How did you first get into writing music?
I was 13 years old when I first got a guitar. I just wanted to play an instrument, try to learn it -- or unlearn it -- and keep it a fun thing to do to express myself.
What was the first album you ever got?
When I was around 10 years old, I was into stuff like Vanilla Ice and M.C. Hammer. I had the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack. Once I got into playing music and got an understanding of what real bands were, I got Nirvana's Nevermind and Sonic Youth's Goo, and things like that. That's where my record appreciation really first started.
On your upcoming tour, you'll be playing largely all-ages shows. Can you tell me a little about the All Ages Music Project?
There's an organization up in Seattle called the All Ages Music Project, or AMP, for short. It spreads the word about all-ages shows and how to book all-ages shows, and they're strong supporters of all-ages shows. For us growing up, before we could get into bars, most of our exposure to live music was at all-ages shows. So as I became a man older than 21, I decided there was no real sense in discriminating. Why play shows that I couldn't have gotten into when I was 14?
No Age is a duo, but you have a third member who goes on the road with you.
Cundo Bermudez is joining us for the live shows. That grew out of the songs being written in a way that one of us would often be on a sampler throughout a whole song, playing samples in time with the rhythm of the song. So in order to perform those songs live, we needed an extra set of hands to play those samples like we did on the record. Recording allows you the ability to layer things up so the same two people can play four or five different instruments, but once you get up there live, there are only so many hands.
Pitchfork.com has long been a champion of No Age. Nouns was No. 3 Album of the Year in '08, and Everything in Between was ranked No. 17 out their 50 favorites this year. Has the recognition affected how you write and/or perform?
We really make music for ourselves first and foremost. We have to enjoy what we're making and be interested in what we're writing. The recognition is nice, but when you start to rely too heavily on that stuff, the dog starts chasing its own tail. You're never going to please everybody all the time, and just as much as people will say something nice about the band, there will be people who'll say something mean, too. You have to take it with a grain of salt and appreciate the nice things, and try to listen to the criticism if there's anything valid about it.
No Age will kick off their next tour at the Che Cafe on Jan. 7. For more information, click here.