Currently celebrating the release of their new album, ...Forget Me Not, California's No Better are planning on ending 2016 on a high note, with west tour dates throughout November and plans to hit the road even more extensively throughout 2017. Read what the band had to say about the California music scene, the new album and much more below!
To start off this interview I generally like to ask one of my favorite things to get to know about a band - how did No Better form and how did you all meet?
When I was around eleven years old, Manuel was in high school and booking DIY shows in the back of a church. By the time I was 12, I was extremely interested in booking shows, and Manny let me start helping out. Eventually I started booking shows there full time, so Manny got to see me grow up as a person and a musician and has always been like a big brother to me. When I was a freshman in high school, my shitty punk band played a presale show with Anthony and Danny's band "Welcome to Limerick." Right before we played, I ran outside to grab an instrument and was like, "Well, maybe I should talk to this band..." So I did. And we immediately hit it off because we liked the same bands and that's all it takes when you're fourteen. After that show, I invited them to play the venue that Manny and I were running. They were all way past me as musicians at this point, but by my senior year of high school I was a much better player and we all clicked super well musically. It never gets past me how easily I could have not talked to them at the presale show and how lucky I am to have met them and that they've turned into best friends of mine.
I have heard that southern California has an awesome music scene. How has your local music scene developed/impacted No Better?
Absolutely. There are a lot of people and collectives working tremendously hard in order to maintain DIY spaces across so cal. Having ran a space ourselves, we understand how much work goes into booking shows and how and why it's done, so we have a tremendous amount of respect for every space and every collective around.
With the release of …Forget Me Not, I was interested to know if Ronald Records let you guys record however you had liked. I couldn’t really dig up any information about who had recorded the record - was this a DIY release?
We just recently posted the credits, but we actually paid to record ourselves. Ronald Records only pressed the music, so there was no type of contractual agreement and they didn't pay for the recordings. But we definitely spent a large sum of money ourselves ensuring that the production of the record did the songs justice. We recorded this with engineer and producer Robert Cheek who recently helped engineer the latest Band of Horses LP. He did tremendous job and we're hoping we can record with hm again early next year.
Along with the release of …Forget Me Not, you recently embarked on a west coast tour. Can we expect any other tour dates in the future further east?
Absolutely! In November we're doing a more extended west coast run, but we're in the process of working out the details for a string of East Coast shows early next year.
Between Think You’re Sure and …Forget Me Not was there much of a change in the way you approached songwriting? What was different this time around?
I think the songs on ...Forget Me Not were written much more carefully and collectively, and much of that is credited to Robert Cheek and the recording process that he put us through. Instead of just recording what we came in with, the songs changed and developed in the studio. It was hard for me at times to alter ideas that I was so attached to, but we trusted Robert with the record and I'm glad we did. We were all pushed a little harder than we've ever been as musicians and I think that will help us moving forward as we continue writing and later recording LP1.
I also think that the artwork for …Forget Me Not fits the album perfectly. Was this something decided on before or after the writing and recording of the songs?
Hey thanks! Figuring out artwork can be really stressful, because we always have ideas in our heads, but at the end of the day you just need to trust the artist to understand what is that you want. The current cover art was the original idea. We had the artist try a couple of different ideas, but this was the one that we felt fit the mood and title of the record best.
What do you guys do for work, school, etc. when you aren’t working on No Better?
Anthony is pursuing his undergrad in Sociology and currently works at Sprouts grocery store. He just started a studio called "the frame" and he is starting to record bands as well. Danny mastered yoga in what seemed like a month and now teaches at Purple Pedal in Pomona. Manny is a Field technician at Sequoia Consultants and is making more money than any of us. I am pursuing a degree in English at UC a Riverside and do sales for a nonprofit, which works out super well, because I make my own hours and it doesn't interfere with school or the band.
I’m going to bring back the topic about your local music scene; who are some of your favorite local artists?
Our hometown buddies I'm Glad It's You are putting out their first LP on 6131 later this year, so get into them now before they're as big as Tigers Jaw. Mildura and Treeshaker are also insanely good.
What can we expect next from No Better?
We're touring in November with Kamikaze Girls from the UK, and we're really looking forward to it. Other than that, we're working real hard on our LP that should be due out in late 2017. With that said, we don't want to wait that long to release something, so we're hoping to release a single or two early next year.
Thank you for talking with us! Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you! This was rad and the questions were fun. Since we're mainly talking about ...Forget Me Not, I just want to thank Robert Cheek, Chris Avis, William Donahue, Connor Strain, Brittany Oblak, and everyone else who has helped us make and present this release as something that we're extraordinarily proud of.