Placeholder canvas
Friday, June 14, 2024

20 questions with the members of The Nautical Miles

In one of our more unique 20 questions to date, we meet all seven members of the Vancouver alt-roots band The Nautical Miles: Rachel Tetrault (vocals), Tim Tweedale (slide guitar), Simon Rotheisler (bass), Allison Gorman (trumpet), Corbin Murdoch (guitar, vocals), Lucas Schuller (drums), Ellen Marple (trombone)

The Nautical Miles next perform on Centre Stage at City Hall (13450 – 104 Ave, Surrey) on November 5.

Meet The Nautical Miles

The Nautical Miles have been making music together for over ten years. Corbin Murdoch, the bands principal songwriter, recruited the other three original members while he was living in Toronto and pining for his West Coast home. Over the course of four albums, hundreds of kilometers and countless suboptimal jam spaces, the alt-roots ensemble has been experimenting with new sounds and compositional ideas. With the addition of a horn section and another vocalist, The Nautical Miles are stronger and more dynamic than ever. Ever busier with concurrent careers and an increasing number of Nautical babies, the band delights at every opportunity to perform. After more than a decade together, each show is a family reunion of sorts. Find out more at

20 Questions with The Nautical Miles

1. Your first job.

Rachel: I worked as a server at Swiss Chalet.
Tim: My first job was a paper route – delivering papers up and down West 35th Avenue.
Simon: Selling Whales Tails (deep fried bread dough) at Folk Fest and PNE.
Alison:  Paper route at age 8, with my brother. It was awful.
Corbin: I worked concession at The Ridge Theatre (RIP).
Lucas: Festival Distribution, CD distribution warehouse.
Ellen: Mowing a graveyard in the summers.

2. The job you always wanted as a child.

Rachel: I grew up playing hockey with two older brothers – I wanted to be the first woman in the NHL.
Tim: As a kid, my dream job was being an airline pilot or steward.
Simon: Star Ship Captain.
Alison:  Rapper.
Corbin: Television actor or fantasy novelist.
Lucas Schuller: Pro baseball player.
Ellen: I wanted to be a writer (but I called writers authors) or a tenor sax player.

3. Your pet peeve.

Rachel: When people blow their nose and then don’t wash their hands before sharing Ethiopian food with you.
Tim: Bad grammar, spelling or word usage.
Simon: Phone automation.
Alison:  Someone keeps leaving bags of dog poo in the alley behind my house.
Corbin: Selfishness.
Lucas: Poor use of turn signals.
Ellen: Stephen Harper.

4. Your hero.

Rachel: My grandmas.
Tim: Ricky Gervais.
Simon: John Steinbeck, the only writer to have won both the Nobel and Pulitzer prize. “Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.” –Steinbeck
Alison: Alan Matheson.
Corbin: Tim Tweedale.
Lucas: Steve Earle.
Ellen: Elizabeth Lemon

5. Your biggest indulgence.

Rachel: Double stuffed almond croissants.
Tim: Good cheese.
Simon: Chinese food.
Alison: Macdonalds. Cheeseburger, chicken burger, large fries. ketchup and mayo.
Corbin: Fine Dining. I’m a sucker for a good tasting menu.
Lucas: Craft beer.
Ellen: Ice cream. Any kind, any time.

6. One thing no one knows about you (and you’re willing to share).

Rachel: I can’t swim! But I love being in water and usually fake it in the shallow end.
Tim: No one knows that I have triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13).  But I do.  I don’t stop on pages of books that add up to 13 because it is unlucky.  I have to stop one page before or after.
Simon: I have a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated.
Alison:  I’ve seen every episode of Intervention.
Corbin: If I could do it all again, I’d be a dancer.
Lucas: There’s at least someone out there that knows everything about me.
Ellen:  I would totally have a tattoo except that I know I can’t because I can’t choose anything that I’m certain 75 yr-old Ellen will appreciate. As it is, 35-yr-old Ellen is already appreciative that teenage Ellen didn’t manage to tattoo a message onto her body.

7. Three things you would want with you on a deserted island.

Rachel: Guitar, a pillow, and sunglasses.
Tim: A large supply of morphine, a pen, and a large blank book.
Simon: Food, water, and shelter.
Alison: My wife, my dog, my… phone.
Corbin: Guitar. A well-stocked spice rack. My girlfriend.
Lucas:  Food, water and shelter.
Ellen: My sweetheart, an instrument (maybe something totally new to me, like a dobro, to keep me busy) and a set of beautiful pots and pans for cooking all the island plants and creatures.

8. The one word your best friend would use to describe you.

Rachel: Loyal
Tim: “Awesome”.  I’m not saying I’m awesome, I just think my best friend uses that word quite a bit.
Simon: Nice.
Alison: I’m stuck on this one. I’d like to think they’d say I’m generous. That’s the quality most important to me.
Corbin: Generous.
Lucas: Solid.
Ellen: Kind — at least on most days. If you hit the odd day you might get annoying as your answer.

9. If you were not a musician, what would you be doing right now?

Rachel: Well, I spent the last five months working on defeating Stephen Harper!
Tim: I would be a psychologist.  Possibly an animal psychologist.
Simon: Ha nobody gets paid to be a musician anymore. I work with kids.
Alison: …. no idea.
Corbin: I work as Managing Producer for Theatre Replacement. I love my work, so I would just keep doing that.
Lucas: My profession is arts and culture administration, however I probably wouldn’t have gone into that if I wasn’t a musician first, so maybe a community activist, lawyer or advocate of some sort.
Ellen: I actually don’t know. Since I decided I was going to be a trombonist at age 12, there’s been no looking back.

10. Hero or villain.

Rachel: Hero – there are enough villains in the world.
Tim:  Hero.
Simon: Chaotic good.
Alison: Hero.
Corbin: Seems like a false dichotomy. I’ve never been into comics or superheroes. Super powers are boring.
Lucas: Unsung hero.
Ellen: Hero!

11. Your life’s motto/mantra.

Rachel: “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” – Audre Lord
Tim: Relax; it’s probably fine.
Simon: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people” – E Roosevelt
Alison: Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.
Corbin:  “Live with intention”.
Lucas: (paraphrasing Dan Savage) Try to leave it in better shape than you found it.
Ellen: May hay while the sun shines?

12. Your favourite song.

Rachel: Right now – “River” by Leon Bridges
Tim: “Solsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel
Simon: “Going Down” by Freddy King (just went through a serious East Bound and Down phase).
Alison: I like ‘Each Coming Night’ by Iron and Wine. I don’t know about a favourite.
Corbin: Currently, “The Big Storm” by Lost Lagoon
Lucas: “Be a Man” by Justin Rutledge (and Michael Ondaatje).
Ellen: My most recent favourite song was Frazey Ford’s “Done”.

13. The last book you read.

Rachel: “Ru” by Kim Thuy
Tim: “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life And Times of Warren Zevon”
Simon: “100 years of Solitude” (not as lonely as it sounds).
Alison: “Blue is the Warmest Colour”. It’s a comic book, but check it out.
Corbin: “Social Acupuncture” by Darren O’Donnell. Highly Recommended.
Lucas: “The Orenda” by Joseph Boyden
Ellen: “Yes, please.”  – Amy Poehler

14. If you were a cartoon character what cartoon character would you be and why?

Rachel: Donkey from Shrek – so much adventure and hilarity
Tim:  I’d be the Road Runner, because he can run very fast, he’s clever but not pretentious and he fights crime in a lighthearted fashion.
Simon: Otto the bus driver. We both play guitar, work with kids, and our jacket smells like…
Alison: Daffy Duck. I have a hard time with my ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ sounds.
Corbin: Tintin. He gets to travel a lot with his friends. Solve Capers. Minus the racism, though.
Lucas: Simon should answer this question for everyone; that’ll be way more accurate and amusing than anything I could come up with.

15. What will it say on your grave marker?

Rachel: No grave marker for me!
Tim: I won’t have a grave marker – I intend to have my ashes scattered at sea or be buried underneath a tree.
Simon: “Please don’t have sex with my dead body”.
Alison: My name…
Corbin: Hopefully: “Corbin Murdoch: 1983-2084”. 101! I’d like to live a long time.
Lucas: Lucas Alex Rivers-Moore Schuller (then it won’t say anything else as my full name is so long it will take up the whole stone).
Ellen: I’d go with a simple name and dates.  See similar anxiety mentioned in question #6.

16. Who would you most like to have dinner with?

Rachel: Dr. Paul Farmer
Tim: Jesus Christ.
Simon: Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, even just Rachel Ray.
Alison: I like eating with my wife, the most.
Corbin: David Byrne.
Lucas: Author David Mitchell.
Ellen: My family and friends that I don’t get to see enough!.

17. Your idea of happiness.

Rachel: Being in the trees on top of a mountain with a delicious meal cooked outside
Tim: A sunny Autumn on Galiano with my partner Sarah and our 1-year-old baby Eliot.
Simon: Four-day weekends are pretty sweet
Alison: Netflix and wine, in the bath.
Corbin: Meaningful work. Restorative leisure.
Lucas: good friends, good food, good beer, good music, good conversation (all of which are central to this band).
Ellen: Time with loved ones, work you love and space to really take everything in.

18. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 20-year old self?

Rachel: You’re doing ok!
Tim: I’d tell my 20-year-old self to show up, pay attention, speak your truth and let go of outcome.
Simon:  The world does not revolve around you. All your problems are directly related to how you choose to react, and your own attitude has more sway over your outlook of the world than the world itself. Oh and your girlfriend is about to sleep with your best friend.
Alison: Never Smoke.
Corbin: “People like you. Take more risks.”
Lucas: good friends, good food, good beer, good music, good conversation (all of which are central to this band)
Ellen: When you look back at photos of yourself at this time, you WILL be able to tell that you are cutting your own hair.  Stop that.

19. The one thing in your life that makes you most proud.

Rachel: My integrity
Tim: My son Eliot.
Simon: My relationships with other people.
Alison: I get to play in a sweet band.
Corbin: Long lasting friendships.
Lucas: My daughter Hazel.
Ellen: The work I do with youth. Glad to be there for today’s students just like my fantastic teachers were for me.

20. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Rachel:  The clouds are as comfy as they look.
Tim: I’d like to hear God say, “I know what you’re thinking, but I can explain everything.  Come on in.”
Simon: We have pool tables.
Alison: Check out the Jacuzzi!
Corbin: “I forgive you your life of atheism. C’mon in, supper is almost ready”
Lucas: Nice work down there, make yourself at home.

Join the Discussion


Latest Articles