Picture this: a new band, who has only been releasing singles for the last two years, gets picked up by a boutique label and, through childhood connections, suddenly gets the opportunity to record at the famous Blackbird Studios in Nashville with only four hours to produce an entire EP.
Namen Namen's breakthrough was just that, and on March 3, I had the pleasure of hearing all about it in an interview with the band.
When the Fort Wayne natives first met at a rock band camp, “it was like fireworks,” said Ron Record, drummer for Namen Namen. Their connection was immediate and continues to grow to this day, which is something I felt through my computer screen during our Zoom interview. That, and their mellow and cool composure—a perfect 180 from what you’ll hear on their EP.
Kellen Baker, guitarist, came into Namen Namen with a late '50s–'60s rock 'n' roll and pop background. Dylan Record, writer and lead singer, has always loved arty songwriters. Therefore, the golden ratio of artists reminiscent of those in the punk-rock era was achieved—a creation of “pop-noise,” as Ron Record put it.
“We like all these art-rock, noise-rock late '60s through early '80s bands, but the thing is that we’re not really drawing directly off of them, we’re just coming from a similar place that a lot of those bands did,” Baker said.
Although their inspiration comes from iconic noise-rock bands over the span of a few decades, it’s clear that Namen Namen’s sound is their own. They have successfully absorbed what inspires them and injected their own energy into a culmination of purely electric noise.
To Zara McCord, Namen Namen’s bassist and a Ball State student, “It’s like the top 10 people you surround yourself with are the most you’re like, personality wise. You can apply that same sort of thing to when you’re writing music—it sort of paints the lens of how you’re crafting things differently.”
In their early days, Namen Namen recorded singles on an iPhone in Baker’s basement. They’ve since used boards and mixers popular in music production in the '70s, as well as cassette tapes and specific microphones—all of which contribute a genuine effect to their music.
But this project was a little different. Their friend, Tommy Cantin, invited Namen Namen to Blackbird Studios to help with his own project. He was in a class that required its students to record and engineer a song. As a result, Cantin and Namen Namen came out of the four-hour studio session with a six track EP.
“We thought, ‘we’re in this professional studio for the first time, we should make the most of it,’” Baker said. “So we didn’t exactly go in with a set amount of songs we wanted to record, we just got through what we felt good about.”
And it’s really good.
Their self-titled EP, released on Massif Records, consists of six little pills of raw energy swaddled in a garage-punk dream: insane vocals, shredding guitar, booming bass, and thrashing drums. Every second of this EP feels alive—Namen Namen transports listeners into the recording studio with them, allowing their audience to hear an experience, not just a record.
Namen Namen’s self-titled EP will be released via all streaming platforms on April 1. Find it online or on physical copies at Village Green Records in Muncie. Follow Namen Namen on Instagram to catch their latest updates, including concert dates, single releases, and more.
Featured Image: Andrea Mourey