No Age :: The AD Interview

L.A. sons, No Age, return to their EP roots today with the release of the highly anticipated  Losing Feeling EP. A week before the release, AD spoke via phone with Randy Randall, the duos co-founder and guitarist, about his love of VHS, photography, film-scoring, bandannas, Joshua Tree and a mutual affinity for unlikely soundtracks.

AD: In the Spring you said that the songs on the EP were a "little bit more left field" - do you feel that's how they ended up?

RR: In writing, we just try to have fun with it, do what we want to do. Ultimately, for me, it sounds like the same songs that we always play. I don’t think it’s out of character for us. It sounds like us, if we have a sound. In the writing process we’re just trying to have fun writing it. I think that comment was more… we were just like, “let’s try to work on songs like this.” We had just barely enough time between tours to pull it all together.

AD: Can you talk a bit more about what the actual writing process for this EP was like?

RR: Dean (Spunt, drummer of No Age) and I sit down in lab coats and then start using big scientific calculators, plugging in numbers, equations with 80’s hardcore and shoe-gaze music and find the right ratio that expresses our deepest, darkest inner, secret emotions that never see the light of day but are disguised by thinly veiled homoerotic fiction.

AD: (laughs) So you also have a machine for interview answers?
(laughs) Yeah!

AD: Why an EP now?

RR: (laughs) Well, you know, it’s October, and it’s one of my favorite months in the year. Halloween coming up. It didn’t seem like Halloween would be the same without an EP (laughs) I don’t know how kids would go trick-or-treating without Losing Feeling on their iPod.

AD: It would seem like the days of a band touring behind a record are over. Many bands, like yours, are on the road all the time. Do you feel you satisfy your desire to experiment or try to new music in a live setting, or, with the success you’ve had, do you feel a pressure to perform songs the way they are on the record?

RR: (laughs) This is a serious question, I was trying to be silly! I don’t know — I think Dean and I are on different sides of the fence with this. I like to really try to destroy songs live, I don’t really care what they… I don’t often go back and listen to the record. We played with Bob Mould recently for ATP, he played on some of our songs and was like, “Oh, I think the chord is this.” And I was like, “No, I’ve been playing it like this for the last two years!” I’m not even playing the song how I recorded it, somehow through touring I came up with an easier way to play it or something.

It’s funny hearing, “Oh, the record is so slow” and “you’re playing it out of time” — I think most bands probably go through that thing. I like to have fun playing live, and we play things way faster. I’m sure there’s people out there who like the slower songs on the record but see us live, going crazy playing at a million miles per hour and those people go “What the fuck did I just see? I thought this band was mellow.” We’re having too much fun to slow down. I’m sure at some point we’ll kind of work our way to a more relaxed live environment, but for right now it’s sort of where it comes from and it’s more fun to play.

AD: Do you think about the transition between playing for a few hundred people at local venues and 15,000 people at a festival? Are you in a different mental place?

RR: I think it’s more like when there’s a lot of people out there, you have to run out like “Alright! I’m doing this for the collective you.” Like, make up a big person, “I’m playing to this one big person right now.” And sometimes, at a smaller thing, you get to joke around and laugh at people in the front of the stage who are flopping around. Or someone says something to you and you’re like, “Wait!” It’s funny how you can play around with them.

It’s fun to get to do both, it’s just fun that people want to come see us. Fuck, we’re fortunate enough that anybody wants to see it. “They’re still standing there, they haven’t left yet!” I appreciate that they are there at all.

AD: Do you feel that live, or with the records and EP’s, your music is mischaracterized? A lot of people call it improvisational — but in previous interviews you’ve spoken about how your music is much more structured. Do the mischaracterizations frustrate you at all?

RR: No, I don’t really think about it. We might suck and people will write about it or think about it and say we suck. I’ll think, “fair enough.” I think we write songs we wanna hear and play songs the way we’d want to hear them. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I never assumed it would be. If people like it, that’s cool. I like it. I try to write… we’re just editors, we pay a lot of really dumb stuff in practice that’ll never see the light of day — but it’s just us goofing around and then put the editor hat on, “Hey! Did you listen to this? Is this something I did?” You know, hold on a second, this might be fun for the band to play - just musicians noodling on some part. But, if I were in the audience what would I want to hear? Cause Dean and I are both big music fans also… can I hear this and not be offended by it? Is this not the dumbest music I’ve ever heard?

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