No Ceremony/// don’t wear masks, but you’d be hard pressed finding them in a crowd. With no interest in individual identities, Manchester’s experimental electro fellas prefer to exist as an entity that produces the music and accompanying visuals that they want you to see - everything else is secondary. Offering a mix of aural flavours, the impending debut oscillates between foot stomping electronica and hollow indie acoustics. Collaborations with the likes of the Pixies’ legendary Joey Santiago have come and gone, and still the boys continue to rise. As advocates of their home-town and the music it nurtures, No Ceremony are just another reason why London is quickly falling by the wayside.
Jasmine Phull talks to No Ceremony/// about moulding a sound of their own – one that belongs to the Mancunians' musicians of today, not the Factory Records of yesterday.
No Ceremony/// is a band born into this world anonymous. Is this anonymity something you try to maintain during your live shows?
No not at all, we don’t wear masks or try to hide ourselves onstage. We never set out to be ‘anonymous’ for the sake of it, but rather to focus all our attention on the music we’re making. We want to make that music the forefront of the conversation between us and our fans. If we actively wore masks or went down convoluted routes to hide ourselves, when we’re on stage, there’s a danger the conversation would become about that, and not the music. We decided not to engage, rather than avoid.
How important do you think the live gig is? Do you think listeners can gain a totally different perspective or view when simply listening to you via their speakers?
We see ‘live’ as a chance to provide a more coherent, sensory experience to our music. We make the show as organic and natural as is possible with electronic music; the live instrumentation allows us to offer a very reactive performance. So, yes, it’s certainly something we see as important.
You guys have also released on vinyl. Was this a decision linked to nostalgia or quality of sound?
We felt it was the right thing to do. We always wanted to allow our fans to access the music we were making via free downloads on the website, so when we decided to make physical releases we wanted to make them significant, so we had some limited double A side 10” vinyls printed. We wanted to do things properly.
Musically was there someone quite influential during your youth?
When you’re growing up, playing music in itself is incredibly inspiring, and your influences change pretty much hourly. It would be hard to pinpoint one that was more significant than the others; everything you experience brings you to the place you’re at today.
Your third release 'Deliverus' is less edgy and darker than 'Wearme' and 'Hurtlove'. Did you make a conscious effort to keep the album quite varied in sound or was it more of an organic result?
Not explicitly, that sound seemed right for that particular song, so we followed that thread. We’re very intrinsic with our music, and what brought us together in the first place was a shared understanding of the exact kind of music we want to make. There is no conscious effort to make a song into something specific from the outset, it’s all about the outcome. We simply aim for every track to have a correlation between what we've done before and what we plan to do next.
You’re currently working on your debut album; how important is the order of the tracks?
An album should ideally be experienced as a whole body of work, so it’s definitely something we’re putting thought into.
Is it true that the Pixies’ Joey Santiago features on track 'Heartbreaker'? Tell us how that collaboration came about?
Yes that is true. Our manager was on tour with them and Joey heard some of the tracks we’d sent and asked if we’d like him to play on any tracks. Who wouldn’t want that?
While working on the debut have you listened to and embraced other artists’ music or do you prefer to concentrate only on your own music? Why?
We feel we’re setting our own parameters in terms of sound and structure and so pay little attention to outside influences so as to achieve what we are trying to in the purest form possible.
Your favourite artist or band growing up?
Changed almost every day.
Your favourite artist or band now?
We’ve had the fortune to collaborate with some great artists, such as Joey Santiago, Stay+ and several others we’ve remixed. They’d all feature. What we like is that with all of them we’ve managed to find a common thread of understanding of what we’re out to achieve, something that’s allowed us to create some really special collaborations.
How important is the visual aesthetic, on-stage and off, to No Ceremony///?
As we have the skills to create outside of the parameters of just music, we pay attention to the visual representation of the band. We create all our own artwork, videos and websites; they’re all an extension of what we’re trying to achieve.
How influential is Manchester to the music you create? Is that Factory Records time done and dusted or does it still live on through the current Mancunian bands?
Manchester has an incredibly rich musical heritage and supportive scene that allows you a lot of freedom to express in exactly the way you want to. In that way it’s quite significant.
The most influential city in terms of your musical output?
What’s the album called?!
We’ll get back to you.
Interview by: Jasmine Phull