No Age Interview

"Making money wasn't really the goal..."
noage.jpg
Skating in a public park in London, No Age seem like two friends having a great time.

Randy Randall and Dean Spunt have come a long way from their Los Angeles rehearsal room, taking their music into new directions. Punching some keys on a sampler opened up a world of possibilities, which they began to explore on last year's 'Losing Feelings' EP.

A marked departure for the duo, No Age have followed this with their frankly stunning second album 'Everything In Between'. Retaining the visceral thrill of their debut, the duo seem to have a renewed thirst for experimentation.

Speaking to ClashMusic, the pair seem totally oblivious to the praise they have been receiving. Tossing the mobile phone between each other, No Age swap jokes and bitch about bands they hate - almost like our office, come to think of it...

- - -

When did sessions begin?
It began about this time last year. We sort of sat down and started writing before we recorded the last EP ‘Losing Feelings’. There were songs which we had written already that we felt didn’t really fit the EP. It didn’t really fit the style we were going for so we thought we’d hold onto it for the next record. It’s been now a little more than a year.

What drew you to electronic sounds on the EP?
I think it’s something we had been using from the beginning but over time we just became more attuned as to what the possibilities were for making sounds. In the beginning a lot of what we would do is create these interesting sounds and paste them onto the more straight forward rock songs we were doing. We would spend time arranging these tape loops and samples we made. I think especially since the last record – songs like ‘Glitter’ – were conceptualised and transposed using the sampler as a jumping off point.

Has that led to an increased knowledge in technology?
You know what I think we sort of move in two directions at once, going backwards and forwards. We’re not really technophiles, we just learn the tools we need to get the job done. At the same time we’ll go back to focus on older equipment, analogue equipment at the same time. We’ll mix it together, get like amplifiers from the 1940s and 50s alongside new samplers. We’re not plunging head first into the future, we’re just looking to make our lives a little easier.

Did you look to bands such as Mission Of Burma as an influence?
I think so. Quite a bit. It’s not a new idea to combine these two elements, there was one band in particular who inspired us from England called Disco Inferno. They were active in the late 80s and throughout the 90s. They really began using samplers and recorded sounds to turn them into something beautiful.

No Age - Everything In Between Trailer



- - -


Did you go back to LA to write the album?
Most if not everything was written at home, because it’s a difficult and precarious situation trying to write on the road. Just finding the time can be difficult, and we didn’t want to write a record which was a reflection of the road. Like, writing about life backstage or sleeping in hotels. We weren’t ready to write that kind of tour diary as a record. So we went back home and took a bit of time to get things ready again.

How do you construct songs such as ‘Dust’ which rely so heavily on electronics?
(Dean Spunt) That one - I made a demo before I sequenced it. What’s interesting about the song is that you have a drum part then the sampled part, those were written first. Then I came up with the beat afterwards, that’s what starts the song. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to start with but I think the way it came out was really beautiful. It’s just mainly this backwards drum loop then some samples. We collect samples a lot, like at every practice we make samples out of noise which we maybe use later.

Was ‘Losing Feelings’ an important stepping stone towards this?
Yeah definitely. We had two of the songs on this record written before the ‘Losing Feelings’ EP but when we started writing the EP we didn’t feel like making a record. We could have – it would have been the EP and a couple of new songs – but we felt that sometimes you need like a shorter message to get out. We need something small form to get that out and see how it works for us. Not how people reacted, but how it felt for us to go in that direction. Then that idea stuck and we began making songs which were really vibrant, 3-dimensional. Made the way we want to hear them.

Alongside this, the actual songs are much more complex. Is that something you really wanted to get across?
I feel like some parts of it have been a battle. We’re just getting better at playing our instruments and writing our songs, but I’m not sure if that’s intended or if it’s just natural from playing so much. I think that we’re learning – like I didn’t really know how to play when we first started and I still don’t really know what I’m doing. What’s happening is that sometimes I feel not knowing is better. So constantly experimenting with new stuff – samplers, keyboards and so on – really keeps that fresh.

You’ve got a new live member now.
Our friend Will is playing with us. He deals with all the samplers and stuff, sort of manipulates stuff live. Vocals and guitars, really. It really helps as it frees us up.

How does it work live? Is there a lot of improvisation?
Hopefully it sticks to what it is. There’s a lot of loops and stuff which we have to create, a lot of guitar textures. A lot of the sounds we use are already in the sampler. Kind of like ‘Losing Feelings’ was, that was all samples. A lot of the time you’ll hear guitar sounds, textures, which are actually samples rather than real guitars.

No Age - Glitter



- - -


You’re profile has hugely increased, how have you adjusted to that?
I don’t know.. well? Being really modest, it’s hard sometimes. You’ll get recognised sometimes in the street and think “is this supposed to be funny?” I’ve never thought about how to deal with that. It’s like, we’re just nice people. It’s just funny and it’s cool to be respected – I feel like that’s the big thing. Mainly people come up to us and say “you guys are making really great stuff” and that is like amazing to hear. Sometimes it’s a little difficult, because we’re just guys making something. But at the end of the day it’s great that people care.

Are you able to go back to the DIY tour circuit?
That’s the thing. I was thinking about this the other day, I mean just because you come from DIY and punk why do you have to leave it? I don’t understand that concept. For instance we’re playing Field Day and then we’re playing this secret show at an all ages venue, but for a band like Green Day – why would you only want to play these huge concerts? As if that’s where you came from. I guess I understand it from a money point of view. They can’t do that but for us there’s no one telling us we can’t do it. We don’t have a manager so we can go and do a free show. We just do things based on how we feel and I can’t imagine me ever not wanting to play a free show, or make cool stuff, just because we’re popular. I was thinking about this the other day, I was like: “why don’t bands do that?” So now we’re big so we’ll only play stadiums. Then they play this one show in a fucking club somewhere. I don’t want to sound like a dick but we’re not like other bands.

(Dean Spunt) Making money wasn’t really the goal. When I look back at it there’s a lot of better ways to make money than making noisy punk songs. I think at some point when money comes up people forget that, but we always remember working minimum wage, 9-5 jobs for years and I didn’t spend all that time working so I could go on tour just to throw that away and make a bunch of cash. I’m sure I could have got that in a lot of other ways. Money was never the goal in the beginning so why change that now?

'Everything In Between' is out now.

Have your say

Sign in or Register to leave comments
-