Features No Age: ‘We Got A Bit Of Art On Your Shoulder’

Forceful changes and Elijah Wood’s kaleidoloop helped form No Age’s ‘An Object’.

Everyone talks about difficult second albums, but for noise duo No Age, it’s their fourth that was a little trickier. Comfortably settling into a sound that was inherently their own on 2010’s ‘Everything In Between’, the following three years have been full of touring, art and challenging themselves to explore uncharted territories. Whilst in some aspects they’ve pushed further towards pop on their new album ‘An Object’, they’ve incorporated the genre with some technical elements of noise which makes for an interesting balance.

This time, they also physically manufactured the records themselves. All 10,000 of them. “It was more of a challenge than a difficulty,” explains guitarist Randy Randall, talking from a much deserved holiday in France. “It would feel difficult if we didn’t want to do it.” Instead, it made him appreciate the sheer number of records that they had to produce. “Something out of nothing becoming a form and getting a sense of what this record is and what it’s become - to see that grow into 10,000 pieces of things, to see it multiplied over the space really struck me with awe, just the number of records.” The idea of manufacturing the album was something that fellow band member Dean Spunt had thought of before music or lyrics even came into the equation. “He came up with this idea that the album was going to be about construction – from a conceptual and theoretical end on his part, so I think that was his jumping off point.” So how did they come up with the concept around the name, ‘An Object’? “It’s hard to distil a body of songs, to give it one name that means anything. You almost could call it ‘Pizza’ and it would mean just as much.

“Simply, it’s just a thing; the meaning is within the eye of the beholder.” Having always viewed art with this kind of eye, Randy feels it should have more significance than any meaning an artist may have attached to it. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what the artist’s intentions are. Over years, time and space – the only thing that stands is the work itself and really the meaning is created when a viewer or listener interacts with it. Intentions disappear quickly.”

‘An Object’ was not the follow-up to ‘Everything In Between’ that they started off with. In the first half of 2012, they started work on a different beast. “We came up with a body of songs that sounded similar to what we had done in the past, so we spent six months writing songs and playing shows with these new songs, recorded them and then scrapped them.” Something didn’t quite click for the duo, which prompted them to start anew. “It felt like a different album, a change in direction, was needed. It felt like we had to go somewhere else to arrive – our little plot of land that we stood on wasn’t holding us any more.” Whilst they had to get to a different place musically, location-wise they actually went back to their roots - a rehearsal and recording space in a friend’s converted warehouse in LA. Having recorded some of the tracks for 2007 compilation ‘Weirdo Rippers’ there, Randy comments that it was “like going back to where we started from.” Being in a friend’s space rather than a third-party studio made the whole process a lot more casual. “It didn’t cost a lot of money so it helped us to feel comfortable trying out different stuff, we’d usually work for 14 hours at a time. It made sense for us to work on our own rather than pay for a studio space whilst we were experimenting.”

“It’s almost as if the album begins to eat itself,” Randy explains, “and creates this feedback element. It’s strange using the album as its own source material, sampling ourselves.” The buying of a kaleidoloop was prompted by a visit to LA record store Mount Analog where Randy bumped into Elijah Wood. “I was looking for records and then he came into the record shop at the same time and I was talking to him and we were both playing with these funny little boxes. So there’s some Elijah Wood influence by accident – I think he talked me into getting the kaleidoloop.”

In between touring and making ‘An Object’, No Age haven’t just been “lazing in the house in our underwear,” as Randy suggests some people might think. They took on various projects including one involving a loop of their acoustic sounds being played at a show for French fashion designer Hedi Slimane, and some projects with New York artist Doug Aitken, one in which they performed on a barge in Greece for four nights whilst Chloe Sevigny acted out scenarios that Aitken had written. Indeed, art is something they always have in mind when it comes to their music. “Without anybody looking, we somehow slipped some art in there,” Randy laughs, “between the headbanging and the crowdsurfing and the moshing. Sorry, we got a bit of art on your shoulder.”

No Age’s new album ‘’An Object’’ will be released on 19th August via Sub Pop.

Read the full interview in the new edition of DIY Weekly, available from iTunes now.

Tags: No Age, Features

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