interview: Nodzzz

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Nodzzz could very well be described as the Dennis Rodman of indie music. They are fun (we’ve featured them in two of our mixes this year), they are smartly irreverent, and they throw pundits of the blogosphere into heated debate when the question of “legacy” comes up. Noise pop post punk pub rock new wave — “nothing weird” is how frontman Anthony Atlas chooses to answer (avoid) the question — it’s easy to lose the fact that Nodzzz is a band that plays three chords and verse-chorus-verse very, very well, and above all, is an extremely entertaining band to see live.

Nodzzz // In The City (Contact High)

In the City there’s something to prove/ But nowhere to move / You got no money / then beat it buddy

Innings, due out tomorrow via the guys at Woodsist, is the follow-up to the trio’s self-titled 16-minute 10-track debut back in 2009. We contacted Anthony via the band’s blogspot and he agreed to answer a few questions about playing at Woodsist, Bob Dylan, and the the state of San Francisco garage scene:

You’ve had a busy 2011 – a 20+ stop tour with the Mantles that covered most of the West Coast and UK, a new LP dropping on May 17th (we’re stoked on what we’ve heard), and Woodsist at the end of July. So we’ll ask — who’s bringing the edibles to Big Sur?

AA: Big Sur will be good. I’ve gone camping down that way a few times and went to the fest last year. I feel lucky we’re playing Fernwood in the evening. There will be less of a pretense/expectation for a mellow, in-the-woodsy jam sesh that there is during the day at Henry Miller, and we can instead bop about alongside the Art Museums.

We read an interview elsewhere where you talked about feeling like an outsider to the San Francisco garage scene. Now that you’ve been on a lengthy tour with the Mantles, and are frequently mentioned/perform alongside local alt-heroes Tim Cohen, the Fresh and Onlys, Ty Segall, etc, do you feel a greater spirit of community with other SF rockers?

AA: I think we’d say things like that when describing the very beginning of the band, when we didn’t know any of those folks and were sort of isolated from the rest of the music scene. Our first practice space though was shared with Ty’s old band the Traditional Fools, and there’s countless other chance examples which attest to the small size of the city and scene here. For example, Sean Paul played basketball with Shayde before he’d heard Sonny & the Sunsets, who Shayde was playing with at the time. So the answer is yes, I do feel that community more strongly now. Everybody seems to know each other. Our new drummer Garret, for example, is in SIX bands.

Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes figures prominently in a lot of your discussions on musical indoctrination — what are three newer songs you’re listening to right now?

AA: We were obsessed with Basement Tapes for a bit, yes. You’ve done your research! Three distinct songs lately: 1) Cass Mccombs “Harmonia” from “Catacombs”. Saw Cass Mccombs & his band play the other night at the Swedish American Hall. I recorded the set, and likewise re-listened to this album, and specifically this song many times over, because it was beautifully performed at the show. 2) New live songs by the Mantles “Home” or “Marbled Birds.” I was privileged to see them a dozen times in two weeks, and didn’t once get sick of it. If songs like this comprise the rest of their next LP, it will be a classic. 3). “Be Still and Know God (Don’t Be Shy)” – Will Oldham.

Does Nodzzz still share the same studio space with Grass Widow? Having seen her work with Shannon and the Clams’ “Sleep Talk”, any chance we’ll see a Hannah Lew-directed music video soon?

AA: We don’t share a space with Grass Widow anymore, (instead we pay by the hour at a rehearsal studio- may actually be cheaper considering how often we practice), but I have fond memories of that space on 16th street. It’s in an old meat locker converted into a practice space. The building manager was PSYCHOTIC, red-eyed from crack-smoke, and he set up surveillance videos to monitor weird objects he’d set up in the hallway as traps for thieves: a bass guitar, a nintendo set, an old stereo. Hannah Lew’s films are great, but if Nodzzz made another video (I hope we do), I’ll probably direct it myself. I’ve done videos for Brilliant Colors and Nodzzz already. I’m supposed to do one for LAKE, a great folk-pop group on K Records. 

Finally, SF Popfest is in two weeks — any upcoming shows you guys are psyched about?

AA: I’m excited for SF Popfest, if I get around to it I’ll see the 14 Iced Bears. We’re playing on the 26th at the Hemlock with Milk Music, and after our set our drummer Garret has to run over after the set to the Rickshaw to play guitar in Dominant Legs. I feel stupid for not having seen Dominant Legs until recently. Great band who’s recording their LP now. I’m excited for R. Stevie Moore with Wet Illustrated this Sunday, and the Mantles show for the S-S Anniversary in two weeks.

Thanks for the questions!


Nodzzz plays with Milk Music and Doors US at 9pm on Thursday, May 26th, at the Hemlock Tavern. $7. You can pick up Innings (LP or CD) from their label here, or on iTunes here. Listen to a track off the new record below:


Nodzzz // Time (What’s It Going To Do?) 

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