Posted: July 15th, 2009
"Only having two mouths to feed is definitely an economic bonus."
Interview by Rob Barber | Photos by Farley
Los Angeles’ all-ages, DIY, underground music and art scene is basically the best in the country right now. The unofficial shepherds of this flock of young and highly motivated kids are Randy Randall and Dean Spunt of the duo No Age, previously of the Wives. Sounding somewhere between an updated cross between Flipper and Hawkwind, No Age has become possibly one of the most prolific and adventurous bands in just a little over a year of existence.
What was the idea behind putting out five EPs at once? Was it that five different people asked and you split up your output, or is it part of a deeper plan?
Dean Spunt: We wanted five things to hold and create. It seemed like a better idea to have multiple things in smaller doses rather than one record that maybe could have ended up feeling too long. We usually only play for 20 to 30 minutes, so having something longer than that in one sitting wouldn’t make much sense.
Between the Wives ending and No Age starting up, which wasn’t really that much time, there was a huge musical and creative growth. What do you think brought that change about?
Dean: No Age started with the idea that there were no limits on sound or art or anything. These things were inside our brains the whole time, but Wives was a much different machine—the objective was different and our ideas got lost in the specifics of that band. Actually, at the end of Wives a very significant thing happened, Randy and I finally understood each other musically: I fell in love with My Bloody Valentine, and Randy fell in love with Black Flag. I guess it sounds kind of silly, but with a third person there was never a need to understand each other like that.
After going from three people down to two, and losing the bass, somehow you sound more huge and out there. What did you add to the mix?
Randy Randall: We had to be more aware of the sonic spectrum. We each use samplers to store information that’s unleashed in small doses, and just generally try to be aware of what we sound like.
Do you get a lot more done as only two people? I would think being roommates probably helps, too. Does it help economically as well?
Dean: Only having two mouths to feed is definitely an economic bonus.
Randy: Our schedules are so different that we only see each other if we’re playing music.
There are more and more one- and two-person bands these days. Why do you think this is? Randy: I have no idea. Everyone is probably just now discovering the awesomeness that was the Bushwackers—remember from WWF?—and are striving to be like a more badass tag team duo with bald heads and camo cargo pants and missing teeth.
The first thing you guys released was a DVD emphasizing an art slant as opposed to live stuff. Who did the videos? Do you ever plan to use video live?
Randy: Dean and I made those videos with Alissa, my partner in Stacks and Layers, our film production company. They were just a way to provide visual images to songs we were playing at the time. It has never been our intention to use videos behind us live. I feel like it’s a cool musical experience, and while Dean and I aren’t much to look at, I feel like adding videos to the live thing would just be a fucking trainwreck of over-stimulation.
What I like about LA, No Age, and other bands from CA is that they’re all so different. What’s the common thread that makes a band like No Age friends with somebody like BARR, for example?
Dean: We come from the same place in our bodies; the output is different and the sound technically is worlds apart, but aesthetically we are both coming from similar paths and have similar goals. The DIY community is a huge one, and it existed long before any of us did, but I feel like in a way people like BARR, or the Smell, or Mika Miko or Todd P are all part of it but at the same time changing it and creating a new little portion of radical culture.
Who was the raddest person to skate the No Age ramp?
Randy: We’ve been trying to get Spanky to come down, but he just had knee surgery. Bailey was going to come sesh but he busted his leg up a while ago. So now the most ripping dudes have been our bros who helped us build it, Chuck and Sam. Gnar dogs, for sure!
Download No Age albums and songs from the iTunes store here or check their myspace for upcoming shows.