OMG OMG OMG – No Age.
Just to let you know, me talking to No Age is like the equivalent of Jack Jordan talking to Uma Thurman, only I’m not a psychopathic stalker, just a big fan. The band have been around for about 5 years, after Dean and Randy left their previous band ‘Wives’ to start up No Age, and since then have played at venues as diverse as Ethiopian restaurants and vegan grocery stores. They just started their UK tour in Glasgow, and I had a chat with Randy as the band were driving up to the first venue.
Hey, how’s it going?
Doing good yeah, just driving up to Glasgow.
Oh cool, did you fly in today?
No, we’ve been here for about a week now so the jet-lag has gone, but yeah we’re really looking forward to playing Glasgow, the city is awesome.
Cool, so what do you guys do when you’re driving around waiting for shows to start?
What do we do? I dunno – we listen to music, we talk. Dean was listening to Napalm Death earlier in fact. But other than that I guess we try to sleep, try to find some decent food, you know, stuff like that. We found a great record store in Bristol the other day actually and picked up some records and some books to read.
You must have played at venues around most of the world by now, where’s your favourite place to play and hang out do you think?
Oh it’s hard to say what the favourite is you know, it sort of just depends. I mean there’s been some great places to travel – I think Japan is kind of a far out place from my perspective – for a kid who grew up in L.A to travel around Japan is just crazy, it definitely feels like a totally different world. The crowds are cool too, I mean sometimes they go crazy, sometimes they’re a bit more reserved – but the shows are usually a lot earlier there.
Where do you think the worst place you’ve played is?
I don’t know man, usually if the show’s bad it’s because the audience aren’t feeling it or we’re not feeling it. It’s usually our fault if the show goes really bad to be honest, but I don’t think it has anything to do with where we’re at, it’s just us fucking up.
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What about London, any spots that you like here?
Oh I love playing London man, they’re always really great shows. Upset The Rhythm usually books our shows in London and they’re a great organisation. They’re usually all ages, which is cool; a really great package those shows, so yeah, we have a really good time playing London.
Is the ‘sick people are safe’ quote on your myspace something you heard while you were in England by any chance?
Oh I don’t know, I have no idea what that’s referencing – maybe Dean did that.
Talking of internet stuff, I like your blog, who puts up most the content, or is it a joint effort?
Oh yeah both of us, I usually put up the photos though.
Yeah, I noticed there are way more photos of Dean than you.
Exactly yeah, I’m usually behind the camera.
Let’s talk about the new album, where was it recorded and who produced it?
It was recorded in Los Angeles. Seven out of the 13 songs were recorded at this studio called Infrasonic studio with our friend Pete Lyman, and the other 6 were recorded at our practice space, where Dean and I practice and write while we’re in L.A.
You’re both from LA right?
Yeah we’re both from Los Angeles, we grew up in the outer suburbs.
How was it starting up there? You have The Smell there right? That sounds like an awesome venue for supporting new music.
Yeah, The Smell was a place where we first felt like we sort of fit in you know, going to see shows and stuff. It was somewhere where we could go play shows and it was a really welcoming and creative space that made us feel like we could play and we weren’t gonna get laughed out of the room, so yeah, it was just a personal sort of place that was fun to play at – we always had a great time.
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I know you’ve been with them for a while, but do you think being on Sub Pop allowed you more freedom with the new album than you would have had with another label?
I don’t know, we’ve only worked with a very small number of labels, but being on Sub Pop gives us a certain amount of freedom because they’re very understanding of our ideas and what we want to do, and they’ve never really told us to change a song or change anything drastically creative. They seem to have a lot of trust in us, and that’s a very valuable thing to have as a musician from your label. But you know, we’d never really want to have it any other way – you always hear those weird horror stories but maybe it was more in the 70s and 80s where the labels were telling bands what songs to record and stuff, but that’s never really happened to us.
How have you been feeling since the album was released? It’s been getting good reviews everywhere I’ve seen but it must still be nerve-wracking?
We tend not to look at it too much, I mean I care to a small degree because I just want to make sure what it is that’s been said if I have to defend myself or anything like that. It’s nice to know that it’s well received, but I try not to think about it too much – if someone says something bad it’s not too much fun, and its strange for people to have so much control over your emotions, it can drive you crazy – it can make you feel like you’re best thing in the world or the worst thing in the world – too much to think about.
Completely off topic, but are you going to be selling shirts at your London show?
Oh yeah we’ve got t-shirts, that’s for sure, we’ve got tons of t-shirts – you know the one with the rainbow font?
Yeah that’s the one. I’ve been trying to get hold of one for ages but the mediums are always sold out at Ooga Booga, you must have a load of medium sized fans!
Yeah exactly. Our friend Wendy runs Ooga Booga, but if she ran out of sizes it’s probably because we stopped making them for a while when we were recording, so it was our fault she didn’t have any!
On that topic, did you enjoy collaborating with Altamont on the t-shirt range? Because it seemed like they sold out straight away.
Yeah definitely, but those weren’t even really for sale, they were just like a free thing that went to the skateboard shops. But yeah, we’ve been good friends with Justin Regan for years (who started Altamont with Andrew Reynolds) and he asked if we could help him out and it was just an obvious thing to do, so yeah, it’s been great getting to know all those dudes too – Andrew Reynolds is an amazing skateboarder you know, so that’s inspiring.
Yeah, you did a tour with The Goat (band consisting of Andrew Reynolds, Spanky, Atiba Jefferson, Beagle & Shane Heyl) as well right?
Yeah we did a really small tour through the South West with them and it was a lot of fun; funny, weird shows. It would be like one day we’d play a show and the next we’d have the day off and all go skateboarding, so it was a cool tour; music and skateboarding!
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Talking of collaborations, how did you find remixing Bloc Party on their last album?
Oh I thought the Bloc Party one was a lot of fun. To be honest I didn’t know a lot about the band before we got asked but I though I’d take a crack at it and I had a lot of fun messing up the drums and stuff. But you know, we’re not really like a dance band – I don’t know how to do a proper club remix, and nobody told me what to do, so I was like ‘it might not sound like you want it to sound’ just to put that disclaimer out there, but no I had a lot of fun doing that.
Is there anyone else you would want to remix? Or anyone who you would want to remix one of your tracks?
I think we’d have to get someone kind of like us who wouldn’t want to make it a dance track. People have approached us about doing remixes and they’ve always kind of made it really dance orientated, and that’s not really something we’re in to at all, so we’d have to find an artist who would want to do their own interesting take on the song. We wouldn’t want it to be a disco track though, I can’t even imagine what that would sound like actually, probably pretty horrible.
Also, if you could put on your ideal show right now, who would it be and where would it be?
Oh man, ok let me give you the lineup; Christian Death, Paul McCartney, The Ramones and Captain Beefheart – all at a secluded island somewhere off the coast of California.
Are there any secluded islands off the coast of California?
I don’t know, I was thinking of Catalina, but yeah, we’d have to find a secret one that only we knew how to get there.
What are you guys doing once you come off tour?
Well right now we’re just gearing up for the tour so we haven’t really looked much further, but once we’ve done the European tour we’re going back to the states to play some shows, having a break over the holidays in December, and then we’re gonna go back out and do the rest of the United States, so we’re busy until about February. But after that I don’t know, we’ll see what comes up, I predict a load more shows.