Open” plays a lot with juxtaposition as an element of art. There are these really delicate vocal lines and spacey verses that get completely slammed into a brick wall of guitars and drums throughout the song.

I really love old sci fi and this whole idea of the song really evolved over the matter of years. It wasn't like something that just came to me. It took a matter of years, thinking through wording, dealing with some negative thought patterns in my life and how that impacted my actions in the world and what was beneficial. The Day When We Stood Still is kind of like the title of an old sci fi horror movie, but really talking about the dangers or the terrors that can come from being paralyzed by overthinking. That can impact your life and your relationships. That to me is the message of that song. It plays with that idea and it plays with these very expansive, almost like a landscape chorus of rolling hills and synthesisers and then just slams you up against the wall and motivates you with this huge riff at the end. It's still one of my favorite songs of ours. It's definitely a journey finally crafted into a recorded experience that we were happy with.

We also released a song called “Distracted” back in September. It’s another ambitious song built around a really fun guitar and drum riff. It's very syncopated and the idea behind that song was to channel big eighties guitar and drums with some synth while we are talking about being present in life and putting down the masks. Putting down the roles that we play for other people and trying to connect with not being distracted in a world that's almost, you know, run on distraction these days.

Brett: Yeah. We should always show each other our true selves. If we don't constantly be our true selves, we'll never know what we need to adjust in our lives. The literal roles that we play, the lyrics, you know, because we think that’s what makes us us and it doesn’t. We play these roles every day and we think that is who we are at our, at our core and it's time to realize that where we're human beings going through a shared experience.

6. Do you have any new music in the works?

We have six songs that will be coming out in the coming months. We have been working on a strategy of releasing these as singles spaced out through the year to drip the ideas into the world. We have some really exciting tunes planned for the early and middle seasons of 2024.

7. How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?

We've been playing in our local region, which is the Southeast United States. We're really trying to stay in the live music circuit every 4 to 6 weeks if we can. We see playing live as the completion of the creation process of the song; sharing it with people in a live environment. We're hoping to do a lot more of that in the future and would love to do a tour in any region that would have us.

8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?

Continuing to keep up our cadence of creation is something that we feel very strongly about. Continuing to write, continuing to record, and continuing to connect with people in our live shows. We plan to continue to develop our friendship and as individuals, as artists, and as professionals. We want to take all of these little micro moments that we have and make good use of them in this life. We want to share our hearts with the world. We’re going to get through this beautiful and often messed up world together.

9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

You can listen to Novanauts on any major digital streaming platform (e.g., Spotify, Apple Music). You can buy our stuff from our Shopify store which you can access through our Spotify page. You can also connect with us on social media at and or

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Luke: Places that we wanna go, people that we'd love to know, journeys we all hope to find are waiting for us out in the open. Life is worth living, people are worth loving, and this music rocks.

Brett: “Am I going to have to take my face off the floor from being melted by the end of the show?” Definitely 100%. I want people to walk into a show that's already started and be concerned, “Yeah… I'm not sure if I'm going to survive this, something of me is going to be left here on the floor.” Just like exposure to radiation: we can't be held responsible for what our music may or may not do to you.

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