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No Age’s New York Take Over

Dean Spunt and Randy Randall jump-started No Age in 2007 with five EPs on five labels. These fed Weirdo Rippers, their first full-length release. At just over 30 minutes, in many respects the album may well have been just another EP, but critical acclaim suggested it was something more. It played as a succinct introduction, a primer to the LA drums-and-guitar duo who these days, we can’t get stop hearing about.

Since then, they’ve been busy; they’ve released the highly lauded Nouns, toured seemingly constantly with everyone from Fucked Up to Dan Deacon to Los Campesinos!, caused a stir on Craig Ferguson with an Obama tee, designed a clothing line/produced a video for Altamont, released another solid EP, Losing Feeling, last week, and as of yesterday, added “shoe designers” to their resume. All the while, they find time to be diligent (and adorable) bloggers.

It strikes us that they must need a lot of energy to keep this daunting pace — surely, they must be guzzling gallons Red Bull before each show. That, however, doesn’t seem to be the case. Their tour rider consists of hummus and veggies — and kombucha. When they’re in New York, they have a few favorite places of their own. No night in Brooklyn is complete without a stop at Oasis, the late-night Middle Eastern restaurant in Williamsburg, and in Manhattan, it’s Punjabi on E. 1st for Indian or Berket for falafel across the street.

Tomorrow the boys will be back in the city, and they’ve got four very disparate shows on the bill. No Age will be sandwiching their trip with two straight up rock shows, one Wednesday night at Le Poisson Rouge, and another Saturday, Above The Autoparts Store in Bushwick for a similiarly DIY and all-age friendly Todd P. Between those two shows, they’ll be playing at the New Museum and then the MoMA.

Quick to volunteer his seemingly endless energies, Randall found a few minutes to talk to us.

Flavorpill: You guys play a lot of interesting venues — getting started at the Smell, and you’ll play in grocery stores. Do you have a weirdest place you’ve ever played, or a favorite place you’ve ever played?

Randy Randall: I think the right venue is always the one that can facilitate people being there. It’s fun and comfortable, but also pushes the audience in and us to be out of our comfort zone just a little bit. It’s like you’ve got the keys to a building that you’re not supposed to be in. “Oh wait, how did we get in here? How’d we do this again? Are we supposed to be here?” I kind of like that feeling of it.

The one that stands out for me was when we played on a bridge at 4 a.m. in Austin, Texas. It was a foot bridge, and it was the middle of the night, and everybody just kind of showed up on foot and on bikes. We had this huge, impromptu outdoor party. There was a generator. Fucked Up also played, and it had this instant party kind of feeling. At one point there were so many people on the bridge that we were all just kind of looking around like, “Oh shit, is this thing going to collapse?” It was so much fun, but also kind of cacophonous and just scary enough to make you feel like, “Oh boy, I hope we don’t all die.”

FP: Two weeks from now, you guys are also playing at the MoMA, as part of the Spike Jonze retrospective. That’s kind of the other end of the spectrum from a bridge. How did that come about?

RR: That’s being put together by our good friend Pat O’Dell, who does this great website and has a show about skate boarding called Epically Later. Pat and I were hanging out, and he said they wanted to do something fun and they were going to look for a band, so I was like, I’ll put my hand up for that! We were going to be in New York anyways, so it was perfect. And it sounds like such a fun project, they are going to be showing skate videos that night, and it’s supposed to be sort of Spike Jonzes’ skateboard output.

FP: This isn’t your first spin-off into the film world. You’ll be performing your soundtrack to The Bear at the New Museum on Friday night. How did you get involved with that?

RR: It’s a collaboration with the CineFamily in LA. When they were first opening up, I started talking with them and they wanted to do a live score to a film. We were just kind of rapping off different ideas. I wanted something that was a film that you could still kind of watch but didn’t have a lot of dialogue. And I was like, kid’s films would be great for that; with voiceovers, you can take that stuff out, and it’d still be kind of fun.

We originally came up with the idea for Milo and Otis. From what I remembered, Milo and Otis was kind of pre-CGI. It’s not like Babe, where all these cats and dogs look like they are talking, you know what I mean? They still look like cats and dogs. We started working on music, and I decided to do a little research on the film. We discovered all these horrible accusations online about the making of that film. Supposedly, they went through like 40 cats or something.

I don’t want to spread rumors, but this is all stuff I read online at more than one source. It wasn’t monitored by the American Human Society. It was shot in Japan, on this island by this zoologist/director, or animal trainer/director. He had this island out in Japan where he filmed the whole thing, but there was no real government or animal rights oversight. There is no way of knowing what happened, but there were just so many accusations about what was going on there.

I was just like, “Oh shit, I can’t get into this.” We had already booked a show for it, and we were supposed to play at the Toronto International Film Festival. I called them up and told them we had to change the film. My second choice was always The Bear. I remember as a kid, I really liked it. It was just a way radder movie. I was just like, “Oh my god, why was I farting around with Milo and Otis when this other stuff was so much better?” It worked out for the best.

FP: Do you guys have any movies that you’re looking to score in the future? Will you be releasing this as an album, do you think?

RR: I don’t know, we’ve been recording it at live shows; it’s 94 minutes of music, so it’s a lot to get through. At some point it might be nice to sort of cull something together, maybe a double LP or something. I think that it would be a lot of fun. We are working on another record. I feel like this was sort of a one-off, but maybe down the line we’ll try to work with a director who we can make music for.

FP: What is it like playing in front of a movie, as opposed to just being on stage?

RR: It’s really fun for us. It’s kind of like we are using a different part of our creative brains. We are sitting down and it’s sort of dark and we can kind of just work ideas. It’s more like the experimental process we do when we are writing, but we get to do it live. Everyone’s sitting down and they are engaged in a narrative story. It’s not like we are the only ones on the stage. Getting to sit down and play these atmospheric breaks is a different thing than our rock and roll band being on stage playing at a million miles an hour and giving it a 110 percent energy kind of thing. It’s nice.

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