SM PIER ‚Äî 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‚Äôt shy away from that definition. It‚Äôs 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‚Äôs riffs and the group‚Äôs samples launch their music into the stratosphere, while Spunt‚Äôs erratic and on-beat poundings keeps the package grounded.
No Age‚Äôs 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 ‚Ä¶ 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‚Äôs about doing everything yourself and it can‚Äôt happen any other way.
“Unless it‚Äôs maybe Do-it-For-Me, DIFM,” Randall said, jokingly. “I put my shoes on myself, I‚Äôm not a DIY shoe-wearer.”
The duo‚Äôs new album, “An Object,” drops Aug. 20 and gets a little closer to DIY for those who insist on the label ‚Äî both band members had a close hand in all aspects of the album‚Äôs production, down to the album art and packaging.
“An Object” is also a little different from its three predecessors, Randall said.
“It‚Äôs a fun, explosive, weird, confrontational kind of mind-trip. It‚Äôs not for the faint of heart, but it‚Äôs also a lot of fun,” Randall said. “You‚Äôll like it if you‚Äôre into trippy music or maybe something that‚Äôs 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‚Äôs still an element of rock music or punk stuff, but it‚Äôs kind of a unique capsule in and of itself,” Randall said. “I think all of these songs make sense together, but wouldn‚Äôt 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 ‚ÄòI‚Äôm a punk, I‚Äôm going to protest this, war is wrong‚Äô or ‚Äòoil for blood,‚Äô 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‚Äôs the small little subtext things like buying Chinese-made products that are created in sweatshops that are the only option. You go, ‚ÄòHow 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?‚Äô ‚Ä¶ It‚Äôs not a very political record, but I think it‚Äôs more just calling out the comfortability in finding your place in the world and what sort of compromises you make.”