SM PIER — Punk music is all about individuality and being yourself, says guitarist Randy Randall, one-half of No Age, the decibel-destroying experimental punk duo slotted to play the Twilight Concert Series on the Santa Monica Pier on Thursday.
Randall and drummer-vocalist and occasional bassist Dean Allen Spunt make music that doesn’t shy away from that definition. It’s raw, often times loud, distorted and different, yet recognizably punk rock. No Age sometimes uses electronically-distorted samples as melodic fillers, which makes it more than just a guitar-and-drums band, Randall has said in interviews. Randall’s riffs and the group’s samples launch their music into the stratosphere, while Spunt’s erratic and on-beat poundings keeps the package grounded.
No Age’s music is often labeled as Do-it-Yourself Punk, a sub-genre defined by pioneering punk bands of the 1970s who shrugged off corporate sponsorship in lieu of complete creative freedom. To Randall, calling punk music anything but punk is a contradiction.
“Being punk is … thinking for yourself and adding your two cents into the pot of what your interpretation of the world is and what your place and your role can be,” Randall told us.
Punk can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people, he added, but it’s about doing everything yourself and it can’t happen any other way.
“Unless it’s maybe Do-it-For-Me, DIFM,” Randall said, jokingly. “I put my shoes on myself, I’m not a DIY shoe-wearer.”
The duo’s new album, “An Object,” drops Aug. 20 and gets a little closer to DIY for those who insist on the label — both band members had a close hand in all aspects of the album’s production, down to the album art and packaging.
“An Object” is also a little different from its three predecessors, Randall said.
“It’s a fun, explosive, weird, confrontational kind of mind-trip. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s also a lot of fun,” Randall said. “You’ll like it if you’re into trippy music or maybe something that’s a little bit different than what you would normally hear oozing out of the radio.”
The album is “sinewy,” a sort of “noise-scape collage” that references bands like Throbbing Gristle or Psychic TV, two experimental bands of the late-1970s, early-1980s. “Collage-makers,” Randall called them.
“I think there’s still an element of rock music or punk stuff, but it’s kind of a unique capsule in and of itself,” Randall said. “I think all of these songs make sense together, but wouldn’t make sense on other albums.”
Randall credits the close association between tracks on “An Object” to the fact that all the music was recorded around the same time. No Age is known for turning out albums quickly.
As for the lyrics, “An Object” stands in opposition to the status quo and unspoken complacency, Randall said.
“You go through life and you get older and start labeling things like ‘I’m a punk, I’m going to protest this, war is wrong’ or ‘oil for blood,’ you know, those kinds of black and white messages that I feel you can just stand in opposition of really easily,” Randall said. “But then there’s the small little subtext things like buying Chinese-made products that are created in sweatshops that are the only option. You go, ‘How do I protest that? Do I not wear shoes or not buy Chinese lead paint for my kids or do I not drive a car?’ … It’s not a very political record, but I think it’s more just calling out the comfortability in finding your place in the world and what sort of compromises you make.”