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Studio Session: The Nautical Theme release a new EP, 'Do Something'

The Nautical Theme's latest EP, Do Something, was released on Feb. 23, 2024.
Juliet Fromholt
The Nautical Theme's latest EP, Do Something, was released on Feb. 23, 2024.

Dayton duo The Nautical Theme celebrated their fifth studio release, Do Something, with an interview and performance at WYSO’s studios, hosted by WYSO music director Juliet Fromholt. Tesia Mallory (vocals, keys) and Matt Shetler (vocals, guitar) played two songs from the new EP live on air, and spoke with Juliet about their decade-long musical partnership. An album release show for Do Something, featuring guest performers The Sam King Trio, Eleanor Dakota, and The Shady Pine, took place at Blind Bob’s on Friday, Feb. 23.

According to Tesia and Matt of The Nautical Theme, Do Something represents the end of a period of musical stagnation. “We released another EP back in June of [2023] called Get Somewhere,” Matt said. “To get to the point where we released that one, there were a lot of starts and stops and scrapping of recording sessions.” Eventually, a fruitful session at Trojan City Sound prompted a breakthrough.

“We were invited to record a song at Trojan City Studios with Seth Canan. That song, [“Sun Won’t Rise”] wound up being the first track on Get Somewhere, and that actually got us out of our rut and kickstarted us. We recorded all the songs for Do Something sort of simultaneously back at my studio, Ready, Set, Go! Studio.”

Conceived as a sequel to Get Somewhere, Do Something splits its 20-minute run time between stripped-down acoustic ballads, like “I’m Not Ready” and “To the Flame,” and fully-orchestrated numbers like “Game Changer” and “Sisyphus.” The songs were written several years ago, Tesia Mallory said, but it was only after visiting Trojan City Sound that she and Matt felt satisfied with their arrangements. “I think it became pretty apparent as we started tracking them which ones spoke to more full arrangements and which ones sounded like they should still stay just acoustic, or just piano,” she said. Tesia said that years of collaboration have made her more comfortable taking feedback from Matt— and expressing her own opinions about their songs. “We've been playing music together for like 11 or 12 years,” she said. “At first, I wasn’t as vocal about what I thought–like in any friendship–but now I feel more comfortable being like, ‘no, that sucks, or ‘oh, I like that!’

Matt said the creative partnership is “democratic,” but added that he and Tesia make an effort to maintain their autonomy as performers. “I'm intentional about not making it explicit what the song is about, because I love the idea of somebody being able to take it and apply it to their own experience and have it elicit feelings for them,” he said. “That's always kind of a goal for me. A lot of times, I don't even really tell Tesia what the song is about… As a performer you've got to have a certain level of emotion, and I think if I superimpose my story onto it, it might change how she's relating to it.”

Do Something is available for streaming on all major platforms, or for purchase on Bandcamp. More information about The Nautical Theme is available on the website, thenauticaltheme.com, or on Facebook or Instagram.

Text by Peter Day, adapted from a studio session recorded by Juliet Fromholt on February 21, 2024.

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Juliet Fromholt is proud to be music director at 91.3FM WYSO. Juliet began volunteering at WYSO while working at WWSU, the student station at her alma mater, Wright State University. After joining WYSO's staff in 2009, Juliet developed WYSO’s digital and social media strategy until moving into the music director role in 2021. An avid music fan and former record store employee, Juliet continues to host her two music shows, Alpha Rhythms and Kaleidoscope, which features studio performances from local musicians every week. She also co-hosts Attack of the Final Girls, a horror film review podcast.
Peter Day writes and produces stories for WYSO’s music department. His works include a feature about Dayton's premiere Silent Disco and a profile of British rapper Little Simz. He also assists with station operations and serves as fill-in host for Behind the Groove. Peter began interning at WYSO in 2019 and, in his spare time while earning his anthropology degree, he served as program director for Yale University’s student radio station, WYBC.