Q&A with Josh Olivier of No Better: "Every Song we Write is Developing Our Sound More Than the Last."
No Better have been hard at work since the release of their last EP, ...Forget Me Not back in August of 2016, and to hold fans over until the long-awaited release of their first full length, the band has started the new year off on the right foot with their short, two song EP, If It's Not You... . Not only does the EP serve as a bridge between the California four piece's older and newer material, but it also sees them in a sonic shift, pushing themselves by creating brighter, more upbeat tracks compared to their previous release. Fresh off of a South By Southwest run and ready to take on the rest of this year with a new album on the horizon and West Coast shows planned for this summer, 2017 promises to be a huge year for No Better. Read what the band's Josh Olivier had to say about their new music and big plans for the future below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Since we last caught up with you guys, you’ve released your new EP, If It’s Not You…, which features two brand new songs to hold listeners over until your new album. What goals did you have in mind for these songs?
All in all the release was a pretty spontaneous idea. These were two of the best songs that we've written since ...Forget Me Not was released, and we figured it was a good time to do a small release with our SXSW run right around the corner. Of course it's always nice to have a formal physical release, and that's always an objective of ours when we are going into something new, so we're really excited to be working with Counter Intuitive.
There’s a slight shift in these tracks sonically compared to ...Forget Me Not. What was behind the decision to create something a little bit more upbeat?
We wanted the release to be fun and catchy, and I think we did a good capturing that energy. This wasn't necessarily planned, but I think the songs are really cool for a Spring release. They're a little more accessible, and even though the songs are still a little melancholy, they were written to have positive implications and I think the music maintains that positive energy.
What is your favorite thing about these two songs?
Even though the songs are a little more accessible, I'm still really excited about some of the more interesting parts we were able to include. The end of "Safe For Now" has that really cool double vocal part, and "Let Me Down" has a cool little bass harmony halfway through the song. I think things like that make the songs interesting and stand out.
As far as the recording process goes, things were very different this time around, since Anthony did all of the engineering for these two songs. How do you feel this change of scenery and working on the EP on your own affected the final product?
Generally it was a great and positive experience. It was nice doing things on our own time and having complete control over the parts and everything. I was kind of worried the songs sound very similar to the demos, but we still grew and developed the songs as we moved along and Anthony did a stellar job engineering everything.
With If It’s Not You… you also announced your signing with Counter Intuitive Records! What about the label makes them a good fit for No Better?
Yeah, we're real excited about working with them! They've been extraordinarily kind, and it's obvious that they're doing the whole "label thing" for the right reasons. Jake works very hard growing the label, and they've put out a few releases in our genre that have done really well over the past couple years. I think working with a label that has consistently put out great records and working with a label that we're all personal fans of can only have positive implications. So, yeah! We're really looking forward to doing this release with them.
If It’s Not You… is meant to be a short release give fans something new to listen to until you finish working on your first full-length. Is there anything that you’d really like to accomplish with the LP?
Yeah, that's a really really good question! I think LP1 will be a pretty huge step for our band. Personally I want the songwriting to get a little more personal and I want to continue growing in my ability to transfer a feeling into a song. Sonically I know we all want to do something a little different and more unique to our band specifically. I'll be wrapping up my undergrad around the time we finish it, and I'm really looking forward to touring relentlessly around that time and finally getting to some states outside of the west coast.
When can listeners expect to hear some more news about the full-length?
There should definitely be some news on that later this year
What have been the most rewarding and the most challenging things about working on a full-length for the first time?
It's definitely been pretty challenging to deal with our own expectations. You only get one first LP, and we're all pretty set on making sure we push ourselves to write the absolute best songs that we can. I guess that's been the most rewarding part as well, though! It's cool to see us growing and developing our own unique sound, and it feels really good to know that every song we write is developing our sound more than the last.
Do you have any plans to hit the road again this year between writing and recording?
Yeah, absolutely! We're doing a SXSW run right now, and it looks like we'll be doing some more West Coast shows this summer.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Hey, thanks again for talking with us! And thanks to anyone who's been a part of this whole thing up to this point. Playing music is lots of fun, and a lot of that is because there are so many wonderful and caring people involved in the world on independent music. If you're reading this I hope we get to see you soon!