In music, childhood friends Greg Paulus and Nick De Bruyn have had, both in their life experience and musical upbringing, a colourful past. DeBruyn for example can cite no less than one of the decade's great surprises Beirut as dependent on his drumming capabilities when they tour. Their Doesn't Matter EP showcased their sepia-to-synaesthetes nostalgic twist on the current disco-house sound and is the most refined expression of their combined creative wealth under the banner No Regular Play. Greg tells me what's coming next.
Would you agree that there's an intent to project an aesthetic of nostalgia in your tracks?
It's not so much an intention but a natural feeling that ends up coming across in our music. Sometimes too much, so we try and balance it out with other feelings like sleaziness and disregard. The general aesthetic we were initially trying to convey was a very sexual pop style, with a an exaggerated attitude and brashness, but I think we got uncomfortable being one dimensional so it quickly expanded beyond just one aesthetic.
With your eclectic musical backgrounds, what do you think has most informed your individual and collective musical styles and creative process?
It's impossible to name one source, it's more like everything that we've learned from all these genres has created one approach where the various backgrounds have influenced very specific parts in what we do now. I think the jazz sensibility for melody, mainly coming from old standards in the American songbook have helped us keep a very song oriented structure and melodic sense. Our love of hip hop has really helped the way we build our drums on every track, the attitude as well. And our Afro-Cuban sensibilities really help keep our rhythm diverse.
Do you see yourself doing any more band-focused work together or separately? Or are you already involved in side projects we should know about?
As far as band projects go, I have started playing with Matthew Dear's band and as No Regular Play we plan on expanding the live show to include a drummer and possibly another person on synth/bass. We had an amazing teacher in high school who was from Cuba and he obtained a visa to bring a group of students down to Cuba as part of a cultural exchange...
It says in a bio that when you aren't playing you bar tend at some of the Wolf + Lamb parties- is that true?
It's true! The staff at the Wolf + Lamb parties are all family so we all help out in whatever way we can to make the parties successful.
How did you find Havana? What important musical lessons did you learn?
We had an amazing teacher in high school who was from Cuba and he obtained a visa to bring a group of students down to Cuba as part of a cultural exchange. The island is so drenched in music that it turned into a study of rhythm and folk music. We had never before understood how complex rhythm could be, as it's a completely different language and style in Cuba. It also helped us to understand folk music more, why it's so important and beautiful.
Did you get the traditional Cuban "hospitality"?
We may have bought a fake cigar once or something, before we found the factories!
Being a part of the Wolf + Lamb crowd from 2008, you surely saw the label really hit its stride. How do you think this scene has affected contemporary music in its wider context?
It's been amazing to watch first-hand a label come into its own and increase exponentially in quality and success. The sound has affected more than just the house scene... the New York/ Brooklyn party scene and acceptance of electronic music in American society. Maybe some people say that the label has influenced the house scene to play slower, more musical or experimental, but that's a trend that was already happening as a natural response to the music that preceded it. Things like this go in waves with any genre.
Do you have anything else in the pipelines?
We have an EP out on the No.19 label out of Toronto that we're really excited about. We're also putting out an EP with our good friend Connor Whiriskey on his new label Cut & Mistake, and have upcoming work with Hallucination Ltd. and Supplement Facts. There is also a record coming out on Double Standard of remixes of Greg's DS EP that came out earlier this year.
Could you explain to me the concept behind the Minnesota Orchestra collaboration.
The concept is to take the concept of small group improvisation with real instruments and electronics, and combine it with a massive large ensemble which is used to playing exclusively written music. It's coming along great but there's still a lot of work to be done.
Finally, where did the name No Regular Play come from?
Well, it's kind of dirty... maybe ask us in person!
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