Blending together pop melodies, industrial-infused beats, and a groovy danceable vibe, it’s hard not to bop your head Night-at-the-Roxbury-Style when listening to Milwaukee’s NO/NO. The quartet formed in 2014, and has made a big splash on the scene, melding together aspects of New Wave, shoegaze, and dream pop to create a unique sound of their own. This past May, NO/NO dropped their first full-length release, Sound and Light, a record that screams summer. On their website, the band even describes Sound and Light as an album, “destined to be summer’s go-to record for late night runs, Friday night after parties, and smooth, lazy Sunday afternoons.” NO/NO’s infectious sound pretty much would fit all of the aforementioned occasions, and will no doubt be a crowd pleaser on the Pedal Power Stage at Rock the Green. We had a chance recently to connect with guitarist Harrison Colby and drummer Jeremy Ault to learn more about the band and their thoughts about the sustainability focus of Rock the Green. The mission of Rock the Green is one that holds a dear place in their hearts. Rock the Green: How would you describe your sound?
NO/NO: Our music is sort of a blend of New Wave, Punk and Electronic.
Rock the Green: What have been some of your favorite concert memories playing in and around Milwaukee?
NO/NO: We’ve enjoyed playing Milwaukee’s festivals. Locust Street, Summer Soulstice, etc. Every year that we’ve played those, the sound and the crowds are incredible. So we are definitely looking forward to playing Rock The Green for the first time.
Rock the Green: Are there other artists on the Rock The Green line-up you're especially excited to see or collaborate with?
NO/NO: We are always excited to see and play with Foreign Goods and New Age Narcissism. Not only because they’re buddies of ours but because they are so great in festival settings. They both have big presences/personas and seem even bigger outdoors on a large stage.
Rock the Green: As you know, the focus of Rock the Green is sustainability. Why is sustainability important to you as an artist?
NO/NO: Living a sustainable, ecologically-focused lifestyle isn't just important for artists, but for everyone. For thousands of years, humans have been inspired to create art through the beauty of the physical world around them. The preservation and conservation of that world is of utmost importance not only for the health and well-being of the biosphere, but for the physical, spiritual, and emotional health of all the creatures that inhabit our exquisite planet.
Rock the Green: Are there any particular things that you do when you are touring to “rock the green?” If so, could you please share some.
NO/NO: I have often read about musicians who have chosen to tour on bicycles, on public transportation, or in some extreme cases, refused to tour altogether due to the negative ecological impact of doing so. Loading up gear and crisscrossing the country in a gas-guzzling tour van is not exactly the ideal image of sustainability. However, for us, we do our best to minimize the effects of our touring lifestyle: 1) We cram all of our members and equipment into one vehicle, thus minimizing the amount of gas and oil we use on a trip! 2) We often pack our own lunches, shopping at local/organic grocers when we can. And 3) we stay with friends, family, and strangers while on tour. And, of course, we always recycle and NEVER toss litter out the window. We acknowledge that these are small concessions to living a more nature-friendly existence while on the road, but thousands of small, intentional actions can create substantial positive change.
Rock the Green: It is very apparent that ecology and sustainability are two topics that are very dear to you as a person and as a band. Do you have any advice to concert attendees or folks reading this blog about simple ways people can be more mindful about sustainability?
NO/NO: Absolutely! I would encourage people to evaluate their daily schedules and see where they can make some small changes to promote earth-care. People can easily choose to minimize their use of a car. I ride my bike to work every day and if the weather is nasty, I jump on public transportation. Composting food waste and recycling are two additional ways a household can lessen their ecological footprint--in fact, you don't even need to compost at home, there are services that will come and pick your compost up for you! While shopping, use cloth bags. Join a CSA in the spring and summer! Cook at home with raw ingredients. For your yard, plant native perennial grasses and flowers, and connect a rain barrel to your downspout. Minimize the use of technology in your household--on the weekend, take a bike ride or go on a hike. Living ecologically is not only good for your health, but often saves money!
Living sustainably is good for the soul… so is the music of NO/NO. Be sure to catch what could be a show-stealing set on the Pedal Power Stage at 2pm.