Whenever Troy does an interview, he always makes me write the intro for some reason. I don't really mind, as it gives me a chance to say something about the band at least, and seeing as I wouldn't publish an interview with a band I didn't like, I usually have something to say. I first became aware of The Nones via a bandcamp (or soundcloud? Who the hell knows these days...) link someone posted on the message board which I just realized was almost three years ago...seems like just yesterday some one mentioned them as sounding like Hawkwind/space rock...and I also just realized that first 7" came out in 2010?! Shit. Anyway, the two songs I heard were awesome and I immediatley tried ordering the 7", which was nowhere to be found on the internet. Unheard of, even waaay back in 2011. I got in touch with someone in the band, and it turns out they either didn't have any left or just didn't want to do mailorder but directed me to Permanent Records, and that good ol' Bill Roe fella ended up selling me one. It's a great looking record, all hand-stamped/painted, and has two of their very best tunbes on it. I gushingly reviewed it in August 2012, and felt like no one gave a shit. Of course they were noticed by Hozac (long before my review, I'm sure) and ended up on the roster of the 2013 Singles Club and have just released their first LP as well. I give the Hozac guys some shit on occassion, but I was thrilled they were putting out more from these weirdos. A lot of the Chicago bands getting a push nowadays seem really uninteresting to me (cough...Heavy Times...cough), but The Nones are truly bizarre and have a sound that is nothing like whatever else is going on in their city (or anywhere else) or on their label. One of the very few modern acts on Hozac/from Chi-town I'd stick my neck out for these days...thanks to Troy and the band. Enjoy...

BB: Brandon Bayles - guitar/vocals
SJ: Sara Jean - drums
TN: Tara Noonan - bass

TB: Firstly, how did Nones begin and was there a particular objective in mind when you formed?
SJ: Brandon and I actually met on the set of a movie where I was cast as his pregnant girlfriend (both of which have never been true for the record!) I became a big fan of his band Pyrite. When they broke up, I sort of jokingly suggested that we start our own band even though I didn't know how to play at the time. We've been playing together ever since. Tara came along a few months later smelling of patchouli and ripping the darkest bass tones we had ever heard and Nones was born. I don't know if we really ever had an objective or a particular sound in mind and we're all pretty different so we just kind of morphed and grew together musically. Maybe that's why our sound is kind of all over the place but I don't think we'd have it any other way.

TB: You get compared to stuff like the Jesus Lizard and Flipper a lot. How do you feel about reviewers and the like making these comparisons....are you flattered or do you feel that they are taking the easy way rather than really examining what your music is about?
BB: Those are definitely the two bands I hear us compared to the most, it is more flattering than bothersome. I like both bands and I can hear similarities in the overall music spectrum, but I also think that we are a lot different than those bands.

TB: Brandon, your lyrics are pretty atypical of the current musical climate....a lot of weird stories that are humorous without being corny or silly. What inspires or give you ideas for these songs?
BB: Loneliness. Depression. Alcoholism. Insomnia. Boredom.

TB: Sara, out of my own listening experiences, I notice drummers either fall under two categories: someone who sees their job simply as a pure timekeeper or someone who wants to put their own personal stamp on a song, what is your drum philosophy when you're coming up with a drumbeat?
SJ: Well, I'm not really spectacular at keeping time so I guess that answers that?! I think for me the most important thing is to try come up with a new beat that doesn't sound like anything else I've played before and something I'll always have fun playing. I think there's no right or wrong with drums there's just boring or interesting. Our songs usually have a lot of little parts and odd changes so it's a good challenge for me. I've been called a "caveman" drummer but I like to think that there's a bit of sophistication in every Neanderthal.

TB: Tara, I notice you rarely just follow the root notes of the chord progression. The bass slides and slithers through the song. Do you tend to work off whatever Sara is playing or is there another angle altogether?
TN: When I first heard Nones music, it was about a month before our first show and the songs were pretty much already written. What stuck out to me was the weirdness of it, the unexpected places the songs would go. Nones songs often emerge in raw form from Brandon’s womb, or other times grow from a bass-line, riff or drumbeat that emerges from our collective unconscious. After that root, we all sort of attack the song with our own stamp to keep it interesting and fun for us. What I get the most enjoyment out of is playing stuff that makes my head spin a little and go “whaaat?” Nones is good for that.

TB: What are all of your takes on what's going musically in Chicago?
SJ: I think there is and always will be a great music scene in Chicago. There's an awesome DIY community as well as a whole bunch of new random venues popping up all the time. Right now the trend in our circle seems to be a simpler fuzzed out 60's garage rock sound which is actually kinda nice because it's upbeat and fun and gets the crowd going. It feels less like a lot of people trying to "make it" and a lot more like people just making it. Not to say that there aren't a lot of people still making it weird and crazy and experimental because there's a healthy dose of that too, which is always nice.

BB: There is so much out there that it is really hard to keep track of. There are so many bands and venues and different scenes.

TN: I agree that there is a ton of stuff going on. Some of my friends are really into the improv jazz scene, which is filled with really great players. Then you get the DIY spaces and the garage rock, punk, psych and metal bands, which we end up playing with mostly. I feel like there's a lot of great bands that I don't even know about just because there's so much going on. You can only go to so many shows when you have to wake up at 6am the next day.

TB: Describe the worst show you ever played and what you learned from that experience?
TN: Hmm...there are a few that come to mind, mostly characterized by bad sound, hand cramps, shitty reception, and a not-so-fun time. I guess what I learn from any “bad” show is that bad shows happen. It’s just statistics. We all have a right to fuck up and make fools of ourselves sometimes; it builds character. Try again next time, I guess.

BB: My worst show experience came as a teenager playing a show in Sarasota, Florida. My old band was playing in front of about five people and not only did they walk out on the show, but they mooned us on their way out.

You just recently released an album, but as far as I understand, it was in the works for quite a while. How did the actual recording process go?
BB: We recorded and mixed it in this dude named Garret Hammond's tiny basement (Brill Basement Studios). We took our sweet time, making sure we were all satisfied with the mixing. I am proud of the fact that I did all the vocals drunk without taking a piss break. We even cut one song. We recorded the album with our old guitarist. She ended up moving shortly after. We tried to replace her and we tried the long distance thing but it wasn't the same. It just made more sense at that point for me to switch from sax to guitar.

TB: Now that this album is done, do you have any future recording or touring plans?
BB: Our future plans are to continue writing songs and record another album. We almost have enough material. Touring is difficult with all of us having conflicting work schedules. I'm sure we will hit some places in the Midwest in the not too distant future. If any city wants to gives us a lucrative guarantee, we can be persuaded.


The Nones Discography
self-titled 7" (self-released - 2010)
"Shake Your Brain" 7" (Hozac - 2013)
"Midwestern Family Values" LP (Hozac - 2014)

The Nones on the web here, here and here.

Illustration by Joey Potts.
Pictures provided by band. Contact us if you would like a credit.

Interview by Troy Canady, 2014.

To read other TB interviews, go here.