Hailing from the “concrete jungle that dreams are made of” duo No Wave are out there pursuing their own musical aspirations. Toying with a variety of instrumental backgrounds — everything from guitars, to drums, to piano, sax and synth — Brandon Neuburger and Jeremy Christian have been hard at work, blending sounds as they work up to the June 29 release of their new album. Here, the duet tells us about some of their favorite bands, re-working songs, and what they aspire to become.
Where are you from?
We’re both living in the concrete jungle that is New York City.
How long have you been an active musician and how did you get started?
Jeremy: I guess I started with piano at probably eight or nine years old (not of my own free will), and then alto saxophone starting in middle school. I didn’t really become active until I finally started playing guitar in eighth grade. Listening to Green Day’s American Idiot for the first time was the catalyst for me wanting to do anything with music- it blew my mind sky high! Since then, I’ve played in a couple cover bands (we all have to start somewhere) and done some recording and songwriting. It wasn’t really until after college that I started working with Brandon to make music in earnest. And since then my tastes have changed dramatically — in my top 10 artists, you’ll find both Coldplay and Nine Inch Nails. I’m weird.
Brandon: When I was eight my first drum teacher just threw a ton of CD’s at me saying “You know Black Sabbath? You’ll love them. How about The Ramones? Oh, take that one too. What about Nirvana?” Eventually I had a pile of 20 CD’s ranging from Zeppelin to Cyndi Lauper to listen to as my homework, and then never really looked back. That Nirvana Unplugged album really changed my life. After that, I started playing in punk/alternative/indie bands in high school, never really stopped throughout college playing in bands in New Jersey, Boston, and New York City.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
Probably as indie-pop, a blend of ‘80s synth deliciousness mixed with current alternative. Imagine St. Lucia mixed with The Cure and you’re there.
What was your latest release of music and can you talk about that a bit?
Our latest release is slated to come out June 29. It’s a pretty short EP consisting of three tracks (“Tonight,” “Messianic Acid Freaks,” and “Don’t Talk”), made for the world of Spotify singles, so we can keep churning out new music. Our friend once told us our music was good travel music, and every time we listen to the single from this new record, “Tonight,” we just imagine driving a convertible down the pacific coast highway. The lyrics on the record are mostly about anxiety, relationships, and trying to reconcile your sense of self with the world around you.
Stylistically, it’s also helped get us out of our shells of writing guitar based music that we’ve both been doing for years. Since most of it is a collection of synth pads and samples, we’re stepping into new grounds. It was extremely fun to write, and I think we’ll just keep experimenting.
What is your writing and recording process like?
B: Well, it starts out in one of a few ways. But usually what happens is I’ll start a small little 30 second project and Jeremy will either give the thumbs up or thumbs down, Gladiator style. Like the first song on this record, “Tonight” started as a small thing I wrote and then we both got together, molded, reshaped it so it becomes a complete work that we both can say we wrote. The second song “Messianic Acid Freaks” started as a full song Jeremy wrote a while back that we re-worked, took apart, and put back together like Frankenstein. “Don’t Talk” was a bit of a whirlwind because we had another complete song finished, but then decided to scrap because neither of us liked it. Took a few parts from that and BAM! We got “Dont Talk” in one writing session. The finishing touches took a little longer than that though…we’re recovering perfectionists…
What are current projects you are working on?
B: I’m always in the back room of my apartment writing something, but right now I’m working on a score for a short video. It’ll probably be re-worked and turned into some No Wave future jam.
J: We have some killer new ideas in the works. There’s a dance punk-esque song that I wrote in college that I really want to iron out, as well as a funky-ass jam we’ve only just started to work on. I think as we go along we figure out our ideal sound and all around just become better-attuned to music-making.
What is your favorite memory as a musician?
J: This is a simple one, but just being able to say that I released music. I’ve written tons of songs but I’m definitely more proud of these No Wave songs. We worked on these songs for months and months and months and it’s a blast just to think that people can listen to our stuff. It’s cool.
B: I’d have to agree with Jeremy on this. It’s such an amazing feeling to have something you wrote be released out into the world for people to hear. I’ve been the drummer for a few bands and it was great, but it seems like with every new project I’ve worked on I reach a new level that is so satisfying. So, just being in the studio working on No Wave music is my favorite memory.
What are your goals for the future as a musician?
B: It would be great to just be writing music as a living, and have that pay the bills, bills, bills. Whether it’s writing for No Wave or anybody. I kind of know how to play the vuvuzela, which may come in handy for a future session.
J: I would LOVE to be able to play shows to people that are excited to see us. I daydream about that sometimes. Also to be able to make being a musician a full time career. That’s the dream. I’d also like to give learning piano another try.
What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
We’re always working on something new together so we would be totally stoked to keep releasing music. We think we’re only getting better at it the more songs we record. These three new songs are the best we’ve worked on yet as a band, and it’ll only get better from here so stay tuned.
Where can readers find your music?
You can hear our music anywhere you can stream music [Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud, YouTube]. Feel free to give us a like at facebook.com/NoWaveMusic or follow on Instagram at instagram.com/no_wave_music to stay updated.