Monday, 18 January 2010

Nodzzz Interview March 2009

Here's a rerun of an interview we did with Nodzzz mainman Anthony Atlas back in March 2009.

Fortunately for us, but somewhat unfortunately for him, Anthony had recently lost his job so he was able to satisfy our curiosity for Nodzzz in a truly thorough manner.

- watch out for more archive interviews cropping up from the likes of Christmas Island and Phenomenal Handclap Band..

Tally Ho: Before we delve too deep, I just watched the ad for the record with ‘Is She There’ playing on your blog and the acoustic video of ‘In the City (Contact High)’ from your MySpace…they’re really cool, were they made by one of the guys in the band?

Anthony Atlas: Yeah, they were made by me. I was recently unemployed. I have a lot of time right now to make stuff like that.

The ‘I Don’t Wanna (Smoke Marijuana)’ single got great press, how long was it after that came out that the good people at What’s Your Rupture approached you about recording the ‘Nodzzz’ LP?

AA: It was a couple of months afterwards. Kevin from What’s Your Rupture had heard it through some friends of ours in Seattle. They played it for him.

How long had you been playing together at that point? Anthony, you mentioned college, is that where you met the other members of the band?

AA: We’ve been a band since autumn 2006. I did meet Sean Paul at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, but I met Pete, the first drummer, much earlier, when we were about 10, in middle school. That was in New Jersey. The first time I met Eric Butterworth, our drummer now, was at a show my teenage hardcore band played at in Long Beach, California. We stayed at his house and jammed in his living room. The seeds of Nodzzz were planted in many parts of the country, almost a decade ago.

What did you study?

AA: I studied various fine art, and writing. First photography, and then more drawing and writing. It was not a coherent academic path, but I went to a school without majors and grades, so maybe that was to be expected.

You’ve played a lot of shows with bands such as Wavves, Blank Dogs, Vivian Girls, has the success they’ve enjoyed and the European response to their shows inspired you to get a European tour together?

AA: Yes. We’re inspired to go to Europe, but I don’t think those groups success over there will make it much easier for us. We have a very last minute, poorly organized vibe, which has, in history, made it difficult to properly invade foreign countries.

Do you feel a kinship with these bands?

AA: For me, the kinship is incidental, but positive and welcome. Like most exciting times in music cultures, one sees that a variety of people were creating similar things without knowing anyone else was in on it too. Everyone shares the same motivating factors and only though producing and performing the music do they finally meet and merge with other groups and musicians. Then there is the emergence you referred to.

From a fan’s point of view, and not to get too sentimental, it makes it that little bit more exciting, can you relate to that?

AA: Yes. It’s hard to decipher precise reasons why one does what one does, but doing weird rock and roll bands is made more fun through friends and community. A music scene is a far, far cry from anything utopian, but there are moments that seem positively alternative to other avenues of socializing.

How does San Francisco compare right now to the celebrated scene in LA and I guess, Brooklyn too?

AA: San Francisco is entirely less populated than those two other places, so we’ve more of a small-town dynamic here. Los Angeles and New York are cities where bands struggle to find places to practice for cheap, and have to contend in a saturated scene too. On some subway lines in New York, you’d be surprised if you weren’t standing near someone with a guitar case on their way to practice. San Francisco is still not the easiest place to do a band, but it’s more a dozen eggs, rather than the chicken coup in Los Angeles, and Brooklyn.

Are there any SF bands you can recommend or that you think are being criminally overlooked?

AA: They’re not overlooked here in San Francisco, but probably are in the UK: Brilliant Colors, Grass Widow, and the Hospitals. These are all fantastic bands, and they have an inspiring presence here. I just listened to a new song by Grass Widow a dozen times in a row.

The record really makes me want to see you guys live. Did the songs evolve from playing live, or was it a case of, ‘we have these songs, we gotta figure out how to get them across in front of an audience’?

AA: We had an entire album’s worth of music before we played any shows. The songs evolved more in a private setting, (i.e. alone in my bedroom), before they were completed by the three of us in practice. I don’t think of us as an essentially live experience, though I do want the songs to exist in an arena outside the record. We’ll tour, play parties, and feign stage moves with the best of them, but I have a feeling if we’re remembered for anything, it will NOT be for our live antics. Though I’ve heard me and Sean have a knack for stage banter.

As a band you seem more willing to expose yourselves than a lot of your contemporaries. No swathes of feedback or reverb, a more personal take on lyrics; they’re not lost in the mix, mumbled or yelped over feedback. Was the decision taken to make a clear, pop sounding record as a reaction against the overwhelming trend for shoe gaze inspired drone?

AA: I think we had our sound and songs for that record pretty much finished before it seemed like there was any dominant trend to be reactionary against. But polarizing towards one sound has not and will not be our intention. We work too atomically for that.

When can we next expect to hear from Nodzzz? What’s in the pipeline?

AA: Well we’ll soon have the True to Life b/w Good Times Crowd single out on What’s Your Rupture, followed by an album. I really want to play England, but I’m sceptical people will actually come to see us! Tell your friends about Nodzzz, and your friends’ friends too!


No comments:

Post a Comment