Not to mention the solid visual identity that No Age have. In fact the first time I seriously listened to their music was when Colin Greenwood from Radiohead wore a No Age shirt at a Radiohead gig. The shirt was awesome and the No Age’s music was even better.
Lucky for us Pitchfork sat down and discussed what design, DIY, and Punk means to them in 2010.
Pitchfork: You signed to Sub Pop a few years back. Coming from a DIY background, did you have any hesitation moving to a major indie?
Randy Randall: It just seemed like the option of doing it ourselves had always been there. Dean runs a record label [Post Present Medium]; we could put out our own stuff any day. It wasn’t like we were losing any opportunities– only gaining more. The sense of, “Oh, the door’s closed behind us now. There’s no going back!”– we never really looked at it that way. We just thought, this is a bigger platform to stand on.
We didn’t have second thoughts about signing to a bigger label, it was just a big, weird decision to make. It’s like graduating from high school. You kind of look back and think, “Is this it? I’m still just me; I just don’t have to go to school.” Just because you turn a certain age or do something else, it doesn’t mean your life changes.
Pitchfork: You guys seem to have a solid design aesthetic– a logo and good sleeves that each fit together. What goes into the album artwork?
RR: We collaborate with our good friend and amazing graphic designer/artist Brian Roettinger.
DS: We’ve done most of the stuff with him. Not the first EPs, not the FatCat CD, but Nouns, Losing Feeling EP, and then this record. Early on we talked about having a strong visual presence. We were in a band [Wives] before, and it always bugged me that there was no lineage with the visuals. It was just whatever we wanted to do, which can be cool, but when this thing started, we wanted to have a kind of iconic logo. Like the Ramones or Misfits– something where all the artwork is similar and feels distinctive.
Pitchfork: Now that you’ve become more of a well-known band, is it at all harder to maintain that punk ethos?
DS: No, I think the main thing that’s different is that people think that you’re going to be different or that it’s going to be hard for you to do that. I feel like we’re still doing it just how we do it. I mean, we change as artists and musicians and people, but not the way we carry out our business.
RR: There’s just a lot more red tape and paperwork and stuff.
RR: Yeah, and with the whole punk-ethos thing, there’s sometimes this idea that anything that’s successful is no longer punk, or anything that sounds good is no longer punk, and I think that was never really the intention. People think of punk or DIY as like, “Oh, it’s shitty, that’s DIY! It sounds like shit.” (More here)
Take Control of Your Music